The Office of the Citizen ~ Bro. Stanley Otugeme
Topic: The Office of the Citizen
Text: Judges 16:25-30
Minister: Bro. Stanley Otugeme
How many of you know that we have the office of the President, the Governor, and then we have the office of the citizen, which is the most powerful office; but the truth is that that office has lost its power. As we proceed in this teaching, we would know what our roles are in nation building.
We all know the problems of Nigeria; if you are asked to mention the problems of Nigeria, I’m sure you will be able to write a full scaf sheet and turn it over. For the purpose of this teaching, I will say some of them:
Exchange rate is now N710 to a Dollar: What this means is that if you were earning N50,000 before, what you could do like 2 weeks ago, you cannot use it to do again. For example someone who has a supermarket and puts the price of Deodorant for N1,000, because the person needs to restock, he has to change the price to something else so that when he sells it, he can have enough money to restock.
Everything will begin to rise in another 2 weeks or 3 weeks because the inflation rate is already 17.7%. We significantly import more than we export; we even import food, if we were not importing food it would have been a better case, but we import food, so the prices of food will even rise further.
If you were in the News, you will know that debt payment for the country exceeds what it makes as revenue, even the debt servicing is now more than what we earn. We are doing 118% of revenue, we are borrowing and we are consuming what we are borrowing; it’s like borrowing to do a wedding. This is the case of Nigeria.
There is also rise in overall level of goods and services, our GDP is biggest in the continent but when divided by the population which is around 218 million, you’ll see that our GDP is so poor and we are behind countries like Egypt, South Africa, Seychelles; we should actually be where people like Brazil and Indonesia are. Our GDP annual growth is so slow, our HDI (Human Development Index) is low – HDI measures three things: Access to information, quality of life, and life expectancy. In Nigeria, the life expectancy is 55 years old; what that means is that they expect that somebody should die at 55 years old. So everybody is like a risk waiting to happen. In other countries in Africa, life expectancy is 71 – 80 years.
Corruption in Nigeria is 154 out of 180, minimum wage is N30,000 grossly inadequate, you can’t even buy a bag of rice, you can’t even meet the basic nutritional needs of an adult. State cannot pay salaries, unemployment 33% – almost all the youths are unemployed, insecurity is another issue. We are almost close to Afghanistan, South Sudan, those are the kind of people our indices are very close to. There is church killing, there is violence in the north-west, there is IPOB, there is Kidnapping, everybody is just like a danger waiting to happen. Recently, the state capital is now under serious siege. This are signs of a state that is almost failing.
When we get to Education, 167 days of ASUU strike, over 5 months of our students out of school. The percentage that is allocated to education in Nigeria from the budget is maybe 10%, meanwhile UNESCO says you should allocate 26% of country’s budget to education, but Nigeria has never crossed 10%. Our Education is under-funded. You go to school, you cram and pour, when you come out, you don’t even fit . Nigeria has the largest out of school children, bad transportation, insufficient power, poor health, and more.
The problem of Nigeria today is too numerous to mention; but I want to mention that if care is not taken it can get worse. In a country called freelanka, the citizens went to purse the president; the inflation in the country rose to 50%. They elected an incompetent leader, and the consequences of that became so bad that they had to chase their president out of the country.
Do you know that Election has consequences.
Who is a Citizen? A citizen is a native of a state or nation, owes his allegiance to the government and his entitled to its government protection.
Let’s look at Judge 16:25-30. In this scripture, Samson understood that if you want to take hold of a system, you don’t need to take hold of the people, you just need to take hold of the structure. Samson stood between the two pillars, he wanted to do his last fight, he knew that he didn’t need to start going to kill everybody one after the other, all he needed to do was to properly position his hands on the pillar and the entire system will crumble.
There are pillars in the society, and samsons are people that are knowledgeable, and samsons have taken over the pillars of our society. What are these pillars? Pillars of family, pillars of family, pillars of culture, pillars of the media, pillars of business, pillars of government, and the samsons that are supposed to be holding this pillars, we have allowed them to be devilish samsons. They have held the systems, the pillars and they are crumbling it because we have allowed certain samsons to hold the pillar of our society.
Christians are supposed to be the Samsons holding the pillars of our society but they have not done their job. There is an error in leadership. Eccl. 10:5-7 (NLT) “There is another evil I have seen under the sun. Kings and rulers make a grave mistake when they give great authority to foolish people …”; many of the people in the corridors of power have no business to be there; many of the people leading us can’t even lead themselves; foolishness is dignified, skills are under-valued. Non-achievers lead and instruct the achievers. The righteous step back and the wicked step forward. That’s been the situation of Nigeria.
Christians, are we to participate or not to participate? 2 Cor. 6:14-17 “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” Christians have taken this scripture as an interpretation that they are not supposed to participate in politics, but there is a balancing scripture which is John 17:14 “I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that you should take them out of the world but that you should keep them from the evil one.” Verse 18 says “As you sent me into the world, so also have I sent them into the world”. Jesus has sent us into the world.
There are three option of how we can engage the world. Is either we totally separate from the world. If we follow this separation, we give the devil free room to capture the world.
The second option of how to engage the world is total integration; becoming one with the world: no difference between unbelievers and believers.
The third option is transformation. So it’s either we choose to separate from the world, to totally unite with the world, or transform the world. We are not meant to separate from the world, we are not meant to become one with the world, we are supposed to go into the world and transform the world. Jesus was a transformational man, so we also as Christians are supposed to go into the world and shine.
It is sad the we have been focused about heaven only, forgetting that Jesus said occupy till I come. In time past it was all about Jesus is coming, but now; yet we know that Jesus is coming but we also need to occupy till Jesus comes.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE AS CITIZENS OF THE NATION
1. Be a candidate of a party
2. Be a party member or a delegate
3. Be a volunteer
4. Be a voter
The voter turn out in our elections over the years has been so poor, because Christians , middle class, just sit down and don’t come out. This 2023 elections, please come out. Collect those PVC and come out to vote.
In the last elections 15 million people decided the fate of over 200million people because the “light of the world” who cannot be bought with N5,000 will refuse to come out to vote.
Don’t be docile, there is a social contract between you and governance; if you give up your right, you allow the unrighteous to do what they do. Talk about politics, the church should not be afraid to talk about politics. The church must talk about it because it affects the church.
Finally, let’s learn a lesson from the trees in Judges 9:8-15. The question here is, which tree are you? There are four trees there; the olive tree, the fig tree, vine tree, and a bramble. The olive tree is the typical spiritual man; the olive said should I leave my oil that honours God and man, to reign over you or rule over you.
The olive tree is the extremely spiritual man who doesn’t want to get involved in politics, he will not campaign for anybody, he won’t encourage anybody to be involved in elections or nation building, he just want to pray only.
The fig tree is a professional man, he just want to be a great accountant, a great engineer, nothing concerns him with politics, he just want to focus on his profession.
The vine tree is someone that is just pursuing happiness, he just want to be happy, nation building is too much stress.
The bramble tree is the person who is corrupt, incompetent, no character, but they said come and lead us; and what did the bramble tree say? He said if you want me to come and lead you, I will come, I will scatter your country.
The Olive tree, the fig tree, and the vine tree all left the Bramble, the bramble took over the nation and destroyed they nation. Africa is filled with bramble leadership because the olives, the figs, the vines allowed the bramble tree to take over them; but from 2023 we are not letting the bramble again, we are not letting bramble take over this nation.
Prayer Point: Father Lord, all the wicked leaders of this nation, drive them out and replace them in Jesus name.