THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN PROMOTING GOOD GOVERNANCE AND POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION
The role of the church in promoting good governance and political transformation
BEING A PAPER DELIVERED BY: PASTOR DR. JAMES MOVEL WUYE
THE CO-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,INTERFAITH MEDIATION CENTRE, KADUNA – NIGERIA
AT A FREE TALE FORUM
ORGANIZED BY HOPE BUILDERS INTERNATIONAL CONSULT LTD
BBS DIAMOND SUITS, TANKO TETE CRESCENT, STEPHEN SHEKARI AVENUE, BARNAWA
DATE: THURSDAY 8TH SEPTEMBER 2011
I wish to observe all protocol and hope that we all at the beginning of this presentation; and at the end of this noble forum will have a fruitful deliberation towards building the polity of good governance in our dear nation.
Nigerian Political Terrain has experience series of ethnic-Religious and socio-political violence and conflicts in the past three decade, culminating in the wanton destruction of lives and properties in hundreds of thousands of lives wasted and billions of naira worth of properties destroyed; one has even lost track of conflict occurrence.
Most of these wars have been instigated by ethnic political and ethnic –religious factors, strengthened by Nigerian’s desire to accumulate wealth by ALL means available. WHY? Nigerians have an expensive lifestyle, and they like celebrating flamboyantly. At birth, marriage and death, Nigerians spend huge amount of resources JUST to remain relevant in their society. The Church has unfortunately been caught off this web, and has lost most of her grip on her adherents. This is why I agree with the choice of this topic, and I see it as timely.
WHO IS THE CHURCH?
Ecclesiastical, Clerical, Religious, Priestly, Apostolic Papal that is followers of the Christian religion. Some see it as a building for public worship for Christian. I see the Church as collections of souls united in purpose, harnessing, opportunities that their environment provides for the collective good of all. Sharing and infecting their society with unblemishable virus contacted from divinity, which is integrity. The Holy Bible clearly says “we are the temple of God”. That is to say we are a mosaic of little-little temples put together to beautify our world.
WHAT NECESSITATES GOOD GOVERNANCE?
The holistic process of administering people and resources in a participatory manner that ensures ownership of input and output to achieve sustainable democracy. To promote democracy entails more than just support of formal democratic procedure such as election as demonstrated in the last elections in Nigeria but it also involves strengthening of civil society structures like the Church and other groups in all civic forms to enable them engage the elected in a constructive way so that dividends of democracy and good governance can be made conspicuous and beneficent to all.
The concept of “governance” is not new. It is as old as human civilization. Simply put “governance” means: the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented (or not implemented). Governance can be used in several contexts such as corporate governance, international governance, national governance and local governance.
Since governance is the process of decision-making and the process by which decisions are implemented, an analysis of governance focuses on the formal and informal actors involved in decision-making and implementing the decisions made and the formal and informal structures that have been set in place to arrive at and implement the decision.
Good governance has 8 major characteristics. It is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive and follows the rule of law. It assures that corruption is minimized, the views of minorities are taken into account and that the voices of the most vulnerable in society are heard in decision-making. It is also responsive to the present and future needs of society.
ABRAHAM MASLOW HIERACHY OF NEED; good governance is about providing the society with human basic needs or enabling environment for human persons to maximize their God given potentials, putting in place all the necessary infrastructure for this to happen. This process is transformational. That is changing from one level to another in a progressive manner to achieve this, deliberate efforts must be made to focus available energy on inclusiveness, bringing together the marginalized, vulnerable and indigent, respect for human rights, rule of law, equity, justice, access to opportunities for self-improvement. There must be a fostering of fair political competition abuse/misuse of media by incumbency fostering and leaving by the principles integrating, which the Church stand for and is known for.
THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH:
In history, the Church has participated in governance and is still influencing decision making and policy formulation in many countries, sometimes costly mistakes are made which tend to tarnish the Church holy image. In a multi-ethnic and multi-religious state like Nigeria utmost care and caution must be taken by the Church entire participation as an entity, however, a part or parts of the mosaic can participate, otherwise unholy and irreligious personalities can highjack the mantle of leadership and promulgate draconian policies and laws that can annihilate and suppress the Church. It is clear the bible says “when the righteous rule, the people rejoice…”
The Church is to be the light, check and balancing instrument for good governance, member of every Church group need to infiltrate the political terrain to bring sanity into the system. Unfortunately, the Missionaries who came to Nigeria for reasons best known to them discourage Christian participation in active politicking. “This world is not our home…” This trend can be seen in Europe and the West today, where post enlightenment and scientism have rendered Church ineffective and laws like “Do not say happy Christmas” but say “happy holiday”, secularizing Christian festivities; litigating on cultures that are anti-Christ in their parliaments. To address these negative vibes, the Church can play the following roles:-
* Ensure that thorough participation leader who are elected satisfies (1Timothy 3:1-7, 1Tim. 2:14-26, Deuteronomy 16:17).
* Ensure that those elected are not selfish and grabbers.
* Ensure peaceful co-existence is enshrined in the society (Isaiah 11:1-9)
* Equity and justice is practiced (Isaiah 32:1-9)
* Good track record on good CV’s (Titus 1:5-9)
* The Church must teach biblical civic education in secondary school
* Conduct credible election in Church offices as a standard for the world.
* Obey those in authority
* Participating and executing government policies that conform to biblical standard.
* Pay water rate, electricity bills, go to work on time, and close on schedule, update vehicle licenses, wear trash helmet and seat belts, vote, register e.t.c. not doing these is sin and the wages of sin is death.
* The Church should initiate pace setting activities and projects, youth should fill potholes free without collecting tolls.
* Plant trees, clean water ways, embark on keep environment clean, educational class on various thematic areas e.t.c.
* The Church should embark on what Sun Myung Moon describe as “Mission Butterfly” the Church must endure like the butterfly to transform out of its cocoon, grow wings and fly.
CHRISTIAN INSTITUTIONS PROMOTING PEACE:
All around the globe we have Christian organizations that are working in the areas
of good governance and peaceful coexistence they are working to consolidate the
efforts of the Church towards good governance for development to strive.
• Find below some notable ones among others:
• Christian Hope International UK.
• Christian Aid, UK.
• World Council of Churches, Switzerland
• Christian Children Fund USA
• World Vision
• Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN)
These are few among so many others working to ensure that the resources
generated by government institutions are utilized to better its citizens.
• The Church need to develop strategic action plan, so to engage the youth through faith based approach that is what I call divine intimidation strategy.
• Explore multi-track system, research on existing governmental and non-governmental structures that relate with the youth and move towards them; thereby permeating and overtake them, such that will bring the necessary Godly changes by transformational positive actions.
• Suggest and pioneer Christening of overlapping services rendered to youth agencies, like NAPEP, NDE, MDG, PAP, NAPAD, Youth Ministry of Youth Development, State Youth Clubs and association.
• Conduct analysis using instruments like SWOT, SMART and PEST to
streamline entry point.
• Balance, leverage and reinforce these structures.
I believe that civic education should facilitate the citizenry to a more meaningful and effective participation in social, economic, political and development decisions in their communities and the country at large from informed point. It also highlights the roles and responsibilities of citizens, government, political and social interests, the mass media, the private sector, and civil society which includes faith based organizations.
Thank you for listening.
• Peace Democracy and Development by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung 2000.
• Commonwealth Foundation report from the West Africa Consultation, Banjul The Gambia, 26-29, 2003
• Interfaith Guide for Good Governance Training Manual, by Interfaith Mediation Centre, Kaduna – 2004
• As a peace loving global citizen, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, 2010.