The President of Nigerian Baptist Convention Rev. Dr Israel Akanji, has advised members of the church to join politics ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Akanji stated this at a press conference to announce the forthcoming 109th Annual Session of the Nigerian Baptist Convention Tuesday, in Lagos.
The theme of the convention is “Entering into Newness with Praise and Thanksgiving (Ps. 100:4)” and will be hosted by the Oyo Baptist Conference.
Akanji said that members were not only being encouraged to go and vote but to go and be voted for.
“We have been encouraging our members to participate in politics.
“In those days, we all know that the church was shy of not just publicity but from politics. They used to say politics is a dirty game, therefore, do not go into it and for many years many kept out of politics.
“But we have discovered that there is no way you can bring a change if you are not part of the system.
“Our rhetorics have changed about politics. When we see somebody going into politics now, we encourage and pray for the person.
“We encourage our people to also get registered, have their voter cards, so that they can vote. We have come to that level in this country,” he said.
Akanji noted that members with political ambitions would be blessed, irrespective of their political affiliations during the convention.
“During our convention, a time will come when we will call all the people who have political ambition and we will pray for them.
“Whichever party you belong to, we don’t care which party, if you just know that God is calling you to help salvage this nation, come out.
“These are some practical ways and we will pray for them and we encourage our people to go and vote and encourage our people to serve as politicians.
“We have changed the language, we don’t speak negatively to them, we encourage them.
“Even though we don’t encourage them to go and sin, or do what is bad or join the corruption that is going on, yet we encourage them to go and participate.
“As at 1976, the President of the Baptist Convention in Liberia, William Tolbert, became the president of the country; in other words, a pastor became the president of Liberia.
“Even if there are pastors that are called upon to go into public life, into politics, we will pray for them and encourage them to go.
“We will not encourage them to continue preaching fully at that time, so that they will not humanly begin to preach their own political party.
“Martin Luther King Jr. was a Baptist pastor, his father was also a Baptist pastor.
“Baptist people especially, we are not supposed to be backward when it comes to politics and ensuring freedom for people,” he said.
Speaking on the convention, Akanji said that the programne would be attended by members of the Baptist family from all over Nigeria, Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, and other parts of the world.
The clergyman said that the convention was being conducted to fellowship with God and with one another through worship and interactions, for spiritual renewal and recommitment as well as reporting of stewardship.
”One major reason for our annual convention is to call upon God in prayer. The Bible says: ‘Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain’ (Ps. 127:1).
“We believe that we need to pray for our country and our world generally.
“For our country, we need to pray specifically in the following areas, security situation of the country, economic development and growth, 2023 election and current state of university education in our country.
“We are constantly told that so much is being done on security, but the effect is definitely insufficient. Political will appears to be weak. We cannot but look up to God in prayer.
“We expect the Federal Government and ASUU, NASU and SSANU to quickly and respectfully resolve the ongoing crisis and come to agreement.
“It is expected that government would fulfil promises made, but where it is unable to do so, to employ respectable means of renegotiation, so that our children will not continue to linger and suffer at home.”
On the 2023 election, he said the church would be praying for God to choose for the country leaders after His heart at all levels of governance.
“We shall also be praying against the neglect of current important national issues by people in government in the bid to hold to power.
“Too many current concerns are suffering as people who are supposed to act have their eyes glued on 2023,” he said.
Akanji appealed to the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, to reopen Oyun Baptist Secondary School, Ijagbo, which was shut down over hijab controversy
He said this was to allow students to continue with their education and particularly for the final year students so that they could write their WAEC.
Rev. Akanji announced that the convention would hold at the Baptist International Conference Centre (BICC), Lufuwape Town, Kilometer 53, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, from April 23 to April 28, 2022.
Thugs disrupt factional SDP meeting in Kwara State
Political thugs on Wednesday disrupted a news conference of a faction of the Social Democratic Party in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The thugs invaded Labour House, beside Kwara State High Court complex, where members were addressing newsmen.
The thugs, numbering about 20, forced their way into the Labour House owned by the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress and descended heavily on the conveners of the meeting.
A factional Chairman of the SDP in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state, James Olajide, was assaulted, leaving him with torn cloth and dragged on the bare floor by the thugs.
The invading thugs accused the local government chairman of taking money from the state Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, to foment trouble in the SDP.
“Baba Ifelodun, you took money from AA to disrupt our party,” one of the thugs said.
The thugs also beat and drove away an elderly man, who was walking with the aid of a walking stick.
NAN reports that the Publicity Secretary of a faction of the SDP, Kareem Akanbi, had on Tuesday announced the suspension of eight members from the party.
The conveners of the Wednesday meeting were some of the people that were suspended for alleged anti-party activities.
Before the disruption of the news conference, the factional Chairman of the SDP (original), Ibrahim Yahaya, had alleged plans by some former members of the All Progressives Congress to hijack it from the pioneer executive of the party.
Yahaya said: “It is no longer news that a faction of the All Progressives Congress in Kwara State (APC Loyal) formally applied to join our party, the SDP, vide a letter to SDP National Secretariat dated March 9, 2022, by a reply letter dated 11th March 2022.
“The National Secretariat of SDP acknowledged the APC Loyal letter and their intention to join the SDP in Kwara State with a promise to work on a harmonisation arrangement on how their interests will be accommodated.
“The original SDP members in Kwara under my leadership were waiting for further directives from National Secretariat.
“But we were shocked to hear about a purported State congress of Kwara SDP held on April 26, 2022, which was stage-managed by the Kwara APC Loyal group in collaboration with some officials of SDP National Secretariat.
“The sole aim of the kangaroo state congress election of SDP on April 26, 2022, was to hijack the party from the original members of the party who had worked tirelessly to bring the party to its enviable position in Kwara.
“The said congress was held in contravention to the SDP constitution. Also, the original members of Kwara SDP were denied participation in the said congress contrary to the relevant provisions of the Electoral Act 2022.
“I wish to inform this august gathering that we have protested the said purported state congress of Kwara SDP held on April 26, 2022, at the Kwara APC Loyal Secretariat to the National Secretariat of the party.
“Also, we have instructed our team of lawyers, who have since swung into action to challenge in court the legality of the purported state congress of the Kwara SDP held on April 26, 2022.”
APC primaries: I have reserved hotels with food for over 7,000 delegates — Osinbajo
The Prof. Yemi Osinbajo Campaign Organisation on Wednesday said that it would provide hotel accommodation for more than 7,000 All Progressives Congress delegates across the country during the party’s presidential primary election.
Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari, Office of the Vice-President, disclosed this.
Ojudu announced this to delegates in Minna, while wooing them to vote for Osinbajo during the party’s primaries.
He said: “Before you leave Minna to the national delegates conference, your hotel accommodations and other things will be provided for you to enable you to feel at home through out the delegates conference.
“We have provided hotel accommodations for the more than 7,000 APC delegates to the presidential primary election.
“We don’t want a situation where more than one person will stay in a room.
“We want all of you to feel comfortable during the primary election.”
Ojudu said that there would be vehicles to convey the delegates to and fro the venue from their hotels and also a desk officer in each hotel to attend to the needs of the delegates.
“At the hotel, food will be provided and there will be a desk officer to attend to all your needs,” he said.
Ojudu said that the campaign organisation would do everything possible to reward the delegates if Osinbajo is elected as the party’s candidate and by the grace of God emerges the president in the 2023 general election.
He said: “In the past our delegates have not been rewarded.
“Rather other people who did not contribute were rewarded with appointments and jobs.
“If Osinbajo is elected as promised, we are going to reward all of you with jobs and appointments.”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that while Ojudu was briefing the delegates and newsmen, Osinbajo was having a closed door meeting with the state Governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello.
NAN also reports that after the meeting with Bello, Osinbajo met the delegates in a closed door before leaving Minna.