8 Min Read

Oh to be Governed…

Published on

September 30, 2022

As 2023 draws closer, a topic that remains in a significant number of conversations within Nigeria is the subject of Nigeria’s governance and the upcoming elections. Different stories (both fact and fictitious), analogies, and other means have been used to strengthen (or weaken) the position of one candidate or the other along several traits required for leadership.

Arguably, the most prominent traits discussed include the purity of their passion for Nigeria/Nigerians and their ability (i.e. skill, network, etc.) to lead based on precedents (and allied matters). This prominence is likely because these two essential traits remain the primary traits required for good leadership at any level and are even Biblically recommended, as was exemplified by one of the greatest kings of Israel, King David; integrity of heart and skillfulness of hands (Psalm 78:72).

Juxtaposing Nigeria’s growth over the last couple of years with that of her African and Global peers, the impact of leadership within a region cannot be over-emphasized. I believe it is one that we all acknowledge — at the very least, at a subconscious level.

More often than not, the governance of a region overrides the wills of the people within the said region with its laws and policies, which take effect and are to be adhered to — even with “democratic governments” as there are always opposing parties. The impact of spoken and unspoken laws and policies (or the lack thereof) superimposes on the people within that region regardless of personal opinions on the matter.

The only way to “be free” of these laws would be to leave the region to another. So much so that there have been jokes and allusions to an expected and astronomical increase in the rate of “JAPA” and “SAPA” should specific candidates win elections to lead the country.

These estimations reflect the people’s trust or perception of the leadership’s heart towards the people and the leadership’s ability to provide enabling environments for the people to thrive (the integrity of heart & skillfulness of hands). The supposed “JAPA-rians” would be rejecting the governance of Nigeria over their lives, along with a significant portion of its direct impact, and relocating to a region with a system of government where “their needs would be met”.

Essentially, it is removing one’s neck from (or rejecting) one yoke of governance and placing it under another owing to the perceived demands and benefits of both. While I am no political analyst, neither am I here to encourage you to get your PVC and vote (even though you should 😅); like the parables Jesus told, we can use these events to paint some spiritual truths. And my painting begins with a simple question,

Do You Trust The Government of God Over Your Life?

In other words, do you trust God’s heart towards you and His ability and skill to rightly govern and direct your life?

It’s a simple question that remains one of the landmark arguments for the estimation of God’s person, i.e. if God is all-powerful, He can’t be all-good and vice versa. This debate is perhaps one of the fundamental reasons why Christians every now and then “JAPA” from or act in opposition to His governance, deviating from His will and purpose, engaging in shoddy (and sometimes evil) acts in other to “meet their needs”.

These deviations stem from a lack of knowledge, understanding, and acknowledgment (cause beyond head knowledge, you have to accept the knowledge in your heart) of two primary things — God’s heart towards you and God’s ability towards you, i.e. the integrity of His heart and the skillfulness of His hands.

The disobedience in the Garden of Eden alludes to the same — Adam and Eve lost trust in God’s heart towards them. While God had instructed them not to eat of the tree of the “Knowledge of Good and Evil”, the devil made a statement that alluded to one of two things. By giving that instruction, it was either God did not want Adam and Eve to be like Him, God did not want them to be wise, OR God wanted them to be wise but didn’t know that eating the fruit was the “better route” to being wise.

Almost every shortcoming can be traced to a gap in one’s knowledge and trust in God’s heart towards them and His ability/power towards them, so seek other means (outside of His Lordship) to “provide for themselves”. The impact of this knowledge and trust is perhaps why the knowledge of God is one of the most important things, why it’s the primary thing we ought to boast in (Jer 9:24), and why they that know their God shall be strong (Dan 11:32), why Jesus came (John 17:3), and many others.

In light of this, as we start the week, I will leave you scriptures to keep you in remembrance of God’s love for you and His power towards you, and I ask that you bind them on your heart and tie them around your neck.

Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:32, Matthew 7:9–12, Romans 6:10–11, Ephesians 3:20–21, and 2 Corinthians 9:8.

Finally, brethren, I understand that SAPA can be very real on this side of the divide, and as such, I am led to remind you of two things. Firstly, there is no middle ground. Just like one who JAPA’s from Nigeria inadvertently comes under the governance of another region, one who leaves the Government of Christ is likely being carried to “where e no know”.

Secondly, it may be tempting to get the sense that God is God and cannot relate to your struggles (which are very real). Under His Government, we lean not on our own understanding; we have a High Priest who can sympathize. He’s felt what you feel. He understands!

In all things, be anxious for nothing, but make your requests known to God, and he who gives bread to the eater and seed to the sower will supply and increase your store and enlarge your harvest. But before (or in addition to) this, He will guard your hearts and minds to remain trusting in His Love for you and power towards you.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” — Phil 4:6–7

Do have a splendid week!

Itoro Nehemiah


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