Nov 27, 2009

A secretary of a Baptist Conference Says he Never voted Chris Okotie

The body of the Baptist Church in Nigeria is referred to as the Baptist Convention. The Nigerian Baptist Convention which is headed by a General Secretary is fragmented into regional conferences which are headed by secretaries. Reverend Philip Mwelwis Dafes is the Secretary of the Plateau Baptist Conference that has Plateau and parts of Kaduna and Bauchi States under it. Following the re-election of the German Chancellor, Angela Markel under the Christian party in Germany for a second tenure, we approached Reverend Dafes and asked what role the church has played in Nigerian politics and what it still can do.
In his appraisal of the Nigerian democracy since 1999, Dafes said his perception is mixed. The shortcomings of the democracy according to him, is accentuated by political indiscipline that has resulted in Nigeria being placed as the number 137th most corrupt nation out just over 180 countries of the world. Dafes said the root of the problem is in the inability of the nation to evolve into a true democracy where actual winners of elections are announced as the winners rather than the current situation that ensures that losers are actually announced as victorious. Such leaders cannot be held to account by the people since at the back of their minds, they know they were not elected.
Religion is what people believe in and if Pastor Chris Okotie wanted to become president then he ought to have the backing of other Christians since they have the same belief. Contrary to this, Dafes said he never voted Chris Okotie. According to him, he never met Okotie in person and does not know his manifestos. Furthermore, should Okotie win, he will be compelled to have some cabinet members from the secular world of Nigerian politics that will inevitably stain him as a clergy man. The history of clergy men in Nigeria politics has been a source of embarrassment to the rest of them as such politicians failed to live up to their calling as men of God.
Dafes said that not all Christian politicians are truly committed Christians. It is the reason why it is difficult to change them. According to him one of them once said that the church should not mingle into their affairs because the type of oath they take is far different from the type of oath usually taken in the church.
Dafes also explained that it will be disastrous to find a political party on the basis of religion like the Christian Party in Germany because our level of political development is so modest that it will be better for us to just sustain the status quo. Such parties will not find acceptance. Though political parties are not founded on the basis of religion, he says however, some parties are perceived as Christian parties while others are perceived as Islamic parties with the different faiths voting largely along this line. To stress his point, he added that a presidential aspirant once pronounced that all Muslims should vote Muslims and all Christians should vote Christians. He said that until we pull ourselves out of this predicament, we will continue to experience the current political difficulties. The Christians he says cannot separate themselves from the Muslims and vice versa as God knows why he brought us together as the people of one nation.

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