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Bishop Emmah Isong and the terrain of political prophecy

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Bishop Emmah Isong and the terrain of political prophecy

From time, men of God around the world, have played significant roles in strengthening democracies and other forms of government. It was so in Bible days, as prophets constituted a very strong factor in governance. They may not have been involved directly in the running of government, but were well connected to God, who always sent them to relay His mind to kings on various issues.

In 2 Kings 1, God sent the prophet Elijah to tell King Ahaziah that he was going to die for sending his subjects to make inquiries of Baalzebub, the god of Ekron. The prophet delivered the message after some difficulty. There was no argument or delay. The king died. Earlier, the same Elijah of Tishbite told another king, Ahab, in what resembled a show of power: “As the Lord God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall be no dew or rain these years, but according to my word.” Rain did not fall for three and half years. In another instance, the prophet Samuel anointed and inaugurated Saul, as the first king of Israel and also removed him from the throne after he disobeyed some clear instruction.

Samuel also performed the inauguration of King David, Saul’s successor. When King David committed adultery with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, God sent Prophet Nathan to rebuke him. In those days, God’s servants spoke to presidents with great authority, telling them what would happen or not happen if they did or failed to do something. In Nigeria, men of God are not directly involved in the selection, or inauguration of rulers as Samuel was. But they are always invited to witness inauguration, advice and pray for new government and the land.

The nation is also blessed with quite a number of top men of God that show profound concern for her socio-political and economic well-being by making spiritual and other inputs like advice to political leaders and scheduling of prayer sessions for the nation. A few of them, like Pastor Enoch Adeboye of Redeemed Christian Church of God, Bishop David Oyedepo of Living Faith Church, aka Winners Chapel, in Lagos; Father Mbaka of the Roman Catholic Church, Enugu and Bishop Emmah Isong of Christian Central Chapel International in Calabar, make yearly prophecies about the nation. However, this discourse will be limited to Bishop Isong’s prophetic voice in the nation’s political landscape.

A widely traveled bible teacher and evangelist, Isong has for many years now been prophesying about the nation and the global community in his church’s yearly crossover service every first day of January. His prophecies come true to the amazement of many. The past few days seem to have witnessed the fulfilment of what he prophesied about Nigeria’s ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), in January 2015. “I saw the broom turn into two.

One of the bundles fitly tied, very healthy and together, but the other bundle is divided, saggy, the robe loosed and scattered and no longer holding together. “This was prophecy number 49 of that year. Three years after – January 1, this year, he prophesied again about the party but the prophecy appeared like an interpretation of the earlier vision. Isong said, “APC as a ruling party shall go through a major realignment in order to be able to face a very herculean task ahead of them or else the party will be at the brink of exactly what PDP themselves faced. And if they don’t pray they may likely face what PDP is facing this year. But if they pray, God is going to have mercy on them as a party.”

This was prophecy number 49 for the year. What Bishop Isong meant in his prophecy 49 of 2015 was that a big crisis would hit, rock and split the APC. The party in the week, split into two factions and the new group christened itself, Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), to properly differentiate from the mainstream APC. To show that the members are not ready to reconcile with the mainstream APC, which is led by former Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole, the group joined forces with 38 other parties including the country’s main opposition PDP and Social Democratic Party (SDP), and signed a Memorandum of Understanding to field a single candidate to contest for power with APC and President Buhari in 2019.

“We have to break up because there is no longer justice, fairness and transparency in the party. State governors are being given much power to do and undo within the party. They have made the APC unpopular in their states”, said Nasiru Darazo, a chieftain of R-APC in Bauchi, during an interview with a New Telegraph reporter. Akin Onigbinde, a former speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, who is now eyeing the Government House also said of the APC crisis:

“APC is like a bus filled with people go-ing to different destinations; some are gentlemen, some are rogues, some are violent and all of them are encapsulated in one vehicle. Some have put engine oil inside the tank, some have put water and some are stealing tyres. That is a political party that cannot organise itself, a man cannot give what he does not have.” This description of the ruling party, perhaps, fits into the second bundle of the split broom that Isong said was loosed and saggy. Fortunately, the bishop said there was hope for the APC, but prayer was needed for the hope to come alive. But can the APC really pray? Isong’s prophecy number 32 of 2018, which said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo would return to PDP, also appears to be fast fulfilling. “PDP is still refusing to give out the seat of OBJ.

They are still keeping it for him, though the General is still stubborn, at the end he will be tempted to accept the offer,” he had said. The former president, who was once the party leader, had out of anger over the state of affairs in the party, not only announced his leaving the fold but also publicly tore his party membership card. But last Monday, Obasanjo was reported to have rode in a convoy of cars to the rally of Oladipupo Adebutu, a PDP governorship aspirant that was held on Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library grounds. Reports said there was wild jubilation as the former president alighted from his vehicles at the venue.

The visit, though brief, is believed by many to have spoken volumes on the mind of Obasanjo towards PDP. About a month ago, Bishop Isong’s prophecy of 2016 that federal government would soon shift the celebration of Democracy Day from May 29 to June 12 of every year in recognition of the June 12, 1993, annulled presidential election in the country as well as honour winner of the said election fulfilled when President Buhari announced that Democracy Day in the country would be marked on June 12. He also honoured the late M.K.O Abiola, the purported winner of the election posthumously with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (GCFR), the higher honour in the land. Isong had also said in January that 2018 would be a year of correction of wrongs done.

The bishop prophesied about the nation’s sports outing in 2018, saying Nigeria was going to shine in its sporting events but called for prayers against early defeat of national team Super Eagles during World Cup Tournament in Russia. Nigeria left the tournament after being defeated by Argentina in her third encounter.

It will be recalled that Isong warned then governors from the south-south zone – the quartet of Peter Odili, Rivers; Victor Attah, Akwa Ibom; Donald Duke, Cross River, to drop their dreams of succeeding Obasanjo. Obasanjo had said governors should choose among themselves, particularly the south-south, someone that he would hand over power to. But Isong prophesied that Obasanjo’s successor would come from the core north. He said: “I saw a man, dark in complexion, dressed in agbada ascend the throne.” He said the man did not only join the presidential race late but was also a reluctant contestant. He was criticised by some for handing down negative prophecy that discouraged Niger Delta. But those who understood prophecy by its nature urged him to insist on what God told him. Many months after Isong had rolled on that prophecy, late former President Musa Yar’Adua, emerged on the scene. He fit into the description of the man Isong saw. Political prophecies are no common terrain, but their fulfilment calls for honour for the vessel God used.

 

●Akpaekong is a pastor and social commentator

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