Emmanuel: Nigerians need shepherd-heart leaders

Dr. Olufemi Emmanuel is the Founder of Christ’s Fragrance Church Inc. and the Dean of West Africa Theological Seminary, Lagos. He speaks exclusively on the state of the nation and the persecution going on in the North among other issues in this interview with TAI ANYANWU


Has God revealed anything to you regarding 2022?


Well, I am still praying that God should reveal His mind for 2022. I would not say exactly that this is what God is saying as I am not yet able to place my finger on anything. But I am sensing that in God’s calendar what has been in motion since may not terminate by 00:59 pm December 31, 2021.


President Muhammadu Buhari has been criticized for his frequent trips abroad while the nation boils. What is your comment?

What do you expect of a worldly African leader? That attitude is not peculiar to PMB. Even our so-called church leaders behave like that. They are not good shepherds but hirelings who take care of themselves to the detriment of the sheep. Nigerians need shepherd- heart leaders who will feel their pains and pay the selfless price for their well-being.


What’s your take on the bleeding of the North and the persecution of Christians?


Unfortunately, such is happening in an already traumatised country like Nigeria. This is a nation that has not enjoyed anything politically or economically. As if that is not enough, the socio-religious problem in the North has made things worse.


How do you see the quit notice given to churches in Zamfara by bandits?


Nigeria is bedeviled with diverse criminals and disgruntled elements. In the North are those who have the anti-Christian agenda; those are derivatives of Boko Haram terrorists and the so-called proponents of Islamic States of West Africa Province (ISWAP). If they are allowed in any region, they would naturally not give breathing space to Christians in such areas. Everybody knows that those bandits that gave quit notices to churches in Zamfara have


serious backings from highly placed personalities. One of them has been doing some image laundry work for the bandits in recent times.


Painfully, the highest response of the ruling class is to keep silent or pay lip service. But my word for Christians in those areas is to remain strong in their faith in Christ and practice simple Christ-like and uncompromising life.


They should remember that there are Christians in unfriendly places like China, North Korea, and the Arab world.


What should Christians be doing at this time while awaiting the second coming?

Christians should rid themselves of worldliness. If they are truly waiting for the second coming of Christ, they should remain focused and prepare for His arrival. It is unfortunate to observe that many in the Church of Christ seem to have slept and are even snoring like the five foolish virgins. Many are bogged down with materialism and lust for worldly pleasure. That is not how to wait for Christ’s coming.


The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has been making calls for a Christian President while kicking against Muslim/Muslim  tickets. Do you agree or disagree with their stance and do you think this will bring the needed change Nigerians are yearning for?


The Bible says when the righteous rules, the people rejoice. But I do not see that scripture as saying the Christian person must be President or governor. We have had two self-acclaimed Christians as Presidents in this political dispensation, and what did they do differently?


The call of PFN is in order because it indicates fairness and justice. But it does not necessarily guarantee good governance.


The Nigerian Church has not deliberately invested in ensuring good governance in the nation. What do I mean? There has not been much uprising of genuinely Christian men and women who will go and make positive changes in government.


The Nigerian Church has not demonstrated financially transparent and morally honest leadership that the political class could emulate. The Christian institutions are seriously overwhelmed by dirty politics and all sorts of things that make caricatures of Christianity among unbelievers.


These are the things CAN and PFN should first address before they make demands. They should not expect to reap where they have not down.




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