By Ebele Orakpo
Dr John Emilimor is a Dental Surgeon and a Pastor. He left medical practice years ago to go into full-time ministry. In this chat, he speaks on what bedevilled Nigeria and why obviously prayers are not being answered and the type of prayers we need. Excerpts:
History of Nigeria
If you look at the history of Nigeria, as far back as pre-colonial days, one of the primary blessings the gospel brought was the stopping of the killing of twins by Mary Slessor. I can imagine how our primitive would have continued into the massacre of twins. We were told that for every twin born, three lives were wasted – the twins and the mother. So this gospel, which is the light of the world and the salt of the earth, is a global phenomenon. It is very sad that people have turned it to a religious package. It is not about bringing your money for me to build church or buy private jet, it is about liberating people from bondage and that is the premise on which I will address the issue of the nation called Nigeria.
Programmed to fail
There are basic things from the foundation of this country that makes me categorically say that prayer cannot change it. Every house stands on the type of foundation it is put upon so when the tests and trials come, they come to test not the type of building but the foundation.
Now, to the foundation of Nigeria; the little history I know said Nigeria came into existence in 1914 when they amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorates for ease of administration. There was no record of them consulting the people because they were slaves, masters don’t consult slaves before they rename them.
When Daniel and his people got to Babylon, they gave them Babylonish names. It’s no wonder today that many Nigerians bear English names, we are reflecting colonialism, so the smear is still on us.
So they brought the protectorates together for ease of administration, so if it was founded so that the colonial masters can find it more convenient and easier to administer colonial superiority and agenda, that was the reason. If you look at the history of nations and how people are captured and how captivity is perpetuated, you will understand that this foundation is designed to produce what it is producing now. I will give you some examples: When territories are captured, in order to make sure that those people are never able to rebel again, what they do is put people of different cultures, religions and philosophies together, knowing they will never agree and if you put them together and put a government over them, it will be difficult for them to rebel. There was a problem in Ekiti State, the House of Assembly was divided and they wrote a protest letter to the UK asking them to intervene, crying again to the colonial master! Every sector agitating for freedom, sends their protest letter to our colonial master before going to the UN.
UK keeping a grip on Nigeria
If you notice, for the over six months that President Buhari was in the UK hospital, they cooperated to make sure they cover many things so that the hold of the north on the entire Nigeria will remain intact. I listened to the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu and some of the comments he made, even with the EU, was not reported by the British media. It’s all about what to do to keep not just loyalty but the grip of the UK on this nation and that is sweet because there is one thing that drives the political front – whether from the North or South, the colonial master created something we call the national cake which belongs to no man and because of that, any person who has access to it has one agenda: ‘Let me cut as much as I can because I don’t know when next I can access it.
Any system built upon that type of structure that nobody has a deep sense of belonging or patriotism to say ‘this is our own,’ is not going to last. Give the East the opportunity to be president, they are coming not as Nigerians but as Igbos, to grab what they can grab. Tinubu and co are romancing the North so they can be given a chance to cut their own share of the national cake. There is no person that you will put there that is not sectional in thinking because the country called Nigeria belongs to no man. It is a British arrangement so those praying must first of all ask what they are praying about. It is impossible for the North and South to have anything in common; they are not the same in religion, culture or philosophy. Actually, in the Bible, nations are classified by tongues and tribes so practically, they forced about four nations into one knowing that the primary loyalty of every person is to their tribe. Nothing unifies as language. When God sought to divide the people that ganged up against Him, He split their language. These are naturally programmed laws, it cannot be different in Nigeria’s case.
Praying for Nigeria
Nigeria was programmed to be like this because its foundation is to perpetuate slavery. Now, I challenge fellow Christians to consider the fact that they have been praying for Nigeria for over 40 years and cannot confidently tell me that God has been answering. Everybody I have asked has come to humbly admit that if we are looking at the God of the Bible and the way He operates, there is enough reason to believe He has not answered our prayers and if He has not, why don’t we do like the Bible Christians in Isaiah 58? They prayed and prayed and at a point, they had to pause and ask themselves: “Why have we fasted and prayed and God did not pay attention?” And God told them why.
But the history of Nigerian Christianity and the so-called Prayer movement is opposite. Rather than the leaders taking time to take stock and ask why God has not answered; they would increase the intensity of the prayers, add more days of fasting, ask people to give more money as if God is so hungry and that is why He is not answering. They go from three, to seven days; some churches do 100 days fasting, it is ridiculous!
Spirit of religion
When things become so ritualistic and monotonous, people begin to be pretentious and hypocritical about it so people pretend to be fasting. That is the consequence of advancing religion upon people’s lives. They get to a point and they just say ‘look, we have to remove this mask. and see who is behind it. You can fool them sometimes but not all the time and because people have this sense of commitment to the system called church, they don’t feel they should go back to idolatory. Once you begin to cannonise what God has liberated and make doctrines that curtail people’s freedom to think and to access God in his unlimited dimension; you create some myths that make people think that if they go too far, God might feel threatened or upset so there are some questions they bottle up and are afraid to ask.
Prayer won’t build a nation
I hear people talk about unity, oneness, prosperity and peace. We are getting worse in these areas. Someone said if we have not been praying, it would have been worse; that is a religious spirit, it’s an insult to the God of heaven. If this is answer to prayer, we should humble ourselves and go and ask the Dubai people which God they pray to. Dubai was a desert in 1973 and the same proceeds of oil turned them to a paradise on earth, so we are not talking about religion. Dubai is a moslem set up. Prayer will not build a nation. If we deploy all the energy we put into prayer in Nigeria to productive living, just follow the simple laws of nature, sow and reap, that has nothing to do with religion. If an idol worshipper puts a seed of corn in the ground and follow the simple laws of agriculture, it will germinate and produce without prayer. But if a prayer warrior puts that seed on a ceiling fan, it will dry because he has refused to follow the simple laws of nature. Every system has laws that govern it. If you carry a bird in the air and put in the river, that is suicide.
Somebody said there are nations with different languages; yes, but they were not put together by a stranger. Those standing is because there was a referendum and terms on which they would co-exist were agreed upon. That is called a confederation. The US is built on that, also the UK.
The colonial masters left a little loophole, they said if after 100 years and this arrangement did not work, we can go our separate ways. USSR has split to about eight nations.
Obasanjo is frustrated that a Fulani man is building Fulani empire. Nigeria is designed to operate like that. Ojukwu and his people felt that if they could not have a sense of belonging in Nigeria, they would go. We must get back to that.
What I am advocating
I am advocating what is natural. I was challenging a Yoruba lady who said Yorubas are the most detribaslised. I said to her: “Remember, when the chips were down, the Oba of Lagos threatened that Igbos would be thrown into the lagoon if they voted against his candidate. She is first of all a Yoruba woman before being a Nigerian. What was your nationality in 1913? There was no Nigeria then. If you have US citizenship, once they hear your accent, they will say: “Where are you from originally?” You hear: ‘I’m from Mexico, South Africa or Nigeria originally.’ That is it! We should be able to say: “I am a Yoruba Nigerian, Igbo Nigerian etc.
But we don’t have a final stake in this strange nation put together by strangers.
Strangers put it together and named it in their own interest not in the interest of the federating units.