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Do Tinubu and Shettima Present an Existential Threat to Christians? By Femi Fani-Kayode

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“For us Christians in the North, the Muslim-Muslim ticket is existential. It is designed to oppress, kill and eliminate us from the political and economic system”- Dr. Babachir Lawal, former Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

I am very fond of Dr. Babachir Lawal and I have great respect and affection for him but I beg to differ with him on this issue.

What he has said is simply not true and those that espouse and share the views that he has expressed are playing a dangerous and divisive game.

Unlike him I do not see a Muslim/Muslim ticket but rather a Tinubu/Shettima ticket.

They are both human beings and Nigerians before being Muslims. We should at least accord them that consideration and respect.

I believe that one of the most mischevous, cruel, illogical and uncharitable things we can do is to measure a man’s worth by his religious faith alone and refuse to see anything in him other than that.

Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Senator Kashim Shettima, his running mate, may be Muslims but their faith does not define them.

What defines them is their character, vision and ability to perform well in office and their commitment to a united, peaceful, fair, just, equitable and prosperous Nigeria.

Another thing that defines them, though to a lesser extent, is their ethnic nationality and where they come from in the country.

In this case one is a Yoruba (from the South Western zone) whilst the other is a Kanuri (from the North Eastern zone), both proud and noble ethnic groups with a rich, civilised and ancient cultural and historical heritage and empire which ģo back thousands of years and neither of which was EVER conquered, subjugated or occupied by any other African ethnic nationality or power in their entire history.

These are the things that are relevant and that define each of these two men and not their faith.

In any case how can conceeding the position of the Vice President which, with all due respect has limited powers, to a Muslim constitute a threat to our great and mighty Christian faith and how can it overwhelm the wishes and aspirations of the 110 million Christians in our country?

This seems to me to be far-fetched and absurd.

It is true that for many years the practice has been to balance the ticket and pair Christians and Muslims when it comes to leadership positions and governance in this country in order to make adherents of both faiths feel secure.

Yet other than the comforting optics one wonders just how much security such an arrangement really afforded adherents of both faiths?

Did it stop Boko Haram and ISWAP from killing both Christians and Muslims respectively?

Did it stop Christian mobs and militias in the North killing Muslims over the years?

Did it stop Muslim mobs and militias slaughtering Christians in the North?

Did it stop Christian secessionist, in the guise of unknown gunmen, targeting and murdering both Christians and Muslims in the East?

Did it save the life of the young lady Deborah in Sokoto when she was hacked to pieces and burnt alive or that of the young man Gideon Akaluka when he was beheaded in Kano?

We have tried this balancing formula for many years and it really does not seem to have provided the intended results or worked too well.

Consider the plight of Northern Christians over the last 22 years even though we have had two Christian Presidents over that period of time and a Christian Vice President who happens to be a Pastor over the last 7.

Again consider the plight of Muslims in the core North and the Middle Belt over the same period of time even though we have had two Muslim Presidents and two Muslim Vice Presidents.

When barbaric acts and unspeakable atrocities are committed against defenceless civilian populations, including women and children and when people are targeted for their faith or ethnicity without consequence, surely it is a failure of leadership and nothing to do with the religious faith of the President or his Vice.

Given that, perhaps it is time to try something new and provide a more innovative approach. Perhaps it is time for us to start focusing on factors other than faith when it comes to electing our leaders.

Besides which, from an intellectual perspective, when it comes to matters of leadership and national issues and practices nothing is cast in iron and nothing is static: we are meant to evolve.

Leaders ought to be elected on the basis of their quality and competence coupled with their ability to attract and deliver as many votes as possible and not their faith.

Anything less than that is an emotional rather than a rational approach.

Today we have a Muslim/Muslim ticket vying for power at the center and tomorrow, by God’s grace, we shall have a Christian/Christian one.

That is progress and let me remind the skeptics that this has just been achieved in Osun state, where a Christian/Christian ticket won the Governorship election and it happened in Kaduna state a few years ago when a Muslim/Muslim ticket did the same.

In either case the Heavens did not fall.

Thankfully there are Christians all over this country from both the North and the South who are in the APC and who do not share Lawal’s view.

There are also millions of Christians who are not affiliated to any political party all over the country that disagree with him.

The truth is that it would serve our interests better as Christians to negotiate for and insist on key positions in the incoming Government of Bola Tinubu for members of our faith in return for our votes rather than continuously whining and lamenting, threatening fire and thunder, labelling him as an anti-Christ, indulging in mass hysteria, delusion and fear-mongering and acting as if Christianity would face an existential threat under his watch.

Can a deal really be negotiated and cut? Is this doable?

In my view it most certainly is and this is the time to start such talks and open such discussions and negotiations rather than playing to the public gallery and grandstanding.

Those that doubt that this can be achieved should consider the innovative and unique power-sharing arrangement between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon and read up on what is known as the ‘Lebanese formula’.

After their prolonged and horrendous civil war which raged through the 1970’s, 1980’s and 1990’s this negotiated formula and settlement, which was enshrined in their constitution, brought relative peace to that hitherto beleaguered nation.

For the record, no-one can undermine or eliminate Christianity in Nigeria even if they wanted to do so and neither is anyone trying.

Our faith teaches us that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church” so why panic?

It teaches us that “God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and sound mind”, so why the fear?

It teaches us that “Christ in us our hope in glory”, so why worry?

It teaches us that “the battle belongs to the Lord” and that “all things work for good for those who love Him”, so why the doubt?

It teaches us that “the righteous shall live by faith”, so why the lack of faith?

We are too big and too strong to harbour such fears and our God is too mighty.

Bola Tinubu’s incoming Government will be one of the most liberal, rational, reasonable, compassionate, caring, progressive and Christian-friendly administrations in the history of our country and we have absolutely nothing to fear.

I can vouch for that and I am prepared to stick my neck out for it.

If it had been otherwise I would have been the one to lead the charge against him and neither would I hold anything back because my faith is everything to me.

In addition to this consider the following.

For the last 62 years the people of the South West more than any other have stood by those that are known as the Northern minorities which include the Northern Christians.

It seems strange that when it is time for them to reciprocate that support, gesture and affection and stand with a son of the South West for the presidential election some of these people are opposing him on the grounds that he has chosen a Muslim as his running mate.

They have shouted about domination at the hands of the Fulani since time immemorial but today they are saying they would rather support yet another Fulani for President than a Yoruba.

Does this make sense? Is there not a contradiction there?

For the first time in the history of our country the key players and ruling party in the core North, including the Fulani, has not only agreed but insisted on conceding power to the South and it is a few Northern Christians that are now opposing this on religious grounds?

Is it because Tinubu is a Muslim?

When some advocated for power shift to the South they never said it must shift to a Southern Christian and neither would that have made sense.

They said it must shift to the South, whether Christian or Muslim and that is the right and proper thing to do.

We must rise above these petty differences and attempt to unite our people rather than divide them.

A nation that has 20 Christian Governors and only 16 Muslim ones cannot be islamized and neither will it allow for the oppression, killing and elimination of Northern Christians from the political and economic system.

A country in which a Christian/Christian ticket just won a Gov. election in Osun state which is 50 % Muslim cannot be Islamized and neither will it allow for the oppression, killing and elimination of Northern Christians from the political and economic system.

A country in which every single Governor in the South, since the Osun election, is a Christian cannot be islamized and neither will it allow for the oppression, killing and elimination of Northern Christians from the political and economic system.

A country led by a man like BAT who, though a Muslim, has as many Christians as he does Muslims in his family, including his wife who is a Pastor in a Pentecostal Church cannot be Islamised and neither will it allow for the oppression, killing and elimination of Northern Christians from the political and economic system.

And as a matter of fact there is no historical record of Yoruba Muslims hiding in bushes and forests and killing Northern or Southern Christians, so why the fear and hate?

Why the attempt to generate panic and hysteria?

Why the suggestion that under BAT Christians are faced with an existential threat?

Why the misrepresentation of intention?

Why the demonisation?

Was it not BAT that gave Lagos state public schools back to the Christian Missions?

Was it not him that gave more land to some of the largest Pentecostal mega-Churches to build on than any other Governor in the history of Lagos?

Was it not him that ensured that the last two Governors of Lagos state were practicing Pentecostal Christians?

Was it not him that ensured that for the last two presidential elections a Pentecostal Christian Pastor from the South West that he nominated was elected as our Vice President?

I could go on and on.

We must rise above this faith-baiting and fear-mongering and instead seek to build bridges of unity, peace and harmony.

It is not about having a Christian or a Muslim leader, it is about having a righteous leader that will protect the interests of every Nigerian regardless of their faith.

A Tinubu/Shettima Presidency would do precisely that.

Of this I have no doubt.

God bless Nigeria.

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Opinion

Voice of Emancipation: Hiding in Plain Sight

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By Kayode Emola

What is happening to the Yoruba Nation Struggle? Is sovereignty still an attainable possibility? These questions and many more are on the lips of enthusiastic Yoruba begging for answers whilst awaiting the birth of their new nation. Rightly so, given that many of us in the trenches promised that there would be no 2023 election in Nigeria, as we would have already left the country. Alas, it is less than a month before the 2023 general election is scheduled; only a miracle will be able to thwart the election now.

How did we get it wrong? Why haven’t we got out of Nigeria by now? I don’t think this is the appropriate time to start apportioning blame. However, I do believe that if we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past, then we are bound to repeat them again and again. We must be mindful that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Therefore, those hell-bent on causing schisms amongst the advocates of independence are not only impairing their work, they risk jeopardising the entire struggle if care is not taken.

The solution to the Yoruba question is hiding in plain sight, yet it is so simple that only a few can decipher it or see how to implement it. Rather than focusing on the practical steps to get us out of Nigeria, some people are now being cajoled by meaningless slogans. Consider the claims of the Ominira Yoruba 2022 team, that if 5 million people signed a petition in support of independence, Yoruba would be able to exit Nigeria and nothing could stop it. The petition surpassed its five million target and yet nothing happened.

So Ominira Yoruba 2022 announced that they would make a declaration of independence and this would be the catalyst that would bring us our own nation. Yet no plan was put in place on how this was to be implemented aside from flippant announcements on Facebook and other social media outlets. When this failed to materialise Yoruba Nation, they then came out with Reclamation, and following its fruitlessness, then Occupation. The truth is that, no matter how catchy a slogan we produce, if we don’t have a concrete plan on how to get Yoruba out of Nigeria, we will continue on this trajectory of big grammar inside empty cannon.

The first step in achieving anything in life is to ask if anybody in the world has done the same thing already. If so, you can learn from them and apply their methods to your situation. If there are none, then by all means go ahead and invent the wheel, do some trial and error and work out a strategy to get you to the finish line. However, in this situation, there are many countries whose precedents we can learn from, including Norway/Sweden, South Sudan/Sudan, Czechoslovakia and finally, former Yugoslavia etc.

Whilst some of these countries exited peacefully, some had extremely violent departures. However, the key element was that they were determined to exercise their right to self-determination. The unifying feature that they all shared was that they all declared their independence from the larger, and dared to face the consequences. For some countries like South Sudan leaving Sudan it led to a long and bitter civil war; in contrast, when Norway left Sweden, the latter accepted the declaration of the former and they parted peacefully.

If the only option that allows for every indigenous nationality to exit Nigeria is through the declaration of independence, then the simplest and most logical route would have been to bring everyone together in consultation. In this scenario, any declaration of independence by one indigenous nation in Nigeria could be followed immediately by simultaneous declaration from other regions. This would dissuade the Nigerian government from attempting to take a stand against these nations or starting a war that they could not possibly sustain.

In light of this, what should we now do? We need to organise ourselves into formations, working towards the greater good. Those in the diplomatic circles need to intensify their diplomatic outreach to those countries around the world that will be sympathetic to indigenes’ independence. Whilst those in humanitarian circles need to embark on massive campaigns with humanitarian agencies, explaining the reasons why Nigeria must be dissolved

If we all come together with this resolve, then Nigeria would have no option but to let us go because we would have the support of our people and the international communities. Undoubtedly, we will not achieve unanimous acceptance from every country, or even across own our people; but those who do believe in the cause must press on until victory is achieved.

Therefore, my advice to those still being deceived by slogans and jamboree is this: open your eyes and see that, unless we do the work, no amount of camouflage or deceit can bring us out. We need to be ready to be open-minded, to put in the effort required to achieve success. Yoruba nation *will* come, but not by lies of ¬_”a tí gbá”_ (“we have collected it”) or “God has done it”.

Even if God has said Yes, if we fail to put in the necessary work, we will remain on this mountain for a very long time. The year of 2023 still has a long way to go: we can work towards something meaningful, or we can continue to deceive ourselves that Yoruba nation will be served to us on a platter of gold with no effort on our own part. A word is enough for the wise.

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Adding Value

Adding Value: The Power of Imagination

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Dear Destiny Friends,

Success and failure start from the mind. The human mind is like a rubber, the more you stretch it, the more it expands. The human mind is the brain, if you don’t use it, it won’t work. We all have the power to change the course of our life without allowing us to be victims. This is because the greatest power God gave us at creation is freedom and choice. Just like you have the power to think positive thoughts, you also have the power to think negative thoughts. It should be noted that whatever you focus on expands.

It’s quite unfortunate that many of us don’t know how we can use our mind to attract opportunities, if properly stretched. For the human mind to work at optimal capacity, it must be capable of using the power of imagination. According to Napoleon Hill, “whatsoever the mind can conceive, believe, it can achieve it. The right question we should ask ourselves is if we are using the power of our imagination.

Imagination takes several forms. The human mind can be artistic in nature, it can be creative, and it can also be challenging. The mind will only work on how you program it. If you program your mind to think like a leader, it will be activated, if you program the mind to overcome challenges it will be activated, if you program the mind to either think positive or negative thoughts, it produces the desired fruits for you.

You may be wondering where the power of imagination comes from? The power of imagination starts from the mind. To understand how the mind works, you have to look at the brain. The neocortex and thalamus are responsible for controlling the brain’s imagination, along with many of the brain’s other functions such as consciousness and abstract thought.

One may ask, is imagination the same thing as intelligence?  One can imagine something, but don’t take proactive steps to implement it, but the man who takes actionable steps can be regarded as an intelligent man because he got the inspiration and knows what to do. According to Albert Einstein, “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination”. This is a fact because the true intelligence level of an individual is not dependent on the facts a person knows but on how he applies them creatively to solve problems in the world.  Albert Einstein further stated that “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

The power of imagination cannot be overemphasized. One of the distinguishing traits between wealthy men and the poor men is their mindset. A big difference between a rich mind and poor mind lies in how they process information. While rich and wealthy minds have a positive and growth mindset, poor men have a negative and fixed mindset. While the growth mindset sees problems as opportunities to make impact by solving them, fixed minds see problems as obstacles to making impact. While rich and wealthy minds spend money to invest, poor minds spend money to impress. While rich and wealthy people spend after saving, poverty-stricken minds save from the remnant of their expenses.

This power of imagination works in different ways. Sometimes, it comes like a vision, a revelation. inspiration or even feelings. This imagination can be something you would like to change, or a cause you would like to work on. When you get this prompting, the best thing you can do is commit it to prayer and believe in it especially if it’s a revelation or vision you have been shown. It might look so big and impossible to attain. Whenever you feel this way, just know that you must activate your growth mindset.

Wealth creation starts from the mind. If you want to be successful in any craft, you must envision it in your mind. Most of the great people if not all the great people we celebrate in the world utilized the power of imagination to create a product. If you want to be rich or start a business, you need to take the bold step, if not, you’ll remain where you are.

Nobody can stop a person whose time has come. Nobody can stop you; you are the only one who can stop yourself if you doubt yourself or tell your dreams, vision, or ideas to the wrong person. The wrong person in this case can be your parents, friends, mentors or even your spiritual leader. Don’t get me wrong, these people may not be bad people, they may not understand the calling or vision you had. They may not even see you as the person capable of doing it because you don’t look it. They may be speaking from their experience which may not be your reality. Let me tell you, if God wants somebody else to get the revelation or inspiration, he will put the imagination in their mind. Just to encourage you, God does not call the qualified, he calls the unqualified and then qualifies you.

In conclusion, the power of imagination is a very powerful and creative tool a progressive mind can use to excel in life if properly activated. This is because nobody knows you more than you know yourself.

Henry Ukazu writes from New York. He’s a Human Capacity & mindset coach. He’s also a public speaker, youth advocate and creative writer. He works with the New York City Department of Correction as the Legal Coordinator. He’s the author of the acclaimed book Design Your Destiny – Actualizing Your Birthright To Success

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Opinion

Be Empowered to Remain in Power

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By Tolulope A. Adegoke

“When you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to “MANifest”! Chase excellence, and success would chase you pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”Tolulope A. Adegoke, PhD., MNIM, FIMC, CMC, CMS

 Commitment has been described as dedication, steadfastness, allegiance, faithfulness or loyalty to a course, and individual, group or a supreme being. It is about giving one’s self to a course with success as the only option. Commitment binds you irrevocably to a course you believe in until success comes. It is not the same as mere involvement, but dedication to seeing a course(s) completed or fulfilled to cause an effect or impact either within one’s self, others, corporates and the world at large.

The world is filled with peoples. Anybody can be involved. Being involved in an activity that involves other people does not make you part of a team. As a matter of fact, it only takes a number of people involved in working together to have a group. You must understand that a group is absolutely not a “team”. The difference? In a group, people are involved in activity(s). In a Team, people are committed to a process and a goal. The difference between commitment and involvement is known by the difference in the “omelette and “corned beef”. In the making of omelets, the chicken is involved, in the corned beef, the cow is committed!

Commitment is the secret to the success of the postage stamp. To get the letter to its destination, it must first commit to the envelope. After that, the rest is a matter of time. A train gets to its destination because of its commitment to the rails.

Commitment operates in five major levels which would be expatiated below:

  1. Commitment to God (The Creator that gives to all that gives and receives)
  2. Commitment to a Course for a Cause

iii.              Commitment to Process

  1. Commitment to People
  2. Commitment to yourself

Commitment to God

Those who have discovered themselves in God have no problem committing to Him. Those who sideline God in success ventures will find out soon enough that it is the pathway to “frustration” and an insignificant “death”.

Commitment to a Course for a Cause

You must always remember that, you were never created to simply pursue wealth and all trappings of the worldly successes. After all your bills are paid, and you have a spill-over, what next? Highly successful and effective people, first of all, find a higher course for a greater cause for which they were willing to lay down their lives if need be, then throw themselves wholly into it. The principle is that, if death does not scare you, the possibility of failure cannot! As the Bible rightly said, “those who keep their lives lose it, while those who lose it, find it!” The other name for it is significance or relevance. Make money in order to enhance your platform(s) for significance or irrefutable relevance. At a recent time, Bill Gate has committed time and resources to finding solutions to the scourge of HIV/AIDS and poverty eradication in Third World countries. What he did caught the attention of Warren Buffet (who wasn’t reputable for charity), the World’s Second richest man at that time. This made him donate the sum of $37billion (US Dollars) to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. When asked why, he answered, “Because they know how best to give it away better and faster than I can.”

Commitment to a Process

Everything in life evolves. The only tree that grew to full stature in one day died the same day! Ask Prophet Jonah in the Bible. If you cannot commit to a process, you will forfeit the promise.

To master your skill in life, there is always a process of apprenticeship. Permit yourself to fail…but don’t remain a failure. The Olympic medalist who won the 100-metre dash in less than 10 seconds was only celebrated for what he had invested years of consistency and hours of practice to.

Tiger Woods had played golf as a child and he had always nurtured a vision to win every championship in golf. So he started to work towards that, easily.

The father (being a good Lawn Tennis Player) of Serena and Venus Williams (The World Lawn Tennis Champions) had coached them to always win since they were very young.

What the world celebrate today in these people is actually the process they had committed too long before they started winning laurels.

Commit to Yourself

Budget for self-development. Your greatest investment is the one you make on your personal development. When you are right, everything around you will be right!

Things don’t happen because you chase them to happen, rather they happen become you have become a center of attraction that commands the necessary attention. For instance, when you “become” what money loves, you naturally command the attention of monies. Ask yourself, what does money love? Money cherishes VALUES! When you stop becoming valuable, what “values” attracts would stop coming to you! You simply fit into what soothes your actions, and into what your consistent attitudes deserve! So, you must keep “becoming” for what you desire or deserve to keep chasing after you! To “become” in this context means to MANifest! Chase excellence and success would chase you, pants down! Accept yourself in order to understand your being, so as to carve a soothing niche for a better version of “you” which you desire or deserve to become. Any other “you” in circulation is a counterfeit! Square up your shoulders and tell yourself “I deserve to succeed and God helping me, I will.” Remember, the sky is never your limit, God is!”

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