Renowned Bible teacher, J C Ryle rightly puts it thus:
“True Christianity is a struggle, a fight, and a warfare. He that pretends to condemn fighting and teaches that we ought to sit still and yield ourselves to God, appears to me to misunderstand his Bible, and to make a great mistake.”

The Battle we face as a Church in Nigeria at this time is even worse because it is from enemies within. I have been inundated with calls from different quarters within the Christian enclave about a purported open letter to CAN by one Adesegun Osibanjo who is directing the body of Christians in Nigeria to congratulate the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu who was declared winner of the highly controversial February 25 Presidential Elections in Nigeria.

Notwithstanding the debauched polls which witnessed the lowest votes cast since 1999, as well as the widespread violence and malpractice that characterized the polls, an acclaimed Evangelist had the effrontery to write to the umbrella body of Christians in Nigeria and is frontally asking our most revered CAN President to by way of Congratulating the one who was declared President, endorse the sham that has been the subject of public discourse and international condemnation in the past two weeks.

To address the body of this open letter, the mystery evangelist spurned a thread of falsehood, from alleging the favoured disposition of the Church towards the Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, to a blatant falsehood that elections were rigged in favour of Obi in the Southeast without providing any proof. He also accused Obi of running a deceptive campaign which divided the country along religious and ethnic lines. This narrative painted by this mystery Evangelist is a manifest evidence of the enemy being the accuser of the brethren.

The letter goes on to describe Obi as having shifted his focus to Lagos since losing out of the election, and alleged that there is plot to bring in IPOB and Igbos to win the gubernatorial election for Labour party. Our propagandist evangelist failed to remember that Lagosians and not the Igbo and IPOB were the reason Asiwaju Bola Ahmed was floored in Lagos during the presidential election.

Gbadebo is a freeborn of Lagos who is running based on merit, but who the author of that lie-ridden and chauvinism characterized letter referred to as “Chinedu”. The author’s reference to Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour as a candidate who was foisted as the Lagos guber Candidate is an obvious distortion of facts and the claim that Peter Obi had denied a candidate who is Yoruba a job while he was at the helm of Fidelity Bank remains largely unverified. He should be quick to mention the name of this Venerable who was denied a job despite being the best man for the job. If the Yoruba lord of war is not out to incite Yoruba to war against the Igbo, one would have expected him to remind CAN that Sanwo-Olu is from Ijebu Mushin and his deputy is from Ewekoro both in Ogun state. How come in his love to see Lagos remain a Yoruba conquered territory of Asiwaju who is from Osun State, he forgot to mention Jide Adediran, Jandor of the PDP who is left and right the son of one of the oldest ethnic nationality with origin in Lagos.

Our mystery Evangelist goes on to write about those who he said were beating the drums of war ahead of the guber polls in Lagos, but chooses to skip the part where the Igbos and other non-indigenes in Lagos have become victims of thuggery and arson in recent times due to the inability of the political goons of the President-elect to compel them to vote for APC candidates. He intently skips the part where a lady was stabbed while waiting to vote, and how known thugs were asking people to go home on election day if they were not there to vote for the President-elect who now needs to be congratulated by CAN. Every Christian is primarily a peacemaker; but our Evangelist is not, he has no sympathy for the Igbos whose shops and goods were burnt down at the Akere automobile spare parts market in the Olodi-Apapa area, in what looks like a politically motivated arson by the likes of this Evangelist.

In closing, it is expected that there are those among the blocs of CAN who have become apologists and philosophers in preaching Peace and calling on CAN to engage in the desecration of our nascent democracy and indeed the Church by congratulating the President-elect. This is a clear reminder that as it was with the Council at Jerusalem (Acts 15), believers should debate over matters of dispute (in a healthy, godly way) especially when it is essential of fidelity to the gospel and witness of the church and the nation, especially at these trying times where the Church has come under massive attacks due to her disposition during the electioneering campaigns.

Nevertheless, let me remind the leadership of the Church and indeed CAN, that as preachers, teachers and leaders of God’s people, we can’t engage all issues, but we also can’t adopt a stance of hopeful silence, where we say nothing about earth-shaking challenges to biblical truth, and hope it all just goes away. Injustice to the Church and Christians by way of a Muslim-Muslim ticket is injustice everywhere. The violence and ethnic bigotry which is now in full throttle in Lagos as exemplified in that letter stands condemned and the Church must take a stand.

As men of God, we HAVE to speak; we HAVE to preach; we HAVE to stand to be counted. We need to discountenance such diatribe against the Church and other ethnic groups that seek to divide us. Whoever wrote this letter may be from among us but him and his ilk are definitely not of us.

They went out from us [seeming at first to be Christians], but they were not really of us [because they were not truly born again and spiritually transformed]; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out [teaching false doctrine], so that it would be clearly shown that none of them are of us. 1 John 2:19

Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi is an Apostle and a Nation Builder. Convener Apostolic Round Table.