THE ‘NEMESIS’ OF CAMA AND THE ALBATROSS ON A SLEEPING LEADERSHIP (1).
GIDEON I. ONYEDI.
For the purposes of this piece, nemesis here is the ‘evil’ or a ‘consequential repercussion’ upon one or a people over irresponsibility, dereliction, negligence, betrayal or unfaithfulness or lack of watchfulness and care over a period of time against institutional ethics, individuals or customs.
When the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the National Assembly ‘promulgated’ a new law replacing the 1990 Act of the Babangida administration regulating all Companies and Allied Matters, and further brought the law into a statutorily binding status by according it an executive assent on August 7, 2020, the entire Christian citizenry of Nigeria went ‘awailing’.
This posture of grief, lamentation and anger was predicated on the ‘spurious’ content of the new law of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, (CAMA), 2020. Strangely, and suspiciously, too, within the provisions of this controversial new law, the Church has been ‘curiously’ stripped or ‘divested’ of her spiritual essence and divine relationship through political meddlesomeness. The Church, effectively becomes an institution, conditionally speaking, under the control and active supervision of a political office holder of government. And, under the present circumstance and administration, a Muslim, a faithful adherent of the Islamic faith, who is bound to be faithful to his own religion, and not another. Consider the fact that in a typical Nigerian setting, the government can rise up any day and declare that a particular church has been found guilty on the issues stated in the new act, especially if it finds the leadership of that church ‘working against’ or not conforming to or complying with its political agenda or interests. In fact, there would even be willing ‘church members’ that will help the government to achieve that. Wow!
And to consider or ponder over the fact that this suspicious arrangement was put in place under the leadership of a government headed by adherents of a different faith both at the National Assembly where the enactment or re-enactment was made and the Executive where the assenting or final signing was done, is most unfortunate and foreboding. It speaks of high level insensitivity to our pluralistic ‘constitution’ and the ‘conflagrated’ ethno-religious configuration, among the leadership and government.
Since the advent of the present leadership in 2015, moves that have created fears in the hearts of other faiths have been made or alleged to have been made. From the allegation or move of making Arabic Studies compulsory, to the allegation of including Arabic Studies in a Police recruitment examination sometime ago, etc. This present law of CAMA today is another bold or seemingly bold statement that also speaks of the insensitivity of the ‘crafters’ and drafters of the law.
As a Nigerian that loves and relates well with my compatriots, I do not accuse any adherent of any religion of any ill-,motive, but I do recognise the fact that certain issues are undeniably highly sensitive in nature in Nigeria, and to pretend otherwise is to expose shear dissimulation. Religion comes tops among such issues of high sensitive nature.
Even if and when the particular political appointee to take over the control and running or managing of the Church (in case of…) were to be a Christian, it would still have amounted to desecrating and dishonouring the Owner of the Church, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by subjecting His Body to a political control. This is the unvarnished truth, and it is as sensitive as that.
Someone might think this writer is ignorantly opinionated. No. I am not. You may be the ignorant or politically gagged one because I read and preach the Bible and know what my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, says. Not what is or was done in the U.K, U.S.A, or anywhere else. Those places are not our examples. That is why we do not have gay bishops as they do, and as a nation have refused to follow their footsteps, officially, in adorning and condoning gay marriages, and anything related to the LGBTQ. Or are we also secretly planning to embrace that at government level since they appear to have become our reference point?
However, this article is not primarily meant for the makers of that law, who may have ‘good intentions’ of ‘fighting ‘corruption’ generally and particularly in the House of God with a hand that is also ‘compromised’, wise or otherwise. It is meant for the Church and her leadership. The government is not the culprit. I believe it is doing what it thinks to be the best for the nation or for their own political interest, whichever.
I was taught somewhere that there are four generations in the life and history of any church.
The first is the Generation of Conviction. This is the stage in the history of the Church or denomination where the people (believers in Christ Jesus) are sure of who they are in Christ and what they believe. They are willing to lay down their lives for their faith and their belief in holiness, ‘separation from the world’, commitment to Spirit-led evangelism and soul winning, and heaven. In this period, believers do not betray their faith or their brethren. They love the Lord and the unadulterated doctrines of the Holy Scriptures more than anything else. When this generation dies, the second sets in.
The second is the Generation of Confusion. This is the stage where believers begin to doubt their faith and also begin to confuse their Christian faith and allegiance with other things of the world some of which might not be outright sin but are not definitely edifying enough to the Christian faith. A little compromise begins to set in. People are no longer sure of what they believe. Christian standard is lost and faith of our fathers begin to die while the ‘gold’ begins to grow dim, the ‘fire’ begins to quench and the ‘live-coals’ begin to turn to ashes. The end of this generation, unfortunately gives space for something more deadly: the third.
The third is the Generation of Corruption. When the Church reaches this stage, something tragic has started happening. This is where the Word of God becomes totally adulterated and completely compromised. Syncretism and questionable practices take over. By this time, men and women who call upon the name of the Lord have destroyed the line of difference between the Church and the world and the politics of the world. Here and now, corruption has taken over. While this generation still reigns, a fourth generation comes.
The fourth is the Generation of Contention. This is the stage of the cumulative effect or result of gradual backsliding, compromise, corruption and worldliness that have crept into the Church. This is the stage where believers fight one another for offices and position in the Church without shame and reverence to Christ, the soon-coming King. This is where believers go to courts to be judged by ‘unbelievers’ and judges of the world over church matters and interpersonal matters as believing Christians in disobedience to the injunctions of the Bible against going to the secular judges over church maters. This is where believers become much disunited to the extent of deliberately bringing in ‘outsiders’ to meddle with the affairs of the Church. And this disunity is what finally nails a denomination, but not the Universal Church of Jesus Christ, because the ‘gates of hell’, as said by Jesus Christ, ‘shall NOT prevail against the (UNIVERSAL) Church’.
This disunity, corruption, and contention are the disgusting seeds the leadership of Christianity in Nigeria has sown over the years as they compromisingly mingle with politics and materialism today, and they appear to be reaping the ‘nemesis’ of CAMA.
Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, in Matthew 13:25-30, gave a parable of what happens when ‘men slept’. He said that the ‘enemy’ is always in the business of watching to know when men would sleep. The ‘enemy’ is in the business of sowing tares among the wheat when men sleep. The leadership of the Christian community has gone to sleep. They have allowed the slumbering spirit of prayerlessness, disunity, compromise, materialism, worldliness and worldly amusements, corruption and contention to give the enemy, who could also be members of the church and part of CAN, to sow tares and give government the opportunity to come in to sow a law that could nail her to the coffin, if the Lord does not arise for her. The government as an institution may not be the enemy here. As said earlier, the enemy could come from the church. But there are certain policies of the government that could be inimical to the norms and values of any religion, Christianity or Islam. This is one of such policies that run counter to the Scriptural doctrines and injunction on which the Church of Christ is run.
It is not my intention to write much about the issues affecting the body of Christ on this platform, because even this platform does not hold the solution to the problem. Most readers of this article may also not be in a position to help. The much most of them could do might be to reduce it to a mere academic and social exercise and further complicate the issue, and undermine the spiritual essence of the Church.
This is a clarion call to the leadership of the Church to wake up. To rise up to its responsibilities. To rise up and return to the Lord in repentance and restitution. To rise up to Christian unity and corporate prayer.
Again, those who call themselves Christians should desist from attacking the leadership of the Church or that of any denomination on the social media. A good example is the burning issue of tithing which is not practiced in Nigeria alone but also done all over the world. And which was not instituted by the Nigerian Christian leadership. So-called Christians have made this issue a burning factor today as if they were commissioned straight from ‘heaven’ or hell to controversially raise the issue of tithe to the eyes of the world outside the Christendom. They forgot that since tithe is a Biblical practice, whether Jewish or Christian, that it amounts to a satanic and deliberate attack on the Church to make it a controversy to the level of ‘demonising’ or ‘criminalising’ preachers of the gospel who collect these tithes (and offerings) as it is done everywhere in the world to do gospel work and support gospel preachers as commanded in the Word of God.
One thing that should be understood is that the grand plot of these agents of ‘no-tithing’ gospel, borne out of greed and uncertain conspiracy or ego is to starve the gospel work of finance and funding by discouraging those who give tithes and offering from giving, or even ‘provoking’ the government unto a regulation on tithe and church fund. Without knowing it, our leaders in the secular world, appear to have started showing interest in this tithe issue and are desiring to know what becomes of it. How it comes in. How it is managed. And who manages it. And, may be, (under certain circumstances), as stated in new CAMA, when there is the need for missions (home or foreign), to demand that there should be clearance or permission from the government before Church fund is allowed to be used for the cause or the Kingdom of Christ. Oh! This is most unfortunate and sacrilegious!!! I just imagine how the whole thing is going to play out.
I also need to point out here that the law makers who created this law are almost evenly made up of Christians and Muslims. These Christians are members of different Christian Churches and denominations. Some of their pastors and clergies are also leaders of CAN. The question is ‘Can any government ‘persecute’ or appear to be persecuting Christians or Muslims in this dispensation, in this civilisation, without the ‘help’ of certain Christians and or Muslims? It is evident therefore that whatever laws that have been made that affect any religion, Christianity or Islam, is made possible by the cooperation of certain adherents of such religions in the political world.
Therefore, it becomes very materially logical to interpose and conclude that the present wailing arising from the feared muzzling of the Christian Church in Nigeria by this new law is nothing other than the ‘nemesis’ of CAMA and the albatross hanging on the neck of the compromising and sleeping Christian leadership and membership in Nigeria.
But, by the grace of God, this nemesis will be overcome, because the Church remains the ‘apple of the Lord’s eye’.
GIDEON I. ONYEDI,
Founder/President. Diamond-Crest for Youth Education Foundation