Book: What’s God’s business with politics?
Author: Dayo Awude
Date of publication: January, 2017
Reviewer: Sunmola Olowookere
The book “What’s God’s business with politics?” is a controversial masterpiece which is written to change people’s attitude especially Christians towards politics and people in the seat of power and also teach those in the corridor of power the correct perception of governance. He made recourse to passages in the bible in driving home his point.
His passion to have true leaders that would rule and govern with justice and fairness resonates throughout the book. In this vein, the work was dedicated to men and women who have used power and position for the advancement of humanity to the glory of God.
The title of the work has a startling ring that would catch one’s glimpse in the brusque question “what’s God’s business in politics”
Indeed, what’s God’s business with politics? In the introduction, the author introduced the readers to the various approaches which people have towards Christianity and politics.
In the first chapter, the author laid emphasis on his point that most people are partakers in the political class whether in the formal politics or in the informal one more than they themselves realized as he described politics as an act of influencing others.
In the second chapter titled “Politics as the heartbeat of God”, the writer established that indeed God must be interested in “good” politics and in the emergence of leaders that would make positive impact on the lives of his people. Citing instances from the Old Testament of the bible, he described the goings on in the palace of pharaoh, and the successive appointments of judges and kings over Israel as nothing but politics in which he claimed that God was indeed interested.
However, he was quick to admit that in our world today, the society has been eroded and the divine order disintegrated by bad and wrong leadership. He expressed the belief that politics is the right channel through which all wrongs in our system would be put right.
In this chapter, he laid ample emphasis on the fact that leaders are installed by God and people created by God are by divine direction to submit themselves to and obey these leaders.
In the same vein, he urged would-be leaders to take cognizance of the fact that they were put in place by God and therefore, should bow themselves to his will in exercising the authority placed in their hands.
In the third chapter, he has the opinion that politics could only be perceived as dirty depending on the personality of the person, saying that politics is a dirty game while saying that politics must not be seen as something that is as trivial as a game.
In this chapter, people’s tendency to blow the mistakes of their leaders out of proportion while the goods they do is not given much notice is brought more to the fore. Most often, it is as if the people who had though their leaders perfect are shocked to discover that the idol which they had placed on a pedestal has a feet of clay. It then turns out to disappointing.
Despite being a politician, the author is honest enough to admit the insatiable hunger of some politicians who have dirtied politics and the system of governance.
In chapter four, he dwelled on the believers’ fear to delve into politics as they exercise fear that they would become embroiled in the misdemeanors which they read about politicians in the news and thereby lose their stand in their faith.
He banished this fear as he had the opinion that any Christian can backslide in any chosen field, vocation or Profession, depending on the individual’s attitude and determination not to be derailed while citing the case of biblical Daniel who refused to defile himself with the delicious meal at the king’s table while they were captives in Babylon.
People’s belief about politics such as politicians are liars, Christian going into politics backslides, politicians are fetish, politicians can’t be godly and that politicians are corrupt were also adequately addressed in this chapter.
Indeed, the chapter is loaded and subtly vehement as it showcased the pressure which politicians are subjected to in our part of the world, the author believes that people view the politicians in the seat of power with rose tinted glasses which hinders them from seeing the true state of things.
In chapter five, Dayo Awude, probably voicing from experience made forays into the difficulties encountered by Christian public figures in making decisions especially those inundated by situations that could make them compromise their faith or give in to undue pressures by family friends and associations.
He dwelled extensively on various temptations that could cause a Christian leader to deviate such as trying to please everyone, bowing the sectional interest, idol of self, family pressure, feeling indispensable bowing to societal pressure, holding on to power tenaciously, giving up, joining the crowd and expecting accolades and loyalty from people.
In chapter 6, he gave myriads of reasons why the church must be involved in politics and governance and in the seventh chapter, he examined where there are connections between Christianity and politics and after a thorough and extensive examination from instances of governance where God was involved in the bible, he concluded that there is connection between Christianity and politics which he qualified with words such as “holy and godly”.
In the eighth chapter, the author wondered whether a good Christian can be a good politician citing instances of good leaders from the bibles, he concluded that indeed this could be possible. However if the writer could possibly cite one example in our society in the last two decades, then his submission could have been more plausible in these times in Nigeria’s governance where the bad outweighs the good so much that people have difficulty recalling any of the good ones.
In chapter 9, he brought more to the fore the fact that politics is indeed divinely ordered as he showcased Jesus’ outlook on earthly government in which he paid taxes and tributes while urging his disciples to do same and in his teachings taught his followers how to submit to authorities although he did not place himself in any position of governance them.
In chapter 10, he asked whether a Christian should support a non-Christian to get to power or whether a Christian should vote for a non-Christian, in this he urges voters to consider their expectations and whether the proposed candidate can meet them as the yardstick on which they will base their decisions on.
In leadership, he believes that morality and integrity are very important attributes which some Christians may not have. He urged Christians not to base their decision on religious sentiment, while citing the instance of Pastor Tunde Bakare, who backed the candidature of Mohammadu Buhari, who is now Nigerian President in 2011 Presidential elections and Pastor Yemi Osinbajo who supported and ran as his Vice in 2015 where he eventually emerged as the President.
In chapter 11, he commented on the attitude that citizens must have towards voting in their country. He believed that Christians must vote as a matter of necessity so that they could have a say in the goings on in their environment while he admitted that for obvious reasons, Christ made no recourse to voting in his teachings he expressed that Christians must as a matter of common sense develop a right attitude to voting.
In chapter 12, he showed the heart of a good ruler to the readers. He showed a leader as a beacon of love and hope which draws people to them unbidden and naturally. he wrote about a mentor which developed his interest in politics and leadership in the person of his maternal grandfather, Chief Joshua Adeleke, Falae who also radiates the attributes mention above.
He wrote on further attributes of a good leader such as being liberal but firm, possessing a heart large enough, having no time for revenge and an attitude where Iives are treated as sacred.
In chapter thirteen, he wrote on prerequisites which an individual must possess before going into partisan politics. He identified the need for training and mentoring in emerging as a leader.
From reading this chapter, one begins to empathize with political leaders even against one’s inclination as people still find it hard to shake off the belief that politicians are the lucky few which are to be envied. The gains must be worth the pains, they would say.
In chapter 14, he showcased God’s criteria for leadership from this, a question arises, and can there be such a leader in our part of the world. If not, what does it portend for our democracy?
The last chapter offers solace for the masses who are at the receiving end of each bad choice of a leader they make as the author assures that such leaders cannot be in those positions for ever and that there are prices to be paid by leaders who misuse their position of authority.
This book is a welcome development at this time when people’s perception of politics is darkened and their hope, that a true leader will one day emerge is at the lowest ebb. Indeed, the work by the astute and forthright writer, Dayo Awude, is an eye opener.