Still reeling from the after effects of the celebrations of Valentine’s Day, the whole city of Lagos was only too glad to close early from work on Friday, February 15, in preparation for the presidential elections billed to hold the next day, February 16, 2019. A lot of private sector employers gave their employees half the day off, to enable people travel to their registered locations for voting.
Lagosians had, as usual, given the Valentine’s Day celebrations their best. We heard various stories of major traffic lock jam. Everyone was out on the road, either going for a date or trying to get home from work. I heard it was chaos and that it took some people three hours to get home; a journey that would ordinarily take an hour. I had envisaged this, so I left work early and made it home in less than thirty minutes; a journey that usually took forty five minutes to an hour, at regular closing time.
So, on Election Day’s eve, when most employers declared a half-day of work, most people welcomed it gladly.
If you follow Nigerian politics, you would have known that the polity had mixed feelings about this election. Majority felt there was no real choice of candidates, as the two major ones were not acceptable for many reasons, one of which is that they are too old and belong to the old generation of politicians. The younger population of Nigerians wanted something new; fresh blood, from one of their own generation. And even though there were quite a number of relatively young and qualified candidates, they did not have the reach, influence and strong purse that the old had. Thus, it looked like they didn’t have a chance of even coming close to being competition to the old.
Looking at the facts, anyone would agree that the younger candidates did not stand a chance. However, there is a school of thought that believes there is a chance that God would do something new in Nigeria and He would work out a victory for one of these younger candidates, even though all looked bleak.
There has been a lot of criticism of the Church in Nigeria in recent times. Especially because it is believed that the Church prays and just folds its arms thereafter. But this time around, we have quite a number of believers who are not just folding their arms, but have taken a step of faith by getting involved in the electoral process, by becoming party members, candidates for different positions etc. I agree with the school of thought that the Church is awakening to its responsibility to the nation and is raising an army to pursue, overtake and recover all. It is early days yet, but God’s principles never change. He can work with many and He can work with few. Before we know it, we will see the manifestation of the things that He has started in the spirit. We believe to see it in our lifetime: a new Nigeria, with a new name that means righteousness, justice and development. Amen!
Such was the excitement and anticipation with which we went to bed on Friday, February 15, 2019, only to wake up the next morning to hear news of postponement! I got a text message on my phone around 5.30 a.m. saying the elections had been postponed. I had just woken up and was still a bit groggy. I couldn’t believe it. I quickly checked google and found that the elections had been postponed by a week. The rest, as they say, is history!
Here we are, waiting for next Saturday to come, and hoping that this time, we will be allowed to vote and that our votes will count. As is usual in such situations, all kinds of rumours are flying around.
The most important outcome of this postponement for me, as a believer in current day Nigeria, is that God wins! And I know He has. What does it mean for God to win? He wins when His will is done. Regardless of what the circumstances look like. It might not look like He’s winning but as long as His counsel for the nation stands, we will be at peace. So, the Church has risen to pray as is expected. But this time, we are not only praying, we are actively watching and praying. We are disappointed but not discouraged, we have faith, we stand strong, believing that faithful is He who has promised, Who will also do it. As long as we pray, the country will not go to the dogs, rather God will save the day and do amazing things to save the country and bring about peaceful and successful elections. Amen.
See how uncertain life can be? We go to bed one night, all is well. We wake up the next morning and all is no longer well. Nigeria had, in the past, experienced a lot of such uncertainty, especially during the periods of military rule. In recent years, we have had some stability from democratically elected governments, so more people are used to stability and continuity.
Imagine how our lives also follow this pattern? We are uncertain of what tomorrow brings. However, we have One who is always there, always loving us and watching over us without sleeping. He has good plans for us and those plans sometimes lead us through the valley of shadow of death. According to His word, we will not be afraid, because even though we might not see Him or feel Him, He is there with us, ever present, protecting, guiding, directing, providing, shielding, helping, blessing, giving grace, giving peace. He is the only certainty we have. He is the only One we should lean on and depend on fully. He is our hope and exceeding great reward. In these uncertain times in Nigeria, He is the One we turn to, for grace, strength, understanding and help. May His Name be praised forever!