Review Of Road To The House
Author: Hon (Rev) E. Francis Waive
Publisher: Malthouse Press Limited
Number of Pages: 118
Reviewer: Dr. Otive Igbuzor, Chief of Staff to the Deputy President of the Senate.
The monograph, Road to the House is the story of why and how a Pastor and a General Overseer of the Church of Anointing decided to go into the murky waters of politics in Nigeria. It has been documented that Politics is very important in any society because it affects and determines every aspect of life. Politics affects the economy, religion, education, culture, business activities and indeed every aspect of life. In other words, politics affect everything in our life including what we eat and drink, the taxes we pay, the type and quality of school we attend, the available health care services, infrastructure, the level of crime and insecurity, etc. Politics is the largest single influence on every aspect of our life. In fact, politics shape our world and it is a matter of life and death. Scholars have documented that Political leadership is crucial for the development of nations and that the progress, development and fortunes of many nations are tied to the type and quality of political leadership that they have had and continue to have.[i]
Given the importance of politics, it will be expected that good people will participate and lead the political process so that good values, ethics and morality will be the order in society. But unfortunately, the practice of politics across the world has made politics become regarded as a dirty game. Several scholars and philosophers have counselled good people to be involved in politics. According to Edmund Burke, for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. But in actual practice, many bad people have dominated politics such that in some countries at some point in history mafia groups and drug barons have taken over the political leadership of countries. The result is always catastrophic on society. This is why it is imperative that people of high moral values not only participate but lead the political process. This is particularly so as there is authority crisis in the world today. The conduct and behaviour of many people in the world is influenced by secular mindset which has limited scope of its world view to the physical aspect of life only and does not play a crucial role in shaping moral character as religion does. Religious mindset is based on revelation from the word of God and promotes ethical behaviour. This is why this monograph is very timely for the Nigerian situation. In this review, we will follow the normal pattern of academic review. The review is divided into five parts. The first part introduces the review and underscores the practice in the world which has made politics to become regarded as a dirty game. The second part describes the content of the monograph. The third part highlights the contribution of the monograph. The fourth part revisits the issue of participation of Christians in politics and the fifth part is the conclusion of the review.
2. THE BOOK
The 118-page monograph is divided into five chapters with six appendices. Chapter one describes how it all began from the tenure of the author as President of the Students’ Union Government of the Edo State University (now Ambrose Alli University), Ekpoma through the time in 2017 when he heard from God to participate in politics to the confirmation of the Call in faraway Canada and United States of America where he went there for ministration. The chapter also documents his declaration statement and the responses to his entrance into politics including the threats to his life and the suggestions from supporters that the man of God should get “African insurance” and suggestion by one person that he should join cult group. Chapter two entitled congresses, convention and primaries documents “the treachery of party leaders, the gullibility and greed of followers, the compromise of party electoral officials, the open use of thugs and money.” It also documents the strategies, tactics, manoeuvres, consultations and approaches that he used that gave him victory. One key lesson from him is that “I never got the kind of temptations most people assumed. For instance, no one ever asked me to become a Muslim or take an oath in any shrine or do anything untoward. Perhaps, my moral and religious life deterred anyone who would have thought alone these lines, but the fact remains that nobody did. So, let us not defeat ourselves by avoiding the process because of unfounded fears.” (page 34-35). Chapter three chronicles the eight suits over one single primary. Chapter four was focused on campaigns and general Election. It describes what happened during the campaigns and election day including sloganeering, use of money, role of clergymen in the campaigns, character assassination, destruction of bill boards, accidents during campaigns, postponement of the election by one week and what happened on election day (selection of agents, manipulation at unit level, sponsorship of candidates in small parties just to have agents at collation centres, manipulation and thuggery at collation centres and the place of the media team). Chapter five which is the last chapter is celebrating the victory. It documents the announcement of victory by INEC and the celebration which started with Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege and how victory is sweet and belongs to all. The chapter contains the challenges that go with victory including the fact that begging for money has increased geometrically from even otherwise responsible people making the author to conclude that “the masses actually expect everyone in government to steal.” (page 64). The chapter also contains the beginning of fulfilment of campaigns offices: attendance at sittings, active on the floor of the house, set up constituency office, providing monthly stipends to constituents etc. Finally, there are six appendices on politics and Christianity, How to join politics, suits and petitions.
The Book is dedicated to HE Distinguished Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, the Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. When you read the book, you will know why. Any time Hon. Waive ran into trouble during the campaigns, collation or court cases, he went to Senator Ovie Omo-Age and he always got support.
This monograph by Hon (Rev) E. Francis Waive is not only timely but critical for the survival of society. Politics led by ungodly people is destroying the world and there is the need for urgent intervention to save the world from itself. This monograph is a clarion call for Christians and good people to participate in politics.
This monograph has challenged the misconception that you cannot participate in politics without joining cult or killing people. This monograph is a major contribution to knowledge on the practicalities of running for election in Nigeria. The monograph is written in simple English. It is easy to read and can be completed within a few hours. For those who are lazy at reading, it will help you break record of reading a book from preface to index. More importantly, as the speaker of House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila noted, the monograph is a roadmap for principled politicians.
4. PARTICIPATION OF CHRISTIANS IN POLITICS
In the first century of the existence of Christianity, there was decline of the Roman Empire and civil political authority was vested on church people. The Bishop of a place became the Governor of the place. The Church and the State became fused. The following centuries marked a dramatic struggle of the emperors and kings with Popes (the leader of the Church).[ii] The church then practiced the dual mandate of ministering to both the spiritual and physical needs of congregants. Unfortunately, as from the 16th century, the years of reformation promoted by Martin Luther King and others leading to the growth of the evangelical and Pentecostal movement neglected the social teachings of the church. The result is that many professing Christians now regard social issues as carnal and refused to participate in politics. The end result is that ethics has been almost completely removed from politics across the world. This monograph will help to correct the misconception held by many Christians and good people that politics is dirty and should be avoided by believers and good people. As Dr. James Zasha has argued and I agree with him completely, politics is too supremely important to be left to ungodly people and it is sheer foolishness for Christians to ignore politics pointing out that it is urgent and necessary for Christians to take politics seriously and get involved.[iii] As the Vice President, HE Prof. Yemi Osinbajo clearly stated in the foreword to the book, “fundamental Christian beliefs in justice, integrity, peace and attention to the needs of the poor and vulnerable are values that must inform the world view of Christians in politics.”
The Road to the House is a beautiful addition to the literature on Politics in Nigeria. It is an invaluable contribution on how to run for an office and win based on calling and principle.
I have no doubt in my mind that Christians and indeed all patriotic Nigerians will find the book very useful. It will be a practical monograph for any new entrant into politics especially those who want to play politics with ethics. I highly recommend the book to everyone who is interested in a saner world and a better Nigeria.
Thank you and God bless you.
[i] Igbuzor O (2012), Overcoming the Challenges of Transformation in Nigeria. Lagos, Joe-Tolalu & Associates.
[ii] Encyclopedia Britannica https://www.britannica.com/topic/church-and-state
[iii] Zasha, James (2020) The Church and Politics: Not Too Good to Run