Less than seven months before the 2015 general elections in Nigeria, the founder of Living Faith Church, otherwise known as Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo has finally spoken on the polls that many believe would make or mar the country.
Oyedepo, while speaking with a delegation of the Lagos chapter of Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, led by its chairman, Bishop Sola Ore, who paid him a courtesy call at his Ota, Ogun State office on Tuesday, 19 August, 2014, called on church leaders to ensure massive mobilisation of Christians across the country for the 2015 elections.
According to the clergymen, who will clock 60 on 27 September, such mobilisation will ensure that credible people are elected in public offices.
Oyedepo also pointed it out that voter registration was an important starting point if Nigerians would install credible leaders.
“The PFN constituency is a very large constituency and the mobilisation of this large number of worshippers calls for wisdom. There is need for wisdom to harness the large population of the church. The starting point is to ensure that our members register to vote. The church is a strong body in Lagos and across the country. Lagos, for instance, has many mega churches. We need to harness our human resources to create a platform for the church to have a voice,” Oyedepo said.
He added that: “There are groups that are building imaginary names, but we have the population and we can build real names. The Lagos city must have a feel of our impact.
“We are not going to vote for nonsense this time around. There is no political party in this world that will see the population of the church and ignore it.”
The revered cleric urged Christians to push for people who have credibility in the next political dispensation, saying “We believe the Christian culture promotes values that make for good government. I always advocate that a leader must have character, capability and courage to be able to make impact. Christians should look for such trait before voting anybody into power.”
While acknowledging that there are powers that contend with political office holders, Oyedepo said, “We need prayers and Christians must be ready to pray while not ignoring the ability and the power of choice they have.”
He regretted that Nigeria is going through hard times noting, “We are in trouble because there are too many people in positions of authority who don’t have capacity to confront the issues facing us as a country.”
The church leader observed that many good and competent people fail to put themselves forward for elections because of fear that the political terrain is both rough and diabolical.
He however said, “I think we have passed that stage. Now, democracy has come to stay in Nigeria. It’s time for the good people to come out and participate in the political process.”
While responding to Oyedepo’s speech, Bishop Ore said, “We appreciate your leadership role in the Body of Christ and we crave your indulgence to continue to strengthen our hands with your prayers and support for this new administration.”
It would be recalled that Oyedepo was recently reportedly barred from entering the United Kingdom.
According to a source at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Oyedepo, who reportedly holds a ‘C’ Visa that grants him access to the UK for duration of ten years was stopped from travelling on Saturday, 9 August, 2014, following a directive from “Airline Alert”.
The source said the alert which warned that any airline that disobeys the ban is liable to a fine of £2000, also revealed that the reason for it was yet to be ascertained.
But it was said it might be connected to an inquiry by the UK Charitable Commission which accused the UK branch of the Winners Chapel of exploiting supporters as reported by Daily Mail and Guardian.
Meanwhile, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, had some months ago announced that the 2015 general elections would hold in first quarter of next year.
Many political analysts believe the ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and the major opposition party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, would battle for most of the vacant state governorship positions and also the presidency.