The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has warned those killing themselves ahead of 2023 general elections to desist from such act. This is even as he categorically stated that he doesn’t know whether or not there will be election next year.

The 80-year-old cleric said God has not told him whether there will be an election next year. He remarked that God spoke to him about the 2019 elections more than a year to the exercise, but that has not been the case with the 2023 election. He quickly added that God might still speak to him about the 2023 general elections but He has not spoken yet.

He added that he has no anointed candidates in the coming elections, stressing that as many candidates that come to him for prayers, he will gladly pray for them.

The respected church leader spoke yesterday at RCCG headquarters in Ebute Meta, Lagos, during the church’s April thanksgiving service.

Adeboye, who was clad in blue suit, said he’s currently pre-occupied and worried by the increasing challenges facing the country, almost on a daily basis.

In the 22 minutes pre-sermon message, Adeboye said the many attacks on Kaduna State, which has made the state difficult to be accessed by road, rail and air, stealing of Nigeria’s crude oil and rising debt profile of the country are enough worries. He wondered aloud why Kaduna has come under severe attacks lately.

“For now, so many things are on my mind! Most especially, the attacks on Kaduna State. Why Kaduna? Who is trying to isolate Kaduna and why? And after Kaduna, which state is next?

“I am also worried about rising crude oil theft in the country. News has it that as of now, more than 80 per cent of oil produced in the country is being stolen. Besides, it is also in the news that more than 90 per cent of Nigeria’s income is used to pay interest on money borrowed and we are still borrowing more. This means we are moving steadily into bankruptcy. I am more concerned about all these for now and not who becomes what at the next general elections,” he said.

According to the cleric, during the regime of President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria had debt forgiveness. “I believe if we are careful as a country, the God that made debt forgiveness available then can still do it again, but we must stop borrowing because of the future of our children and children’s children.”

Adeboye, who was emphatic that politics is not his calling and he will never be a politician, disassociated himself from partisan politics.

“I have said it before, and I will say it again. I am not and will never be a politician. I am a pastor – that is what God has called me to be. Please do not distract me. My assignment is to be a pastor; to pray for you, to pray for nations, including Nigeria.”

“I have no anointed candidate. In RCCG, every political party is heavily represented. I have never told you which party to vote for, whether in secret or in the open. So, it will be unjust to tell you to support one party over another.

“Anybody that comes to me to seek for prayers, I will gladly pray for the person because I am a pastor. I will say, ‘father let your perfect will concerning this person be done. Remember, it is written, the Most High rules in the affairs of men and gives power to whoever pleases Him.’”

Adeboye’s declaration may not be unconnected with a recent circular by the church on the creation of a Directorate of Politics and Governance, which so many people misunderstood to mean that the church was indirectly canvassing support for some of its members who have political interests in the forthcoming general elections.

Speaking on the theme: ‘Waiting Without Wasting’, the cleric called on Nigerians not to lose hope, but still believe that only God can solve Nigeria’s problems. He added that he would not be distracted by what is happening, as he called on his over 26,000 prayer partners not to lose sleep, but continue to pray for Nigeria’s unity and sustenance amid prevailing challenges.

In another development, Sheikh Nuru Khalid, Chief Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters Mosque, Abuja, has reacted to his suspension after delivering a sermon on insecurity in the country on Friday, where he described President Buhari as a failure. In a viral video, Khalid, during Jumat, said clerics, including himself, parents, community leaders and particularly President Buhari have failed the country.

He said: “Is there nobody to take responsibility? I want to believe that we have all failed. I failed as an Imam to teach you that life is sacred. You all failed as parents to teach your children that killing is bad. Our community leaders have failed. Our politicians have failed. Governors have failed, and his Excellency the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has failed us.

“Let me tell Mr President, under your watch bandits are taxing Nigerians. Is that in the provision of the Constitution of Nigeria? Under the Constitution, no one has a right to tax Nigerians, except authorised by the Federal Government.”

Subsequently, the chairman of the mosque committee, Senator Saidu Muhammed Dansadau, said the cleric was suspended for “inciting public outrage.”

But responding about his next line of action yesterday, the cleric, also known as Digital Imam, said he will not oppose any decision by the committee. “I will not oppose anyone, especially Senator Dan Sadau, he is an elder, I will not stand against him,” he quipped.

Meanwhile, the convener of Open Nigeria, Smart Madu Ajaja, has lauded the cleric for standing for the truth even when it is unpleasant to speak against the government.

He said: “We stand with Sheik Nuru Khalid for speaking up while most other Imams, mostly bigots and false prophets are protecting their own selfish interests as the country is being destroyed and their people perishing.

“Standing up for your country by speaking truth to power is not blasphemous, but a moral, spiritual, civic, constitutional and a patriotic obligation that every citizen owes his/her country in both its good and challenging times. This is because true patriotism is never and must never be defined by the decree or the fiat of any government in power at anytime.”

Also, the Chief Imam of the University of Abuja Mosque, Prof. Taofiq Azeez, has urged the suspended Chief Imam of Apo Legislative Quarters’ Mosque not to be discouraged by his present ordeal.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the 19th National Unity Ramadan Lecture organised by the Al-Habibiyyah Islamic Society, with the theme: ‘Ramadan: Shaping Leadership’, Prof Azeez said Sheik Khalid’s suspension was not surprising.

“The Hadith of Prophet Muhammad on changing wrongs with hands, with tongues, with their mind and to also pray that they changed for the better is apt here,” he said.

He, however, said that if leaders failed to act right and become hard-hearted, they (scholars) can explore the option of Prophet Musa (Moses), who sought Allah’s wrath against rebellious leaders.

“I knew that they would suspend him, he should not be discouraged, he should not be surprised. We are not surprised. He should continue doing the good work. So, my message to Khalid is that he should not be discouraged, that should not make him go down, but should encourage him to do more.

“Scholars should be prepared for this kind of things, you may be suspended, you may even be attacked; you may be killed. Leaders, scholars, religious leaders, prophets have been killed before, this should not discourage anybody from doing that.

“However, when you want to criticise, you must have your facts. You must not be partisan; you must not be echoing street talks. You must talk based on facts and truth, be objective. You must not be talking about hatred, and not make it look like something sponsored by someone or a group. Sometimes, some of these politicians sponsor some religious leaders to speak against their opponents, you must not be this cheap.”

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