In reflecting on the interactions between the Apostle Paul and the Jewish High Priest, Ananias, as recounted in Acts 23, it is interesting to draw a biblical perspective on the leadership of President Bola Tinubu. The passage emphasizes the importance of refraining from speaking evil of rulers, as exemplified by Paul’s apology after making a derogatory remark about Ananias.
Paul’s apology stemmed from his lack of knowledge about Ananias’ high priest status, recognizing the biblical injunction to respect and not curse rulers. This scriptural principle is emphasized in Exodus 22:28 and Ecclesiastes 10:20. Considering these teachings, it raises the question of whether Christians should refrain from using vitriolic language when criticizing leaders, even when they exhibit questionable governance.
President Muhammadu Buhari, for instance, faced vehement vilification, including false claims suggesting he was a deceased person or Jubril from Sudan. Despite these curses, President Buhari recovered from illness and his tenure has seen personal growth. This raises the question of whether the curses directed at him had any effect.
President Tinubu, similarly, has faced intense scrutiny from both Christians and Muslims, mainly due to perceived inconsistencies in his character profile. Drawing parallels with the High Priest in Paul’s time, Tinubu is seen by some as an influential figure who wields significant power. As an aspirant, he secured the APC ticket despite challenges from the Buhari camp and emerged victorious in the election, shaping the National Assembly’s leadership according to his preferences.
For many Christians, reconciling themselves with the biblical injunction not to curse rulers, especially given the public perception of Tinubu, is challenging. This sentiment is echoed by the majority of the electorate who voted against him in the election, which remains disputed.
The difficulty intensifies as Tinubu assumes the presidency with controversial credentials. While his marriage to a pastor and the presence of Christians in his political machinery may raise questions, Christians are reminded by biblical teachings to respect and pray for leaders, as exemplified in 2 Peter 2:9.
The recent actions of Chief Olisa Metuh and Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, two notable Christian political figures who crossed party lines to embrace Tinubu, may be seen as a reflection of their disdain for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Acknowledging Tinubu’s presidency may be challenging for committed democrats due to concerns about electoral conduct. However, responding with resentment would only promote bitterness, anger, and malice.
While Christians should refrain from engaging in political mischief, it is crucial to consider the broader perspective that political power is temporal. Allowing one’s heart to be burdened by political struggles can jeopardize the soul. This does not mean tolerating injustices but maintaining a focus on spiritual well-being.
In conclusion, a biblical perspective invites Christians to respect and pray for leaders, recognizing that political power is fleeting. While criticism and accountability are essential, it is important to avoid descending into vengeful speech or actions that promote bitterness.