THE STUDENTS’ CAMPUSES OF OLD –NIGERIA IS A SPECIAL NATION DEAR TO GOD’S HEART Prayer mobilization on campuses of tertiary institutions in Nigeria started in the 1950s, though religious activities never became very fierce until the 1970s that witnessed massive revivals and outbursts of the Holy Spirit. One of the undergraduates who went through the furnace and was trained by Rev S.G Elton and Rev (Dr) Mike Oye is Rev. Moses Olanrewaju Aransiola who asserts that: ‘’What we did then as students have become a national phenomenon. ‘’But why were we so passionate about praying for a country that many people curse on a daily basis? ‘’The reason was that we had a prophetic insight into the nations of the world, which had been confirmed and attested to by apostolic fathers and global prophets, many of whom are non- Nigerians. Every country has a measure of glory, but very few have the distinction of being destiny nations. ‘’We, therefore, knew it as our duty to stand in the gap in sustained prayers for the glory of Nigeria to be birthed.’’
WHY NIGERIA IS PRECIOUS IN THE SIGHT OF GOD — The reason why Nigeria is so precious is that it is a nation of destiny. Just as individuals have destinies – great or small; nations also have their destinies. But when we talk of ‘nations of destiny’, there are only five in the whole world; and Nigeria is the fifth, the very last one. You cannot understand the nature of challenges Nigeria is going through now unless you have a basic understanding of the peculiarities of the nations of destiny. Destiny is one’s job or assignment on earth. It is the very thing one was created to be or do – the very purpose for one’s existence. Therefore, it is possible for someone to be ‘successful’ in life and yet not fulfill destiny. Indeed, most people on earth never fulfill their destinies partly because they do not even know what it is all about.
NATIONS OF DESTINY IN GOD’S PLAN – Israel, Great Britain, United States of America, South Korea, and Nigeria. .Aransiola points out that Nigeria is a nation of destiny that is special to God. It is a designated or chosen nation, a missionary nation. It is a nation that has a redemptive calling to fulfill in the general-purpose and plan of God for the world. This role is not self-assigned. Nobody worked or signed for it. It is ordained of God for His own purpose. In the entire human history, only five nations are said to carry this prophetic destiny. They are Israel, Great Britain, the United States of America, South Korea, and Nigeria. The primary purpose of Israel was to serve as a beacon, a chosen people among whom God was to bring forth the Messiah. It was because of this prophetic destiny that Israel experienced some of the worst tribulations in human history. Yet, it fulfilled and still is fulfilling her destiny and has become a blessing to the whole world. If we consider the land size and population of Great Britain, we ought to wonder how so small an island enclave could conquer and colonize more than half of the globe, including mighty America. What happened simply was that God has used Great Britain, through colonization for several centuries to spread the gospel massively throughout many nations of the world.
The burden of the gospel was borne across the world on the back of the British tongue, the English Language. British colonization of more than half of the world made the English Language the lingua franca or the national or second language of most countries of the world. For this reason, over 80 percent of world scientific knowledge is conveyed in English. Therefore, as the British colonial conquests opened the floodgate to the spread of the English Language, so did it also opens the door for the evangelization of these colonies. That was how the fire of the gospel spread to India, Burma, Solomon Islands, Australia, the far and remote islands of the Pacific, in the Caribbean. At one time, Britain had more missionaries in different parts of the world than any other nation. This is how Britain fulfilled its own redemptive mandate.
The next nation of destiny, which took over after Britain relapsed into lukewarmness, is the United States of America. It is not for fun that America was built up into a global power with a commanding economy. And, it was not by coincidence that it emerged precisely at the point where Britain’s place in global affairs could no longer be sustained. Of course, Russia also built itself up into a counterpoise, turning the earth into a bi-polar world. But no destiny assignment was committed to Russia. So what happened? Russia disintegrated. And just as the burden of global affairs was borne on the back of the British language, so too was it borne on the back of the American dollar. The dollar did not become a global currency because of America. No. Who owns the Federal Reserve Bank of America – our own equivalent of the Central Bank? The American government or any government for that matter does not own it.
The Federal Reserve Bank is only federal in name; a few private individuals own it. Yet the economy has held out as a bulwark against the global economy. The dollar has remained a global currency. We must note that this is not the design of man. It is because of the destiny assignment committed to America. And how has America justified or fulfilled this commission? Up till now, the USA pumps so much money and resources into the gospel. If you must know, America has influenced the gospel and the face of Christianity all over the world more than any other nation in the last century. South Korea is the fourth nation of destiny and it has fulfilled this role by becoming a missionary nation. After America, South Korea has the largest number of serving missionaries all over the world. And they are a praying nation as well. Its emergence in the Asian world, pushing North Korea into the past, taking over a huge chunk of the Japanese automobile, electronics and heavy machinery market globally and giving China a run for its money is not by a fluke. South Korea is being powered from on high because of its destiny assignment.
Nigeria is the last nation that God ordained as a nation of destiny. Looking at the world map, one can see that God literally handpicked a nation from each continental block: Israel representing the Middle East; Britain representing Europe; the United States representing the Americas; South Korea representing Asia and Nigeria representing the black race. This is the reason why no man, no power, and no group of people can ever dismember or fragment Nigeria. Nigeria is God’s doing and she will stand forever. But why is it that all these other countries have made giant strides, and Nigeria is still groaning in poverty and corporate wretchedness? Why is it that everything Nigerian is problematic and every solution that has worked elsewhere becomes a nightmare when it gets here? The answer is that every nation that will enjoy extraordinary grace must experience extraordinary tribulation. The devil will see to that; and the purpose is to try to abort the glorious destiny.
I must also establish quickly that there are seven stages in the evolution of a nation of destiny. As the nation fulfills the condition for one stage it moves on to the next. The key to success, therefore, is for a nation of destiny to persevere and live righteously to fulfil its assigned destiny. Have you noticed that Nigerians lack passion for their country? Nothing seems to move them about the country because they do not see anything that inspires them. On the contrary, we have seen many non-Nigerians developing a strong passion for the country simply because they know the prophecies and plan of God for the nation.
COMMITMENT & DEDICATION The Jews certainly knew something about their nation, which Nigerians don’t seem to know about theirs. Moreover, the Jews rejoiced in Jerusalem, their capital city, because they knew it was a fountain of their blessing. Being a nation of destiny just like Israel, our tribulations are guaranteed, but our reactions to the tribulations are markedly different. How? Hear what the scriptures say about Israel and Israelites: “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth,” Let Israel now say — “Many a time they have afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me.” Psa. 129:1-2 “If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its skill! If I do not remember you, let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth — if I do not exalt Jerusalem above my chief joy.” Psa. 137:5-6 Here, the Israelites were literally cursing themselves should they forget Jerusalem. It means that Jerusalem was everything to them. In Psalms 122:6-9, we see Israel calling for prayers for the nation, speaking prophetically over their nation and making a solemn pledge to seek the good of the nation.
We can see that their commitment to the nation was based on the fact that the temple was located right in Jerusalem, in Israel. Such was the passion they had for the house of the Lord. The temple was the centre of their national life. Sincerely speaking, no matter what anybody thinks: the temple of God in Africa is in Nigeria. We are the largest block of Christians in Africa with scores of millions of Orthodox, Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians. This understanding has informed the commitment of the intercessory community in Nigeria. The Daniels of the nation have a duty to pray for the will of God to come to pass for the good of Nigeria. In the book of Jeremiah 51:50, when Israel was scattered by the Assyrians, the Chaldeans, and the Medes, a prophecy still went after them stating, “You who have escaped the sword … Remember the Lord afar off, and let Jerusalem come to your mind.” God wanted His people to be passionate about their land. Why does the Bible pay so much attention to Jerusalem? This is because Jerusalem has a prophetic calling and destiny.
ANALOGY – BETWEEN NIGERIA & ISRAEL Jerusalem is the most contested city in the world. Jerusalem has been attacked about 400 times by different kings and nations and their armies.No city has suffered such levels and magnitude of attack in history, yet Jerusalem continues to exist. The glorious and enviable destiny of Israel certainly attracted enemy attacks. Great destinies always attract great troubles. As I mentioned earlier, every nation of destiny must pass through seven evolutionary stages of development. How quickly the concerned nation moves from one stage to the other depends on the attitude of its people and their reaction to the experiences they are undergoing. These seven phases are discussed briefly: The formation of a nation happens when it is created by whatever process; whether civil war, colonialism, amalgamation or independence. The United States, for example, came into being after the south and the north came together, after a bitter civil war.This is true for many other nations. Nigeria was formed in 1914 through amalgamation. This is the stage when a nation goes into labour, trying to sort itself out constitutionally, politically and socially.
How long it tarries here depends on the people and how soon they are able to resolve the constitutional issues. Nigeria was at this stage between 1957 and 1960 when its nationalists shuttled to and from the Lancaster House in London on a series of Constitutional Conferences. The presentation stage is the official stage of the inauguration. Nigeria was presented formally to the global community on 1st October 1960, the day it gained its political independence from Britain. Ghana was presented in 1957 and South Sudan about six year ago. Most times, a nation of destiny goes almost directly from the presentation stage to the tribulation stage. You could see the different federating units trying to outdo one another because, most times, the new arrangement is a marriage of inconvenience in which people with different cultures and values are brought together to form a common country. During the incubation and presentation stages, several issues and differences are assumed. But after the presentation stage, the fault lines between cultures and tribes and regions begin to show up gradually. This is what South Sudan is going through right now. Hardly had they been presented to the world than their travails broke out.
The nation of Kenya also experienced the Mau Mau uprising after their independence. Nigeria’s case is well known. Things fell apart so quickly after independence that six years later it recorded two coups within a space of six months and a 30-month Civil War that followed. The crisis in Nigeria today is a result of a lack of awareness of who we are (as a destiny nation) and where we are on the destiny chart (tribulation stage). It is our attitude to ourselves and to God that will determine how long we remain here. And I will illustrate this shortly. If a nation succeeds in passing through the tribulation stage without disintegration, it then enters into the manifestation stage. At this stage, the nation begins to give a good account of itself in different areas of its national life. This will eventually be expressed in self-reliance and prosperity. This is what most Nigerians are yearning for right now. But the stock set for us is even higher than that. At this stage, the nation begins to add value to the global community in terms of economy, industry, science and technology, peacekeeping, etc. The nation then becomes a blessing to the entire global community.
NIGERIA CURRENTLY IN THE TRIBULATION STAGE This is the inevitable lot of any nation that contributes significantly to the global economy. Contributor nations are celebrated globally. Everybody wants to visit these nations either for business, leisure, study or just to see what life is like there. All around the world, people will do anything to get into America, France, Britain, and Germany. The duration and longevity of each of these seven phases is not under the control of any man; it is determined by the divine hands of God. However, the duration of each phase can be influenced by righteousness, prayer, hard work or sin. If sin persists, a nation can remain in a phase, particularly the tribulation phase, for a long time. Going by this analysis, we can say that Nigeria currently is in the tribulation phase. Only God can determine for how long the tribulation will last. Nevertheless, as we apply prayer, hard work, integrity and sacrifice we trust God to shorten our stay in this Babylonian captivity phase. This is what informs our commitment to prayer and righteousness.
In the experience of Israel of old, the nation was to spend 400 years in bondage. Owing to collective apathy and failure to pray, the nation spent 430years in Egyptian bondage. Similarly, the Jews were to spend 70years in Babylonian exile; but they spent about 71years, which could have been longer, had Daniel not started praying at the tail end of the 70th year into the 71st year. These examples show that each phase of national development, particularly the tribulation phase, can be lengthened or shortened by sin, righteousness, hard work, and prayer. The pendulum swings one way or the other, depending on the moral disposition of the people. God usually gives all nations of destiny three major instruments for destiny expression and prophecy fulfillment. These are great resources, great graces, and great influences. All the afore-mentioned nations are blessed with amazing resources to enable them to prosecute the divine agenda for humanity. They are all blessed with human resources, mineral resources, natural resources, technological resources, and, of course, financial resources.
Secondly, God grants great graces, which translate to the anointing and spiritual power to carry out their national prophetic mission. It is evident that these special nations stand out among the rest of the nations of the world in producing outstanding men of God who are global ministry icons both in the secular and clerical duties. Great Britain boasts of men like John Wesley, Evans Roberts, William Booth, John Calvin, Smith Wigglesworth, and William Wilberforce – men who fought against oppression and slavery and men of God who influenced the world with the gospel. In the US, men like William Seymour, Jonathan Edwards, Charles J. Finney, John G. Lake and, in recent times, Billy Graham, Kenneth E. Hagin, Lester Sumrall, Morns Cerulo and so on, have risen from America. These are men of great spiritual stature. In South Korea, you have David Yonggi Cho. Of course, the Messiah came from Israel, and so too did the patriarchs of faith: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That also is the land of famous King David.
Great influence is the third gift that God gives to the special nations to carry out their mandate. For example, God has made English language a global language. It is the language of aviation, navigation, science, and technology. There is nowhere the English language is not spoken globally. And because of this, the British were able to influence the culture of many nations. Similarly, millions all over the world have accessed the Bible in English language. In the same fashion, the American dollar remains the global currency despite the attempt by China and other big powers to whittle down its influence. There is no nation where the dollar is not accepted. The United States of American also influences the world through its military clout as well as its pop culture and entertainment.
In the case of Nigeria, we influence the world through our population and intellectual power. It is to be noted and to our glory that in every 5 black persons in the world is a Nigerian! In all the nations of the world and in any endeavour, you will see Nigerians standing out. Our resilience, our aggressiveness, our undaunted spirit, and our industriousness are blessings and remain a reference point, which other African nations are seriously emulating. Recently, at Howard University, USA, it came to light that out of 100 graduating Ph.D. students with distinctions, about 43 were Nigerians. This was in far-away America. The same trend has been recorded in Britain. Nigeria is influencing nations everywhere just through its population. And of course, Nigeria is greatly blessed with mineral resources. Now, it is imperative at this time to highlight these attributes for the education of Nigerians all over the world. It is commonly said that when the value of a thing is not known or misunderstood, its abuse and misuse are inevitable.
NIGERIANS SPEAK ILL-ADVISEDLY ABOUT THEIR NATION: Both at home and abroad, you hear Nigerians speaking ill of their own nation, particularly those in the Diaspora. Some of them have sworn never to return to Nigeria. It is quite possible that they had suffered some traumatic experience before jetting out. Many of such Nigerians are completely ignorant of the fact that Nigeria is a specially chosen nation. Such people base their reaction and utterance on the present circumstances of the nation. Isn’t it a matter of common sense that only trees laden with fruits attract stones and sticks from fruit-eaters? Nobody throws stones at a barren tree. It is ignored.
Revd Dr. Moses Olanrewaju Aransiola is the President, Gethsemane Prayer Ministry, National Director, Nigeria Prays. This piece was first published in Sun Newspaper.