Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday advocated a spiritual approach to the anti-corruption crusade in Nigeria, calling on the church to wield its influence against the menace.
Obasanjo made the call in Abeokuta at the 2017 Convention Lecture of the Victory Life Bible Church International.
He spoke on the theme: “The Role of the Church in the Fight Against Corruption in Nigeria.”
The former president described the church as an important and influential institution with a pivotal role in curbing and eradicating corruption in Nigeria.
He described the anti-corruption war in Nigeria as “a fight for the soul of the nation.’’
Obasanjo said successive governments in Nigeria had tried to contain corruption through enactment of laws and enforcement of integrity systems with a slow pace of success.
“Legislations alone are not enough as they are often breached by those who make them and those who should implement them.
“Our main problems are moral, ethical, attitudinal failure and disorientation. The church is an institution that provides the moral and ethical standards for us as believers. Man alone by himself cannot get rid of corruption from the world, he needs the assistance of God.
“Here must come the society and the church with the spirit of God to work together to undo the harm that man has done and continue to do to the perfect work of God on earth,’’ he said.
The elder statesman, however, stressed that the anti-corruption crusade must first be fought within the church through ridding itself of the menace before extending it to the larger society.
“The church needs to clear its Augean stable. The temple of God must be cleanest to restore the holiness of the church. Our present day money changers and merchants must be chased out of the church.
“The pulpit must be used to teach and preach righteous and honest living. To preach that one can acquire wealth without labour is not only deceitful, but also a call to corruption.
“We must be careful in believing and celebrating every testimony of miraculous blessing otherwise we end up celebrating corruption. The behaviour of some of our men of God leaves much to be desired. They not only celebrate but venerate those whose sources of wealth are questionable. They accept gifts (offerings) from just anybody without asking questions giving the impression that anything is acceptable in the house of God,” he said.
He called on Christian leaders to sanitise the church for effective anti-corruption crusade.
The former president, who recalled that the church played an important role in the development of Nigeria, noted that the nation had come to another historic juncture requiring the church to play a leading role.
“The role must be played in praying, preaching and teaching. This is a period of moral and ethical rebirth and the church as an agent of socialisation must embark on moral re-armament for the church and for the nation”, he said.