Men from all walks of life gathered at Munchies Fast Food along Mushin Road, Isolo, Lagos, venue for the Men’s Breakfast Roundtable, a programme of Kingdom Men, which held there between 8 am and 12 noon on Saturday, February 20.
theme “Men For Such a Time As This” and a panel that included Dr Abiodun Adedipe, a renowned economist, former World Bank Nigeria Office staff and former Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Financial Sector Development during the early day of President Goodluck Jonathan administration, expectations were clearly high.
By the time the event ended it was also clear that expectations were met and surpassed. With Dr Olanrewaju Daniel Ifabiyi, a reverend gentleman, Vice Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Isolo area and Minister-in-Charge, ECWA, Isolo, Lagos also on the panel; the Chief Vision Steward of Kingdom Men and Chief Host of the event, Pastor Remi Akano as anchor and incisive contributions and questions from the floor, it couldn’t but be so.
Setting the pace for what would follow, the MC, Popoola Adams, an Information Technology (IT) professional, pastor and music minister described the Kingdom Men as a non-denominational ministry for every man in every church in the country. He urged the men present to not see the ‘change’ in the air as by any man or political party and so “take our eyes from the people on top and begin to look unto God.”
In an introductory statement, Akano said Kingdom Men is a Bible-based independent ministry which partners with churches to raise men for the kingdom of God. He said the ministry seeks to assist men become better as husbands, father and citizens. This it does through the regular Men’s Breakfast Roundtable, the Men’s Mega Summit which is now in its third year as well as Project Iron Sharpens Iron, which features Men’s Study groups meeting at different places in cell format.
He added that the ministry, through all these fora, encourages men to live accountable lives as “we believe that if you fix the men, you fix Nigeria”. Citing the example of the on-going Dasukigate, he asked rhetorically, “how many women are named in the $2.1 billion arms deal scandal? They are all men.”
Dr Ifabiyi, who was the first of the panellists to speak started by lamenting that the cost of education in the country has skyrocketed, while same-sex marriage is being practiced “directly or indirectly”, as some pastors have compromised.
He was of the opinion that Nigerian men are suffering from the problem of identity as they find it difficult to identify with the things of God. He lamented that Nigerian men crave for money and do not spend time to pray, even as many no longer have what he termed “accountability partners.” He however applauded the Christian men in the North Eastern part of Nigeria, who he stressed identified with Christ even with the Boko Haram insurgency.
He added: “Let people know your identity. Let people know who you are. We do not need to deny our faith. If we do not identify with Christ, we lay faulty foundation. Today, people seek only for prayers for the solution of their problems, without thinking of the word of God.
“We need men to stand in the gap now that corruption envelopes the nation and ministries. Now, if money does not change hands, nothing happens.” Referring to how Mordecai in the Bible worked for the enthronement of the orphan girl, Esther, for the time of the deliverance of the Jews, Ifabiyi posited: “God placed you at your place for a time like this. We should encourage ourselves…We Nigerian men need to be like Mordecai.”
He also lamented men’s thirst for power and the urge to occupy vital positions even when they have nothing to offer, saying that people have been destroying others for power while others are initiated to several things. He urged men not to bow to pressures, especially from their wives, rather, they should have discerning spirit. He also called on men to stand for the truth, even at the cost of their lives.
“Mordecai was straight forward in his dealings with Esther. If men refuse to talk, God will raise other men to say what He wants them to say and then, we will be ashamed. Mordecai understands the nature of God. Men must have an insight. We must allow God to use us. We must not be selfish. We must be concerned about the nation and people around us. Men need to seek God and serve Him.”
Dr Adedipe began his presentation by stating that the Spirit of God was indeed one, as the Holy Spirit led him to say some of the things Dr Ifabiyi had highlighted. He spoke on the problem of identity by men and stated that men must have purpose and be bold and confident, reiterating that “every man must have a purpose. Men are unique. Men are the pride of God. The Christ-like man is not lazy. As a man, your identity will be put on trial when there is trouble. Men should not be silenced. They now the truth and must say it. There should be a relationship between what we say and what we do.”
Continuing, the economist told the gathered men that “what Nigeria is undergoing now is like the pains of birth. Nigerians are transiting from bondage to freedom. The Israelites were uncomfortable in Egypt. They were also uncomfortable in the wilderness. The wilderness was filled with serpents, but God raised the image of the brazen serpent, that whoever is bitten by the snakes will look on the image and be healed.”
Adedipe opined that for a time as this, the Nigerian men should be problem solvers. He referred to the business mogul, Aliko Dangote, who he described as a problem solver. According to him, “Dangote will look at where there is a problem and solves it. He saw that the price of cement was high, he established his own cement factory. Now he is building the largest refinery in West Africa, he is into sugar and rice production.
“Dangote was only a trader. He was travelling, on that particular day, Archbishop Benson Idahosa was travelling and there was only one seat. Being a young man, he offered his seat to the late Archbishop Benson Idahosa, who blessed him. That is how he sowed his seed for prosperity. We need men who can make sacrifices.”
He took a look at the nation’s economy, which he identified as the current national problem, as it is in bad shape. The strategic economist said the country needs men of courage who can put things together. He also stated that men should not be afraid to be committed to the things of God, adding that when men declare for God, He will solve their problems.
Adedipe stated that men should be good fighters and must rise to fight for their wives, sons, daughters and whatever belongs to them. He also said that “Men should stand for God in fighting for what is good and what is right. When things are bad, it is men who are Christ-like that people will look for.”
Answering questions, Adedipe insisted that Nigeria is where it is today because “We did not do what we should have done. When the economy was growing we did not create jobs and now 74.4 per cent of Nigerians are underemployed.” He maintained that if the government can fix power, the issue of unemployment will be half solved as the country is filled with people with entrepreneurial skills.