Fractured in many places by intertribal mistrust/suspicions, religious disharmony, insecurity, ballooning unemployment and lots more, today’s Nigeria looks for answers and metaphors of hope, to jumpstart a national awakening and rebirth, if one were to liken Nigeria to a car whose engine has refused to start, and jumpstarting the engine is the smartest and cheapest way to get the engine going again!
When looking for appropriate metaphors of hope, a good place to begin is the place that is called the pillar and ground of truth, the church!
Glory Christian Ministries, Lagos, founded in Nigeria by Pastor Iruofagha Solomon James in 1992, with branches in the United States, South Africa and across Nigeria, has a special feature which she gladly commends to Nigeria at such a time as this. Some people have called Glory Christian Ministries Nigeria’s Intertribal Marriage Haven because Pastor I.S James, who’s an Ijaw man from Bayelsa State married Pastor Faith James who is an Igbo woman from Abia State, and somehow the intertribal marriage feature has become the most dominant feature of marriages in Glory Christian Ministries over the years. Many people from different tribes across Nigeria have contracted marriages inside the church and remained happy through the years. It does not mean there haven’t been challenges, as there are in every marriage, but most of the couples have found a way to stay faithful to each other. In the process, these couples, led by Pastor James, point Nigeria to something very important. It is living meaningfully and peacefully together even with clearly noticeable differences.
Nigerians bicker so much about tribes these days, whether directly/obviously or ‘masqueradingly.’ Many people have learnt to publicly mask their solidarities with their tribes but we know what is going down, as it were. Tribal consciousness and superiority have been elevated to levels that they hitherto never enjoyed in Nigeria. The consequence of these heighted tribal solidarity is heightened tension in the land. Only God knows the specific contribution of feelings of tribal superiority to the general level of insecurity in the land.
As Glory Christian Ministries marks 30years of its founding this week with a week-long event comprising of several activities including specialized seminars by industry experts, music ministration by leading gospel artists, like Nathaniel Bassey and Chioma Jesus and the expositional bible preaching by notable pastors such as Bishop Mike Okonkwo of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Pastor Tunde Bakare of Citadel of Glory Church, Pastor Simeon Afolabi and others, it is hoped that the Supplier of the distinct signature in Nigeria’s Intertribal Marriage Haven, will mercifully extend the sauce to the rest of Nigeria so that Nigerians may live more peaceably and more respectfully among themselves.