Politics and Prayer: New Insights from Osun 2022 Governorship Election Tribunal

Politics and Prayer: New Insights from Osun 2022 Governorship Election Tribunal

Politics and prayer are siamese twins, whether in the global north or the global south. However, the forceful marriage of the two elements in the course of gaining power differs between the two global classifications of nations. There are also some differences in how prayer is used in relation to playing politics, particularly during election and festive periods.

From Ghana, a West African country, to China, an emerging superpower country in the global south, citizens are being called to participate in prayer sessions to end turbulent times and enhance development. This is also true for Nigeria, Kenya and other countries in the world. There is a National Prayer Breakfast in the United States of America, a Washington tradition that asks political combatants to set aside their differences for one morning. The United Kingdom, like the United States, has Prayer Breakfast, an annual prayer session at the start of Parliament’s activities.

In Africa, our analyst notes that call for prayer is usually initiated by politicians, religious leaders and people who hold certain traditional authorities in their respective domains. Our analyst specifically highlights the prayer offering trajectory, which includes new year celebrations, religious festivals, before election campaign, before swearing in, before beginning administration, after winning elections, being in tribunal, court of appeals, and supreme court towards regaining lost ballots. However, according to our analyst, politicians rarely call members of their political parties to pray after losing an election battle, which could be interpreted as a form of gratitude for what God has done for them.

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While politicians usually consider religious leaders and citizens as subjects of their prayer offering discourse, religious leaders also consider politicians and people whose actions have the potential to destabilize peace and progress as subjects. In this regard, our analyst notes that there is prayer offering struggle. Apart from the establishment of prayer offering struggle through subject selection, our analyst observes that, as exemplified by the recent call for prayer by the All-Progressives Congress and the negative reaction that followed it from the ruling People’s Democratic Party in Osun State, Nigeria differs from the other countries in the global north mentioned previously where such practice was not discovered as of the time of writing this piece.

The party leadership uses one-way strategic organized persuasive communication, according to analysis of the statement made by the state’s APC chairman. Part of the statement reads: “It was necessary for the party to resort to supplications after having effected everything legally allowed at the tribunal for the retrieval of former Governor Gboyega Oyetola’s stolen mandate in the July 16, 2022 governorship election.” The chairman also enjoins members to pray for the state for the quick restoration of its lost and dwindling glory among the comity of other states in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Further examination of the statement reveals that the party’s one-way strategic organized persuasive communication is laced with coerced consent. Since it is possible that some members will not participate in the fasting and prayer, our analyst believes that issuing the statement to all members rather than the key members who have benefited from the party over the years indicates coercion.

The chairman’s view that the state has lost its and is losing its glory compelled the members to exercise their “freedom to act.” However, one of the elements of deceived consent within organized persuasive communication is the inability to state categorically areas or sectors where the state’s fortunes have been dwindling. According to our analyst, the chairman successfully used a mix of white and black message construction.

An examination of the PDP chairman’s reaction reveals interpellation of the APC, its members, and God. In other words, the ruling party (PDP) regards the APC and its members as subjects of its reaction narrative.  “If APC is populated by true men of faith with spiritual capacity (deceived consent) to discern wave and efficacy of fasting and prayers, they would have accepted their fate foisted on them by God and man and moved on with their lives (deceived consent), instead of asking God to recount Himself after saying yes to prayers of the good people of Osun State, with the victory of Senator Ademola Jackson Nurudeen Adeleke as Governor of the state. APC’s case as things stand in Osun state is like the law of nature promulgated by God Himself wherein; it is appointed unto men to die once, and after this judgment”.

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