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I. Mantu: Rulers Should Become Missionaries

“Rulers Should Become Missionaries”

Sen. Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu
Sen. Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu gives his acceptance speech after becoming the national chair of UPF-Nigeria.


Acceptance Speech of Sen. Ibrahim Nasiru Mantu, Former Deputy President of the Nigerian Senate, upon Being Named National Chair of UPF-Nigeria

Senator Mantu gave this speech on July 15, 2016, at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja on the occasion of the Dinner for Peace commemorating the fifth anniversary of the visit of the UPF founders to Nigeria.


Your Excellencies, distinguished Ambassadors for Peace, brothers and sisters in peace: You are all warmly welcome to this important meeting. The importance of this meeting is underscored by the fact that it is five years today since the founders of this great organization, UPF, made a historic visit to our dear country. It was indeed a critical point in our country’s history.

As an active participant in the events that marked that visit, I am a witness to the tremendous amount of investment made at the time. We welcomed Ambassadors for Peace and delegates from across the world to Abuja, which included former heads of government of a number of countries, religious leaders of different faiths, heads of educational institutions and civil society organizations. It was a gathering of distinguished peace advocates and peace activists from around the world. It was just what our country needed at the time, and it required someone with a deep love for humanity to muster the courage to mobilize hundreds of people from around the world to preach peace in a country where (and at a time when) bombs were exploding here and there. This is the kind of founder that we have in the person of Rev. Dr. Sun Myung Moon and his wife, Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon.

I have associated with this organization since the early 2000s. I have enjoyed the special honor of being hosted by Father and Mother Moon as well as by their very able and amiable assistants. I highly admire their dedication to the cause of world peace. I can testify that their standard of devotion is rare in these modern times when the world is characterized by individualism and egoism. Mrs. Kathy Rigney here, for example, together with her colleagues have been missionaries of peace in Africa for more than forty years. They have demonstrated a high degree of altruism by living with complete strangers and serving them in an effort to create a world which is as one family under God. When I see this, I am deeply challenged. If people who come from such faraway places can demonstrate true love toward my people, then I myself should do even more. I feel I should begin to see myself as a peace missionary too. Indeed, every one of us should be missionaries—especially we politicians.

The days of Plato were the heyday of philosophy, and so Plato made his famous remark that either kings must become philosophers or philosophers must become kings**. Indeed, a “grand-student” of his, in the person of Alexander the Great, did become an emperor and he conquered the world. Alexander was a philosophy student of Aristotle’s, and Aristotle was a student of Plato’s. In the same vein, in these modern times “doing good” with missionary zeal, not passively, is imperative if the world is to survive. That is why I put forth the thesis that either rulers should become missionaries or missionaries must become rulers.

I am a politician, as everyone knows. But of late I’ve found myself speaking out on the need for politicians to become “born again.” We cannot continue on the same path as before. Corruption and immorality in high places are indeed a serious bane to our development. Agreed that there are corrupt practices and tendencies in all human beings, but the corruption being perpetrated in our part of the world is unique. I don’t know why someone would corruptly enrich himself to the tune of billions of dollars while the generality of the masses are wallowing in poverty. The question is how well will such a person live to enjoy his corrupt enrichment? Yet while he is basking in affluence, his people who gave him a mandate to lead them are starving.

Leaders who engage in corrupt practices do not have the fear of God in them. They do not really love their people. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, it is said. True love for humanity will make one live for others. This is why the fundamental teaching of Father and Mother Moon of universal peace must be embraced and practiced by all good leaders who really want to lead their people to prosperity. As Ambassadors for Peace, we are “born again” citizens of the world who have said goodbye to all negative forces that make human beings hate each other. Being Ambassadors for Peace, you have embraced universal peace as your religion and as disciples of Father and Mother Moon.

Your Excellencies, distinguished Ambassadors for Peace, brothers and sisters, I am highly honored to be given the opportunity to serve as national chair of this great organization in Nigeria. As a politician, I am used to campaigning for positions. But this is one position I never campaigned for. I firmly believe that this has come to me as a calling from the Almighty God. I therefore resolve to answer this call with the highest sense of responsibility.

More than ever before, our country is in need of peaceful coexistence among its various components—be they ethnic, cultural or religious components. I know very well that UPF is the best equipped body to foster harmony and understanding among diverse groups. We must use the resources at our disposal to accomplish this task. Dear to the heart of our founders is the promotion of ideal peaceful marriages and families. We must actively support such initiatives. We must develop programs that address the root causes of things that undermine peaceful coexistence among people. In doing so, we will partner with organizations—both governmental and non-governmental—sharing similar aspirations.

Your Excellencies, distinguished Ambassadors for Peace, brothers and sisters, I am delighted that we have Hon. Dubem Onyia as our vice chair. I am excited that we can work together on this important task. I am also excited that we are blessed with so many Ambassadors for Peace of the highest caliber, such as your good selves, whose cooperation will be highly required to move the organization to a new level.

I do not want to pretend that the task will be easy. But since this is the work of the Almighty God, I believe His hands will be with us; and if His hands are with us, nothing will be impossible for us to accomplish.

Bravo to all Ambassadors for Peace!

Long live the Universal Peace Federation!!

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!


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**Plato said: “There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.”