“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” Proverbs 11:3
Abidemi* is a man of great integrity. Every day he is faced with the endemic corruption that has long been permeating Nigerian society and affecting virtually all spheres of this West African country. From contract fraud to petty bribery, embezzlement to money laundering schemes; from seizing salaries of fake workers to steering jobs to relatives and friends, it is estimated that corruption costs the country billions of dollars every year.
Known as the “Giant of Africa,” boasting the largest population in the continent, Nigeria is a formidable force; a Goliath in need of a David to be reckoned with. This is how Abidemi sees his role in the face of the corruption that plagues his country. As a Christian working in financial services, he knows that his values often run counter to those he experiences in his workplace. This makes him even more determined to uphold them, seeing each opportunity as a stone thrown at the giant. He explains, “I endeavor to make my values impact my work because it is an avenue to advertise Christ and also propagate the Kingdom. I try to ensure that my words are consistent with my actions. I uphold integrity in line with the Scriptures. I stand for the truth.”
With Christians making up only 40% of the population in Nigeria, Abidemi feels the call on his life to awaken this African giant to the good news of the Gospel. Despite ongoing persecution from militant religious groups, he is actively involved in his church where he is the head of evangelism. Following his Virtual Haggai Leader Experience last year, Abidemi has begun organizing medical outreaches as part of his Gospel outreach strategy. He sees it as an opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus, attending to the physical and spiritual needs of the community, as well as having a positive impact on the growth of his church.
Another area where Abidemi is desperate to awaken revival is among the youth in Nigeria. Abidemi works hard to share the same Christian values he adopts in the workplace with the children he mentors in Sunday school. Having encountered Jesus as a teenager, he knows how important these early years are to forming a strong biblical foundation. He reminds them, just as Paul reminded the early church: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me — put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9)
He knows that despite the efforts made by the government to minimize corruption through the enactment of laws and the enforcement of integrity systems, true and lasting change will only come from within when each individual follows the way of Jesus and faces up to the giant.
Written by Carolyn Grant