In the Christian tradition, spiritual development is a well-defined topic encompassing the growth of individuals in their faith, especially, their relationship with God and the effect of grace on people. In the classical spiritual books, it is thus not uncommon to talk of purgative stage, illuminative stage and the unitive stage. May be we should start by keeping the end in view. The Penny Catechism reminds us that we are  made  for  God, we are made for heaven, to be united with Him at the end of time and for all eternity.

To arrive at perfect union with God, we have to go through the purgative and illuminative way. It is not an easy journey. It is full of ups and downs, with such things as the dark night of the soul and moments of loneliness and doubt. Perseverance is thus very necessary to weather the storm and remain steadfast.

This process is what we need in Nigeria today. We cannot arrive at our Eldorado, of progress, development, peace and stability without purging ourselves of our excesses, trivialities, biases and vices.  Purgation demands that we embrace a culture of strict discipline and accountability.  Our nation has been blessed with necessary capitals for meaningful development, but due to our lack of discipline, fiscal as well as moral discipline, we have frittered away our natural endowment. A dose of strict discipline will get us back into shape.

The illuminative stage is also necessary, without senses purged and tuned to noble things, we are then poised to allow the voice of reason to guide us. The illuminative way is that of those who are in the state of progress and have their passions better under control. It is called the illuminative way, because in it the mind becomes more and more enlightened as to spiritual things and the practice of virtue. We, as a nation needs this enlightenment. We must therefore pursue true knowledge. The current educational curriculum is bereft of ideas and essential values that we cannot expect to pluck Cocoa from our beds of vegetables. At this stage, it is not only individuals that must be purged to allow for substantial progress, our institutions must be purged also so that critical structure necessary to support modern and peaceful life is put in place.

The unitive way is the way of those who are in the state of the perfect, that is, those who have their minds so drawn away from all temporal things that they enjoy great peace, who are neither agitated by various desires nor moved by any great extent by passion, and who have their minds chiefly fixed on God and their attention turned, either always or very frequently, to Him. It is the union with God by love and the actual experience and exercise of that love. How do we achieve this in a political state?  Our candidates must be Christians not just in their offices, but wherever people find themselves.

Nigeria needs to be transformed and if we cannot see the disposition to be disciplined, to be rational, to be godly in our candidates, then we must junk them. Regrettably, PMB would have scored well on these counts that is why antecedents must be factored in. If we had factored in his sayings, which have been influenced, based and caked by his religious beliefs, we would have been wary of his second coming.  PMB may be disciplined and ready for stage one, but that's where things stop for him. He is incapable of anything on stage two. Some people are like that, they lack the intellectual capacity to function at that level and they must be helped to limit themselves to their area of competence. nothing good can be expected if they are allowed to proceed. This is the honest assessment of our political environment. No wonder, PMB and his auxiliaries cannot take us to the next level.

Be that as it may, every one of us must go through these stages, leaders as well as followers. Our disposition to be shaped by the discipline of each stage will determine how successful the Nigeria Project will be. But the truth of the matter is, where our leaders are, there will the followers be.  If we want the dreams of our youth to be realized, if we want out hopes for a better future to dawn on us instead of remaining perpetually as unfinished symphonies, then we must allow the discipline of the spiritual life to guide us. Let us realize that as it has been said, "It is still one of the tragedies of human life that the children of darkness are frequently more determined and zealous than the children of light." The course of our life is in our hands, we can choose to remain in darkness or choose to live in the light.

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