‘Any­body that tells you that Nige­ria is work­ing well needs to think again’

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As a Nige­rian and a cleric who have op­er­ated in the coun­try for many years; how would you de­scribe 2018?

God told me at the be­gin­ning of that year that it was go­ing to be a year of greater glory man­i­fes­ta­tion to Bi­ble Lif­ers and all true Chris­tians in the coun­try. The church (in gen­eral) made a lot of progress last year. Peo­ple came to church for help; where gov­ern­ment could not pro­vide the ba­sic things of life, it was church that filled the gap; where the peo­ple lacked se­cu­rity, the church pro­vided. The church pro­vided hope for the hope­less. It was the church that held pro­grammes and fed mil­lions of par­tic­i­pants across the coun­try. The church vis­ited the In­ter­nally Dis­placed Per­sons’ set­tle­ments and pro­vided for them.

The glory of the church was lifted last year and it is go­ing to be far lifted up this year be­cause God is God of progress.

In ev­ery area, if not the church, it would have been very, very ter­ri­ble. If not God, it would have been very bad for this na­tion. Last year, Nige­ria was de­clared the world poverty cap­i­tal.

But to us, God has said in famine we will smile. We re­ally smiled de­spite all the neg­a­tive news and hap­pen­ings in 2018.

Con­cern­ing the na­tion (Nige­ria) and the world in gen­eral; I told you last year that God said it would be a year of WWWL (War, Wis­dom Wealth and Love) we saw it, from herds­men, to Boko Haram, ev­ery­where it was war, con­fla­gra­tion and ag­gres­sion. It was also a year of wis­dom. For in­stance, some par­ties had bet­ter ideas, even the PDP that could have been to­tally dis­in­te­grated got wis­dom to con­duct pres­i­den­tial pri­mary that was seam­less, scan­dal-free and noise­free; no­body went to court for the first time. That was wis­dom. It was also a year of love. In the midst of the crises, mu­si­cians re­leased al­bums that called for unity, peace and love. It was also a year of wealth. Yes, things were hard but it was a year of wealth. The sum­mary of last year is that it wasn’t a bad year as I sang in my new­est al­bum. ‘I have no re­grets, all I have are chal­lenges; the more they come, the more I win.’

What are your ex­pec­ta­tions for the cur­rent year?

It is a year of ‘Rul­ing and Slay­ing Gi­ants’.

That’s what God told me. You can see that this is an elec­tion year for Nige­ria; and there is ap­pre­hen­sion ev­ery­where. You can see now that the whole of North East is vir­tu­ally en­gulfed. The blood­shed is get­ting so much that if gov­ern­ment does not up its game to ar­rest the sit­u­a­tion it will be­come very cat­a­strophic for Nige­ria, be­cause ev­ery blood­shed cries to the God of vengeance. The for­mer Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan said his elec­tion did not worth the blood of any Nige­rian.

The blood of one per­son spilt un­justly is enough to make heaven to shut its doors against a na­tion when the leader does not fight for that very soul, not to talk of hun­dreds of thou­sands of souls. Now, join the car­nage in the North East to the ac­tiv­i­ties of kid­nap­pers, rit­ual mur­ders, the mil­i­tants and politi­cians who want to win elec­tion in a door die way. They are now get­ting in­volved in hu­man sac­ri­fices just to make money; make name or win elec­tion. The evil of Nige­ria has reached the high heav­ens. So, the way I see it this year, is what God said to me that it is a year of ‘Slay­ing those Gi­ants? And this year has an acro­nym – Last: It is a year that will last in the mem­o­ries of cit­i­zens. It is a year that comes with light to ex­pose the evil works of many. It will help us see the fu­ture ahead. Peo­ple will be­come aware of the state of the na­tion. It will bring more il­lu­mi­na­tion for ad­vance­ment to us.

A- stands for ad­vance­ment but for ad­ver­sity for those who would want to con­tinue in their evil and per­ni­cious ways.

S – stands for sab­o­tage. It will start with the com­ing elec­tions. Those who said yes in the open will say no at the polling booths. It is a year of sur­prises and em­bar­rass­ments for some peo­ple.

De­spite what you said about the role the church played in the phys­i­cal econ­omy of Nige­ria in the last year, how would you rate the church in terms of cor­rup­tion and un­righ­teous­ness?

Don’t go there. It is far from ex­pec­ta­tions. Nige­rian churches are not there at all. Only few are still march­ing on; they are hardly seen; they are un­der­ground. What we see to­day is that many of them are gath­er­ing money just to build ed­i­fices like the peo­ple who built the tower of Ba­bel; just for their hon­our and glory. Only a few are bless­ing God will obe­di­ence and ac­cept­able ser­vice. Some have even gone to ac­quire oc­cult pow­ers just to be seen as be­ing pow­er­ful. The level of de­cep­tion is very high.

Now, elec­tions are by the cor­ner and peo­ple are say­ing true Chris­tians should go into pol­i­tics to change the wrong way things are done there. But there are also some peo­ple who ar­gue that the Chris­tians who are there are not show­ing the light. What ac­tu­ally do you think is the trou­ble with Chris­tians go­ing into par­ti­san pol­i­tics in Nige­ria?

I think things have gone so bad in the na­tion’s pol­i­tics that it is even pos­si­ble to be­lieve those who are into oc­cult than those who hide un­der Chris­tian­ity. Those in the oc­cult know that neme­sis will catch up with them, whereas those hid­ing un­der Chris­tian­ity are still de­ceiv­ing them­selves.

So, if that is the case, where lies the so­lu­tion?

The so­lu­tion is in what God is do­ing this year. You are go­ing to see some de­mys­ti­fi­ca­tion this year. If they had al­lowed the youth to come into pol­i­tics, they would have learnt, but the youth have no foun­da­tion in Nige­ria at all. The foun­da­tion they have is car­ry­ing the bags of old politi­cians, rig­ging of elec­tions, who do you know; your god­fa­ther and your fi­nan­cial base and worth. That’s all they know that mat­ter in pol­i­tics. All the laws that could have been made now to give us a new Nige­ria have been aban­doned. One would have thought that by now we would have ad­vanced to the point of stay­ing in our homes and vot­ing. We don’t need to come to the polling booths; merge the per­son’s iden­tity with the fel­low’s bank ac­count and other items of iden­ti­fi­ca­tion/ par­tic­u­lars, and you will see that this thing called cor­rup­tion would be re­duced to the barest min­i­mum if not al­to­gether wiped out in some cases. We thought that by now they should have put it into the laws and statutes of gov­ern­ment that any per­son go­ing to vie for an elec­tion, gen­er­a­tion of the fund must come from the pub­lic and not from the in­di­vid­ual. That would mean that those as­pir­ing to pub­lic of­fice would be­gin early to plan and it would be only for those who have the ser­vant-leader heart; and not those whose only mo­tive to go there is self-en­rich­ment.

Gov­ern­ment says it has out­lawed hate speech but crit­ics say gov­ern­ment is even more guilty in this case than any other per­son…

What you sow you will reap; don’t bring hate ac­tion that will pro­voke your brother who has been pushed to the wall. He has gone into the wall and you are still push­ing him; what then do you ex­pect of him? He should not de­fend him­self? Our peo­ple say, you don’t beat a child and still stop the child from cry­ing out. If he cries out and talks you say it is hate speech.

Now, the ques­tion is, what con­cerns do you have for the 2019 gen­eral elec­tion?

I had some con­cerns be­fore, not any more. This is be­cause if not God there is no hope; I know that Nige­ria is big­ger than those who are beat­ing the drum of war. Nige­ria will sur­vive it. Nige­ria will come out of this and shine. It takes one ‘mad’ per­son to change the course of things, like what Jerry Rawl­ings did in Ghana. I am not sup­port­ing blood­shed; but if it is the only way to save Nige­ria, ‘O Lord, clean the Augean stable’. If that is the only way to get things work for us in Nige­ria, let God have his way.

Noth­ing is work­ing. They con­tinue hop­ping from one ex­cuse to the other. To­day, they will say it is dam; to­mor­row they say it is dis­tri­bu­tion; that if they gen­er­ate so much, no dis­tribu­tive ca­pac­ity. An­other one now they will tell you that all the things we need have ar­rived at the Wharf in Apapa and that they have been cleared but no fa­cil­ity to dis­trib­ute them. When there is fa­cil­ity; they will come up with ‘O, they have stolen them’. Now, the min­istry has com­pounded the prob­lem by mak­ing bud­get for the pur­chase of gen­er­a­tors. No hope. I tell you, any­body try­ing to tell you that Nige­ria is work­ing well should ex­am­ine his head, and ask the fel­low if he/she saw Nige­ria when I saw Nige­ria. I was born in 1954. Nige­ria was like a huge aero­plane that took off; but some­thing hap­pened midair; it force-landed and since then ev­ery at­tempt to make it fly again has been in vain. Gen­er­a­tion of en­gi­neers have come and worked on it with­out suc­cess. They don’t even know how to get the parts not to talk of how to do it.

We are see­ing all man­ner of en­dorse­ment of can­di­dates by pas­tors. There are too many prophe­cies and counter prophe­cies about the com­ing elec­tion right from the pul­pit. What should be the ac­cept­able lim­its of these pro­nounce­ments from the pulpits?

I have told you that when God wants to help a man, he will be us­ing nat­u­ral forces su­per­nat­u­rally to en­able him gain mo­men­tum and his en­e­mies los­ing mo­men­tum. They will still be ex­plain­ing it away un­til the fi­nal hour. When you in­ter­viewed me on for­mer Pres­i­dent Good­luck Jonathan in those days, I told you that God said I should not say any­thing about Jonathan; that it is the end that would jus­tify the pur­pose why he was placed there. We saw what hap­pened in 2015. It was the step he took that averted war in the coun­try at that time. In some states, the mo­men­tum will be ris­ing; while it will be go­ing down in some. At the fed­eral level; peo­ple will change their mind at the point of cast­ing their votes at the polling booth; last minute de­ci­sion. But I must tell you that the way the elec­tion will go even­tu­ally, there will be noth­ing like ‘They rigged it’, this time. The thing has gone the way it should go al­ready. Those proph­esy­ing are proph­esy­ing for the sake of it.

Leonard Umunna

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