Primate Akinola: Politicians are doing things with impunity because Nigerians are docile

Primate Akintola

Some Nigerians say Buhari is incompetent, clueless and tribalistic. Others are of the view that Atiku may be competent, but he is corrupt. These are the two leading candidates and one of them will win. How do you see the scenario playing out?

The problem we have at hand is a very serious one and as a clergyman, my first reaction is to say the solution is far beyond human understanding.

It is not what human beings can easily comprehend because the problems are so fundamental and varied. Those saying President Buhari is incompetent and clueless have their reasons. They may have facts that we don’t have.

Going by empirical history, we know that General Buhari was one time Minister of Petroleum and Natural Resources. During that time, there were long queues and petroleum scarcity in the country.

After 40 years, Buhari returned as Nigeria’s President and we still have fuel crises. We are still talking about subsidy, and there is no solution to petroleum crises.

If you look at our condition three years ago and where we are today, it is obvious to many people that things are not the way they should be.

This government came to power, promising adequate security of life and property, zero tolerance for corruption and that the economy will bounce back. Those were three areas on which this government anchored its actions.

There have been more deaths of innocent Nigerians than ever before. These include those killed by Boko Haram and those people mercilessly murdered by Fulani herdsmen. Our President said one time that his administration had technically won the fight against Boko Haram.

The question now is, which of these two describes the president: Mr. Clueless and Incompetent or Mr. Corruption? I don’t know. I am a clergyman and I cannot be saying false prophecies, which God has not revealed to me.

The only thing I will say is that Nigerians who still believe in this country should pray earnestly for God to choose for us a leader that will take this country to the Promised Land.

If Atiku is corrupt, has he repented? Has he changed? Is God giving him another chance? I don’t know. I have not been shown that.

What Buhari has been unable to do in the last three to four years, would Atiku be able to do them, if given a chance? If Nigerians truly believe in the Nigeria project and they cry fervently to God Almighty, repent of our sins and past shortcomings, He will choose for us.

If they have repented and God wants to use one of them, it is up to Him to decide. Nobody assumes responsibility of this nation without God knowing about it.

If Atiku is being accused of corruption, has he been found guilty by any court of law? If you accuse someone of being corrupt, then you go to ICPC, EFCC or any of the courts.

Has anybody brought him to any of the courts of law and found him guilty? No. I cannot say he is corrupt or not.

Which Nigerian leader has not been accused of corruption? Right from Independence? Awolowo was accused of corruption.

Same for Atiku, Ahmadu Bello, Shehu Shagari and Muritala Mohammed. Gen Buhari was also accused of corruption when he was the chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). But God has His own way of changing people.

Boko Haram seems not to be losing the war against the military…

In my view, Boko Haram is a religious organisation, whether the Muslims agree or not. Boko Haram does not praise Christ; they are doing what they do in the name of Allah.

Boko Haram is a jihadist movement. And for God’s sake, stop calling them terrorists or insurgents.

Their concern and aims are to have Nigeria Islamised and to establish Sharia as the only means of justice, so that our educational system, military, banking and political system, among others will be dictated by sharia. But they are fighting in the name of politics.

We are deceiving ourselves by calling them terrorists or insurgents, as they are jihadists.

When we were growing up, the nomadic herdsmen reared their cattle by carrying only the shepherd’s stick, torchlight and a small radio. But today, they are carrying sophisticated imported weapons.

The question is: how did such weapons get into the country, with all the Customs and Immigration officials at our borders? Who pays for these weapons, distribution and also train those who handle such weapons?

The government wouldn’t answer such questions because such cannot happen without tacit support. The government should be held solely responsible for herdsmen tortuous and brutal murder of innocent Nigerians in the Christian dominated part of the North.

Should Buhari alone be blamed for the worrisome situation in the country?

Whoever steps forward and says he wants to lead must be prepared to do so by example. He/she must be open and transparent.

What is here in Nigeria to praise anybody for? What have we seen in the last seven years that is commendable? I am neither a partisan politician nor an economist. I am a pastor.

Nigeria is engrossed in horrible sins. We continue to defy God, fellow human beings and everything. We live in sin. Indeed, we celebrate sin everyday.

We kill and shed innocent blood. We lie, we cheat, we defraud and engage in all the bad things we are not supposed to. We do all these and do them faithfully. My Bible tells me we cannot continue to live in sin and expect God’s grace to abound.

There is so much hypocrisy, too much untruthfulness and so much murder everywhere. All these cannot continue and we expect positive things to happen.

Until we as a people return to God, repent and express our remorse, sorrow and regret over our past behaviours, God will not answer us.

But Africans pray and worship God more than the prosperous countries…

Are Britain and America where they are supposed to be today? They are living on past glory. They have ceased to be Christian countries. They have removed God from their way of thinking. They have put God into their backyard.

Nigeria claims to be a multi-religious country. The majority are Muslims and Christians, but they are violating everything.

Talk of Singapore, China, Saudi Arabia and Israel. How God deals with individual country is within His sovereignty. It is up to Him, I am not God.

All I know is that this country called Nigeria claims to be a multi-religious society, but is making a mockery of that claim. And as long as we continue to make mockery of our religions, the God we claim to believe in, it cannot go well with us.

Some Nigerians are frustrated with the presidential system and are calling for parliamentary system. What is your view?

From day one, I have never supported the presidential system, because our democracy is too young. We are not mature enough to handle it.

Secondly, we don’t have the resources to support this very expensive system. We had the parliamentary system before and I don’t think those involved were full time parliamentarians.

Politics in Nigeria today is the most lucrative business, apart from kidnapping. Politicians will do anything to get what they want; we only have to pray to God.

Can you foresee free and fair elections this year?

That is our hope, our desire, if the politicians would behave. If they won’t see it as do-or-die affair, but a call to service, then the election will be free, fair and violence free.

I don’t see Nigeria going up on fire nationally, but there might be pockets of difficulties here and there.

To avoid that, I appeal to politicians and beg them in the name of God not to take this as a do-or-die affair, but to see it as a call to service.

Is the Church not loudly silent about the worrisome situation in the country?

Yes the church will continue to be silent. There is what they call prophetic voice of the church, but something has happened to that voice in the last three years. It is either it has been compromised or silenced.

The churches that are now talking are like the adage that says, ‘when the mouth has eaten, the eyes will refuse to be put to shame.’ They wine and dine with politicians; hence they will refuse to say the truth.

Are you bothered that monies recovered from corrupt people are yet to be accounted for?

My question is this: How much have they recovered? Where is this money and what has it been used for? We don’t have all the facts. Nobody is giving us the facts and figures to know how we can respond to these issues.

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