• Monday, April 22, 2024
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2023: Elect leaders with pedigree for success – OAIC President

2023: Elect leaders with pedigree for success – OAIC President


Israel Akinadewo, prelate, Motailatu Church Cherubim & Seraphim Worldwide (MCCSW), a forensic accountant and senior lecturer at the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, was also newly-inaugurated president, Organisation of African Instituted Churches (OAIC). In this interview, he spoke on his plan for the OAIC and some other national issues. Excerpts by SEYI JOHN SALAU:

Congratulations on your recent installation as the sixth OAIC President. What development initiatives do you intend to implement?

Thanks greatly and the glory is solely to Jehovah God. The details of the plans for our organisation are extensively explained in my acceptance speech that I tagged ‘Effective Building on the Foundation laid by our founding Leaders.’ In conjunction with my co-labourers, one of the specific plans is to educate the public of the historical activities of this foremost African Indigenous group.

Some of us have attended seminaries and theological colleges but with little or no historical discussions of our concept, spiritual identities and contributions to Christendom. Even when discussed, it is incorrect information about who we really are.

Therefore, we want to create the platform in which we want to tell our own stories for the edification and use of the present and future Christian communities and the larger public. I also intend to drive the establishment of OAIC Theological journal.

This, when actualized, will support our theological vision and assist not just theologians in OAIC but will be of international standard that will accommodate global contributors.

The imperative of training of leaders will drive my resolve to increase the participation and the frequency of leadership retreats for our members. We will also embark on massive empowerment activities for our women and youth.

One thing that I have learnt about women – our mothers, wives, daughters and sisters is that when they are empowered, they think more of the growth of their families more than the contemporary men.

For the youth, we will prioritise the effective development of the youth through organising programmes that will not only keep them busy from societal ills and damaging youthful exuberant behaviours, but that which will make them useful for themselves, the church and the nation.

We know succession has been a huge challenge for many African organisations either as a church or business; why is this so?

I want to say that this could be attributed to lack of submission to the direction of the Holy Spirit. In the scripture, God chose those that He wanted to use, Jesus Christ, repeated this with the 12 disciples and the post ascension conversion of Apostle Paul. We could also see in the Acts of Apostle chapter 1 verses 15 to 26, when the disciples wanted to replace Judas Iscariot with Matthias.

They prayed, fasted and casted lot. Thus, when spirituality takes pre-eminence, there won’t be any acrimony in Christian leadership. Simply said, we must accept the decision of God in all cases. This was shown greatly at the OAIC General Assembly that brought me as the president.

The OAIC for the first time produced the CAN President; what is the implication for the body of Christ in Nigeria?

God is to be thanked for this and also the Christian leadership in Nigeria for the thoughtfulness and spirit of inclusivity that pervaded the mind of our people when the constitution was being reviewed.

Whilst showing gratitude to the blocs of CAN for this fellowship decision, it is not out of place to also credit my bloc (OAIC) for showing love and unity, by agreeing to send a candidate without any rancour.

This exemplified who we are as a bloc. Be that as it may, the Christian community is already seeing the advocacy nature of Most Rev Daniel Okoh, the CAN President. Doubtless, it is a breakthrough, not only for OAIC, but TEKAN/ECWA too and the unity of the church in general as scripturally stated in John 17 verse 21.

Is the OAIC going to give direction to members on the forthcoming 2023 general election?

If I heard the CAN President aptly, he made mention that Christians will not endorse candidates, but individuals should vote for anyone that is prepared to effectively perform the task of governance.

This is where we stand. However, that won’t stop my bloc to subtly sensitise our members without public pronouncements.

With the rate of insecurity across the country, some persons have expressed concern that the 2023 election might not hold; what do you think?

I am a prophet and servant of God. Having said that, I have also learnt to always look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. With this, I know that the election will be held by the special grace of God and Nigeria will be a better and a more fruitful country.

Some people have raised concern over CBN’s redesigning of the Naira: what is your take?

Those criticisms are economically irrelevant. As a financial expert myself, the physical beauty of the Naira has no visible economic values but will only increase its cost of production.

From my financial expertise’s perception, it can never be a misplaced priority but a long overdue step to mop up ill-gotten wealth, improve the exchange rate value of naira through local production and at the same time, have effective regulatory control over black market speculators that seem to have unofficially aided the drop in the value of our currency.

So, as a financial expert, what model should Nigeria adopt to get out of the woods?

This is simple; elect leaders with pedigree for success, increase support for education, encourage innovative ideas, pray for our dear nation, pray for our leaders and be objective in our criticisms.

When these are done, we will be one of the sought-after nations. We have the capacity, the population, the intellect and the materials.

Currently, many Nigerians are scared of travelling by road due to the recurring insecurity across the country; what is your take on this?

Whilst the religious leaders have suffered tremendously in the hands of these kidnappers, I would like to state that it is devoid of religious affiliation and social backgrounds.

These satanic agents are just after anyone. How does one explain the kidnapping of a youth corps member along Abuja-Kaduna road, as reported by major newspapers?

One of the key indicators to economic growth is the security of lives, property, the territorial boundaries and easy movement of people to markets of different kinds.

When people are hindered in any way, as it is seen with these bandits and terrorists, then, it will stall the growth of the nation. As read in the dailies, there has been improvement recently but the fear is still very palpable.

How can we as a people address the increasing rate of depression considering our socio-economic challenges?

As an academic, I have learnt not to make statements based on public sentiments but on empirical evidence. It is generally believed that the economy and failed relationships have contributed to this, but you will be surprised if a study is carried out and what the result could be.

People are depressed for several reasons, which might be known only by the depressed. This is what research does. Few weeks ago, I was teaching 400 level students in Forensic Accounting and I told them about the psychological skill of forensic accountants.

You could have a young person that is well taken care of and attends the best school, but feeling sad as a result of not having the opportunity to move around town like the children of the poor.

Read also: Why 2023 election should concern Nigerian elite

So, having the time to study people around us and helping them in time, helps to assuage problems brought by depression. What I am saying is that parents and leaders, especially religious leaders should be conscious of the strange behaviours of people around them.

What is your assessment of Nigeria’s education sector on the back of the recent tertiary education reform 2022, organised by the office of the speaker of the House of Representatives?

This is indeed a very good question. One thing that we, as citizens of this country, have failed to critically examine is to statistically understand the revenue of the government vis-à-vis the numerous respective expenditures.

Having said this, I am also one of the proponents of the school of thought that believes that education should really be decentralised within arriving at what I will refer to in economics terms as break-even-point.

A break-even-point is that by which income equals expenditure. We also need to thank the church in this way for establishing schools at different levels in those years when private ones have not been this pronounced.

Several of the past and current leaders attended missionary schools where they were properly tutored not only in their chosen areas, but morally too with a high level of godliness.

Secondly, I have also told some of my colleagues in academia of the need to encourage the government to give education loans to students.

To be honest to ourselves, the total package of the university dons, in all ramifications is very poor.

The people are going through very tough times and it is unfortunate that such is happening in a country as big as Nigeria. It is when you are in the system that you can appreciate the quality of the Nigerian university lecturers.

Despite the low level of infrastructure and other needed support that ought to enhance the level of education in tertiary institutions, we still have some of the best in the world (stand to be corrected on this).

Let there be a bit of decentralisation, with the government giving loans to the students, which should be recovered on instalments when they are employed and or when they start their own businesses.

When this is done, then, the salary will be much increased without having to rely fully on the government, so as to abate the constant strikes in the public institutions.