Tope Ilesanmi, Lead Pastor, Revival Summit Ministries and Chairman, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Ikeja Province, in a recent ‘The state of the Nation’ address spoke about Nigeria’s current socio-economic and political atmosphere, general insecurity across the country; he also advised the electorate to vote in people with the needed capacity to deliver campaign promises. Excerpts by SEYI JOHN SALAU:
As political parties round off their campaign towards the general election; what would be your word of advice to the electorate?
Each of the parties has made enough noise during the campaign. The rest is left to each citizen to analyse and decide who to vote for. It’s my hope that there will be enough security agents to protect the electorate. If otherwise, I advise everyone not to endanger his/her life; as some political parties have issued threats to displace whoever fails to vote their candidates.
With the recent signing of an executive order setting up a transition committee; President Buhari has given Nigerians the needed reassurance of leaving office by May 29. What do you think are the implications for the polity?
Buhari’s exit may not mean any good if wrong persons are elected to replace him. So, what will determine a joyful exit of PMB is the emergence of a President with competence, capacity and character. Our Nation Nigeria is suffocating; let’s cry for divine help – just as Moses sought the face of God to hear the word of the Lord for the nation of Israel. So, I have been seeking the face of God to hear His words and His counsel for the nation. When you say a counsel; the choice of decision is with the counselee – the counselor humbly and respectfully allows the counselee to decide. This is different from a commandment; it is different from a decree. Going through a history of apostolic prophecy for this nation; Nigeria is to be a peculiar treasure in the hand of God. A nation to be well distinguished in this end-time just as America was once well distinguished in so many areas. So, that was what God was planning for Nigeria, and out of that, God intended us to produce a kingdom of priests and above all, a holy nation. Truly, He planned to make us a kingdom of priests and a holy nation unto Himself, yet the enemies/leaders seem to have finally steered the ship of this nation to a wreck. Let me pretend as I don’t know the reasons why they are doing these.
Don’t you think it’s anti-climax for some political blocs to be clamouring for power to shift to the south, a few days to the presidential election?
As traditional politicians, they may be correct because Nigerians view themselves through tribalism and ethnicity. Of course, it may be because of the complexity, but I know there are countries that have more ethnic groups than us. What Nigeria really needs now: if they can search for the best materials. In management, we call them level five leaders actually. That is leaders who have the knowledge to actually know who and who are needed in any department of the organisation. So, that should be the proper thing. On the other hand, because of the way Nigeria is structured – they (southern governors) may be correct in their own way.
What are your thoughts concerning the 2023 general election?
But then concerning election 2023, I gave a Word of Wisdom in 2021 that PMB should not subject Nigeria to another election torture. And that if PMB wants to redeem his already battered image, he should step aside, and hand it over as Babangida did in 1993. Fellow Nigerians, great intercessors, and well-meaning Nigerians, the handwriting on the wall of this nation requires another divine intervention like 1993, if evil history will not repeat itself over us. The good news is that there is a God that knows the end from the beginning – the same God sets up kings and removes kings. We need him now as He did in 1993 and 1998 that ushered in a respite of civilian rule in 1999. So, let’s change our mind to know His mind. He has the prerogative to choose through any means. We may be confused, but our God is not confused, and He knows the best way out. However, in selecting a team of Midwives for the new Nigeria, kindly use 1 Samuel 12:3 as a yardstick: no bribe, no tribalism, no corruption, no scandal, no perversion, no criminal record: but bold and brave, God fearing, a self-accomplished individual who has successfully built an institution, a nationalistic citizen, clearly understands the ethno-religious diversity of the nation, and with handy solutions.
Earlier, you spoke about the writing on the wall: could it be that Nigeria is trying to replay the 2015 scenario?
Well, I have told you some time ago that as far as Nigeria is concerned, the present crop of political leaders cannot take the country to her destination because this is the mind that rules the system. They don’t really have the mind of building Nigeria as a nation. For that reason – what is objective is not their focus: you will agree with me that what is in the mind of 90 percent of them is what is in it for me. Once that becomes the motive, though there is a critical subject before them, they will set it aside. That is just the problem.
Looking at the level of insecurity in the country, what do you think security operatives can do differently to savage the situation?
Yes. Kaduna is having a lion share of kidnapping at the moment, but down the south too, we have our own. There is no place in Nigeria that is safe. When I went on a spirituality index a few weeks ago, only Lagos State seems to be working – some are in the red zone, some are in the amber zone, while Lagos and one other state are in green. It is so bad that when you have 90 percent of all the states faced with insecurity, I feel the best thing for this man called the president is to step aside. Babangida did it. So, let him step aside for someone else to lead. This is because there is nothing you can suggest to the president that he will use. State police that many states are trying to resort to, may to some extent, help them. Amotekun will somehow help them. But, when that thing will turn against us as a nation, because the governors that have put them together – they themselves are immature in leadership. So, they will use it against the system in years to come. The best that we need right now, if Buhari wants to solve the problem, it won’t take him more than one week. It’s just for him to tell the Air Force people to bomb everywhere they see these people. They know where they are – an investigative journalist wrote some time ago that he was tracing the movement of bandits that kidnapped his friend (in the morning, in the evening; in the morning, in the evening). So, this thing is not cast in iron – it is something that can be done, but since the leadership of this nation is not sincere there is nothing they can do about it than to step aside and allow people that at least want Nigeria to succeed.
Finally, what is your view on the CBN’s naira redesign and the reactions it has generated across the country so far?
The postponement of judgment on the Naira Swap is a sign of gross insensitivity by the Supreme Court Justices. They have betrayed the hope of the common masses.
Even while they want the status quo maintained, the mayhem seeing around the country demand that a judgment that will immediately abate the sufferings of the citizens should have been adjudicated. The next one week spells doom for banks. Even if they shut down, angry mobs will continue to vandalise properties – because a hungry man is an angry man! However, I plead with all Nigerians of means to please extend care, foods and other necessities of life to their neighbours. Again, those who want to cross this phase of their lives should calm themselves of tension and rage, else they might become victims. My sincere prayer is that God will hack this government from the hands of the enemies of the nation.
If the court rules on Naira Swap on Wednesday February 22,2023; will three days to election be enough to correct the damage done to the election via Naira scarcity, perished farm produce causing hunger, or concerted campaign that should have been done three weeks earlier?