Our stand at CRIL is for individual voter to be accountable to his conscience – Rev Adegbolagun
Nigeria is currently at the height and heat of the 2023 general election, and while individuals and groups are grappling with what opinions to form and decisions to take on the candidates, particularly the presidential candidates, Solomon Aderibigbe Adegbolagun, the National President of Centre For Righteous Living (CRIL), a faith-based Non-Governmental Organisation, has come out to help individuals and groups finding it very difficult to know what to do, make a choice. Looking into the Nigerian situation, the economy, the religious and ethnic situations, Adegbolagun spoke on what is possibly expectedto be the outcome of the voting decisions in 2023 and the implications, with the hope that the elections would run its normal course and the country will still remain together. Excerpts by SEYI JOHN SALAU:
Looking at the candidates that want to become Nigeria’s president, which of them do you (CRIL) want the Church to support?
Before we name one, Christian leaders are chickening out because they have many political party members in their churches, and they don’t want problems in their churches. But for us, at CRIL, we are called to educate the Church on issues such as this, and we are bold enough to say it as it should be said. Equally too, when you see a prophet of God (I am not saying I am a prophet), he will tell you the mind of God.
I have got two or three of such prophets saying conflicting things about what they said God was saying, and God cannot conflict himself and that is why we in CRIL want to look at the criteria around the candidates and tell you our mind about who you should vote for in this coming election.
What role will the unity among the Church play in relation to the 2023 elections?
We need to talk about the lack of unity among Church Leaders, this is going to affect the Church vote because there are various ‘voices of God’ coming from the Church. CAN itself stood firmly when it started first on rejection of Muslim-Muslim ticket. Rejection of Muslim-Muslim ticket is very important and basic. In fact, the PFN took a very strong and determined position when the National President of PFN Bishop Wale Oke called a Solemn Assembly in Abuja, to the glory of God I was sponsored to that programme by the Elders at the Gate, a group of Elders to which I belong in Ikeja. There were great prayerful and down to earth sessions seeking the face of God at that meeting. We were very convinced that God answered our prayers.
In fact, after the whole thing we were very happy to blow a trumpet of victory and I believe God answered the prayers of the church, that issue of Muslim-Muslim ticket would not work and it would be a child of God that would become the President of Nigeria. That was the basis on which CAN was also standing. But from what we are seeing right now, even the PFN has modified its stand. I equally heard the National President of PFN speaking at a conference in Lagos.
After exalting the whole PFN leaders with Isaiah 62 verses 1 to 4, seeing a greater future for the country, he warned the people not to vote on religious lines but to vote on competence, capacity, and soundness of health, so he has clearly told the people to vote wisely and vote their conscience.
What do you think are the implications on the Church?
What I am saying is that if ‘God-fathers’ can gather together it is not impossible for God to speak to them and say this is where to go, however, I want to warn that if God says, A is the president of Nigeria, it does not mean that Nigerians will accept the person.
The Church should be united, our leaders should come out and speak clearly, saying go and vote for your conscience is not good enough. God must have been speaking to them and they should be truthful and righteous enough to say what it is. A number of them have been speaking but they are not consistent, they are running around, it is essential to know who they are talking about and not somebody else.
If you say they have been speaking but not directly: who do you then consider as the man of the moment?
God has really given us a man of the moment and we should not deceive ourselves. We have been crying that justice is essential in the Nigerian polity. God has really answered our prayers. One, the Northerners have ruled this nation, the South Westerner has ruled this nation, South-South has ruled, the only area that has not been able to rule Nigeria is the South East and probably the North East, but the North is solidly one, we are not one in the South.
So therefore, the next person who should be the president of this country should come from the South East. But it is not constitutional that we should be moving from one region to another, so anybody coming from the South East should be able to garner the interest and the support of everybody all over Nigeria especially from the other zones. He should be able to get the people from the North East, North Central, South West and South-South, on his side, and that is what we are still lacking in the man of the moment. The man of the moment that God has given to us seems to have solutions to how things should be done, and we should be excited about it.
The man of the moment that God has given to us is talking more to the youth and the youth are the ones that should rule this nation. The youth are the larger percentage of those who can vote and put the president there. If they can come together, I can assure you that we will get that man of the moment to be the next president. But because of money, because of interest, that may not be. In fact, the Labour Congress in Lagos is already declaring for the party of their governor. How much more?
The man of the moment may not be able to sail through in 2023, simply because of the contending avalanche of the situation I have explained to you, but I will appeal to all right-thinking Christians and the church in particular, that Peter Obi is the one that can bring us to our expected end. Peter Obi is the one that can bring about the economic revolution of production and not importation in our country. Peter Obi is not necessarily a religious candidate but the real candidate of the moment. He is the candidate that can bring us from the level of doldrums of economic woes to success.
But what do you say about the Tinubu factor in the forthcoming election?
What we have right now that may make things difficult for Peter Obi is the presence and factor of Bola Ahmed Tinubu. He has laboured in this nation and he has an ambition to be the president of Nigeria. He has had it for a long time now and he has been working and labouring for it. He has gone to every part of the country especially the North and he has their support. He has raised many, he has helped to bring some into governance, and he feels a good turn deserves another.
His labouring spans over 30 years that he has been willing to be the president of this country; he has gathered enough money and men all over Nigeria. Legally he has created sources of wealth for himself. Even though they call it corruption, you can’t take him to court and find him faulted.
Read also: My mission is to rescue Nigeria from shackles of backwardness, says Obi
What is the option for Peter Obi today?
We believe in CRIL that Peter Obi may have his way in 2023. But if that happens we are very confident that the experience of what is going to happen having satisfied his interest and urge, and having seen how things would turn out because the next government is going to be tough for Nigeria, and people may likely throw any underperforming government out of office, we will not have any option but to go to the choice of God which is Peter Obi and that is why I will advise Peter Obi of the Labour Party to take it cool.
If he eventually doesn’t win in 2023, he should spend the next four years in preparation for 2027, but whosoever wins this election, we should rally round and support him because it is not going to be easy for the next president, it is not due to his own fault. The PDP destroyed this nation with corruption, and because of the issue of insecurity, recession and the 2020 Covid-19, the APC government at the Federal level could not perform as expected, even though you cannot blame them all through.
Our current government has put Nigeria into such a huge debt that any incoming government would not find it easy. Nigerians are going to go through a difficult time, and therefore whoever is going to be the next president should not be envied because he will have a challenging and difficult time, and so if Peter Obi does not come in and get through this year, and the Labour Party decides to work so hard with him, have Senators, House of Rep members then 2027 may likely be more glorious time for him to be President.
What is your view on the 2023 election and the future of Nigeria?
Again, we want to thank God for the country, the nation of Nigeria will stand, it will not break into pieces now, even though there can be break in the future because the constitution of Nigeria is fraudulent and it is going to be rewritten because the people really need to gather and have their own constitution, and not until that has happened we may not have a good governance in this nation.
But whatever it is, we will manage what we have now, our own advice to the nation right now is that whoever comes in 2023 we should try and rally round him; we should envisage that he may not spend more than four years in government if it is not Peter Obi. For us in CRIL Peter Obi is our candidate; Peter Obi is the man of the moment, Peter Obi is the man of the future, and we call on you all to let us install him now, and if that does not happen now, let us install him later. May the Lord bless Nigeria; we will all get better and stronger, economically, politically and righteously in Jesus name. Amen.