• Sunday, May 19, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Nigerians have been in bondage because of absence of servant leaders – Archbishop Ojo

Nigeria will develop only when leaders begin to rule with the fear of God – Archbishop Ojo

The Founder and Senior Pastor of Calvary Kingdom Church (CKC) Joseph Ojo, who is also the national chairman, State Inauguration Committee of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), spoke with SEYI JOHN SALAU on the ongoing ASUU strike and the political situation of the country. Excerpts:

On Monday last week, ASUU extended its strike indefinitely; as someone with an interest in the education sector, what is your take on this?

First, I sympathise with ASUU all alone. But, if they are coming out to say the strike has been changed to indefinite nature – it means that they are not wise, they are not reasonable. There should be consensus; there should be some consideration, they should think about the plight and the number of years that these students will miss. They are not reasonable and are not responsible enough – no responsible organisation should do a thing like that. Leadership in a time like this is give and take.

At the moment almost all institutions of government in Nigeria are weak; how do we strengthen our institutions to deliver dividends of democracy to the citizenry?

To make our institutions work is an ideal thing; but we need to elect people that respect those institutions, not those that though it is on paper – violate it themselves. Those who don’t obey laws: in other countries everyone is respectful of the law (obeying the law). Who might be president, who might be governor; you are the same under the law. In Nigeria, until we elect people that will enact laws and be the first to obey it by showing good examples – if not, we are going nowhere. Someone who steals billions will still come out openly to campaign, and people still talk good of the person. Both the person and the people campaigning for them should be locked up in a sane society. At 73, I have seen this country from the beginning till the present day – I think if God helps and Nigerians close their rank, and not vote tribe; not vote religion, and vote for a Moses – a deliverer, then definitely I am sure we will have hope. But if we vote according to tribal or religious lines, Nigerians will regret it.

In voting for the right candidate: the PFN of which you belong during its last emergency meeting in Lagos reiterated its position on the same faith ticket. Some Nigerians are of the view that rather than attack the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket; the PFN should strategise on giving Nigerians block vote to deliver democratic goods. What is your view on this?

My position is the position of PFN and CAN. PFN is not alone; PFN is one over five of CAN. There are five blocs in CAN – my position in the position of PFN. Whatever I say now outside the decision of PFN is amounting to nothing. But why PFN are saying that – the same Nigerians will come and accuse us tomorrow that when a particular political party brought Muslim-Muslim ticket we didn’t say anything. They will still accuse us, that is why we are saying they didn’t respect us – the Christian populace- enough to have done that. Having said so; APC is not the only political party in Nigeria. There are other parties that don’t have Muslim-Muslim; so, that is why we are saying let people make the right choice. For me, I am not a politician and I don’t want to speak derogatory words or messages. What is APC? To me Asprin, Panadol, Cordine – that is the combination of APC. And, the manufacturer will say if symptoms persist after 3 days, consult a doctor – APC has ruled us for 7 years, it’s time we consult a doctor.

In a few weeks from today; Nigeria and Nigerians will be celebrating the country’s 62nd Independence anniversary; as someone who saw it at the start, what is your impression of the country today?

Nigeria at 62; from beginning to now, a lot has happened and those of us that were at least old enough to know what was happening during independence; we saw all over great sense of freedom and anticipation, joy of nationhood. Though we were young – I was in Primary 5, I was 11years old. As much as the population was then, everyone enjoyed it. All the students and pupils; both primary, secondary and universities – we had free food in anticipation of a freed nation that would grow to be able to impact on the citizens and what other nations that have been freed before then were enjoying. But, 63 years down the road I think – to me, we need a second independence. If leaders are courageous enough, the countries that know how to do these things will come and show us the way. We have not made progress anywhere; we have succeeded in changing names: take NEPA for example, I don’t know what they even call them now whether EKDC. We began those days with ECN but still no improvement. We had four (4) regions when Nigeria started in 1963 it became four regions with the Midwest where I come from was carved out of the west – we have western region, we have eastern region, and we have the northern region. Today, we have 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory that is equivalent to a state; but in these entirely nothing to show forth. When I first went to the U.S, my return ticket was N1,500 – Naira was bigger than the dollar; but today the reverse is the case. To me, I think we can mark our independence but we shouldn’t celebrate it. We don’t celebrate non-achievement; we don’t celebrate failure.

Read also: After killing public universities, FG now hands over tertiary education to private investors

Election is around the corner and we have politicians seeking our votes meeting in London; does this send any message to you as a preacher?

The message they are passing across to people is that there is more security in London than in Nigeria. In London, no one will attack you; but in Nigeria, they will be looking all over their shoulders because nobody is secured in Nigeria – even the politicians are not secured themselves. Nobody is advocating anything evil, but the truth is – these leaders need to come to their senses and come with the attitude of a servant. What has held us in bondage is that we have not had servant leaders. We are praying that one day Nigerians, especially the poor people will understand that the more they take money from these politicians and vote for those who are not competent, the poorer they will become. Until they throw their money back to their face and openly curse them on the street, and vote for people who will not give them money but will give them security, development, and hope for children yet unborn – then Nigeria will be free; we will get out of the hood. But, now people are buying votes. Foolish and vulnerable Nigerians are taking peanuts selling their future. All Nigerians are not Christians, but those of us who are Christians should understand that for a morsel of meal Esau lost it all, and that is something that will happen to some of them. I just pray that God will help us, and we get it right in 2023.