• Monday, June 17, 2024
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‘Our duty as clergymen is to stand in the gap for Nigeria’

Why there will be surprises in Nigeria in 2023, by Bishop Anthony

The General Overseer of Kings in Christ Power Ministries International and President, Pentecostal Ministers Forum (PMF), Bishop Chidi Anthony, in this interview with SEYI JOHN SALAU, spoke on the oil subsidy removal and what he thinks President Bola Tinubu should have done before making the announcement. Excerpts:

The president announced on his inauguration day that fuel subsidy was gone; what is the position of the PMF on subsidy removal?

The truth is that for a very long time everybody is praying for the subsidy to be removed due to the fact that Nigeria has been spending billions of Naira on subsidies, which can be used for one or two other things. The subsidy can be used to build infrastructure, hospitals or any other thing. For me, I am not against it and I don’t think any reasonable person will be against it because we all know that it is for the betterment of the nation. But, where the problem is, is that it was not well thought out or planned before the president made that announcement. I do tell them in the church every day that we all blame our leaders because we have never found ourselves in such a position; most of us if we assume such office, we will do worse than the past president. Why am I saying this? This was just an announcement made to remove fuel subsidy but it’s yet to be implemented, but Nigerians have to hoard it just to hike the price of fuel. You cannot believe it, I bought a litre of fuel at N600. Not only buying at N600, the queue only is irritating. So, automatically what the president did to remove the subsidy is not bad; but before removing it they should have planned it rather than taking the entire nation unaware and creating more hardship for the people.

You don’t think Nigerians will adapt to this sudden price adjustment?

The moment the price of fuel increases the more every other thing will increase. Yes, the president had a meeting with other stakeholders in order to see how to put things in order. I strongly support President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on removing the subsidy – in fact, all the past presidents said they would remove it but nothing happened, but he decided to take the bull by the horns. But, he did the right thing at the wrong time, and in Nigeria we like to take advantage of issues. An announcement that was not made up to 24 hours some of the filling stations refused to sell and those that are selling hiked the price – in the East a litre of fuel is N1000. How can we cope in such a situation because we Nigerians are the ones creating problems for other Nigerians? If people can respond to just an announcement like this that means when they get to the position the president is they will do the worse. If we cannot help ourselves – I remember during the cash scarcity, you cannot believe that the same poor masses will suffer the implication; that will tell you that you need to pay N400 in order to get N10, 000. So, the problem of Nigeria is Nigerians. Automatically, I am not against the removal of fuel subsidy but what am against is that they did not arrange their house before making the announcement. Jesus said when a man wants to build a house what he needs to do first is to calculate the cost. Before such an announcement I think they were supposed to know the country we are in and how people will take advantage of it immediately. So, I am not against the removal of fuel subsidies.

Some people have complained about the inauguration when there is an ongoing case at the tribunal; what do you say to that?

President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for today is the president of Nigeria and there is no two ways about it. Some people might say the election was not free and fair, and we all saw what happened during the presidential election. But, one thing is clear and certain, if God does not watch over the city, all that watch watchest in vain. The Bible said Paul planted, Apollo watered, only God gave the increase. For him to be there means God wants him to be there – that is the truth. I think there was a time in Kogi State, where somebody ran a governorship election and while the results were being counted the man was leading, but the next thing we heard the following day was that the man had passed away. That means it is not the will of God for him to be there – for Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be in that seat though the case is still in the court, which we all are waiting to hear the outcome of what the tribunal will say at the end. But for now, so far as Nigeria exists as of today he is the president of Nigeria and there is nothing anybody can do about it.

Read also: Tinubu appoints Gbajabiamila Chief of Staff, Akume, SGF

What is your advice to the President?

I pray that our newly inaugurated president in the person of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu should look into the insecurity aspect of this nation because insecurity is something that all eyes have seen and if this thing continues like this there will be a time that people will not be able to travel to their individual villages, and it’s already happening. So, he has to look into that area because the beauty of every government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens. Then again, let him carry everybody along. The election has come and gone, whether NNPP, PDP, APGA or Labour Party, that era has passed; so let the president carry people along and let him not work based on whether this person is a party member or not. This is just my advice to him- let him look beyond tribe, beyond religion, let him look around the people that can deliver this nation. The entire six geopolitical regions should be carried along and he needs to check the records of people across the country to know the people he can bring onboard to work with him. Let him not say these people voted for me, these people did not vote for me. He should not neglect excommunicate any tribe for not supporting him. For now, he is the father of the nation and not the president of APC; he is not the president of Yoruba, he is not the president of Hausa or any other tribe. He is the president of Nigeria and also the father of the nation. So, my advice to Mr. President is to carry all the tribes, religion along and we are praying for him to do well.

What is the message of the PMF to the president?

The PMF is fully in support of the new president – do we have a choice? we don’t have a choice. He is already there, so all he needs is our prayers to support him. By His grace, God will lead him to give us the best. So, whether we support or we don’t support him has nothing to do with the situation on ground because he has assumed office. What we as clergymen, we as pastors, we that stand in the gap should intervene with prayers. When a law was passed by King Ahasuerus to kill all the Jews, Esther decided to take the bull by the horn and decided to be at the gap, being a mediator between the Jews and the palace. She said, If I perish, I perish, and finally God was with her and God gave the Jews victory. So, what I am saying in essence is that we as pastors can make this country better by prayers, and we will continue praying. Every last Saturday of the month every coordinator in every state of the PMF always organises a prayer for the nation. So, what we need now is prayers – whether you criticise him, whether you dont like his face, whether you dont like his character or whatever it is that you don’t like about him; he is the president and there is nothing anybody can do. PMF will give our support and continue to pray for him so that God will give him direction, and God help him to lift the suffering that we have suffered in the last eight years – the pains during the time of the cashless policy and others. I think we need to put him in prayers – that is what we need. At times these presidents when being elected have a good mind and really want to help the people, but at times they have sycophants around them that will not tell them the truth. So, what you find is that even the president don’t know what is happening sometimes because he can never be everywhere. So, our prayer is not only for President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, but our prayers should be that God should help him to bring people who have the fear of God in them to work with him so that at the end he will have good results. The PMF, which I am the president for now is solidly behind him and we will continue to pray for him that God will use him to help this nation because the nation is going down day by day; things are getting tougher day by day, and the more things happen the more the nation is sinking. I pray seriously for him and all the coordinators have been instructed to organise prayers for the new president so that God will help him to bring Nigeria out of this pit of pains, agony, and sorrow; so that at least for once Nigerians will smile.