• Friday, April 19, 2024
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Why many Nigerians do not believe in palliative option of government – Archbishop Ojo

Nigeria @63: Where is the change agent role of the Church?

Joseph Ojo, founder and General Overseer Calvary Kingdom Church (CKC) International, Lagos, spoke with SEYI JOHN SALAU on the state of the nation and why Nigeria must fix her refineries to beat down the price of petroleum products in Nigeria. Excerpts:

As things get harder, many are looking to the church for assistance more than ever before; what help can the church render in this situation?

I think the role of the church has been according to the Bible is to pray for the government – right? We are praying for them. You know when you are trying to give serious fact-led suggestions they think you are partisan. What we do in a case like that is to maintain our God-given role of praying for those in authority; praying for those in government. Asking that God bless those in authority – I think God knows how to do it. I think the role of the church is to keep praying, that’s our God-given responsibility. For those who are courageous enough to enter politics, may the Lord bless them (I mean the pastors and leaders); but I will maintain my primary role – I will pray for them.

What about members; what can the church do?

What the church can do for their members is to help them; give them suggestions on how they can put two plus two to earn four. Suggestions by ways of empowerment and getting them to be self-sufficient and to be self-sustaining also; that’s what the church can do – to look for ways of helping them to think of what to do.

People are saying that PFN as a body has been quiet since the inauguration of this administration; as a key stakeholder, what is your take?

PFN as a body has not been quiet; before the election, during the election and after the election. People that are thinking or saying that PFN is quiet are people that are expecting PFN to take a stand whether we are for this government or whether we are not for this government. As responsible PFN leadership, we cannot do a thing like that. Like any responsible body, the PFN is made up of people from different political parties; definitely we just have to be careful because we might make decisions which we think will please the majority of the people, which might not go down well. So, PFN is very outspoken but maybe it’s not the way people expect it – that’s why they are saying PFN is quiet but I know our leaders, those of us and the president have been talking, but very positive also. It may not be what people are expecting; they can’t expect PFN to come criticising and condemning. No; we are not condemners, we are reformers.

What is your take on the current economic crisis?

With the current economic situation in the country; I think we are just trying to have hope that things will improve, things will get better. I don’t know how God will do it but, I don’t think that leaders can be so heartless not to listen to the cry of the people. God will give them wisdom to find a way out of these really, hard times. Maybe by the time those who think they are green become brown, I am sure God would have heard our prayers because many of them are trying to rely on the reserves that they already put in place. But the reserve will somehow fade; so, I pray that God will touch their hearts and ensure that there are some good policies that should reduce the level of suffering. Like the removal of the oil subsidy was a good thing but at the wrong time. I think the government should have settled down first, look at how things are going before implementing a policy as strategic as that. We are just hoping that things will get better; that’s the truth.

The president in his address on Monday read out some palliatives for MSMEs…

It will go back to their pocket, it doesn’t work. The people that will swallow it are like those people that said snakes swallowed how many billions the other time; so they are human snakes; so, it doesn’t work. Policies like that favour those that have already been favoured. It doesn’t work; they are not thinking about the poor masses because palliatives and all these things will end up in their pocket. They have their own people that it is going to – it does not work. That is not the type of policy that someone will think is meant to help the poor.

What approach would you want the government to adopt?

The approach I will suggest or wish is that before removal of the subsidy, which is too late now. All these billions; if they put half of it to revamp our refineries, the prices will come down. I have never seen them talk about fixing the refineries. At least, we have three, four refineries in this country; we are producing crude oil; we are exporting crude oil, and we are importing refined oil, it’s not good. If they have said, let’s save this money and we will put it to fix our refineries; within one year there will be a turn around and prices will come down. If we are refining here, definitely people will buy cheaper; that would have been my suggestion. I have never heard them talk about revisiting our refineries, so what are they actually looking for? They are just getting fatter because if we can fix the Warri, Kaduna and Port Harcourt refineries people will buy petrol cheaper, and all the small refineries that creek people are doing are being destroyed – people trying to use their brain to build small refineries are being pulled down. They are refining gold in Niger and other Northern states; they are not touching them, so they know what they are doing. One day God will judge the judge, and that will be the final thing.

Read also: Christians charged on faithful living without blemish

Are you pleased with what is happening in your home state of Edo?

I am currently in Edo State; though I am from Edo State, I am here now; but because I have not been here for years I cannot really talk about the politicking in Edo State. The only thing I can say is that I came into this place about five, six days ago – the roads are bad; worse among them is the federal roads. I think the way the government would have done it is not to make it too visible that they are anti-federal so that the citizens of this state will have some leverage. You know most of the federal roads in Benin City are written off – Sapele road, the bye-pass; it will take you almost two hours what would have taken you maybe 30 minutes. For example, I left my house to go for Mama Idahosa’s 80th birthday on Saturday; it took me two hours within Benin to get there. Before, it cannot take more than 30 minutes; so, it’s the level of understanding of the government – you don’t play politics that will affect your people drastically; you’ll use wisdom to manage situations. That is my take about happenings in Edo State.