Umunna at 68, insists Nigeria desperately needs selfless leaders

Leonard Umunna, bishop, founder, and general overseer of Bible Life Church Worldwide, has been a preacher and a commentator on socio-political and economic issues in the country.

Umunna has positively impacted lives, not just through the word of God, but through his philanthropic gestures.

He has brought development to the community where he built the headquarters of his church in Olodi-Apapa, which was a no-go-area in times past.

A song writer and multi-instrumentalists, the cleric said: “I used to compose every minute but now I am looking for stronger words and greater melodies; inspired words that can explode into the hearts of people and solve their challenges just like my book.

I used to draw inspiration from events and sounds around, but now I concentrate on any message given to me or incidents that will change lives. Incidents that people can learn from and can make mankind better.”

According to him, “God wanted me to be a preacher that sings and not a singer that preaches. I cannot be going from church to church because I am training people that can do that.

I am into all aspects of music…I write, compose, sing, produce and also market. You know God made me king in that he one who featured the Plantashun Boiz that consisted of 2face Idibia, Faze and Blackface. The same thing with my way of prophesying- people say it’s mathematical and world-class.”

Over the years, he has spoken to the country through BusinessDay, admonishing that unless the leadership changes its style, Nigeria would continue to totter.

For many years also, he has continued to advocate for a total name change for Nigeria, saying that the country vibrates a dangerous number that inhibits her progress.

Although he has often said that the nation’s constitution is faulty and should be changed, he has however, said that a bad constitution in the hands of a good leader would work for the country, insisting that it is not the document that determines the progress of a nation, but the willingness of the leader to lead well.

As he clocked 68 years Saturday, Umunna, still insists that Nigeria urgently needs a true leader, as according to him, “Everything rises and falls on leadership; a leader’s sin is a leading sin, and the fish usually begins to rot from the head.”

Expressing his gratitude to the Almighty God for the gift of life and enablement to continue to work in His vineyard in line with his calling, the cleric said he was pained to see the country degenerating very fast, urging all Nigerians to not only pray but to practically see that the country does not become a failed nation as some people had predicted long ago.

Deploring the difficult times the country is passing through, Umunna, said: “Many have been praying to see the days in which we are in now but it came in an unexpected way via the youth.

They started with #EndSARS and added more things and more things. Nigeria as I have told you several times, had a glorious beginning but like an aeroplane, flew and crash-landed, and up till now has not been able to fly again. The engineers have not located the damaged parts or replacement parts not to talk of fixing them.

What is happening is like in the days of Israel when God abandoned them for a while because they went after other gods. I don’t know what else to say. What kind of solutions that have not been given; all the suggestions have been made but which one has been adopted?

I have said before that they should adopt the recommendations of the National Conference of 2014 by the Goodluck Jonathan administration, but nobody is listening. I have said on several occasions that we should change the name of Nigeria, and the constitution.

They should throw away the current constitution. It is pro-military and was not the wish of Nigerians.

“They should look at what we are passing through now and craft a good constitution for Nigeria. All that we have passed through since independence; all the problems; solutions to them, plus what we get from other nations that are advancing should form our new constitution.

Look at Britain, America, even some African countries, what their constitutions have helped them to achieve and pattern ours accordingly. We can borrow ideas from them. But some people do not want to hear it; they believe that leadership is their own natural inheritance.”

In a recent interview with BusinessDay, he spoke about the need for restructuring of Nigeria, but also doubted the possibility because, according to him, the forces that are against it were so powerful that it may not be allowed to happen.

“This was that thing they said that time during Jonathan’s administration that Nigeria would cease to exist as a nation by so and so time. Now, the time has come again; it is not just restructuring Nigeria, but whatever language or terminology; it is a matter of semantics; let us change to the right thing that other people are doing and are making it.

We changed from left-hand driving to right-hand driving, and from right-hand driving to left-hand driving. All we wanted to achieve was to make our roads safer; motoring safer; life safer.

“I have on several occasions told them to adopt state policing; but they said Nigeria is not ripe or Nigeria is not mature for it; when will Nigeria be ripe? A journey of a thousand mile starts with one step forward in the right direction; begin it.

To me, whatever they are doing unless they are able to crash the salaries of politicians in government; especially those at the top – the legislators; the executives, the judiciary – Ghana’s Rawlings’ approach will be a child’s play when it starts in Nigeria,” the cleric said.

On the political leadership in the country, the Bishop said: “APC, PDP, etc., cannot make it except by the re-foundation of Nigeria; the foundation has been broken. The people who took over did not make proper preparations before taking over.

Read also: How political apathy and vote-buying may mar Nigeria’s economic future

They did not possess and exhibit the qualities that gave the colonial masters success, though, their initial intention was to keep colonising us. All that Nigerians should do now is to get the right people, not the selfish ones, not on tribal sentiment but people of integrity/good track record, better constitution and good training of leaders, preparing them ahead of time.

Put up a law by the National Assembly for a broad restructuring of the nation through articulated constitution.

“In the Bible, most kings were selected through critical search for the best, e.g. Nebuchadnezzar, Pharaoh, they set out to search for the best, that was how Daniel, Meshach, Abednego, were discovered.

They fished them out ahead of time, trained and prepared them with good constitution. Whatever else we are doing is just cutting off the branches on the tree and leaving the root.

No nation can do better except its foundation stands. I’ve said this earlier, God is not interested in whether you are a Christian or Muslim, whether you are military or civilian coming to rule, but the heart, the attitude or character. Without principles and discipline, nobody can really succeed or maintain success for long.

So, whether APC, PDP or any other party, they are all made up of same Nigerians, the difference is that they are in different groups, basically looking for where to better their own lives. You can see how democracy is favouring politicians and politicians are making it now, just as ‘militocracy’ favoured the military.”