Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Ahead of the 2019 general elections, Prelate of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, Kalu Uche, has warned that Christians would mobilise and vote against religious bigots, tribalists and wicked people in 2019.
The cleric, who said he alone can mobilise two million Methodist faithful, said he was already talking to the Pentecostals, Catholics among other faithful to ensure, people with questionable qualities do not make it back in 2019.
Uche stated this, on Sunday, while delivering a sermon at the Interdenominational Church service titled: “I See Hope” to mark this year Democracy Day celebration at the National Christian Center, Abuja.
In a swift response, however, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo called on Nigerians not to look back despite the various challenges facing the country.
According to him, Nigerians should not look back to the Egypt of corruption, division and the likes, adding that when God puts an individual or a nation on journey, he won’t tell them the inherent challenges, less they will refuse to embark on the journey.
Notable personalities at the service were Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha, Chairman of the All Progressive Congress ( APC) John Oyegun, Service Chiefs and other top government officials.
Uche, who took his message from the book of Job, chapter 14 verses 7 to 9, lamented the absence of peace and politics devoid of level-playing field which he said is responsible for the current tensions ravaging Nigeria.
Uche noted that even” though it is said that the worst of democracy is better than the best form of dictatorship, under democracy, our leaders have failed toying with the nation’s democracy. “Our people cannot even organize simple party primaries. What a shame”
The cleric stressed that peace can only come through servant leadership style, tolerance and fairness, from leaders who know that “though tribes and tongues may differ, in brotherhood we stand”
“You know that there is no security in this country, there is so much bitterness, how can the economy thrive? , he asked.
Uche urged the Federal Government to review the bogus salaries and allowances of those in authority downward, saying they cannot continue to be enjoying while the people suffer.
He enjoined them to allow the little national cake to go round so that everybody will have a bite.
“Hawking is an evidence that all is not well with our country. Many young people are deprived and that is why I call on the government with all due respect to review bogus salaries and allowances of those in authority because they are squandering our money.
“They engage in bogus squandamania leaving us to suffer, this must stop. We must allow our little cake to go round so that each one will have a bite.
“Our government should ensure something is done about our porous borders in order to checkmate the incidence of migration of miscreants, irresponsible cannibals, wicked people into our country,” he said.
The cleric however assured that “Nigeria will work again”.
Speaking further on democracy and election Uche said “we will work against all who those who plan to manipulate elections in Nigeria in 2019.
“We will never allow that. And let me tell you that if they fire their bullet at us, it will not penetrate because God is with us. The God of Elijah and Elisha is our God.
“We will no longer allow impunity to rain in this country and I don’t belong to any political party but I can influence at least two million Methodists in Nigeria, I can also influence other Christians.”
Uche also assured that Christian leaders have also resolved not to vote for certain categories of people ahead of the 2019 elections adding that “We will never vote in anybody that is lazy, anybody that is wicked, anybody that is a religious bigot, can never smell any office in this land. Those who mean well for Nigeria God will preserve them.”
The Prelate referred to those who trouble Nigeria as “bastards” added that “those who are planning to hurt Nigeria God will annihilate them.”
The cleric, however, appealed to Nigerians to “come together to build a nation where there Peace, love, harmony, tolerance,
Uche who went down memory lane, noted that “since independence, we have had great builders, like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, and Obafemi Awolowo who left legacies with great hopes for Nigeria, who are comparable to the likes of Kwame Nkruma of Ghana, Nelson Madela, etc who worked for the cohesion of their countries.
He recounted how the civil war turned everything upside down with the emergence of leaders who ruled by force and decrees for 33 years.
He called for a revisit of the document produced during the 2014 National conference, to extract the part that is useful for moving the nation forward even as he said Nigerians must be allowed to discuss how they want to live together.
Uche who said it is wrong to call for the division of the country advised those who think they can eliminate others and live alone in Nigeria, saying that such people are suffering from delusion.
He also called for Special courts to discharge corruption cases saying, “enough of exposing ourselves in public odium.”
Osinbajo, in a tactical response, taking his mage from the book of Exodus 15’4:10-15 said: “The children of Isreal were on a journey of nation building. The Lord had promised to take them to a land flowing with milk and honey. They had just left the captivity where they were been punished and cheated by Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
“God took them on a journey out of captivity, out of anguished and God took them on a journey and promised them a place of comfort, abundance and peace.
“But, the journey was tougher than they expected. And suddenly they saw Pharaoh and his Army coming after them. They were unarmed and one of the vicious army in history was coming after them. They ran in great fear with their wives and children. They carried the elderly, the disabled and the babies but in front of them was the Red Sea, no boats to cross the sea. They were between the proverbial devil and the deep blue sea.
“So, they turned to their leader, Moses who himself was filled with fear because he didn’t expect what they were experiencing. And there is a lesson here, when God puts you to journey whether you are a person or a nation, he doesn’t tell you what the challenges will be less you refuse to undertake the journey.
“So, the Israelites turned to their leader saying, and this is in Exodus 14:11, they said, is it because they were no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Is this not that you told us in Egypt and we said let us alone in Egypt, let us remain in captivity for it will have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.
“So it is in the journey of nation building and development. Our nation is not different, we are on a journey from the past. There has been times where journey is somewhat tough, difficult and even fearful. We look behind us we see the armies of the past, the armies of division which led to civil war where many of us died, the armies of religious strife that refused to leave us, the armies of corruption and graft, those who want us to remain in the captivity of ethnic and religious conflicts, these are the armies of the past. But ahead of us we also see the Red Sea – bloody conflicts and the doom sayers saying the future will be worse than the past.
“And then the people say, why did you take us from where we were, the same people who cried in anguish to the Lord, now say, you should have left us in the past, you should have left us we didn’t know you were taking us out of captivity to kill us in the wilderness.
And like Moses, the leadership say what shall we do oh Lord, we didn’t expect that this will be a journey to destruction. Then God said to Moses, God speaks to leadership of Nigeria, why do you cry to me? Tell the children of Israel, tell the children of Nigeria, go forward, go forward, don’t turn back.
“Moses inspired by God said to the children of Isreal to forward, he also said do not be afraid, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which he will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians you see today you shall see no more forever, He will fight for you and you shall hold your peace.
“So, I say to you brethren in Christ and to you my fellow country men and women, let us go forward, let us not look back. The armies of the enemy that you are today threatening to kill and maim and the colours of poverty and injustice, you shall see no more forever. God will fight for us and we shall hold our peace. We must move forward, we are a people of prophesy. God has said concerning this nation that he is building a nation where all men and all tribes and faith will dwell in love and peace, nation where our people will have ample opportunities for productivity and reward. The promises of God are assure and certain. 2 Corinthians 1:20 tells us that all the promises of God are yea and amen to the glory of God to us. All the promises of God to us are yes and amen in Jesus Christ for you and I.
“This is the future that we are heading and we are already going steadily, surely in that direction.”