The Bishop of Maranatha Chapel International Churches, Right Rev’d Olumakinde Alawode, has said the South East geo-political zone of Nigeria should be allowed to produce president for the country in 2023 in the spirit of equity and balance.
Besides, the cleric also lamented that Leah Sharibu, one of the 110 students of Government Girls’ Science and Technical College (GGSTC), Dapchi, Yobe State, kidnapped on February 19, 2018 by the Boko Haram terrorist group, had not be rescued by the Federal Government. Five of the schoolgirls died on the same day of their abduction, and 104 others were released in March 2018, except Leah, the Christian girl that refused to abandon her faith and convert to Islam.
Alawode made the submissions in a 12-point communique he issued to commemorate the 12th anniversary of his consecration and episcopal ordination as a charismatic pentecostal bishop of the denomination, head at the international headquarters of the church at Abayomi, Iwo Road, Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Sunday.
According to him, “In less than three years’ time, Nigeria shall go to the polls to elect another president to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari. Nigerians should be politically minded. We should approach the year with political understanding and a collective will to elect leaders that will be creative, revolutionary, courageous and unstained.
“If we are to follow the ethnicity and regional politics we have been playing for long in this nation, then the South East region of Nigeria should produce the next president in the spirit of equation and balance.
“However, what matters most for Nigeria now is to get a leader of the type of Moses that will take the nation from Egypt’s captivity to the Promised Canaan. Nigeria desperately needs a detribalised, religiously unbiased, revolutionary thinking, new school mentality, technologically minded leader, whose passion will be to leave a lasting legacy for himself and not personal gains.
“If the South East can produce such a candidate, so be it. But if not, I plead with Nigerians to go for progress in 2023 and not political sentiments. We have suffered enough.”
On Leah Sharibu, Alawode, stated that one of the sentiments that gave the incumbent administration the votes of many Nigerians borders on the belief that “they will bring home Leah and the other Chibok girls. What is really happening? My heart bleeds every time I think of Leah Sharibu. I still cannot fathom why Nigeria cannot rescue this girl. I pray for the release of Leah and I am asking our President and Commander-in-Chief to please do the needful.”
The cleric also reiterated his calls for restructuring of the nation into regional governments like it was obtainable before the intervention of the military in the Nigerian government.
His words: “I believe in one Nigeria but a restructured Nigeria. I have been saying this for many years, especially in my yearly communique. The present entity called Nigeria in its present operations may not achieve the agitations of the people and the dream of a great nation.
“Nigeria has a great destiny to fulfill. It is time to fashion out our own peculiar system of government that will put into consideration our peculiar socio-political and cultural peculiarities. I am pleading with my voice again for regional form of government. This will allow for healthy competition, grassroots development, human resources awakening, responsive and accountable leadership.”
On national inscurity, Alawode noted that crimes, violence, robbery, banditry, terrorism and so on are common occurrence globally these days, “but I am worried about five that seem to be capturing our nation and threatening our national security. They are kidnappings, ritual killings, rapes, terrorism and cyber crimes. This pentagon of evil is fast becoming the new name of our dear nation. While I appreciate the efforts of the military and the police and all other security forces, there is still too much loopholes and cause for concern.
“I still don’t understand why a whole nation like Nigeria has not been able to defeat Boko Haram or at least render them powerless. I still don’t understand why even government officials are kidnapped in Nigeria and they have to pay huge ransom to be released, yet kidnappers were never traced. Sincerely, I don’t understand our security again.”
He, however, noted that the recent #EndSARS protest would have been the beginning of a transformed Nigeria if it had not been hijacked, politicised and derailed. He also appealed the Federal Government not victimise the leaders of the protest.
“Nigerian youths must not give up. They must be strong, wiser and restrategise, waiting for the next available opportunities to express themselves peacefully and honourably. Wanting destruction of property, hooliganism, violence, and killings are never acceptable way in any society. I totally diasgree with these acts. Those who are responsible for such should be brought to justice,” he said.