The General Overseer, Mt. Jieawowrrar All Saints Church of Christ, Odogbolu, Ogun State, Primate Samuel Bisi Ademosu, has told public office holders to view public office as an avenue and not a platform to loot. In this interview, he also implored political leaders to be service oriented and spoke on other issues.
What is your take on Nigeria at 59?
We thank God that Nigeria still remains as one but we have a long way to go. This is not yet the Nigeria of the dream of the nation’s founding fathers. The dreams of the founding fathers is that of a great and well developed nation. A nation that will provide abundant opportunities for citizens to thrive. Their dream is that of a nation that will make life prosperous and pleasant for citizens.
The nation’s founding fathers like Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Sir Ahmadu Bello laid a good foundation. Things were working well until the military struck in 1966, after that things began to degenerate over the years.
It is very sad that today Nigeria is not what it is supposed to be. It is sad that 59 years after independence, Nigeria is still crawling. God has blessed this nation with both human and natural resources to excel. Unfortunately, our leaders over the years have not been able to harness these resources to transform Nigeria into a great nation.
Our leaders need to imbibe new attitude and orientation towards public service. It is time they realise that public office should be seen as an avenue to serve rather than being viewed as a platform for personal and self enrichment. They should put the interests of those who elected them into office first in whatever they are doing.
Is still there any hope for Nigeria to attain greatness?
All hope is not yet lost. Our leaders must quickly rise to the occasion to find solution to the ugly situation in the country especially insecurity, rising unemployment, hunger and poverty. There is suffering in the land and as the saying goes a hungry man is an angry man.
Government must quickly do the needful to provide succour for the masses. The essence of governance is to make life comfortable for people. Government at all levels, federal, state and local governments must put in place poverty alleviation programmes to cushion the effect of economic hardship on citizens.
The present state of insecurity across the country has become a source of concern, what is your take on the issue?
The present state of insecurity is very unfortunate. It is not only alarming but worrisome. My advice to President Muhammadu Buhari is that since the buck stop at his table. He must order security agents to increase their efforts in securing the country from the menace of kidnappers, bandits, armed-robbers and other criminals who are making life difficult for Nigerians.
A situation where kidnappers and bandits are holding citizens to ransom is unacceptable. The country should be made safe for everybody. Travellers should not harbour fear of being kidnapped or being abducted while embarking on trips.
It is when Nigeria is safe and secured that foreign investments can flow into the country. Without security, no foreign investors will be willing to come into the country. I know that government has so many challenges to contend with but the issue of security should be accorded a top priority.
There is this idea of state police as one way out of the insecurity challenges, what is your position on this?
It is a good idea. State police or what some people call community policing no doubt will help to complement the efforts of the Nigeria Police. The only advise I have is that the issue should be well thought out before being implemented so that whatever is done will work perfectly well.
What’s your assessment of the war against corruption?
The campaign is good. It is also good that stolen loots are being recovered. Corruption is a big problem in this country and thank God government is waging war against the vice. One thing I have for the Federal Government is that recovered loots should be used to provide infrastructure for Nigerians. It should be used to build more hospitals, roads and create jobs for the unemployed especially jobless youths.
The issue of whether clerics should speak out or make comments about governance has become a subject of debate. Some say it is appropriate while others believe it is not appropriate, what is your take?
Apart from being ambassadors of Christ and spiritual leaders, clerics are also members of the society. Nothing stops them from talking about what is going on in the society at any given period.
We have several instances of such in the Bible. We have great men of God like Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah speaking out from time to time delivering God’s message to those in authority during their own time. When a minister of God receives divine message from God, he has the obligation to deliver the message either to the leaders or the led depending on God’s instruction.
But it is wrong for a man of God to say thus says the Lord when God has not revealed anything to him or her. Although the Bible says that we must always pray for those in authority, but that doesn’t mean that we should not fail to tell those in authority the truth whenever the occasion arises.
How would advise our leaders on governance?
They must strive to put good governance in place. Our leaders travel abroad and they see how things work there. They should imbibe that spirit of service like those over there. Leaders there are not spirits they are human beings like our leaders here.
The most important thing is for our leaders to be more patriotic and selfless. They should shun greed and avarice. They should be people-oriented in their policies and programmes. Nigeria has all it takes to attain greatness but it is left for our leaders to harness these God-given resources to transform Nigeria into a great nation.