Founder of One Love Family, Sat Guru Maharaji, has identified some of the major problems of Nigeria, pointing out that sentiments of religion are parochial just as they have not been able to meet the objective demands of genuine and sustainable national progress.
He said that religion is of no relevance to sound economic planning and transformation, describing it as a mega liability to national development.
The spiritual leader also condemned quota system in appointments and advocated for state police as solution to security challenges in the country, among other issues. Excerpts:
What do you identify as the major problem of Nigeria?
I think the major problem of Nigeria is not recognizing merit. There is more of ethnic, tribal and religious sentiments in the country. We need to see ourselves as one people, and not as Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa, Itsekiri, Urhobo, Nupe, Ijaw, Fulani, Efik, Christian, Muslim, traditionalist and so on. I also observed that appointments into high and sensitive government offices by quota system is one of the several Satan that sustains the neo-colonial deity of backwardness in self-governing, but pseudo-emancipated Nigeria. Obviously, a competent person is fundamentally a human being, not a Christian, Muslim, a religious man or woman. As such, the focus should be on setting standards that give proper access to competent Nigerians to run Nigeria’s government agencies and institutions, irrespective of their religious and ethnic leaning. Religion is a mega liability to national development. Sentiments of religion are parochial and are never able to meet the objective demands of genuine and sustainable national progress. Competence should instead be emphasized as religion does not grow economies or produce inventions. It is of no relevance to sound economic planning and transformation. It is a multi-dimensional burden that should not be allowed to weigh Nigeria down further. Also, creativity, which is the soul of all progress, is of two dimensions, namely: spiritual and intellectual. The latter is barren without being energized by the omnipotent shine of divine light. Primordial, perfect and all-providing divine light is the creator whose natural presence in anything gives it life and creative potency. So, man must connect with him to be able to discover and manifest his creative capacities. This is because without this vital connection, man and society cannot ascend the gradient of profoundness. This basically explains why, despite all the university degrees accumulated by Nigerians and their leaders, Nigeria’s development has remained stunted and ghettoized. I fervently advise that the shallow logic and the cheap emotions of religion should not be admitted into the enabling process of governance.
What is your reaction to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s comment that Boko Haram is working to Islamize Nigeria?
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo being an elder statesman must have seen something before saying that. But he needed to substantiate it more. We expected him to go straight to the point without fear or favour, and tell Nigerians all he knows about the plans of Boko Haram because I do not think anybody will do him anything for saying his mind.
Could you set agenda for President Buhari and other newly inaugurated political office holders?
Presently, what Buhari needs are lieutenants like me and you who can speak effectively to ensure that practical results are achieved and good foundation laid. Mr President sees the country as one and has good plans for Nigerians. But unfortunately, he is surrounded by chameleons and hawks. So, he needs help to accomplish his good policies. We can see that under him, corruption has reduced and holding of frivolous parties are no more. In fact, I can say that Buhari and his vice, Yemi Osinbajo have tried in the last four years. And, it is expected that they will do better if given the necessary support they need. The salaries of the National Assembly members should be slashed to cater for the growth of the economy. If you calculate the salaries of the Nigerian lawmakers, it is enough to give the country 4,000 mega watts. I also advise that JAMB should be scrapped and people should be admitted according to their performances. There must also be price control of goods by the government. We need to make good use of our natural resources. Also anyone who lost his father, mother, children, home and economic trees should petition the Federal Government for compensation. Power supply should no longer be in the hands of private people, but the government and should be handled effectively. We need to let the law work and sentiments should be jettisoned because it is a virus. It is unfortunate that Nigerians are living the country to abroad in the midst of plenty. The earlier Nigeria wakes up from their colonial mentality the better it is for them. I insist that the leadership of Nigeria’s Christians and Muslim Communities should be fenced off the decision-making process to the extent that their prescriptions sacrifice merit. In other words, religious leaders should join in advocating merit in the election and appointment of public officers.
What are your expectations of the 9th National Assembly?
I can recall that I advised the immediate passed 8th National Assembly to vote state police into law in order to compensate Nigerians for what they (NASS) gained before leaving office, to prove they are truly the country’s ambassadors, detribalized and meant well for Nigeria’s unity, progress and stability, but that was not done. Now, I am still telling the 9th Assembly that the urgent need for state police cannot be over-emphasized in a country flowing with milk, honey and the abundant blessings which the creator has placed on the table of all Nigerians. It is laughable that a country, seen as the giant of Africa, but bedeviled with all kinds of self induced vicissitudes such as banditry, kidnapping and insecurity. We have the manpower, the resources, and machinery for dealing with the uncalled insurgency that is today militating against our trust, love and cooperation between one another in form of young men and women who are really crazy to do anything for Nigeria to succeed.
Could you point out what you think is wrong with the Nigeria Police that you are strongly calling for state police?
Obviously, we have a very good police force, ranked as about the best in the world, but the problem is that they are under-funded, hence their incapacitation, disabling the very vital part of our economy to stagnate and wallow in disgrace, dishonour and disrepute on top of unending threat to lives and property, which make life unbearably difficult to live. We have seen where Nigerian policemen in service are not well dressed. They wear walk-about shoes, torn old dresses, caps with national ark almost torn half way, and handle pepper soup guns that have become the order of the day. In our days as kids, policemen only carry batons and were very well and neatly dressed in khaki shorts, with nice haircuts and appeared courteously, fatherly and commanded respect because they were known by the local chiefs and kings. We also experience all over the country how some hoodlums in the name of politics, religion, business etc, have taken laws into their hands by brutally killing fellow Nigerians sometimes blowing police stations up, which is the last hope of the besieged and threatened, for no reason. If the services of the Nigerian police are to protect lives and property, we cannot sit idle and watch with disdain, the ever increasing deaths of young men and women who are being killed daily just because some of us are afraid and falsely believe that the state police, if created, could be used against certain people in the society. This is utter nonsense, mischievous and unacceptable.
So, of what importance do you think the state police would be?
The state police would ensure social coherence, more respect, dignity, trust, love and cooperation in the states and by extension, the whole nation. It would enhance trade, business and social understanding on top of which cultural and traditional values would be respected and become the basis of our existence to not only prevent crime and other disasters which stem out of abuse of the principles and natural laws of each area, but create enabling condition for progress and stability. The Obas, Obis, Ezes, Emirs and Chiefs of our land would now become genuine and strong intermediaries in our peacemaking efforts and that would reduce time, money and wastage in all ramifications when each and everyone realizes the joy and happiness in settling ordinary disagreement in the palace, without heavy costs, creates better understanding, trust and cooperation in the polity.
Could you point out areas you have been able to assist Nigeria’s development as an individual?
Well, for over 39 years, my divine and selfless efforts designed to save mankind from the brink of obliteration has kept Nigeria together and trudging on relentlessly to its ultimate destination of grace and glory. I challenge the top echelon of Nigeria’s Christian and Muslim communities to deny the fact that I am the much-expected supreme messiah of the world. I challenge them to say that I am not the incarnate of the Great Light, from which all things emerged. It is imperative for the government of Nigeria to look in the direction of Satguru Maharaja Ji whose devotees are the foot-soldiers of the uncelebrated Spiritual Salvation Army that has saved Nigeria from destruction, as surreptitiously planned by our country’s imperialist adversaries. Maharaja Ji’s premises, like their counterparts in countries where Maharaja Ji manifested in the past, are embodiments of the divine spiritual energy that drives aspiring societies up to the lush plains of glory. And to continuously deny them the recognition as Nigerians worthy of serving Nigeria at the level of government is to sustain our country’s impoverishing rigmarole in the midst of plenty.