Raphael Ede, Enugu
His Grace, Most Rev. Emmanuel Olisa Chukwuma, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and Bishop of Enugu Diocese, was one of the clergymen and prominent Nigerians who had advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019. But the President last week threw away their pieces of advice and threw his hat into the ring to run again for the presidential seat under the All Progressive Congress (APC).
Bishop Chukwuma in this interview with Sunday Sun on the state of the nation said that allowing Buhari to continue would amount to perpetuating evil and suffering in the country.
He also pointed out that contrary to the change the APC-led government promised Nigerians, it only succeeded in putting Nigeria in chains. Excerpts:
You had earlier advised President Buhari not to seek re-election, that he should go home and rest. Now that he has declared to run again against your advice what is your take on that?
I don’t think he has declared. It is this propaganda by people milking the country through him. This declaration is a noise being made by APC which is not yet concretized, until he comes out and say, I have declared to run. He said the way he met the meeting, he might decide now to run and yield to the callings of the people. So, I don’t think that he has declared. So, we are going to watch out. But I want to let you know that President Buhari declaring or not declaring is not anything to be feared about. It is not anything that is new. Rather he should know that it will lead to his disastrous end should he dare to re-contest. I have told him, he should go and rest. He has expired. All those yearning for him to continue are the people eating from him. He has not done anything to warrant his coming back to office. The way things are, we need a new wine in a new wine skin. I am against people who are coming out to perpetuate sufferings on the people and Buhari has shown that he cannot solve our problems. We need good governance. It does not matter the party you belong. All the people yearning to become president have all expired. They have no new thing to offer and we cannot continue to perpetuate failures and evil. There are more killings in this government, corruption is going higher and they are telling more lies.
You cannot fight corruption in an atmosphere of hunger and low salary where a bag of rice is more than the minimum wage. You cannot fight corruption where people are unemployed, where there is no security for life and property. Nigeria is blessed with a lot of resources, but people are suffering. We cannot continue like this and if Buhari has a new agenda which he will want to implement in 2019 for the betterment of the people, let him start the implementation now, otherwise he should go and rest in Daura. If the PDP made a mistake, there are more mistakes being made now. What we want is a new agenda that will make Nigeria to move forward and reduce the sufferings of the people; Nigeria has become a place where there is galloping inflation, killings and high rate of unemployment and nobody should be happy to re-elect those that caused the situation. We are praying that God should help Nigerians to decide the better person that will rule this country. What the APC is trying to tell us by flying the Buhari kite is that they do not have any new thing or alternative. That is the worst thing that can happen to any political party and it is bad. We have not seen the change. I have passed these roads they said they are building in the South-east; there is nothing much there compared to what they are saying. Hunger is growing, people are not safe, and there is selective negligence in everything; the policies are very unstable and exchange rate is going higher. I have not seen the change. Somebody has said that by the way they are going about their economic policies, nobody will bring money to invest in the country anymore and that will affect our country. They should remove this idea of cosmetics governance and move the country forward for better.
Allowing Buhari to continue is perpetuating evil and suffering. I don’t hate him, he may have his own integrity, but the people around him are the problem. They want to use him to continue to sap this nation. It is important that Nigerians should pray and I have said it that anybody who is not interested in making Nigeria change for better, God will not allow that person to live to rule. Anybody may declare today, but if God said the person will not see 2019, he will not see it.
How do you see the controversial approval of $1 billion for military equipment?
It is a game. They are trying to starch money for the election. Why should the president ask the service chiefs to continue when their tenure has expired. It is because of their evil agenda. The service chiefs ought to have retired by now, but they are left behind, why? They are still occupying their offices while there are killings everywhere. God will certainly expose them soon. Look at the drama about Dapchi school girls; they were taken away without road blocks and returned without road blocks, it is the height of deceit and people think that it will go for nothing. They have continued to blame past government, but have they done anything better? We are looking unto God to give us better persons. PDP and APC should look for better brains to fly their flags; we are not interested in old cargoes. We need new brains, not expired brains and analogue politicians. We need people with better brains so that Nigeria can move forward and get us in tune with other countries that are progressing.
The Federal government recently released list of Nigerians alleged to have looted the nation’s treasury, in your candid opinion do you see any justification in that list?
If they know that it is true, why have you not arrested them? It is not a matter of publishing list and discrediting people. The thing is that if you have your facts, publish the facts and let them be sued to court and let them begin to defend themselves. Although I see every politician as corrupt, I don’t believe that the list is a true list. They only want to castigate the people. I don’t support looting and if anybody has indulged in one, get him arrested so that he can vomit the money.
Are you saying that the change promised Nigerians has failed?
There is no change. They chained us. They should stop cajoling church leaders to come and say lies like the Arewa pastors. They are not recognized. We don’t know where they are coming from. They don’t belong to CAN (Christian Association of Nigeria) and as far as we are concerned, the government should be very careful of stage-managing some pastors into telling lies. They should face the reality and brace up to the truth and people will support them.