From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
His Grace, Most Rev. Daddy Hezekiah is the founder and leader of Living Christ Mission Inc. worldwide and the proprietor/chancellor Hezekiah University Umudi, Imo Dtate.
In this interview, Prof Hezekiah asked President Muhammadu Buhari to wakeup from his slumber and secure Nigerians.
He said that the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu is not a terrorist, but a freedom fighter, urging UK to put pressure on the Nigerian government to release him unconditionally. He said that the APC-led administration has failed Nigerians and may not win election again under a free and fair atmosphere.
He warned the Southeast governors to have a rethink about their actions against their people because their tenure will end one day and the people will remind them of their actions. Excerpt:
How do you see the present condition of Nigeria?
The present condition in the country is very bad, nothing is working. In fact, Nigeria is like a country without a leadership. The way people are being kidnapped and killed called for serious concern. I wondered what the kidnappers do with the young girls they kidnap from secondary schools. It is a reoccurring thing when students are being kidnapped, the governors in those places keep on giving us reasons and excuses. I’m not a politician, but the president is not doing well in protecting the lives of the citizens. I have not seen the president visited any state on official duty where he will interact with the people to get direct message/reaction from those he’s ruling. So, the country is not moving forward and there is nothing in this country to write home about. The people are suffering, hardship everywhere, high bank charges on people”s hard earned money. When you want to withdraw some amount of money they will charge you, when you want to pay someone they will also charge you. They closed forex business and investors money were trapped, even if they discovered fraud, they would have secured the investors’ money and refunded them. Many people are unemployed due to harsh economic policies and bad leadership. Look at how Christians are being killed in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the country. It is unfortunate that up till now nobody has been arrested for the killings. I know that leadership is not easy, but I’m not seeing any effort by those in authority to help this country. The leaders of this country are very insensitive to the sufferings of the masses. Look at the strike actions of ASUU and doctors. If it is the leadership that loves eduction the university strike wouldn’t have lasted the way it lasted, but the leader didn’t border about the plights of students and the parents. Education is one of the greatest industries we have in this country, but look at the way it is being killed and destroyed gradually by the leaders. Also, the ongoing doctors strike, look at how people die especially children because there are no doctors in the public hospitals to attend to them. So, I’m appealing to the government, I’m not criticizing them destructively, but constructively, let them wake up.
How do you describe the APC-led administration?
As far:as I’m concerned, with no apologies, APC as a political party has failed us. APC came into power through rigging, the party has failed us. So, some of these PDP governors running over to APC are moving for cover otherwise what are they going there to do? Why they are decamping from PDP to APC is simply because they believe that the next election would be rigged. If the next election would be free and fair, APC will not win again because many people are not happy with the party. Our leaders should ensure that appointments in public offices should be based on merit and not based on tribe. Those who know the job and who can represent the country at international affairs. It is good for you as journalist to speak out not to destroy them, but constructively, to tell the leaders the truth. Our roads are bad and death traps. So, people are suffering.
What is your reaction to the arrest of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu?
You see, a terrorist is different from a freedom fighter or agitator. A freedom fighter or agitator is somebody who is fighting for libration or secession of his people. He is protesting against the policy of government against his people or marginalization as the case maybe in Igbo land. That is what Nnamdi Kanu is fighting and not throwing bomb to places and killing people. So, a terrorist is somebody who is out for destruction of lives and property, so Kanu is not a terrorist. He is fighting for the rights of the Igbo people. I have never heard that Kanu planted a bomb anywhere as terrorists do in churches, markets and public places. He has never killed any person, he’s a responsible man who doesn’t even disturb the government, but he’s interested in the wellbeing of the Igbo people who are marginalized. He is not a terrorist and, therefore, his arrest is illegal. If Kanu is a terrorist, I will never support him. I can remember when the Federal Government sent army to his compound where they killed human beings and his dogs and destroyed many things. It was because of that the army introduced this Python dance in Southeast. What is his crime for this incarceration, I would want the United Kingdom to intervene because he’s their citizen. He is not a terrorist, but fighting for the betterment of his tribe.
What is your take on the sit-at-home declared by IPOB in Southeast zone?
The sit-at-home will yield result if we are dealing with the leaders who have conscience . It will be fruitful when you are dealing with people that have conscience. If it is in the civilized countries, those in authority will be panicking, but here in Nigeria, the leaders don’t understand what you are doing. The leaders will even want you to sit-at-home for years, so that Igbo people will continue suffering. Since the sit-at-home doesn’t move the Federal Government, it is not good to continue with the exercise. I want to thank the Igbo people because they have shown solidarity to Kanu and to the struggle. I didn’t even know that the sit-at-home will succeed to this extent without any violence and yet it was effective. I’m sending a message to IPOB that their message has been accepted by the Igbo people, that the actions of Igbo people have shown that they are really supporting Kanu for the struggle. My advice to IPOB is that since the people you are dealing with, those in authority, don’t think of the people of the Southeast, they should suspend it. The IPOB has delivered the message and they have made a mark through the sit-at-home, they have created enough awareness. So, I don’t want them to continue with the sit-at-home every Monday because it is now affecting the Igbo people and it’s counter productive. And the people you are protesting to are happy and even want Igbo people to sit-at-home seven times in a week. Already the Federal Government has known that IPOB has support in Igbo land and the sitting at home was effective and still effective, but in the interest of Igbo people, let it not be every Monday, but on the day Kanu will be arraigned in the court. So, the IPOB sit-at-home theory has worked and won the hearts of Igbo people and it has not even touched the Federal Government. They could be doing it once in a while not every Monday again because people are complaining of the hardship and sufferings already in the land. I will continue praying for Nnamdi Kanu, it is only God that will protect him in detention. I want the international community to put pressure on Nigerian leaders to release Kanu unconditionally because he’s innocent and not a terrorist. I want to thank IPOB and I don’t want IPOB to be a terrorist organization, they should continue to protest in a humble manner, decently and non-violent, and that will earn them more support from Igbo people, other tribes and intentional communities.
What is your take over Southeast governors’ action towards their people/IPOB?
I don’t know if they listen to the news to know what people say about them. If they have conscience there is a way people will talk about you, you will ponder and have a rethink about your actions. I appeal to Igbo governors to know that they were elected into the office by their people. They should take care of their fellow Igbo people so that they will remember them when they leave office and should not betray the trust. They should remember that people elected them into that office and they will not be there forever. If they return home into the midst of the people after their tenure, will they be welcomed? Like the way the people welcomed the late Nnamdi Azikiwe and Dr Michael Okpara and other worthy Igbo leaders when they returned home. They should remember the people who voted for them. Some of the governors are busy building mosques for the Muslims while they have not built any church for their people as Christians. They should think twice and remember their brothers and sisters. So, telling the Igbo governors to resign is a waste of time, even if you tell them to resign now, will they resign? No, they won’t, they will even laugh at you. We must continue to tell them the truth and remind them of the consequences of their actions in the future. People will surely remember their actions they are displaying now when they leave office.
What type of governor do you expect in the November 6 Anambra gubernatorial election and what is your advice?
I would want a governor that will remember the Anambrians, the governor who loves this state very well, a governor who believes that he or she is an Igbo person, a governor who loves the masses. I would not like to vote for a person that loves money as a governor and once you love money, you will believe in settlement. So, I will want a governor that is humble, kind-hearted, a governor who doesn’t love money, but has a heart to rebuild the bad roads in Anambra State. The governor who will create employment for the masses. A governor who says he will provide pipe borne water and he will do that, a governor that will rebuild the general hospitals, if the general hospitals are in order people will not go to private hospitals where they pay from their noses. A governor who will put the citizens of Anambra State first before his personal interest. My advice for the masses especially for the youths, don’t allow yourselves to be used as thugs or touts who they use to kill when given N5,000. The youths should do the right thing. Don’t support any politician that will encourage you to kill someone, don’t follow any politician that will like to use you to cause confusion.
My advice for the masses, don’t sell your conscience, don’t be carried away by the empty promises to build bridge where there is no river. Vote for a candidate that loves mankind. I have been in Anambra State for many years and we know who is who, not everybody will be qualified to be governor. Don’t vote for a drunkard, don’t vote for a pretender or anybody with bad character. Some of these governorship candidates, you know them, their characters are in public domain, you see them everybody, they live with you in the town. So, we should open our eyes and vote for the right person who will provide dividend of democracy, a governor that will work hard to reduce crime, don’t engage in rigging, Federal Government should find a away of conducting the elections on one day to avoid thugs clustering in a state when the election is scattered. I believe in free and fair election. If you see something wrong you should report it. I don’t know why people are being killed during elections, we should take precaution and protect the lives of citizens.