By Christy Anyanwu
The Presiding Bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission (TREM), Dr. Mike Okonkwo says life as an apostle of God has impacted millions around the world through his Power in the Word with over 200 branches in Nigeria and across the globe. Aside his Ministry, he is a man who bares his mind about the state of the nation without any inhibitions. During his wife’s birthday thanksgiving service recently at the church International headquarters in Lagos, the cleric chip in words about the state of the nation.
What’s your take on the call by Arewa that the Igbos should vacate the north?
As far as I’m concerned they don’t really have the locus standi to make that declaration because Nigeria belongs to all of us according to the constitution. They don’t have that right and I want to warn that they don’t begin to fan the brims of war in this country, because war, that is one of the things I say in many foray because I was there during the Nigeria Biafra war and I know that war is something that does no one good. There cannot be development in any atmosphere of war and so, I suspect that those of them who are making this call don’t understand, they have not experienced war. Because if they truly experience war they will not be demanding for war. For me, I would tell them to sheath their swords, and let us come to the table. Everything can be discussed on a round table and then we look at the gray areas and make adjustment. But calling for war is the most unreasonable thing to do at this time and in the history of this nation. So, I will call on the elders of the north to call their sons and daughters to order and let them know that they are tolling the line that will not be good for anyone.
Do you believe that restructuring will be the way forward?
I believe with all my heart. From what I can see and what I have read so far, even though I have not seen the recommendations, but few things I heard General Gowon say in a lecture he delivered in Niger Delta recently, there are few high point he highlighted as far as restructuring is concerned, I believe that if those things are implemented, the confab report if they are implemented to some extent it will douse the tension in the country. I have always ask myself why has that paper not been looked into at all because if people are agitating about certain things, keeping quiet over it is not the best thing. Its good to look at it and know where they are coming from.
Your wife turned 65 , what do you have to tell her?
I’m so grateful to God because God has kept her this 65 years. At times, its good to take a journey to causibles. And also think back about so many people who have lost their lives over this number of years. You see that its not because she is special. Its just God’s mercy upon her because those who are dead and gone and those who are suffering one ailment or the other in the hospitals, it’s not because they have done anything wrong she has not done, but God kept her. For me, I have every cause to thank God. That is why this service of worship is so vital to me and I thank God it came the way it is. For me, I want to say God, I thank you.
The killings by the Fulani herdsmen?
The Fulani herdsmen, I don’t believe those people going about masquerading as Fulani herdsmen are the ones we used to know. For me, even the great ….should be jettisoned, throw it away, you cant take peoples land. If Fulani’s want a land , let them go and buy land and keep their cows in ranches. Look at the mess that happened the other day. Cows going into classrooms . This is not acceptable. Let it be handled. For me, they should buy lands and go and take care of their cows.
Two years of Buhari’s administration, what’s your take about it?
I don’t think that it will be good at the moment to begin to judge the situation because a lot of things has to be put in place. So far, you will find out that there are lot of challenges when he stepped in. I would say probably, give them another year. We can give them pass mark in the issue of the Boko Haram and in the issue of the return of the Chibok girls. I think that the economy is coming back to life. Let’s give him another year.