Bishop Ikeakor Ephraim’s interview on Fulani Herdsmen, Okada ban in Anambra and Corruption , you must read

The Amichi Diocese Anglican Bishop, Right Reverend Ephraim Ikeakor had last Wednesday visited the Saint Stephen’s Anglican Church Osumenyi, Nnewi south, the venue of the first session of the Fourth Synod of the Diocese and brings his exclusive interview with the Bishop as anchored by Comrade Odogwu Emeka Odogwu

People accuse the Federal government of insincerity in the fight against corruption, what is your take on that looking at the theme of this year’s synod which says; thou shalth not steal?

The fight against corruption in Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari is laughable. If you look at Romans Chapter 12 vs 1-2, that is where I will anchor my reason for saying that the APC led government fight against corruption is laughable.

It reads thus: “I beseech you brethren by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies as living sacrifice, holy and acceptable which is your reasonable service and do not be conformed to this world but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, it is only then that you can prove that you.

What this implies is that no man that has not been renewed in mind by God that can meaningfully and feasibly fight corruption. The computer people will say, garbage in garbage out. Until God touches a heart of someone, there will be no peace. Which corruption in Nigeria is greater than marginalization and ethnic cleansing we are experiencing today in this country? What is corruption? What is stealing? Taking something that belongs to people.
I came back from Bayelsa last two weeks and wept for that part of the country. What greater corruption is this that this people are producing this oil but they are living like 9th century human beings, Living in hurts and shattered places, no network, no good schools and we are still talking about fighting corruption. We can’t fight corruption without justice and equity, it is not possible. Until we have renewed minds and allow God to renew over our lives, fighting corruption can only be a political slogan and malign in Nigeria and if you look at what is happening today, if you want to be free from corruption, join the ruling party and your corruption case will close. Join the ruling party and you become a saint, but if you fail, you become corrupt. We are not going anywhere until we face reality.

Nigeria recently celebrated 19th anniversory of Nigeria democracy, what is your personal assessment of Nigeria’s democracy?

I am happy you said my personal assessment which you are free to agree or disagree with. The truth of the matter is that I am still looking for system of country we are operating in Nigeria. If you truly know the true meaning and operational guide of democracy, we are indeed far from democracy. From 1999, we assume to be operating on democracy, but what distance have we covered now in our economic development, in educational development and advancement, our education system is almost the worst in sub Saharan Africa.

Get an average graduate from Nigeria, a country where the qualified are not given professional courses to read in universities but are given to the children of the rich, who are nuisance.
A country where a professor in the university will be publishing an undergraduate assignment as his own contribution to professional journals and periodicals, where do you think we are heading to in a country where half of the populace are trying to have PhD but no contribution in the scientific and technological development. How many PhD holders can boast of meaningful books that affect that area that they are measured? And our politicians are the greatest deceivers in the whole world.
Since 1999, I am worried that if nothing is done and done urgently, this country will go into pre-medieval period again because we are completely consumer nation since 1999 till date.

Which nation in the world can survive by being a consumerism nation without contributing anything to economic development? Look at lawmakers, some of them are now waxing the cup, dancing in public functions like mad people, these are models for the younger people to look at and we claim to be practicing democracy. I think we are practicing ‘Democrazy’. If we want to face reality, we must sit down. How can we run functional government without genuine democrats? Forget about party affiliation, God has blessed this country with intellectuals, forget who they are loyal to. Get these intellectuals together.

The best brains in universities that are lecturing the world over are Nigerians. Go and check Nigeria professors in UK, Harvard, America, Russia. But here, the environment is too bad that they cannot operate here. I have met one of them who I prodded to come back and operate in Nigeria, but his response was that there is no facility in Nigeria and even if there is, what of kidnappers? My view is that we are moving backward. We keep patting ourselves on the back, we will never make an advancement. Technologically, educationally, economically, socially, we are moving backward.

A young lady said that she went to Ghana and that the boy that was brought to teach her computer programming was a 9 year old boy. It was a 3 year old Chinese boy that taught her programming and you must call them boss. But here in Nigeria, 30 years old people are sagging and frying their hairs, politicians are hiring young girls to come and dance naked when they come for political function. Where are we heading to? We are in trouble and we must wake up. Whenever I travel out of Nigeria and come back, the first reaction is anger because these nations I go to, none of them can compete with us if we are not thieves and armed robbers. So, until we address our problem, we are not heading anywhere. How many airports do we have in Nigeria that has international status? What we have here is local airports not international.

Airports where people use their hand to open and search in the name of security search. What are they searching? Last time I travel with my wife and daughter, when we got to our hotel room, my daughter started crying that they stole all her golden jewelry in Lagos Airport where the bags were checked by security attendants. In abroad, no one touches your bag, the computer does that, unlike here in Nigeria. We are in trouble, this democracy day we are celebrating makes me angry, that is why I say you can agree or disagree with me.

Judging from the theme of the synod, thou shalth not steal, we discovered that annually, budgetary provisions are made for certain projects, but politicians, most times, misappropriate the fund, yet church leaders give them recognition?

 ‘’You said in some area they empower the youths, it is not true. If you know the full definition of empowerment, I have not seen a politician that empower youths, the other day in Maiduguri, a man bought wheel barrows and one full bag of oranges on each, and gathered youth and termed it empowerment, is that empowerment? A grown man ripe for university education, is that an empowerment for him? We don’t need those physical things before empowerment can take place. We have young people with good brain, gather them and push them abroad for training. “There was a time properties and money are ruling the world, but now, ideas and creativity are the things that drives the world.”
There is no empowerment by these politicians, they are just training touts.

On what to do to them, both religious leaders and traditional rulers have to sit up. If they come to church, what type of sermon do we preach to them when they come to church? It is not only when they make donation. If a senator comes to one church and the religious leader there, speaks bitter truth and he moves to another church, the same story. It is either he stops going to church or he start changing. But what do we preach? We preach satanic prosperity gospel to make them donate awesomely. How do we correct it? “Society should be governed by the church through the gospel”. So, the traditional rulers especially in Igboland should go back to correct the anomaly. Before there are some criteria that one has to attain before he is given a traditional Chieftaincy title, and not only when they give out donations or gift items. The same way, churches should curtail this award to politicians. Today, when synod is organized, politicians are given awards, but we know that they are killers, rig election and not a Christian. So, what award are you giving to him?

So, I can blame ourselves, the church, for not being disciplined enough to say no when we should and vice versa. If a governor owes a worker salary, and comes to make donation, we have the option of turning it down and request that he pays workers first.

What is your take on the mindless killings going on in the country by the Fulani herdsmen?

In 2011 when I was reading my presidential address, I said something which a lot of people did not agree with me. That was when I hammered on Islamization of Nigeria. I said it point black that Muslims are having serious plans from what Babaginda promised Organization of the Islamic Council (OIC) during his tenure, to what the current Buhari promised. I want to tell you that it is the current agenda that is ongoing and this killing is not stopping tomorrow, if not, the Muslims know that the only man that has the heart to kill and support killing without blinking his eyes is the president.

Our president is more than 80 years, quote me anywhere, go and check his records in the military. In 2011, if you listened to him, he said it point clear, that he was running for one term. So, when he declared in April this year that he is running for the second term, Femi Adesina, his spokes person was not ashamed to come to Channels television to defend that promise. So, I ask myself which is more reasonable, to run for one tenure when he was younger or to run for two terms when he has aged so that the killing will continue.

Since the killings continued unabated, some stakeholders are calling on Christians to defend themselves, do you subscribe to that?

Coming to the issue of self defense, I cannot tell you openly that Christians should go and buy gun. But you must be a stupid man to submit yourself to senseless Fulani man to kill you. That is where I will want to leave it. I cannot say go and buy gun or go and pray that God will hear you. There is a way that you will be killed and heaven will reject you that you committed suicide. That is why I keep saying that the people in the south east should not listen to that directive of getting our vigilante disarmed. We don’t have security problem here. Have they disarmed them in the north or the Fulani Herdsmen, Boko Haram or the Miyette Allah? What is our problem here? Have you heard an Igbo man kill his fellow Igbo man? So, what I am saying is that the killing is organized and if we don’t sit up, the problem will be out of hands. “That is why they didn’t waste time in proscribing IPOB, a terrorist group and Fulani herdsmen a branch of United Nations Peace Committee”. What an irony?

What is your take on the recent demolition of shanties and illegal structures in Anambra?

One problem we have in Africa, particularly in Nigeria is when we institutionalize indiscipline, somebody that is coming for sanity becomes a wicked person. If you go to other developed countries of the world and see the way things are organized, you will enjoy it. Do you know that we have master plan in Anambra state and people never wanted to use it?

When I say things like this, I tell you am not a politicians because I say them the way they are. Everybody is shouting that the government is wicked; I can only join in that condemnation if I have a master plan of an area where the government is demolishing things that does not correspond to the master plan arrangement. That is when I will say that the government is wicked. You don’t run democracy on sentiment and emotion, if you must do the right thing, you must step on toes, but I always tell the clergy that they must step on the right toes.

 Just like one filling station at Igbo Ukwu, before its demolition, I was saying, how can a filling station be situated at that point, in the midst of residential building just because somebody has money and nobody could stop him, but now that the government took action, they are now wicked. So, my own take on the demolition is that unless the building they are demolishing are not supposed, but if not, Anambra state seems to be the most difficult state to cover because of the type of money we have here. Everybody seems to have money, and can maneuver their way to do anything. So let us check very well.

 People ask why it was done at night. Police men have mobilized their thugs and when attacked, we could hear a different story, that the government is killing citizens. So, in order to avoid such scenario, they did that at night, while men is sleeping, Satan came to plant and go away. So, I cannot condemn it until I get evidence that there are legal structures that was demolished, but if not, we must demolish to establish the right thing.

What of the ban on Okada where over 15,000 citizens will be out of job?
I am still worried, because the level of criminality that we may experience in this state, we may not survive it. If we ban this Okada without alternative means of livelihood. If I am around the governor, I will tell him to stop listening to what so many people are telling him because some are as a result of what they will gain from him. Think twice, before you ban Okada.

Anambra is pure business area. May be, what he should have done was to limit their scope of operations in those cities, may be in some federal roads axis or other similar roads that would be understandable. But coming to ban them at Nibo, Agu-Awka, Nise, Amawbia axis and where students are living, I think we are trying to chew the corn that we cannot vomit. My advice is that Anambra state government should not rush the implementation of that policy of banning Okada in Awka and Onitsha. It is very deadly for Anambrarians.

Ohaneze Ndigbo recently organized a restructuring summit where a declaration was made but the pro Biafran group, IPOB said they are not part of that, do you think the group is doing Igbo nation any good by their stand?

I condemn in strong terms, the mode of operation of IPOB. We support IPOB ideology but their modus operandi, I don’t support. You don’t fight for freedom through confrontation and agitations. You don’t raise another nation’s flag within a nation that is still in existence. I recalled in Onitsha while we were having a prayer march, suddenly the IPOB emerged with their flag to distort the activities and I was like who will give them IPOB if not God. The point I am making is that their system needs to be polished and that is why I want to plead with Igbo intelligentsia not to leave this struggle to this young boys who are Okada riders.

Let us give it a fine-tuning and use the power of media and press to fight this war. It is an intellectual war that we will win through the press and media and not through carrying gun or fight and the Ohanaeze Ndigbo are getting it partly right and partly wrong. Why do I say that? You don’t come out rightly to condemn these boys, you need to advise them. Although, their former leader or present, at a point when he saw crowd of followership, refused to listen to elders and that is why immediately he had problem, all Igbo elders deserted him.

I advise Ohanaeze Ndigbo not throw the boys away because they are fighting a just course. Igbo nation is not needed in this nation, we cannot pretend for long. We are not needed in this country but we cannot fight again. Let us use what is intellectually sound to wage this war and if Ohanaeze will support these boys, not with arms but with proper intelligence and intellectual approach, it will not be long, it will become a reality. I agree with a man that said that you don’t fight an ideology with matchet and gun. Biafra is our ideology, you cannot destroy it, it will only take a time, but our approach determines the length of time it will take.

Bishop Ikeakor Ephraim’s interview on Fulani Herdsmen, Okada ban in Anambra and Corruption , you must read Bishop Ikeakor Ephraim’s interview on Fulani Herdsmen, Okada ban in Anambra and Corruption , you must read Reviewed by Unknown on Friday, June 08, 2018 Rating: 5

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