'CLERICS HAVE OVERSIGHT FUNCTIONS OVER LEADERS'
Apostle Johnson Suleman is an Auchi based preacher and founder of the Omega Fire Ministries, Auchi, Edo State. In this interview, he said clerics should be bold enough to say the truth to those in authority at all times. NDUBUISI ORJI brings the details.
Agenda for President Goodluck Jonathan
I would want him to make Nigeria attractive for investment. We have over-depended on crude oil. it's a natural thing that God has given us, let's see how we can make Nigeria a tourist centre, an avenue where we can actually raise revenue. One of the major criteria, if we must have foreign investors, is to have the market.
Nigeria already has the market - Nigeria is about 150 million, South-Africa is less than 30 million and, so many people are investing there, so God has given us the populace. Like Calabar something is happening, there is carnival they held recently, it attracted people across the World, there should be different spots in Nigeria like that and from there they could raise money- through tourist centres! What can we raise up by ourselves? We should have that consciousness in mind.
But people will not invest when certain things are not in place, one of them is power. I must invest in a place where I'm sure of power. So the president has to focus on power. Another thing is security, we discovered that is a major problem here.
What Jonathan needs now, are economists who can sit him down and advise him on key issues that will revitalize our economy, especially what it takes to attract investors to the country; by the time this is done, Nigeria would be a place where you can literarily pick gold in the streets.
2011 general election, not free and fair
I can stand to say the election was not free and fair. I can stand to say the truth, the elections in many areas, we had pockets of violence - we had ballot box snatching, we had people that were maimed under that process, it's not free and fair. I expected most of the elections to be held live, once it's held live, it would reveal a lot of things and therefore restrict some disgruntled elements to desist from any kind of irregularities during election.
I feel sorry for some Nigerians, who believe so much that this is a democratic setting. Sincerely, we don't have democratic rule, all we have is civilian rule where people don't wear uniform any more, but they still have military consciousness. Nigeria's election in 2011 was not free and fair. There was violence everywhere.
Pastors should tell those in authority the bitter truth
Some of the people in power are members of one church or the other. It is now left for the man of God to be able to speak the truth from the alter. I have lost some politicians because I spoke the truth. A governor was to come to our church to do a thanks giving, and I told the governor don't come because you rigged an election. You didn't win. My conscience will not forgive me if I had allowed him.
Every man of God should have a clear conscience, because when some of these people get to power, no more checks and balance. They do whatever they want to do. So the man should be able to hold them by the tail and tell them where they're going wrong. The man of God in a nutshell should stand for the truth, no matter who is involved, no matter whose ox is gored. If they want to go let them go. You must stand and speak the truth.
Politics in Nigeria
When a man wants to get rich now he becomes a politician. When a man wants to have money, he prints posters and declares he wants to become a councillor and those who are his family members empower him to steal. The man is empowered to be armed robber because the day he becomes a politician, the mother would say 'give me money' that is how the whole thing starts. Imagine, the president spent about one billion naira for inauguration – what are they inaugurating him for? It's a continuation – a billion naira for inauguration, it's a funny thing .
Before you vote a leader, you should check his pedigree. A governor cannot just sit in Government House, a man who has no pedigree. You must check people even if it is campus politics they were involved in, how did they play it? If it's labour union activism, how did they play it. Most of these government officials I've spoken to some of them, they're daft. They don't know anything. They surround themselves with sycophants and give them names like Special Adviser (SA). These people are robbers. They're glorified armed robbers. The so- called SA has an SA ,and that SA has an SA. All those are money spinning offices which they call executives.
I will advise these governors to go back to see how certain nations are run. Meet people of certain countries, and ask questions. What makes America to be American.
Those in government should focus on development and youth empowerment. Legacy is better than stashing money to accounts. I will advise governors, they should seek the face of God, map out an agenda.
They should get good advisers and shun every form of corruption. If a man has N10 billion in his account, how much can he eat from it? So, it does not make sense. Set out agenda and make a legacy for youth who are the strength of the society.