The General Overseer of Pentecostal Canaanland Mission, Ajao Estate, Lagos State, Pastor Nick Medo-Uwa, in this interview with Tony Iwuoma, bares his mind on the state of the nation, corruption, upsurge in crime, and other issues.
—Looking at the current state of our nation, what is your impression?
The truth is that I am very disappointed in the present government. We voted this government into power with the hope that it would do what it promised Nigerians. All is not well with this country; corruption and other vices prevalent in the past have continued and this is not good for the nation.
I used to be a very staunch supporter of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari because of the impression that I had of him as a no-nonsense person. Unfortunately, a lot has gone wrong under his watch. This administration’s sectional approach to governance has not helped the nation. Buhari is Nigeria’s President and the President of all Nigerians. He should not see himself as the President of the North; he should give other zones a sense of belonging, as a father.
—What do you think should be done to foster unity in the country?
My point of view is that the present administration instigated this division among Nigerians. Nigerians need a leader that can unite them and, if Nigerians get leadership that would carry everyone along, the division and agitations would fizzle out. Nigeria is in dire need of visionary servant-leaders that can bring the citizens together; Nigerians are good people and very easy to lead, if one understands how to lead them. If you give them a sense of belonging, they will cooperate with you and follow. So the division and agitations are signs of failed leadership.
—What is unique about this year’s edition of your church’s annual ‘Laughter’ programme?
This year’s ‘Laughter’ event held from Sunday, October 22 through Sunday, October 29, 2017. A lot of features differentiated it from previous ones. Apart from notable clerics that ministered during the week-long event, we organised free medical services for members of the community this year. The church offered free diagnosis and treatment for different ailments, including eye checks and drugs given according to individuals’ needs; quite a great number of people turned-out for this exercise. Another important feature of this year’s event was the couples’ dinner. We had a special meeting with couples, which was open to married couples irrespective of faith or denomination. This is important because, if marriages and homes are healed, the nation would be fine too. One of the problems we have today in different families is frequent marital crises. We want to see how we can curtail the menace of divorce in the church. We shared experiences and teaching from the word of God. When we have stable homes the children will not suffer but when there is divorce and other issues in any marriage, it affects the children adversely. Most of the social menace in the society today arose from failed marriages. If the family is together, it is most likely that the children will not be wayward.
—Are there other suggestions that you want to give to Nigerians, particularly political and spiritual leaders, on how to reposition the nation?
I think we need general reorientation in Nigeria, you are aware that corruption has become part of us in this country, it has permeated every sector. From the people in leadership positions to the man on the street, corruption has been entrenched in this nation.
Let me start my counsel with the church leaders. Spiritual leaders should go back to the Bible and preach the sound word of God. If the church preaches the uncompromising word of God, it would go a long way in restoring the dignity of our nation. They should preach the truth and show the people how to imbibe the fear of God in whatever they do.
Secondly, the political class should be exemplars of integrity. Let us stop celebrating ill-gotten wealth. People embezzle public money and, before long, they are celebrated as heroes and they are given chieftaincy titles. Formerly, title holders were honourable people, but today the reverse is the case. Notorious people are now chiefs because they throw money around in various communities.
Our people should begin to ask questions, they should demand accountability from leaders. The era of sharing money and rice whenever election is around the corner should stop. Money politics should be discouraged, if we are ready to fight corruption; 2019 is around the corner. Soon you will see people sharing different things to the electorate. Though the level of poverty in the country is high, that is not enough reason for people to sell their conscience. If the people accept those gifts from the office seekers, there is no way they can hold such politicians accountable. However, politicians should keep their promises to the electorate. Unfortunately, they capitalise on Nigerians’ weakness to promise them what they can’t fulfill. The promise of steady power supply has been on for a long time yet we have not had stable power supply. There have been promises of good roads but driving on Nigerian roads today is like going to the gym. We have witnessed the advent and exit of governments yet the same unfulfilled promises remain. The roads in different parts of the country are in different stages of disrepair.
I think it is time to have a government with a human face.
Nigerians are not asking for too much, they want the opportunity and the platform to survive; if there is steady power supply, artisans would be busy and there would be jobs for the citizens. If people are given the opportunity and enabling environment to fend for themselves, they won’t go into crime. If government would make loans available to the elderly and youth in the society without collateral, it would go a long way in empowering Nigerian citizens.