By Charles Kumolu
Mr Tony Oyatedor is the President of Newstime Foundation-a Non Governmental Organisation, NGO, that preaches peace world wide. In this interview with Vanguard, he declared that fasting and prayers as directed by Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang can not solve the recurring crisis in Jos, saying that what is needed is for the diverse people in that city to appreciate the existence of one God. Oyatedor also spoke on other issues . Excerpts:
Governments both past and present have failed to protect those they were supposedly elected to protect. And that is why the recent Jos crisis was not averted. In order prevent further bloodshed, the state governor Jonah Jang has called for prayer and fasting. What is your position on it?
The Lord of lords and King of kings gave us Pastors, Imams and leaders to give the right leadership to this nation. Instead of that people have been leading them astray and therefore a lot are perishing. Calling for three days of fasting and prayer without understanding the holy books, will miss the mark.
Just like every child must understand the language of his or her parents so as to communicate effectively, we can only communicate and commune our gracious merciful God by reading the manuals of life. The prayers and fasting should not be a matter of formality but a communion with God. That is the only way that all these crises can come to a screeching halt.
People have called on the government to act upon past reports on how to achieve peace in Jos. Do you think that if the recommendations are acted upon, the crisis would not reoccur again?
It is not the recommendation of the panel that would end the crisis. We are preachers of peace our mission at Newstime is to preach Godâ€™s truth, point out the right way, show mankind the need for repentance that will bring about change and to tell them the dangers of living with evil. Messengers can not compel people to accept or listen to the massage. Just like Jesus said, let those who have ears hear and those, who have eyes see. It is God who sent the revelation.
There is warning for those, who donâ€™t want to repent and there is good news for those who would repent. We at Newstime have a mission to bring religious crisis to an end allover the world. You can appoint judicial panel and set up committee on it. Unless we accept that we are serving only one God, we may end up not achieving anything.
Don’t you think that even if the recommendations are acted upon, the memories of the past would frustrate peaceful co-habitation among the people?
Absolutely no. Without the past there can never be a future. Acceptance of the truth and reconciliation is what is needed. In every difficulty, God grants relief. Whatever may have been the cause of riots in Jos in the past, we at Newstime are calling on everyone to unite and abandon certain sectional jealousies.
And God will remove every difficulty and all the ills they may have suffered and he will grant them bliss of heaven and save them from further distress. So, we are preaching to the entire people of Jos, that we are all from one parents, Adam and Eve in English, Adamu and Hauwa in Arabic. We will continue to preach peace. We are calling on people to join us in order to end religious crisis in Jos.
Last year we were told not to worry about was happening that the problem would be solved. Unfortunately, we are at it again. But even someone, who was as intoxicated as pharaoh, was able to listen to Moses. So, we are calling on Nigerians to listen to Newstime because we are here to preach peace and harmony for indigenes and settlers. On the day we will hold our seminar in Jos we are going to give out the Bible and Koran for free. We are doing this for people to understand that the internal principles of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are one. We are urging every body in Jos to take out time and read the Bible and the holy Koran. That will make them find out how best to relate with one another. So, we ask you to seek the knowledge of the holy book and you will be rewarded for good.
Your view sounds as if other factors in the crisis are not important. Do you mean that other issues like the criminal justice system does not play any role in the crisis?
I will categorically deny that. People are innocent until proven guilty. It is incumbent of every prosecutor to bring a case to the court. So we are not going to cast aspersion on the criminal justice system. What we should do is to ensure the fear of God. How do you kill people at will. We are maintaining that the lack of knowledge of God is responsible for the killings in Jos. We are all descendants of Abraham, so why should we be killing ourselves. Right now, people think that all religions are from different sources, no, they are from one God. We going to Jos to hold a seminar to end religious violence.
Jos that people are calling war zone, we are changing it to love zone. Gov Jang also said and I quote that religion is the greatest threat to Nigeriaâ€™s existence. With that it is obvious that we must end religious crisis as a matter of urgency. So we are holding the government responsible, we must also do same to ourselves for failing to hold the government accountable. No government official is a master servant they are all public servants. We can do every thing in our own power as a people to solve the problem.
That is why we at Newstime are not accusing the government like others are doing. We are coming up with our concept in order to end the crisis. When each and everyone one of us in this country contribute our quota, we will achieve something good.
Divergent views have continued to trail the recent dissolution of Federal Executive Council,FEC, by acting President Jonathan. Do you think holistic dissolution of FEC was needed?
None of the former ministers should come back, especially those from the Niger Delta. They did nothing to improve the lives of the people in the region. We are a nation of 150 million people we must not continue to recircle failed leadership over and over again.
They are Any Government in Power,AGIP. None of them have uplifted their people from poverty. They think they are public masters not public servants. The emergence of Goodluck is a good omen. He represents the reward for patience and humility. So, I will say that it is not Goodluk Jonathan, but Patience Jonathan. This is a man whose history we all know. All he needs from us is support.