SPIRITUAL leader of Saint Joseph Chosen Church of God, Apostle Hayford Alile recently launched a the sticker for a proposed national conferenceon leadership scheduled for thrre cities in Nigeria come September this year. At the end of the exercise Sudnay Vanguard asked him the purpose of the conference. Excerpts…

You have just launched the flyer for the national conference on leadership
scheduled for September. A lot of people have blamed inept leadership for the nation’s woes. The American president also echoed the same sentiments in Accra, Ghana recently. Will the conference be a solution to the the leadership question in Nigeria?

The basis of our conference is not just talk talk. We are seeking platforms for choosing spiritual leaders and consequently, in the last two days of the conference, we will provide half a day each for addressing political leaders in Abuja and in Lagos. The issue reaslly again is to find out why we are not meeting expectations. We will like to ask vice chancellors and rectors of Colleges of Technology what is the problem? Not really to put accusations and point fingers at anybody, but for all of us to admit that we are a failure—both in expectations from God and self assessment. We want to audit ourselves. Our hands are not clean -court of justice, we are not there. After auditing ourselves properly, we will ask God to forgive all of us and start afresh. The theme of the conference is “Nigeria: A New Beginning.” All the presentations on leadership in the country had all been academic. I remember a few years ago when Ibrahim Babangida, our former president, came up with the issue of Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, some people went to meet the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo to ask questions about the programme. He told them that you cannot adjust anything until you have first spiritually adjusted the people. Even though it’s a spiritual issue, we don’t have to make it religious or a church thing, all the walls of the church will be broken down so that we can make progress.

You mean Chief Awolowo recognised that there was…
Yes! He recognised that the nation’s problem was a spiritual one. He recommended a spiritual adjustment rather than a structural one. The thing is; we are lawless.

Lawless society

A lawless society needs spiritual action where the Word of God will permeate father, mother and children for the development of the society. In the past, it used to be said that the higher you go on the ladder of corporate trend, the lower it becomes but today we are in serious trouble as graduates of even English language cannot write simple letters, talk less of proposals. I don’t want to say it’s out of poverty. I want to think that unless you have two jobs, your wife is working and you are working and the children are left at the mercy of househelps. We are all chasing after money. There’s lawlessness.

Is that not a function of a failed state?

At the end of the day, it is. It’s creating the ambience for wealth creation and after that wealth has been created, dividing it equitably. You will find out that in my eight years in this environment, I’m made to pay tax upon tax, and you look around and wonder where the money is being spent. Government is meant to produce electricity and plant trees to produce lots of oxygen, supply us power. If you and I were to supply the power, the cost of delivering the unit of that power to the house is astronomical. The generators that we all have here make a lot of noise, pollution of all sorts. One day I ran my fingers through the top of the television in my romm and what I found was shocking. Dust! And I wondered the amount of such dust that I had been inhaling from generator fumes. If government could do their duties and supply light the unit cost will be affordable.

As a result of these problems some people are now calling for a sovereign national conference. Do you subscribe to it?

Sovereign national conference for what? There are so many sectors. We will have to address it sector by sector; where I think we have made a mistake can easily be rectified. We have jumped the queue. What we are doing in most of our budgets and discussions is post production. Whether we like it or not we have to get back to the basis, otherwise we’ll just be wasting our time. If you go back to the basics and develop agriculture, if you look at the population, almost 70 per cent of our population still live in the rural areas. Unfortunately, out of that 70 per cent, it is the old ones, weak ones that are now there.

The children have all migrated to the urban centres where some sleep under the bridges. We have to go back, support agriculture and let them supply…can you imagine, even when you talk of hydro-carbon, 80-90 per cent of our hydro-carbon are sent abroad for refining and imported back to us. By this time, we should have refineries, we should be processing our own oil and be exporting processed products…local value added, generate jobs. Because the adopted by prspecting companies is through high technology and does not create much empolyment. If you spend $10 billion in this country, we’ll be able create more than 10-20,000 jobs. Perhaps if that amount of capital is made available to you to process some of your palm oil, and groundnuts, cocoa and cassava before you export them, it will generate a lot of jobs.

Are these some of the things that the conference will address?
The conference, is on a higher level. President Obama says African countries must learn to stop corruption. Their police should stop taking bribes. The customs are some of the most corrupt. Our own is to address the minds of the people. God in His creation put Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eden means abundance.

He sent us out of that garden, and after a lot of attempts at reconciliation with Him, the sons and daughters made in His own image, and likeness. In the New Testament, He never said anything about church or religion. All He said was; ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, every other thing will be added.’ Even in America which is supposed to be God’s blessed nation, look at their family budgets today, food items are on the high, you keep so much food and you become obese and then you begin to look for how to cut down your medical bills. So, they are going around in circle, gradually cutting the society into two. At my age, I cried hearing the president of the richest country talking to us from Ghana that we are corrupt. Corruption is the end result of lawlessness. What our conference is going to be, you are a citizen, not a suspect, you realise your vision and come into the kingdom of God. If you are a citizen of that kingdom, you are only allowed there when your hands are clean. God will never deny you of anything. Two, leadership in such a kingdom. Your father who is the king of that Kingdom, Jesus Christ, prince and princess. There is no way a goat can give birth to a snake. The name monkey and donkey sound alike, but a monkey can never give birth to a donkey.


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