By Sam Eyoboka & Olayinka Latona
…Says I foresee a revolution if Boko Haram killings continue
From the pulpit comes a warning that Nigeria may be close to a revolution if the Boko Haram killings continue. Dr. Sunday Ola Makinde, the prelate of Methodist Church of Nigeria, points out: “If we continue like this, there will be a revolution and the first class people will be the target. They should therefore act before it is too late”. In this interview, Makinde insists that the Boko Haram issue is religious rather than political.
State of the nation?
To be sincere, with the insurgence of Boko Haram, it is difficult for anybody to see anything positive about the state of the nation. Our former national anthem had some lines that said: “Though tribes and tongues may differ; in brotherhood we stand.” We don’t stand in brotherhood in Nigeria again. It is lamentable; where I can no longer live in any part of the nation and practice my religion in peace! There is religious intolerance. Boko Haram and many other such crises have always come from the North. This certainly is not the Nigeria of our dreams. I am yet to see the Nigeria of our dreams and it is very unfortunate.
There is a lot of agony in my heart presently and I can tell you that the late Dim Odumegwu Ojukwu would not be happy with us that two weeks before his burial, 25 bodies were brought to the East from the North for burial. That is not what he fought for! And most of us did not see anything wrong in it. There are numerous crises in Kano where people worshipping their God were killed; the same place where Gideon Akaluka’s head was cut and paraded. Can you imagine the incidences in Maraba and the many other killings during major Christian festivals?
I was happy at the patriotic utterances of former Defence Minister, General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma, that Nigeria is fast becoming Somalia with the heightened insecurity in the country. We need to sit and face the truth; get to the root of our problem and find solutions to them. I have been hammering on the need for us to have a National Conference or true federalism because we cannot fold our arms and continue to watch while some people are killing everybody in the name of religion; while a young Nigerian, who is not even up to 30 years old, could attempt to blow up a whole plane in the name of religion.
Where do we go from here?
Honestly, unless we have a very strong and vocal opposition, these things may continue. Some time ago, they brought charges of corruption against former Governor Bola Tinubu, the only obvious opposition to PDP which say they want to rule Nigeria for the next 60 years. With all these killings, no good roads, no electricity; is that how they are going to rule us? It will be 60 years of hell for every one of us.
All the happenings are part of the design to unseat President Goodluck Jonathan. They set up political Shar’ia to unseat former President Olusegun Obasanjo, but God did not allow them. Now that power has shifted to the South South, they have started all this violence. Where was Boko Haram when the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua was in the saddle? Why is it that Boko Haram just discovered that Western education is evil even when they are using Western technology to prosecute their religious war and plan to Islamize Nigeria? It is only a person living in a fool’s paradise that will utter such statements and nurture the dream to Islamize Nigeria.
The plot to Islamize Nigeria appears to be in the pipeline long before now. Some people say it started with the membership of OIC….
The OIC issue started during the military regime. It’s that government that introduced religious crisis when it brought the idea of OIC; about Islamizing the country and the issue of Islamic banking. We urged them to change the name to non-interest banking and allow others to participate, but they refused.
I sincerely pity the Christians who are indigenes in northern part of the country! No promotion for those working in government establishments. Certainly, we are not living in brotherhood. They cannot get certificate of occupancy to build churches and we say there is freedom of worship. Those who are saying the current crisis is political and not religious should come out to tell us why people should go to a university community to kill people worshipping their God. Some people are saying it is because of poverty and unemployment but it is not.
Assessment of President Goodluck Jonathan
I think Goodluck Jonathan is a good president if they allow him to operate in a peaceful atmosphere; he can succeed. I want you to know that there is no political party or political leader who can operate in a chaotic environment such as we currently find ourselves. My appeal is that we should not go the way of Somalia. No country can survive a religious war. The first war was purely political and tribal; the pains are still there with us several years after. Now, we are gravitating towards a religious war.
Those who are asking for Gen. Owoeye Azazi’s head are ignorant; because they don’t appreciate the enormity of the intrigues going on around governmental circles. Some people believe it’s their birthright to rule. It’s really sad that two professors were lost in the Kano killings. The life of one professor is worth much more than 3,000 Almajiris because Nigeria has invested lots of money in him.
I am tired of living in a place where a cow is worth more than a human life. You need to see how Fulani herdsmen are killing people in Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, Benue and Plateau State and other places because of cows. We should opt for true federalism and reduce the power at the centre. We have about 257 ethnic groups in the country and everybody is a stakeholder in the Nigerian project. Let us all come together at a round table including Boko Haram, Odua People Congress, MASSOB, Egbesu and other militant groups in the Niger Delta as well as religious leaders to discuss how we can live together in brotherhood where no one will be oppressed.
On Sovereign National Conference.
Without it, we are only postponing the evil day. You may remove the word, sovereign, because Nigeria is a sovereign state, but we must discuss and adopt true federalism because I can see that some people are afraid of their shadows which is why they are afraid of the SNC.
But some people believe that former Presid
ent Obasanjo would have dealt with the Boko Haram menace….
Yes! It’s because Obasanjo had a military background, but Jonathan was trained as a teacher. I agree that nobody dared to try a similar thing with Obasanjo. He would have cleared all these mess within three months.
But President Jonathan is the Commander-in-Chief of the nation’s armed forces who had told the world that Boko Haram had infiltrated his cabinet…..
What about those who are working with him? That is what I am saying. I pity him a lot. He is always holding meetings when other Nigerians are sleeping. I want to urge Mr. President to pray more that God should expose those sponsoring Boko Haram in the country. There are lots of enemies surrounding him and I know that God of our forefathers—Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, and Herbert Macaulay, who sacrificed their all to win independence for us—will expose the enemies of the nation they fought for. I am assuring all Christians that God will fight the battle for us; some may trust in chariots and horses and bombs, but God of Abraham will save us from all these security challenges.
You referred to Somalia recently, just like any student of history would remind us that this is how similar crises turned things around in nations like Libya, Egypt and many more….
Some of us thought that the death of Muammar Gaddafi would have put an end to all these but no! I cannot blame Jonathan or the ruling party for what is currently happening but rather the system that has been put in place. The PDP is not ruling with one voice and that is why they lost the South West. They are not sincere with the people. We want people of courage and honesty whose yes would be yes and no would be no.
Look at our roads, no light, the school system is down; all basic infrastructure we used to cherish have broken down. When you go to bed or place of worship, you are no longer sure if you would wake up safe or be taken to the mortuary or hospital. The security situation has dominated all CAN meetings lately. We cannot do any other thing except looking for a way out of the present challenges.
I pity the CAN president, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor. People are daily crucifying him, asking for his head because he said Boko Haram issue is not political but religious; but now they have seen that it is not political. How many mosques have been burnt? All what we are hearing is that they were faceless, the Niger Delta militants demanded for resource control, what is the agitation of Boko Haram? Northerners should know that these things will draw them back in terms of development because investors will be afraid to invest their hard earned resources in an unsafe territory. They are setting themselves back 30 years, if not more. If the southerners they are asking to go should leave, their land would be desolate.
There are some Christian leaders who believe that the Boko Haram menace is not religious….
That is true! I used to talk to them, but now their eyes are opened and they are beginning to see that it is religious. If it’s not religious, what is it then? How many mosques have been burnt so far? Muslims pray five times a day in their mosques and nothing happens to them. The battle is the Lord’s and He will fight for us. God of those Ibos and southerners whose innocent blood was shed during the Civil War will fight this battle because their blood could not have been shed in vain. I am appealing to Jonathan to continue praying. We are praying for him, he will laugh last.
Is he not supposed to take any action?
Will they allow him to implement such actions? There are certain times that he is handicapped.
If he is so handicapped, may be he should consider resignation as some people are already calling…
No! Resignation is not the way out. It will only give a bad name to the South South. He must be a man to face the challenges squarely and, if he will sacrifice his life for the nation, he should go ahead.
Nobody has been apprehended when certain persons boasted that they would make the nation ungovernable for him….
I agree that such people should have been arrested. He should go to the root of the matter and those who made such statements should be invited to explain what they meant by uttering such statements. We will manage this till 2015 and we will meet at the election.
We all know what security means to a nation. The sect said they are coming to South to bomb more media houses, how could a man perform under such atmosphere? Jonathan is not the issue, but those who are advising him wrongly, calling black white for their selfish gains. The same way people are calling for the head of Azazi because he spoke the truth. People love darkness more than light because their deeds are evil. When one is surrounded by evil men and women, one should be extra careful.
May 29 means nothing to me without security, without my inability to practice my religion anywhere. It means nothing to me when the nation’s roads are still dilapidated, no electricity, no drugs in government hospitals, when unemployment is increasing by the day. It means nothing to me when corruption is still very high. No greater lamentation when you cannot practice your religion. We are in a very terrible situation.
What is the way out?
Nigerians should pray more. We have lots of churches and mosques but our minds are far from God. Muslims and Christians should offer a true penance and stop deceiving ourselves. If there is revolution in this country, the first target would be the super rich. We are heading towards a revolution now and the first target would be the first class citizens. Our economy has departmentalized us: we have first class citizens, second class, third class and fourth class citizens.
When people are impoverished and you are still oppressing them, there is only one way out. When they are pushed to the wall they will fight back. Looking at the number of people riding Okada in all the states of the federation, it is sign of poverty. Graduates are among the army of Okada riders. It’s not safe.
You foresee a revolution?
Yes! It is coming because if you deny people their rights to freedom of worship and kill people in the name of religion, then it would come to a time when they would resist the oppression. If we continue like this, there will be a revolution and the first class people will be the first target.
They should therefore act
before it is too late. Those Okada riders all over the country portend grave danger for this country, if we offend them the more. These people should not add religion to the general poverty that pervades the nation. One thing northern leaders have failed to realize is that Boko Haram is not helping the economy of the region.
It will be difficult for investors to consider the region as investment destination. People will be afraid to invest in Kaduna, Zaria, Jos, Zamfara, Maiduguri, among others. Americans are now warning their citizens and I thank Azazi for making the statement he made. Our people are criminally keeping silence and it is not good. Therefore,I cannot blame President Jonathan. I am also a leader and I know what it takes to be one.
Are we not deliberately helping the American prediction that Nigeria will cease to exist by 2015?
It is not deliberate. What we are seeing now did not start today. It started way back to days of the military. There has always been religious crisis in the North, did they stop it then? Why now blame Jonathan for the seed they sowed several years ago? What about those who sowed the seed?
We are just harvesting the result now. Don’t blame the harvester because there is power shift. The first time that there was power shift, there was political Sharia. And now there is another power shift there is Boko Haram.
But do you believe the prediction?
If we take precaution, it will not happen. One thing about predictions or prophecies is that God will instruct you to do some things to avert a problem. The only thing we can do is to take precaution and check the menace of Boko Haram, because besides Boko Haram there are other militant groups across the country. The wounds of the last civil war have not totally healed and we must not forget that every segment of the nation has their own variant of militants. I will advise Jonathan to summon the courage to do the right thing at the right time.
Despite these challenges some people are already scheming for Jonathan to run for 2015. What is your take on that?
I am not for 2015, but for the security of the nation. Let us first solve the problem on our hands. Let there be a peaceful Nigeria first before anybody should think about 2015; after all there cannot be peaceful election in a chaotic atmosphere like this. Nigerians should pray that God should give us peace.
Those that have been praying three times should intensify their prayers. We need more fervent prayers. This is not the time for merry making because, when you go to worship, you don’t know if you will come back home or land in mortuary or hospital. It is time to pray harder.