Bishop Leonard Umunna, the General Overseer of Bible Life Church Cathedral, BLCC, with headquarters in Ajegunle, a suburb of Lagos started his ministerial career at the age of nine but never allowed scandalous allegations to thwart his calling in life. He is not perturbed by the negative things people say about him but only interested in the mandate given to him by God.
As Nigeria prepares for fresh elections, the philanthropist regarded as the king of gospel music had some words of caution for Nigerians. SAM EYOBOKA was at the Press interview. Excerpts…..
What should Nigerians expect in 2019?
It is a year of ‘Ruling and Slaying Giants’.
That’s what God told me. It’s an election year and there is apprehension every-where. You can see that the whole of North East is virtually engulfed. The bloodshed is getting so much that if government does not up its game to arrest the situation it will become very catastrophic for Nigeria, because every blood shed cries to the God of vengean-ce. Former President Goodluck Jonathan said his election was not worth the blood of any Nigerian.
The blood of one person spilt unjustly is enough to make heaven to shut its doors against a nation when the leader does not fight for that very soul, not to talk of hundreds of thousands of souls. The evil of Nigeria has reached the high heavens. So, God said to me that 2019 is a year of ‘Slaying those Giants.” And this year has an acronym – Last: It is a year that will last in the memories of citizens. It is a year that comes with light to expose the evil works of many.
Will you say the Church is measuring up in terms of fighting corruption and showing the light of righteous-ness in society?
Don’t go there! It is far from expect-ations. Nigerian churches are not there at all. Only few are still marching on. They are hardly seen; they are under-ground. What we see today is that many of them are gathering money just to build edifices like the people who built the tower of Babel; just for their honour and glory. Only a few are blessing God in obedience and acceptable service. Some have even gone to acquire occult powers just to be seen as being power-ful. The level of deception is very high.
Where lies the solution?
The solution is in what God is doing this year. You are going to see some demy-stification this year. If they had allowed the youth to come into politics, they would have learnt, but the youth have no foundation in Nigeria at all. The foundation they have is carrying the bags of old politicians, rigging of elections, who do you know; your god-father and your financial base and worth. That’s all they know that matter in politics. All the laws that could have been made now to give us a new Nigeria have been abandoned.
One would have thought that by now we would have advanced to the point of voting from our homes and you will see that corruption would be reduced to the barest minimum if not altogether wiped out. We thought that by now they should have put it into the laws and statutes of government that any person contest-ing any election must generate funds from the public and not from individuals. That would mean that those aspiring to public office would begin early to plan and only for those who have the servant-leader heart; and not those whose only motive is for self-enrichment.
Government has outlawed hate speech but critics say government is even more guilty than any other person…
What you sow you will reap. Don’t bring hate action that will provoke your brother who has been pushed to the wall. What do you expect of him? He should not defend himself? Our people say, you don’t beat a child and expect him not to cry out. If he cries out and talks you say it is hate speech.
There is a lot of apprehension in the polity over the coming election. What concerns do you have for the elections?
I had some concerns before, not any more. This is because if not God there is no hope. I know that Nigeria is bigger than those who are beating the drums of war. Nigeria will survive it. Nigeria will come out of this and shine. It takes one ‘mad’ person to change the course of things, like what Jerry Rawlings did in Ghana. I am not supporting bloodshed; but if it is the only way to save Nigeria, ‘O Lord, clean the Augean stable’. If that is the only way to get things work for us in Nigeria, let God have his way.
Nothing is working! They continue hopping from one excuse to another. Today, they will say it is dam; tomorrow they say it is distribution; that if they generate so much, no distributive capa-city. Another one now they will tell you that all the things we need have arrived at the Apapa Wharf and that they have been cleared but no facility to distribute them. When there is facility; they will come up with ‘O, they have stolen them’.
Now, the ministry has compounded the problem by making budget for the purchase of generators. No hope! I tell you, anybody telling you that Nigeria is working well, should examine his head, and ask the fellow if he/she saw Nigeria when I saw Nigeria.
I was born in 1954. Nigeria was like a huge aeroplane that took off; but something happened midair. It force-landed and since then every attempt to make it fly again has been in vain. Generations of engineers have come and worked on it without success. They don’t even know how to get the parts not to talk of how to do it.
There are several prophecies and counter-prophecies about the com-ing elections. What should be the acc-eptable limits of such pronounce-ments from the pulpits?
I have told you that when God wants to help a man, he will be using natural forces supernaturally to enable him gain momentum and his enemies losing momentum. They will still be explaining it away until the final hour. When you interviewed me on former President Goodluck Jonathan in those days, I told you that God said I should not say anything about him; that it is the end that would justify the purpose why He was placed there. We saw what happen-ed in 2015. It was the step he took that averted war in the country at that time.
In some states, the momentum will be rising; while it will be going down in others. At the federal level; people will change their mind at the point of casting their votes at the polling booth—last minute decision. But I must tell you that the way the election will go eventually, there will be nothing like ‘They rigged it’, this time. The thing has gone the way it should go already.