How We Survive In Nigeria Is A Miracle – Uma Ukpai | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Faith, LIFE

How We Survive In Nigeria Is A Miracle – Uma Ukpai

Dr Ukpai
Posted: Jul 31, 2016 at 1:02 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


Our Leaders Are Blind To Our Problems

Rev Dr.  Uma Ukpa, President Uma Ukpai Evangelistic Ministries in this exclusive interview with our Correspondent, Idongesit Ashameri in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State bares his mind on some burning national issues such as the dwindling economy, insensitivity of leaders and the ongoing fight against corruption among others.

There are calls for the restructuring of Nigeria, do you share in that sentiment?
It is another form of trial and error. Why did we opt for the present structure? It was for the government to be closer to the people but as I speak, we’ve not had government led by somebody that knows what the structures are. Before independence, our problem was that of bad roads, lack of water, poor power supply, poor educational system and poverty of the worse type. We have an educational system that does not answer our question or solve our problem. We have men who are trained to use their heads and not their hands. As I speak, none of those problems has been solved. The problem is not the structure, rather the problem is the people who are manning this structure. We are selfish, we are self-centred. We have no feeling for the poor, we have no regard for the poor. A leader can go to bed and sleep whether the poor around him eat or not. We have no programme for the masses, something that can lift us up, upgrade and promote us. I am not even sure we know how many people exist in Nigeria and if we know how many people that live in Nigeria, what are we doing with welfare as a nation? We have leaders who are into government to enrich themselves, not to serve and the sacredness of human lives does not mean anything to them. A nation of this kind has no future. We have no love for one another. Our leaders attempt to occupy national seats but amplify tribalism because they want to use their tribal seats to rule over us. There is so much unemployment and nobody cares. I was shocked when one of our leaders said sometimes that until we take food from the dust bin, let nobody say we are suffering. Well, that is the message of a heartless man and a man who does not think, a man who does not care and a man who cannot be a leader but a follower because no leader would say what he said. We have political lepers who claim to be leaders. We don’t look like a nation anywhere. We are not organized, our problems are innumerable. How we survive is a miracle.

The general belief is that with true Federalism, Nigeria would be better off. What do you think?
We don’t need restructuring to embrace true federalism, we only need leaders with vision, leaders who know what the questions are, leaders who are visionary, leaders who can see our Canaan and can take us to our Canaan. As it is we have no Canaan as a nation. Asking for restructuring is to continue to look for an excuse for them to continue to waste our time and lead to no direction.

There is also the problem of the Naira dwindling on a steady basis, what is responsible for this?
When leaders don’t know what the question is, the economy has to collapse. It is like asking you, which is the longest river in the world and you say Aba River. Our economy is bound to collapse because we don’t have leaders who are visionary, A blind man does not see the things going on around him, our leaders are blind leaders, we are neither going forward or going backward, we are standing still. Our economy has become a free fall economy, we need leaders who will come to serve us, people who know what we need to rise up and be like others. There is no reason why we should be as tremendously rich and yet, hopelessly poor. We are a gigantic paradox in the mist of plenty, we are hopelessly poor because a blind man cannot run. Our leaders are political lepers, they don’t feel any pain, they don’t hear the cry of the people around them, they don’t even know where we are, therefore they don’t know where we are going to.

Could it be that what we are passing through as a nation is as a result of the sins of our leaders against God and humanity?
No, every Nigerian has seven holes in his head, has 10 fingers, 10 toes, we have seven days in a week, 12 months in a year and 365 days in a year as other nations have, there is nothing other nations have that we don’t have. Number one, we have no respect for God; we don’t care for the poor amongst us. A man who does not care for the poor around him cannot be a great man; we don’t have the desire to care for the poor around us. We like them to remain poor and die poor and because we don’t have a purpose of going into governance, we go and come out without achieving anything except to fill our little pockets that cannot feed the masses. Our educational system does not answer our questions or solve our problems. We have remained a consumer nation when others are busy inventing things that can make life easier and more comfortable and more pleasurable. It is a terrible thing to be led by a blind man. Everyone of us can run only as far as he can see. Leaders ought to be our eyes, ought to be our ears, ought to be our legs. It is painful that we are ruled in a way that frightens me. When God wants to punish a nation, He gives them small boys. A small boy is a selfish person, he thinks only about himself. How can only one man steal one billion naira when many are going to bed without food. I am of the opinion that God is not happy with us because we don’t have respect for Him, we don’t obey Him, we don’t seek His mind in what we do. The average Nigerian is a periwinkle, the only king without a kingdom, the average Nigerian is a self-centred person, the average Nigerian calls ordinary, ultimate, the average Nigerian recognises no higher authority over him and around him. When God gives a Nigerian a brand new shirt, he concludes God wants him to become God to his people, whereas when God gives a man a brand new shirt, He wants the man to serve Him by serving His people, to be of help to the poorest of the poor. You know, lepers feel no pain. The nerves that are supposed to convey feelings to other parts of the body are dead. When our nerves are dead, we don’t care about what others are going through.

For the sake of the innocent Nigerian, what is the way forward?
There is nothing like innocent Nigerian. I have said that an average Nigerian is like a periwinkle, the only king without a kingdom. The person you want to call an innocent Nigerian is so arrogant and does not care whether somebody rules over this world, whether there is a manager over this world.

Is there a way out of this problem?
The way out is for us is to go back to the Bible, believe the Bible, obey the word of God. We are called to love one another, care for one another, respect one another and serve one another and support one another. That is what the Bible commands us to do.

Almost everywhere in the country now, there is problem. Up North, Boko Haram and down South, the militants, what is responsible for all these?
When you look down on me, you compel me to fight you. When you refuse to know who I am, I will be compelled to tell you who I am. Somebody around Boko Haram is asking questions that nobody wants to listen, the same thing with the Niger Delta Avengers. They are asking questions and nobody wants to answer those questions. They are asking, how can we be generating so much money on a daily basis from oil proceeds yet we are hopelessly and recklessly poor. And when somebody is tired of persuading you, he is bound to apply pressure. Somebody is asking a question and nobody is answering the question. So, the people are saying, our leaders don’t think we exist, we need to tell them that we exist. I was in South-Korea when they were hopelessly poor as we are but as we speak, they now export cars. The first time I went to Dubai, I cried, you could see what they have done with their money for the welfare of their people. When I speak of our thoughtlessness and wickedness, I mean it. For example, our road engineers are about the most corrupt in this country. They build roads today and tomorrow the roads will wash away. They will build roads near a house without gutter. They will build roads not to specifications and they will expect somebody to say that they have completed the roads as required by law. I want to say that our road engineers, civil engineers are among the enemies of this country.

Are you in support of the ongoing war against corruption by President Muhammadu Buhari?
Everybody is in support of the war but the man whose house is on fire is not interested in  chasing mosquitoes and rats, you protect the human beings in that house first. Nigeria is on fire and our leaders are running after mosquitoes and rats. They have abandoned the issue. Our house is on fire, there is poverty everywhere. Yes, the fight against corruption is good in a way because these discoveries have helped us to know that the first coming of the soldiers was right. We heard of corruption but we didn’t know it was possible amongst leaders. Now, we are shocked that even soldiers are as corrupt as civilians but our house is on fire. So while we are chasing the fire, we should remember the human beings in that house and protect them because it is for their sake and their sake only that they want to put out the fire. But a man who has no feeling for others cannot solve that problem. The man who does not know what the questions are, cannot answer the questions. We have been running in circles like flying birds without making progress. As we speak now, there is no road out of the East. To go to Onitsha, you have to go through Owerri. We don’t have road out of the whole East and from Uyo to Calabar, we don’t have roads, from Uyo to Umuahia, we don’t have roads, from Umuahia to Owerri, we don’t have roads and this has lasted for more than five years. I was expecting our leaders to commit suicide and I am shocked that none of them is behaving as if something has gone wrong. That is why I call them political lepers. A Leper does not feel anything.

Most of our leaders are Christians, what is the role of the church in making sure our leaders lead us aright?
We are asking the present government to take us to our Canaan. We are telling the present government that it is possible to industrialise Akwa-Ibom. We are telling the present leadership that we were not made by God to come and live under poverty. He couldn’t have given us so much wealth and yet, expect us to be poor. We of the seeds of Abraham, we are the Israelites of today and I don’t know whether you have heard that in Brazil that is hosting the 2016 Olympics that Israelis have invented a device with which you can monitor the whole nation. As we speak the Israelis have invented a car that drives without a driver. As we speak, they have invented a phone where if you speak with me with Oron language, the phone will interpret the Oron language to me in English. As we speak, they have turned their barren land to a fertile land. As we speak, they have invented the best weaponry in the world and because we are the seeds of Abraham, we should not be crawling, we should be competing with them in success, in creativity, in imagination, in wisdom but we are pushing the car God gave us whereas that car was not meant to be pushed. We are pushing this car because we call ordinary, ultimate, we call failure success. Among the leaders in this country, the leaders in Akwa-Ibom are doing very well, they can respond to challenges, they listen to advise and can listen to rebuke. I was speaking for Abia State about two weeks ago and I asked them, why are we so blind and deaf? It is only in Nigeria that people steal retirees money. Somebody had worked for 35 years, gave his time, energy, education, everything to government for 35 years but the money meant for him is stolen by somebody. This is the only country where kidnappers practice their kidnapping among their own people. A young man in Bayelsa asked kidnappers to kidnap his younger sister and asked them to ask for a ransom of N30 million. In a civilised world, you don’t practice kidnapping in your family. That shows how heartless we are. Now, how can we have such teeming crowd of unemployed people and nobody spends his night asking God what to do? We are praying that in no distant time, one of the governors in the East will lead us out of this wilderness where there is no water or light. We cannot continue like this and God is going to help us. As I said, Israel is a small country but is feared by everybody, why? Because God has said He has blessed them and they will be a blessing and the same God has said to us also, I will give you Abraham’s blessings and those blessings are found in creativity, wisdom, courage. The biggest problem in every man’s life is the problem of ignorance of God’s availability, of God’s ability, of God’s limitless, boundless possibilities. When a man worships himself, he becomes a god to himself and because he is powerless, he remains powerless and he die powerless. As we speak, I am happy that we have a crop of leaders in Akwa-Ibom and some of the states in the East who can listen to advice but not all of

Factionalisation of CAN?
It is part of life. I have said it before that crisis in a relationship is for certain things to be corrected.
Somebody is asking a question that must be answered. For CAN to be fractionalised is great. At the point of reconciliation, they will become stronger but they have enormous responsibility to this nation. They owe us prayerful support. They have to teach us and show us how to get out of this predicaments that we have found ourselves. They have to teach and take us to this God of limitless, boundless, endless possibilities. So, the fighting in CAN has been on for sometime now because there is a dominant faction that didn’t not want others to participate in the leadership of CAN and we are saying no, it should rotate for everybody to bring what God has invested in you to the table.