Ambode must lessen the burden on Lagosians – Elebute | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Ambode must lessen the burden on Lagosians – Elebute

Posted: Apr 26, 2015 at 12:38 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) Chairman for Lagos Mainland Province, Rev. Dr. Tunde Elebute, was among top Nigerian Church leaders who advocated for a Christian governor for Lagos State. Now that the elections have come and gone, Elebute, General Overseer of International Christian Faith Mission (ICFM), offers some advices to the state governor-elect, Akinwunmi Ambode. He also has some words for the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari, President Goodluck Jonathan, among others. He spoke to EJIKEME OMENAZU.



As one of the Christian leaders who had been advocating that the next Lagos State governor should be a governor, how do you see the election of the Akinwunmi Ambode of the All Progressives Congress (APC)?

In fact, I see his election a dream come true. I congratulate him. We talked. We held meetings. Thank God, the political parties and their leaders listened to us. The APC leader, Bola Tinubu listened to us. The Peoples Democratic party (PDP) also listened to us. He two major political parties picked Christians during their primaries. At the end of the day, Ambode was elected by the people. We therefore see him as God’s choice. It is not that as a Christian, he is better that the PDPO candidate, Jimi Agbaje. We want to encourage him. We are impressed that in his acceptance speech, he recongised the importance of God in his election.

What advice do you have for Ambode?

He should ensure that he picks up from where Babatunde Fashola stopped and go further than his predecessors. Ambode should see that the people before him were achievers. So, he belongs to a class of achievers. Therefore, he should not fail. Even though he is a Christian, he must work with everybody, including the Muslims and non-religionists. He must remember every class before all of them voted for him.

Ambode should see how he can lessen the burdens of Lagosians. Let him look at the issue of double taxation. The people have been made to serve the government. The government should now serve the people. The burden the out-going APC administration placed on Lagosians nearly cost the party the state. This time, the people want the government to serve them by making things easier for them and not the other way round. He should look at agencies like LASTMA. He should restructure them to reflect the fact that we are in a democracy.

Many times, government destroyed shops without providing the alternatives for the traders. There must be alternative places if they want to remodel markets and the new ones should be affordable. Ambode should also pay attention to the health sector and ensure that Lagos doctors do not always go on strike. He should take a cue from how Fashola tackled Ebola. He should seek partnership with the private sector in areas like education, health, housing, among others, and encourage the people to support the government.

With the victory of the APC in this year’s election, how do you see the person of Tinubu, the party’s National Leader?

One remarkable thing about the emergence of Ambode is that it seems Tinubu knows the right persons at any particular time. He is a great strategist. Even the successes of APC and the performance of the governors can be attributed to this and the sacrifices he made. For this, I also commend him. Even for conceding the top positions of President and Vice President to Muhammadu Buhari and Yemi Osinbajo respectively, shows that Tinubu is wise. He party might have lost the election if he had insisted that he ran. I pray that God will continue to give him long life to be able to guide these people he put in power at the states and federal levels.

Few days to the Lagos, the Oba of Lagos was quoted to have made some statements against the non-indigenes, especially the Igbo, which many considered unbecoming. What is your view on the monarch’s statement?

That was a big mistake. The Oba was lucky that Ambode won. It would have been difficult for him. May be people do not do not see what he sees. However, Ambode should work with everybody in the state, including non-indigenes. God wants him to serve everybody, including all the ethnic groups. He should look wide and should not limit himself to only one ethnic group.

Now that the elections have come and gone, what is your advice to the Nigerian Church?

Now that the elections are over, I appeal to the Christian body to unite. Jesus Christ wants us to be one. No one should work against the prayer of Jesus Christ that we must be one as He said in John 17. During the campaign, everyone who had been offended should forgive one another. A house that is divided against itself cannot stand.

What advice would you give to the new leaders?

The campaign seems to have divided the people. The new leaders should work to unite the people. People in every state must not be made to feel that they are strangers. Leaders must treat everyone as one. They should not forget their campaign promises.

There is no one who needs advises that the President-elect, Muhammadu Buhari. What is your advice to him?

For Buhari, this is the time for him to really show that he is not religious fanatic. He should work to unite everyone. To be sincere, all the ethnic groups voted for him. He should unite the nation, tackle corruption and strengthen all agencies that fight corruption in Nigeria. He should look for anybody to assist him in doing this, including Nuhu Ribadu. If Ribadu agrees to work with him, he will be a useful instrument in Buhari’s fight against corruption. He should live by example and ensure that his ministers do so. We want to assure him that Christians will support him with prayers. He will live long and enjoy the fruits of his labour and Nigeria will benefit from long experience.

What advice do you have for the politicians who failed during the elections?

All politicians who failed should know that there could be another day and that theirs may come. They should learn from Buhari, who tried several times and failed before he succeeded at last. Their time will come.

How do you see the attitude of President Goodluck Jonathan after losing the election?

Thank God for him. He will remain a hero. The Christians are praying for him and his family. His action saved Nigeria from bloodshed. I commend him for accepting defeat and living up to his word before the elections that his ambition does not worth the blood of anybody. What he did is not African and he has set a new standard for politics in Africa. He demonstrated a spirit and attitude of sportsmanship. I pray that God will bless him and guide him to a higher assignment, may be outside Nigeria. He could now be used by the United Nations for international assignments like other world leaders who champion world peace. This will be a bigger opportunity and assignment for him. Jonathan has really set a new standard for African and Nigerian leaders and this is great.

What advice would you give to Nigerians?

I appeal to them not to expect too much from Buhari immediately. They should not put him under pressure. They should be patient and wait for the change he is preaching. While we are waiting for the change he and APC is talking about, we should be prayerful and patient.