Militancy: Buhari Should Adopt Yar’Adua’s Approach – Rev Kalu | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Militancy: Buhari Should Adopt Yar’Adua’s Approach – Rev Kalu

Kalu (1)
Posted: Aug 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Rev Marvellous Kalu is the Moderator (Archbishop), Synod of the West, Presbyterian Church of Nigeria. He spoke recently with TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI on current political issues, including the anti-corruption campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari, economic recession and insecurity. Excerpts:

Most Nigerians are dissatisfied with the economic situation. Have you, as one of the top clerics in Nigeria, discussed this issue with the government?
Yes. We do organise, as occasion demands, fora where we involve political stakeholders in the country to let our views known on how best we can change the Nigerian society, economy and every other thing. One of those fora has to do with meetings like the one we will have this Month (August) during our annual church programme in Lagos where we issue press statements on our stand on critical national issues. We have, as a church, stated our positions on how best to tackle certain issues at different occasions. We have had events where we have opportunity to address political office holders on issues of the church, the state and society, the concerns of Nigerian citizens and particularly on the present dispensation where most Nigerians perceive that a lot of things are going the other way round. The church has been up and doing, praying and also giving counsels to those who are functioning at different levels of government. In most cases, it is on a one-on-one interview, sometimes it’s through the corporate worship of the church and prayers. In some cases it is by courtesy call given to them. During this meeting, for instance, this month, we intend to do a courtesy call to the governor of Lagos State, Akinwunmi Ambode, so that some of these issues can also be properly tackled. We are all concerned. Leadership is a very complex issue and we are all aware that it can be overwhelming on one man; so, what we do as a church is to make sure that the people who are involved in leadership are upheld in prayer and are not left alone; that is, they are given the best counsel they should have to help the country move forward. That’s what the church is doing.
So what has been your opinion on governance so far?
In fact, the administration that is on board right now is trying per se, but what we are saying is that the suffering of Nigerian people is somehow becoming unbearable these days. Whatever it will cost, the government has to look down to know where there is a missing link. The economy is becoming worse by the day, people are suffering, and the Nigerian naira is losing value, sadly to every other currency in the world. That is not good for us. For a country that is known to be the giant of Africa, it’s a big concern to the entire church and citizens. So the government should be more proactive and look inwards. Now insurgency is increasing by the day as well. Something must be wrong somewhere, that’s why we feel that government and all other stakeholders should ensure that they address these issues frontally. No matter the programme you put on ground unless there is a visible change in the economy and quality of life it will be difficult to convince Nigerians that you are on the right track.

You have mentioned the economy, in what other areas do you think the government should step up action?

I read in the newspaper a few days ago reports about President Muhammadu Buhari practising nepotism in his appointments.
Given the nature of the country, we should expect that in Nigeria where other ethnic groups also exist, the corporate interests of other tribes should be taken into consideration. You don’t make appointments to favour only one tribe. You don’t form a board and it would be made up of people from only one community or zone. When it is that way, there will be grumblings here and there, people will not bring out their best in the development of the land. The last administration was accused of impunity, but now there seem to exist impunity taking to another dimension in the people’s perspective and the government must not joke with this type of perception.
Impunity in the appointment of people without taking into consideration what the other people are saying, their grumblings and complaints, is dangerous. Government should step up action in that area. Also, the issue of religion is one of the most sensitive issues in the country, so sensitive that if any government comes and does not tread with caution on religion, it is capable of tearing Nigeria apart without any waste of time. The utterances of any leader on religion should be carefully selected and the actions we are hearing some state governors are taking against other religions like in Kaduna and other places pose great danger. These are things that we think that those who are involved should be very careful about because it could degenerate into a worse state of calamity and civil unrest. A president is a president for the country, for all religions and tribes in the country. A governor is governor for the people of all religions in the state. No matter the religion the governor belongs to, he should be cautious not to discriminate. No leader should tread the path of bias and prejudice in the issue of religion. And we are seeing this issue rising, the government should guard against it right away. I just read that the Kaduna State governor has decided to demolish about 50 churches or more in the state and they have been marked for demolition. We did not hear any other report from any other religion or groups having their own houses or halls earmarked for demolition. People are accusing the government of playing religion which is not good for us as a country.

There are reports of government’s plan to match the Niger Delta Avengers force by force. What can you say about that?
That will be dangerous. It has been the problem with the leadership of the Nigerian state all this while. I remember that when Boko Haram was threatening the corporate existence of this country the former President, Goodluck Jonathan, said the approach to the issue of Boko Haram was the carrot and stick approach. He said the best approach would be negotiation, talking with the people and not by force. There was relative peace, a continuation of the peace President Musa Yar’Adua initiated. The truth is that what you achieve by force doesn’t last. I have read also the pronouncement made by MEND (Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta) that they would talk with emerging groups to make sure that they step down their bombing activities. The president will not be able to achieve any reasonable conclusion with the use of force. They should desist from doing that. **************What was the magic employed by late President Musa Yar’Adua which made the issue (of militancy) die down within the short time he was in office? Let’s go back to the drawing board and see where we are getting it wrong.*************** Our advice as a church is for them to use a peaceful approach and dialogue and that would help the country.

Everyday sermons are given from the pulpit but corruption is still prevalent. What can you say about that?

Corruption is part of human nature. Human nature is the same all over the world. So human beings in Nigeria have same nature with humans in other parts of the world. But what we should do is to reduce to the barest minimum the manifestations of corruptive tendencies in human nature and make people listen to the word of God and have the fear of God in their lives. Naturally the flesh is corrupt because it’s satanic in nature. If people listen to counsel from the word of God, revelations, and they have the fear of the supernatural who sees the activities of every man, even in secret, that would give them a sense of caution to know how they go about their lives.