Pastor Oluwadare: To achieve peace, unity, Tinubu must release Nnamdi Kanu
•The church has added to crises we face in Nigeria
Founder and General Superintendent of Christ Redemption Bible Church Worldwide, Pastor John Abiodun Oluwadare, has expressed dismay over the rate of corruption, unemployment and insecurity in the country. He urged the incoming government to create a think tank that will create policies to tackle the issues. He also noted that disappearance of family values have caused more harm in the society.
In this interview with VIVIAN ONYEBUKWA, he urged Nigerians to continue to pray and believe in God, insisting that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
What’s your reaction to the just concluded general elections?
We thank God. Many Nigerians were unsure that the election would hold. But we give God all the praise that the election went on well and everything was peaceful and the winner has been declared. Whatever it is, we just have to stand on the word of God that He has given somebody the opportunity to be the Nigerian leader, and which by 29th of May we should look forward to having a new President.
But some are against his swearing in until the conclusion of the court cases…
I don’t share in that opinion because many of us who were there during the June 12 crisis wouldn’t have prayed to see this country entering into another terrible crisis. I know what I went through. I remember vividly I was working and I know how I managed through all the crises then to get to my office in Victoria Island, Lagos and returning to my home. I think the politicians should be careful and take things easy with us, especially the civil society in this country. We wouldn’t want any war again in this country. Whatever it is, the court of law is there. We have witnessed it in the country where the tribunal had to cancel some elections and the right winner was installed. Why can’t we just have confidence in our judiciary? My own opinion is that let the installation of the new President go ahead, and if otherwise, at the end, if the judiciary still finds out that the President is not the winner, let the winner come so that this country can be stabilised. We have gone through a lot – bandits, kidnappings, etc. When are we going to have peace in this country?
You just mentioned bandits, kidnapping, what can you say are the causes of the insecurity?
We have been on it for a very long time; it is not something that started yesterday. I want to believe that it is about this issue of unemployment among our youths. You can imagine the number of our youths outside there. In every community, street, you find a lot of our youths having nothing to do. What do we expect? If anybody comes around to introduce anything to any of them, it could be in the aspect of religion or anything, they are ready to take it up. If that is what they want to go in to fetch them money, they don’t care whether they have to take the blood of any other person, or to put someone else in agony and pains. All they want is money.
Then on the issue of kidnapping, that is one of the easiest ways to make money, because they find it easier than to go into robbery these days, because to those who are doing the business, they find out that much money is being realised through kidnapping. The essence of it is unemployment. So, until our government finds something to do. I pray that may be this new administration will look at that direction, how to make life easier for the generality of Nigerians, especially our youths, because their number is increasing on daily basis. There are a lot of things we can get them involved in. The figure we have in the police and the military generally is not enough. There are some of these youths that would be interested in all those areas. We can engage them and that can reduce the figure of unemployment in the country.
Government can have farms like in the days of Obafemi Awolowo, Zik, and Sarduana. The incoming administration can introduce such a thing. The government would clear the land, get the whole place arranged and allocate to those youths who are interested, and reduce the number of these atrocities from our streets. Then there will be peace and progress in our country. If you go to the United States of America (USA), majority of the billionaires there are within the ranges of 25 to 30 years. They are not committing any fraud, but they are using their brain for technology. Our government could also go into tech, get some of these so called “Yahoo” boys and all the rest. With all the brain that they use to go into people’s account and retrieve their money, put them into a seminar, train them up, give them incentives to be able to go and begin todo something reasonable with their brains without going into anybody’s account. Then Nigeria will be a better place. To me, I don’t think the situation in this country is difficult to handle. If the incoming President could get the best brains, this could be able to move the country forward. It is about putting the right people to do the job. Get a think tank, give them all the incentives and all they do is think how to move the country forward, and the country would implement it. It does not matter the political party you belong to. Until we learn to do inclusive government, this country will continue to lag behind. The interest of this country must be the most important thing in our minds.
Finally, the church too needs to be careful. The church has added to the crises we face in this country. Some of the utterances of our ‘Generals’ is not good enough. The Bible says, whatever it is, we should pray for our leaders. Ours is to help on how to build this country, not to add morefire to it. We may have our political interests but that should be inside us. Some families are divided on the issue of this last elections because of messages from the church. I have never found this country being divided as this since the last four years, more so these last elections. The new government should find a way to restructure this country. Nigeria is sitting on a powder keg. We need to preach peace. To me, Nigeria will be great again. We only need prayers. Let us bury our ego and come together and pray.
You just mentioned the youths joining the police, but many might not be attracted because of certain perceived practices within the organisation
If we get the right leadership and we put in place the right institutions, all these things we are talking about will stop. When you have the think tank as I said earlier, everyone of them will project policies that will be well monitored and guided. And you don’t have to put people into the police or the military without having anything they want to study there. Also, make the packages attractive, give them good incentives. Let the government make our public institutions more attractive. To me if I were the new President, God has blessed him, let him use his salary and other allowances to do certain things to reduce the cost of governance.
What can the church do to also help to alleviate the problem of unemployment in the country?
The church is trying our best in the area of projects and getting involved members who have no jobs. There are periods in this ministry when we train the youths on certain things they can do on their own, and if they are in need of little financial support to set up their businesses, yes we do. We also have some acres of land for farming and some of the members here are interested. Farming is one of the easiest ways to make money.
Immorality is one of the problems in the society. Who is to blame – the church, government or parents?
It’s a combination of the three. At times I cry. I did not grow up to see the church this way. I grew up to know Christ at the age of 14 years. I was the Vice President of the Scriptures Union (SU) when I was in school. So from school, I have been called and addressed as Pastor. When we were there, there were no two messages that they used to give to us when we were young than to say Jesus Christ is coming back soon. Today, a lot of things have taken place. Some youths have gone into drugs, and the girls wearing skimpy dresses, almost going naked. I pray that the church, parents, and government at large will stand up to do something. Nigeria that we grew to know is not the same as Nigeria of today. The Social media is also a big problem. It is damaging destinies. Some of them would dress as Christians on Sunday, but immediately after the church service, they change. Some of them have blocked me on social media because they think I see what they do there. Some also forget that they are workers in the church, becausethe church has lost its role. The church alone can resolve Nigeria’s problem if only they can come together and pray irrespective of their denominations.
What can you tell the government, church, and parents?
My first appeal goes to the incoming President that, it will be good and nice that what has made people to labour in one way or the other to vote him into the office, to do the right thing, put the right people into the right office, and deal with corruption in this country. Secondly, they should look for the way to unite Nigeria. Unity is paramount. Another is the issue of insecurity. If the government can deal with it, then we can have investors coming down to the country to invest. We should stop deceiving ourselves.
I want to use this medium to appeal to the incoming President to consider the issue of Nnamdi Kanu. It is not about the issue of tribe. I am a Yoruba Pastor, but I want to believe that there is going to be peace in the South-East. This man must be released. I believe that he has learned a lot. I had a revelation 24 hours ago about this man, and this government announcing that he must be released, and I see him becoming a good friend to this government and helping this government resolve some of the crises we are facing. I hope they will be able to listen to that.
Then to the parents, from the tender age let’s go back to the foundation. Some of them who are grown up are difficult now to bend, but we can start from those younger ones coming up.
Mothers should not allow their daughters to wear skimpy dresses. The boys should not be allowed to sag their trousers. When we begin to do some little corrections right inside, the Lord will touch some of these children.
Where is the family altar, that is, God? Do families still pray together in the mornings before they go to farm, work or school? There is a time that every child must be back at home and the family door is locked in a Christian home. Even tenants know that the gate of the house would be closed at a particular time. Where are those qualities? Then to the church, we should go back to God and preach undiluted message which the church was known for, not to take a verse from the scripture that suits the youths. When the youths get to a place where they cannot be corrected on what they wear, they are good to go. That’s what some of the pastors want. These are some of the causes of divorce these days. Let us reduce material things in our messages and go to the real message. Then we can see our society coming back.
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