Editor, ROSE MOSES and INNOCENT OKONKWO:
General Overseer of Synagogue Church of All Nations, Prophet Temitope Joshua in this interview with the Editor, ROSE MOSES and INNOCENT OKONKWO in Lagos, speaks on the recent crisis in Jos, Nigeria’s leaders and the challenges before Acting President Goodluck Jonathan, who he advised to beware of the month of August, among other issues. The quite exciting encounter is loaded with some prophecies, expectedly delivered in parables. Excerpts…
What is your take on the recurrent religious crisis in Jos?
As a clergyman, I don’t want to believe that the crisis has to do with issues about religion, there is more to it and it goes beyond religion. You need to go to the north and see the reception you will receive there; it does not matter whether you are a Christian or a Muslim.
Unless these people who are involved in this act are not living in the cities, except they are living in other places outside the cities. Don’t forget that Christians and Muslims have been living together over the years. So, it is surprising to hear that Christians and Muslims are killing themselves. Do you think that this can ordinarily happen like that? No, so it is not the issue of Christians and Muslims? This is purely political. There is political undertone to it.
Can you elaborate on that, political in what sense?
When I say that it is a political issue, what I mean is political crisis in the country and how it has virtually affected every area of our lives. Look at the state of education in this country, because of politics look at what education is suffering in this country now! The university education today is not what it used to be in the past. The university we are used to is not the university that we are seeing today.
Even in the area of sports too, politics has also destroyed virtually all the areas of sports in the country. Look at how the game of football is going in this Nigeria. It is all political and it has also affected our image outside this country. So, let us remove the issue of Christians and Muslims fighting, it is purely political and by the time they go deep down to discover why the people are killing themselves, you discover that it is because somebody wanted to be in-charge or in control.
The issue persisted because some people want to be this or that; we should not use the issue of religion as a cover up in this matter.
Are you saying that what is being experienced is as a result of bad leadership?
I will not say yes or no, but I want to take you back. When you talk about leadership, can we call it bad leadership? We have had leaders in the past without disciples. When you are a leader without disciples, you are alone and one person alone cannot rule.
But our leaders have long chain of advisers, ministers and aides…
That is what I am saying, leaders without disciples are what we have had in Nigeria for the past number of years now, we have been having leaders without disciples, so if a leader is good, without disciples, it is also bad.
Who then are these disciples considering the fact that we have ministers, many aides and special advisers?
Apart from the president of our nation, every other person is a disciple.
Including us, the ordinary citizens?
Do you have an office? Because you don’t have an office you are not a disciple. I am talking about the cabinet. I am talking about the ministers. What does it take to be a good disciple? A good disciple must be a good reporter. A good reporter must be a good assistant who must report accurately and must be objective in his reports. He must be able to tell his boss the truth and nothing but the truth and if you give your boss a good and objective story and he rejects it, you can put in your resignation letter, which means that you are not a party to what he is doing.
If we have people like that around our governments, then things will change. Have you ever seen the president go to the market to find out prices of commodities, or how things are going there? The disciples are the ones going about to see true position of things.
The cause of the problems we have in Nigeria is leadership without disciples.
How do we get good disciples then?
Before I will answer this question, I will like to go this way; Nigerian leaders have been using other people’s disciples for the past years. People that you don’t know, whom you have not worked with before are other people’s disciples.
Before you get to such a position of authority like the president, you are supposed to have a platform of meeting people, both privileged and less privileged. One does not get to such position of authority over night, it takes time and preparations and a leader without preparation will use others’ disciples to work for him and using others’ disciples always cause disorder in the society.
In other words, you are faulting the Constitution that allows for federal character and nomination of ministers from different states of the federation?
Let me come in here. There are core disciples and there are disciples. When you become the president of a nation like Nigeria, no matter the ministers they send to you to form your cabinet, you as a person must prepare your own personal team which may consist of five, six or 10 people who are on ground, their job is to go to different areas to monitor the ministers and give you the true report of what is on the ground. The federal character does not affect these people at all so far you use your own personal money to pay these people their wages.
And here, you are not talking of those we have come to refer to as kitchen cabinet?
These people that I am talking about, you may not necessarily know them and the nature of their jobs. The kitchen cabinet you talk about are ministers and they give them appointments but these people are not so.
Can we then liken them to the T.Y Danjuma-led Presidential Advisory Council that Acting President Goodluck Jonathan appointed recently?
No, the people that I am talking about who can do this type of job that I am talking about are mostly from the grassroots.
That brings us to the issue of recycling of leaders in this country where you have over 150 million people, many of who are experts in their fields going by what those outside this country are doing, yet our leaders have decided to work with the same set of people over the years. What do you say to that?
Well, if the same people do a good job and they are still alive, they can still continue to do the job. Personally, it is still too early to judge these people that constitute the PAC. It is too early to praise them and it is too early to condemn them.
What do you advise Dr Goodluck Jonathan to consider in appointing members of his new cabinet?
He needs God to do what you are talking about. It takes God to do what you are talking about. So, what he is going to do, he needs God. I don’t see what you are talking about being done without God.
Ok, let me put it this way, what is not well done is not done at all before God. Do you understand what I am saying now? It is a parable. Jonathan will face peoples’ challenges. I see people challenging him. He is getting close to where he will be challenged. Let me repeat it. He is walking towards the direction where he will be challenged. He is getting close to where they will ask him questions like ‘by what authority are you doing this?’
What is the nature of this challenge that you are talking about?
I saw two football teams playing and a referee is holding the whistle but he refused to blow the whistle and this attitude will create some difficult challenges, but let us keep our fingers crossed between now and August. If you keep your fingers crossed, do you have to do anything? No, you only watch as things unfold.
You mentioned the effect of politics in our sports; apart from your football team, My People’s Football Club; recently in your church, an individual testified that you supported him to become a boxing champion. How did you develop this interest in sports, were you a sport person as a youth?
No, it is not that I have a special interest in sports but I want people to succeed as they develop their talents in whichever field, so that they can be successful in life.
•To be continued next week.
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