The Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Chukwuemeka Kalu Uche has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything within his powers to strive for peace in Nigeria. He said the purpose of government is to protect its citizens, and not to renege on its primary role to the nation when it comes to issues of security.
He made the remark when over 70 bishops of the Methodist Church across Nigeria gathered in Lagos to deliberate on peace in the nation during the 36th Methodist Council of Bishop themed “Strive for peace and holiness, without which no person can see the Lord.” At the event in the Hoarse Memorial Methodist Church in Yaba, Lagos, the Prelate also faulted the decision of President Buhari’s administration to declare IPOB which was peacefully campaigning for self determination a terrorist organization, while it remained silent on the activities of the herdsmen.
What do you have to say concerning the agitation for the Biafran State?
It will be a height of injustice to declare the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist group without doing same to armed herdsmen who have graduated from carrying bows and arrows to sophisticated weapons, including AK-47 assault rifles which they deploy against host communities across the country.
There are crises everywhere in Nigeria, what are your concerns?
The government knows what to do. Government is reneging in her primary role to secure its citizenry; the purpose of government is to protect its citizens. So any government that is not providing security is failing. I think why Nigerians voted out PDP government was because of insecurity, because it is increasing daily, that people are killed in their homes and some do not know what tomorrow holds. Insecurity is a major minus of this government unless they want to rig election; they must change this irregular killing of people and bloodletting in this country unless they are not serious about leadership in Nigeria. Can you allow a killer to take care of your child or do you leave your child in the hands of somebody who cannot protect your child. You cannot relax when you go to work. Nigeria is a child given to the present administration. But when they fail in the area of administration, what are they then for, that is our worry but mind you, I am not against any government. I am not for any government, I am not a politician; I don’t belong to any political party. If you come to my church, all the political parties members are there. I have members of my church in various political party all over Nigeria, so if there are 66 parties, I have my members in each of them, so, I don’t mistreat anyone of them, rather I treat them equally.
We need good governance, security of lives and properties, employment, food on the table of every Nigerian, portable water and energy to trigger off industrial development. These are the basic things we need; we need good roads to export our farm products and then make way for the people.
I must commend the government for rehabilitating our railways; it is a plus, but the greatest problem of government now is insecurity; they are turning blind eyes on it; it is regenerating and becoming unabated and nobody likes that. So, it is a serious problem, something should be done about it, and urgently too. If I were the government, those people we call herdsmen are created by God. I am not calling for their killing or destruction, but what I am calling for is, they should be educated and disarmed or confined somewhere to re-orientate them.
They need re-orientation, they have been affected by drugs, so they need confinement, so that they will be treated and the drugs will be evacuated from their system. I don’t think a sane person can use gun to shoot a human being. They are acting under influence.
As the election draws nearer, many are uncertain of who to vote for
There must be something to vote for. For me, my voting does not depend on any political party, it depends on the person; he must be credible, responsible, resourceful, cerebral and he must have something to offer. If that happens, then you get my vote and the vote of anybody I send. As a religious leader, I can influence a number of people. I have many followers who will listen to me when I talk to them. If I tell them this is where to go, they obey; it is something God has given me and nobody can take it away. We are not after political parties but the person, somebody that will be in the helm of affairs; not voting is detrimental to the life of the country and no matter what they do, we must vote. If they kill all of us while we are voting, it will be on record that we were killed while we were voting.
You are five years as the prelate of the Methodist Church in Nigeria, how has the journey been and what next are we expecting from you?
I don’t normally blow my trumpet, my Bishop said I did well and they passed a vote of confidence on me. I didn’t influence their records and write-ups; they wrote it and was adopted unanimously by the Bishops. I thank them for that, but I want to say that I couldn’t have done well without their cooperation. Doing well borders on the collaged experience; I have a part to play for that success. So, I equally congratulate them for that success too. My success is their success, and their success is my success, our failure is a general failure, we have done well and we commend ourselves. I am also congratulating them.
You talked about the need for Nigerian languages to be adopted in our schools but which one do you opt for?
I think for me, we should start with WAZOBIA. (Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba) and then we can graduate to other. But I want parents to educate their children on our native tongue instead of this English they speak everywhere. I am not happy with parents.
When I travelled to East London, I visited a Nigerian family because I needed a Nigerian food instead of the bread that I ate every day. I went to a family that prepares vegetable and pounded yam and there were these children who were three years, and I asked them a question, but their mother said they cannot speak the language nor understand. So, I told the woman that she is an Igbo woman, brought up in Igbo land and her husband is Igbo too and yet the children cannot speak and that she should congratulate herself. When I went to Texas in 2006, the same thing happened, five children and none of them knows our language (Igbo).
But in my house, it is compulsory that you learn the language, and my children must learn it, because I had A1 in Igbo in my days while in school.