Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma, the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province has shared his thoughts on the state of the nation and said the suffering Nigerians are experiencing under the Buhari administration is punishment from God.
Here are excerpts from the interview with Sunday Sun, :
On what he thinks of the current state of the Nigerian nation?
The current state of the nation is very bad, very hard, very, very much uncertain, and people are very much discouraged and living with uncertainty, given the state of the economy and the current biting economic recession. People are really tired and confused about the present government. And one is, therefore, wandering where we are heading in this country.
It has become very difficult for the common man to make three square meals a day; and salaries are not enough to help workers to cope with the harsh economic realities. The income is getting minimal even as expenditure keeps rising by the day.
Also, the exchange rate has taken a disgraceful turn under a government that had proudly promised to make the naira equal or even stronger than the dollar. What about the rising state of unemployment? Many more of our graduates are still unemployed. Nothing is happening about that; it has all been wishful promises hence many of them indulge in crime, even as many workers are being relieved of their jobs. So, the situation has brought upon citizens, untold sadness and despondency.
A look at our security is also nothing to write home about.
In some areas there have been increased cases of kidnapping while cases of armed robbery and terrorism have continued unabated in other areas. However, we are grateful to God that some of the terrorists are surrendering their arms and embracing amnesty. But that notwithstanding, all is not well at all, with Nigeria. We must sound it: All is not well!
Nigeria has become a very difficult place for people to exist. It is as if we are in captivity; and we are looking forward to God’s deliverance. In fact, one can say that Nigeria is in captivity under Buhari’s administration. So, we are still praying to God to take us back to the promise land, and I know that He will deliver us.
Well, it depends on what type of change they are trying to bring in. I heard them promise that their version of change will manifest next year. However, the change that we see now is not a good version.
The change is of hardship and people are not comfortable at all. Right now, all I can say that is good about their sermon of change is that the situation is making Nigerians to change from their life of profligacy to prudence. To me, Buhari’s government is a punishment, and caution to Nigerians. I think that God is trying to punish us, and at the same time caution us with the present administration, for our past recklessness and mistakes as a nation.
That is why I said that it is a time of captivity – where God chose to put Nigeria into the kind of biblical captivity of Assyria and Babylon. And until we repent from our sins, God may not rescue us. So, it is a time for everybody to repent, in their small corners, from life of wastage, wickedness and impunity; and begin to live a life of prudence, love and patriotism.
My understanding of the Change Begins with Me campaign is that Nigeria has come to a point where everybody should accept to begin to discipline themselves and adopt ways of righteousness and patriotism.
But sadly, as far as the Nigerian economy is concerned, we have only experienced evil change. We have not seen any good thing in our economy. There may be a change in attitude whereby people are now being more disciplined and cautious about indulging in impunity. That is all.
Talking about the economy, many people have been urging Mr President to drop some of his ministers; and incidentally, several fingers are pointing at that of finance, like you had also done before. Who else do you think that should be on the exit list?
Well, I have to restate that as far as I am concerned, the finance minister is immature to handle the economy of the country. Her policies have not helped out in any way. She is not capable enough to meet up with the challenges of managing the economy a country like Nigeria that is blessed with several economic gurus that can handle the job.
So, I strongly support the campaign for her removal because there has been no improvement since she came on board. The President could give her another function as compensation.
Are you for or against sale of national assets?
I am vehemently against sale of national assets because the ones we did in the past never worked. I think this is the time that the National Assembly must go and revisit all issues surrounding sale of national assets in the past.
With much respect to former President Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar, they were the ones that started this sale of national asset thing and destroyed this country with it. They ended up selling the assets to themselves and cronies. Most of those assets were sold away ridiculously cheaply and they have not brought any improvement to the nation’s economy.
They were not sold with the interest to make Nigeria better and doing it again would be another disaster. When our forefathers acquired those assets, it was for us to build on them and not for us to sell off our birth right. The idea is a huge disgrace. Most of our colonial houses have been sold out and we no longer have any heritage. It is shameful.
If you agree that there are cabals around Aso Rock, I guess you would as well concur that there are evil spirits that usually lurk around the villa, as were recently alluded to by a former presidential aides; wouldn’t you?
You cannot rule out such scenario, but the situation is more serious than just stating it. The thing is that many politicians are fetish and devilish. They indulge in all sorts of acts to achieve political success and protection. Many of them also do unspeakable things to perpetuate themselves in power.
Many of them do not trust solely in their God, who they profess in their religion. So, there is no doubt that because it is a place of high authority, people do evil acts for various reasons.