Elections: 2019 is bleak – Archbishop Chukwuma

The Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese, His Grace Emmanuel Chukwuma, has raised the alarm that the 2

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The Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province and Bishop of Enugu Diocese, His Grace Emmanuel Chukwuma, has raised the alarm that the 2019 election year is showing a bleak picture going by the prevalent political climate.

Consequently, in this interview with Sunday Sun, the fiery cleric called on Nigerians to pray fervently to avoid imminent disaster hanging in the cloud.
He also insisted that it was high time President Muhammedu Buhari bowed out and allowed a younger person to continue in 2019. He also spoke on other national issues. Excerpts:

What do you think about the President Buhari’s visit to states attacked by herdsmen in the North?
The president’s visit to most of the places was highly commendable, though it was too late. We will say he toured these places without visiting the camps where the people are was of no use because the people who are in the camps would have expected him to come there. So, I don’t think he would have known the extent of the damage done if he had not visited, at least, one of the areas that were damaged. Visiting people in the Government House was not a proper visit; I think that was cosmetic. Secondly, the Inspector of General of Police was absent in Benue State and he said why should he disobey him, so for that reason, the IG should be dismissed. Also immediately he left Plateau there was killings there; so what was the effect of his visit then, there was every serious killing in Plateau State, which means his visit had no effect of stopping the killings or carnage, rather it provoked more of it. I think time has come that we must know that there are more killings, more violence in this government than before and that is a signal to say that the government of today cannot cope with the security of this nation and it’s now time for them to bow out. It is time for us to begin to re-examine ourselves. You can imagine even the Secretary of the United States of America visited Nigeria and after President Trump sacked him, that is to say why are you going there; Nigerians don’t know what they are doing, because we are not sincere to ourselves and the security of this nation. So, it was a disgrace that the man came here and he was sacked because of coming to Nigeria. Again I must tell you that the way things are happening throughout this nation, particularly in the North-East, one will be wondering whether the Army is ready to go back to the barracks. What happened in Dapchi can be a sort of planned work; because I asked myself where were the roadblocks that made these people to go freely on the road to be able to take those children away and nothing stopped them. It is a signal to us that the Army is deceitful; there is deceit in the military, I call it deceit of the military because this is the way of retaining and making more money and $1 billion will now be effective for them to share; one is also very much disturbed that in this area, the Army is not serious and they should stop making cosmetic announcement about destroying Boko Haram. The more noise you make the more these people get provoked, everything should be quiet now and do it silently and see whether we will have results. There must be a good surveillance and intelligent report. So, one is not happy security-wise in this country and nothing is being done to curb the herdsmen menace; whoever they are, they should declare them terrorist. If they can declare IPOB terrorist, what is making the Federal Government to keep silent in declaring herdsmen terrorists, rather all the government is concerned is making a place for them; it is embarrassing.

You recently called on President Buhari to bow out in 2019 and not contemplate running again, what about who will succeed him?
Thank you very much; the problem we have in this country today is who takes over from Buhari. Yes, there are people if Nigerians will allow the truth, integrity and honesty to prevail in candidates and that is where the political parties will come in. But I can tell you that the political parties have lost their relevance; whether PDP, APC, or whatever, what we are interested in now is no more political party. We are interested in the personality that will come out. We are tired of military democracy. So, the military men who are gathering again to push him out, yes, because I feel and I have said, that anybody above 70 years should please regard himself as an elder statesman; he should be an adviser; look at France, look at countries around, all these people who are trying to make themselves Mugabic sort of, we don’t want them. There are people who are young, people who are between 50 and 60 years in this country that have the technicalities and are technocrats who can lead this country forward and faster. We don’t want to see them in televisions making advice; we don’t have people who can move this country forward in this government yet; we must identify them and it’s better for us to stop deceiving ourselves with what I called the ‘old cargoes’. Buhari has led this country before, over 35 years ago, and the young ones are saying 35 years ago they are the leaders of tomorrow, and now these people are still there, when will they lead? I think we are tired of this system, young ones are getting agitated; give them chance to rule because we have so many of them who have integrity and are very intelligent. The question really is that Buhari must bow out, but who takes over from Buhari is what we are going to pray for seriously for God to provide.

Are you not concerned that the church has been under attack for speaking against misrule in Nigeria, you saw what happened to the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Anthony Obinna at a funeral mass by Governor Rochas Okorocha’s supporters and those of the PDP?
I am worried; that tells you the kind of leadership we have. I have said it before that there are some hooligans who are in government, who pretend to be governing us, but they are thugs themselves. What happened in Imo State is so disgraceful and I wouldn’t take that from anybody. I think Bishop Anthony Obinna has allowed the governor of Imo State to be able to get ground, if they have checked him earlier that wouldn’t have happened. The archbishop has taken much of nonsense and I have warned him that you are taking much nonsense. What happened in Imo State cannot happen where I am, I would lead the church against him. I think the people in government should know that this is a democratic government, and it’s a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Nobody can stop the church to say what is right and condemn what is wrong. And so, I totally condemn what happened and I say that the church should rise against that government and make sure that the government knows that it’s the people that own the government. We are going to mobilize ourselves from the South-East and go to Imo State to make sure that rascality in government does not have a way. We are behind the archbishop and we want him to speak out more and condemn what is evil and I support what he is saying. The governor should realize he is messing up and he should repent and change, otherwise his government will end in disaster. That is my stand.

What is your thinking about 2019?
2019 is bleak as gun-powder; this Nigeria we have now, if we are not careful, there is going to be chaos and there is going to be bombshell in 2019, with the disagreement now between the legislature and the executive concerning the dates of election and the Federal Government is refusing to assent to the bill. That is a sign of problem coming and if that continues there is little hope for 2019, which we pray should not happen. So, people should be prepared because, we don’t want doom to come upon Nigeria in 2019. We should allow free and fair election and free legislation to take place. All of us should pray hard that God Almighty will raise a candidate that will lead this country. I want to tell you that we are ready to lead the change because what is happening now doesn’t show anything of light in this administration. Yes, something might be happening, but a lot of Nigerians are crying and things are tough as it stands. We taught that by now things would have been better. I don’t know the magic, but if they know what to do to make Nigeria better before 2019, let them do it, but if not, let him go back to Daura to go and rest. He has tried his best; he has exposed corruption, but he is not fighting corruption because there are more corruption in this government than ever before and we should not continue to deceive ourselves. The cabals around him are not giving him the right sense of direction and thinking. He might personally be a good man, and he is not a greedy man, but he is being misled by people around him. But if he continues, those who are calling or asking to continue will also perpetuate themselves in corruption. People want to use him to continue to perpetuate their evil against the interest of Nigeria. Again his health is not strong enough, it is time for him to know that his health may fail him in 2019, so it is time for him now to go and rest. He should use the rest of his life to serve God and also think on how to advise Nigeria.

Recently, Nollywood actor, Kenneth Okonkwo declared to contest for the 2019 governorship election in Enugu State, saying that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi has performed poorly in last three years of his administration, is it true?
Let all of them come and contest. The thing is that Ugwuanyi is a silent worker as long as I am concerned; people don’t understand that this man is a governor of the people; he is very respectful, humble and God-fearing. I see no vacancy in Enugu State as of now. It is clear to me that Ugwuanyi will go for a second term, not because of anything, but because he has the sense of direction and good link of advisers who will make him to think well. Look at the rural roads and link roads he is doing in Enugu State and also the housing estate he is creating; he is also paying salaries every month. Only what I know is that he should begin to pay pensions and gratuity. The welfare of the people is very important and he should do more on that, but he also needs more time. As far as I am concerned, there is no vacancy in Enugu.
The Nollywood actor cannot even win election in Enugu State for now because Enugu State for now is in the ‘hands of God’ and we are prayerfully behind Ugwuanyi for the good work he is doing. He is not doing badly at all and we should give him more time to complete his work. But he should stop attending so much functions of people and concentrate more in the work on infrastructure. People also accused him that he is not paying contractors who worked under Sullivan. I have heard that complaint, but I think he needs time because they don’t have much money now as they had during the time of Sullivan and we need to really pray for him. He is doing his best and I assessed him to be best, he has done better with his openness and good governance and all we are urging him is to continue to have the fear of God and ensure that his integrity is not dragged to the mud. I think if he comes back for the second term he may also do better and until his good becomes better, and better best we cannot say anything, but may God bless his administration and also remember that he will give account of his stewardship.

Source : Sun News