A renowned gospel preacher in Nigeria and Diaspora; Rev.Dr. Uma Ukpai, has called for the amendment of the Nigerian Constitution to incorporate younger people to seek elective positions saying that such to an extent would make Nigeria move forward. In a media chat with some correspondents in his office at Edet Akpan Avenue Uyo, Rev. talked about some national and religious crisis bedeviling the country and the way forward. Our correspondent Lovina Emole was there:
There should be a Constitutional Amendment in Nigeria- Rev. Ukpai
What is your reaction to president Trump’s directive to our President-
Muhhamadu Buhari to stop the killings of Christians in Nigeria?
Christians in Nigeria are regarded as a minority and they are almost snubbed. We begged to be part of Nigeria. We have not redeemed our place of honor and respect. Most believers are even shy to say that they are Christians. I believe that what Trump said to our president will be well digested to not just our president but to our leaders. No one has the right to kill a life that he cannot replace. The way they kill Christians in Nigeria shows that cows are more valuable than human beings. From my own point of view, a cow is a cow; 50million of cows remains 50million of cows and cannot be compared with a human being therefore, no one should lose his life because of an ordinary cow. It is painful that in Nigeria, cows are preferred over human beings. My worry is that nobody is shocked over what is happening. We have lost our capacity for wonderment and surprise, so if a man loses this capacity, he is among the dead; in order words, we are among the living dead of the world.
Recently, President Buhari while in UK said that the herdsmen threatening the country are not Nigerians but from Libya trained by Gaddaffi, sir, what is your take on that?
Gardaffi? (laughs) you can tell a blind man that there is no oil in a soup and he will believe but you cannot tell him that there is no salt in a soup because he will taste it and know. Do you get my argument? We are not children! They should not fool us by saying that the herdsmen were trained by Gardaffi. Gardaffi who died about ten years ago? When he was alive he could not even do that. So how could he have done this after they must have killed and buried him many years ago? Let them tell us another thing. The problem with us in Nigeria is that we are the greatest inventors of excuse. You cannot beat us when it comes to giving an excuse. So when this man (President Buhari) started giving excuses, of course you know that he is a Nigerian. The sad news is that a man of excuses is a man of failure because you cannot confront what is confronting you. So somebody should stop deceiving us and answer our questions: who are the herdsmen? Who gave them the money they use in buying such guns they move with, who are the financiers? How come they kill without being questioned or queried? How come they are killing people and nobody has ever taken them to court, no conviction.
As a respected man of God, what is the solution to this problem both spiritually and physically?
Well, Christians should give up their dinner for 200 nights and ask God to fight for them. If all the believers in Nigeria can give up their dinner for 200 nights and cry unto God, He will come down and fight for us. God has not come down to fight because we have not invited Him and I am showing you the shortest way to that invitation. Let every believer in Nigeria give up his dinner for 200 nights and ask God to turn our lamentation into laughter, our disappointment into supernatural appointment and our disgrace into grace. I want to assure you that God will come down and answer us.
Will you say that Christians have not done enough to stop the massacre?
Yes we have not done enough. Until the killings stop, we have not done enough.
Some Catholic Bishops in Nigeria have called for the resignation of Mr.President; what is your take on that?
Well, I wouldn’t say, I will not join issues but all I want to urge Christians is to call on God to fight for us.
So what is it amongst us that our prayers cannot be answered?
Nonono, I don’t think that our prayers are not being answered. Write down what I am going to tell you. We are still here as a country because of the result of our prayers; that is what people does not seem to know. People take our prayer efforts for granted. Had it being that we were not praying there wouldn’t have been anything like Nigeria. We are still here because of prayers of all Christians.
In view of what is going on in the country, some people have called for separation in the country, is that call appropriate now?
In order to succeed in life, you must not quit or surrender. You must learn how to confront what confronts you. Breaking up of the country is not the answer. Europe for reasons we may know yet are coming together. We will be better together because a good numerical strength is good. We will achieve more if we work together as a nation. Our problem is that we don’t love one another, we are self centered. We are people who want to be successful but not ready to pay the price of success. Those who want to serve or lead us must pay the price of leadership. They must take care of us. They must give account of what they are doing.
Sir, what will you say about the National Assembly, Some people are commending them, in your opinion are they doing what they are supposed to do or are they dragging us backward?
My view is that the National Assembly members are fighting for themselves. They don’t know what the questions are; therefore, they cannot answer our questions. When you ask a man the longest river in the whole world and the man answers that it is Aba River then you will know that he did not even understand the question and don’t even expect him to answer the question in the next ten years.
Sir, speaking prophetically by 2019 General election will you say that Buhari who has declared his intention to run for 2nd tenure will succeed?
I will not announce to anybody.
So how do you see 2019 elections?
There is still going to be Nigeria. We are still going to elect the most corrupt and wicked leaders. It is funny when corrupt people are expected to produce perfect leaders. In a country where you demand money before you vote, you cannot help but have corrupt leaders who gave you money to vote them. So long as we are corrupt and collect money to vote who we should not have voted, we will continue to produce corrupt leaders. Unless we will go to Ghana to look for leaders to lead us but we pray God to help us.
On that note sir, what is the way forward, your advice to the people?
You will not like my advice because my advice will be that every man who is 25 years old and above should not seek to lead us. They should all resign and retire from active politics. They have eaten the poisoned apple and they are no longer fit to rule.
It is frightening that God said that when he wants to judge a nation, he gives them babies to rule over them. Babies are those who don’t know the evils of the world. That means we are under a curse as a nation. Leaders who don’t know what it means to bring unity and build the economy should retire hoping that God will give us men who know what the questions are. Younger ones should be allowed to rule us. The young ones are teachable, they have not been corrupted, I mean they are willing to learn.
Are you saying that the constitution should be suspended?
Not the constitution to be suspended, but to be amended. The important thing is to run a school for the young ones. A school that teaches them how to care for one another, hear me no pastor can carry healing anointing who has no tears for the sick, a pastor who cannot cry for the sick cannot be used by God to heal the sick. When leaders do not have feelings for the poor, they are disqualified from being our leader.
Sir how do you see fight against corruption in the country?
Is there any fight against corruption? How many people have been charged to court? How many people have been convicted in three years? May be you know more than I do, just give me the names of those that were convicted and charged to court. Can we stop fooling ourselves? This is commotion without motion. If there is no conviction that means there is no fight against corruption.
You talked about choosing of leaders, we want to know how you get the revelation to pronounce someone a leader or governor and recently you and other Christian leaders in Akwa Ibom endorsed Gov. Udom Emmanuel for second term, was it out of revelation or conviction?
Number one thing you should know is that we may be equal in fellowship but not equal in anointing.
I can walk into a stadium and declare that 100 cancer patients can go home healed and God will honor it. Sometimes we look down on men of God without understanding who they are. God can decide to show some people what tomorrow will hold and you will not question Him. We are not equally gifted, there are certain things which you all can do but I cannot do.
It is on record that I can pick a microphone under a rain and command the rain to stop and it stops. I can tell a woman that is harassing me over child bearing that her punishment will be every year one child and God honors it. There are some people blessed with prophetic anointing, others with healing anointing, there are others that He blessed with wisdom and oil of meekness. Unless you are taught by God, you will not know the difference.