April 17, 2024

Former EFCC Chairman, Rasheed Bawa, Should Be Jailed – Supreme Archbishop Powerson

10 min read

The General Overseer of Family Restoration Ministries (International Holy Ghost Royal House of Restoration Churches) and convener of the Network of Christian Kings of Nigeria, Supreme Archbishop Emmanuel ojo Powerson. In this interview, he talked about oil theft, subsidy and the Education Loan that President Tinubu just assented to and other sundry issues.


Sir, what is your assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration so far.

The reality of it is that I think Tinubu all along God’s rabbit in the hat; like God pull out a rabbit, a surprise. My assessment of him so far in three weeks of governance has been focused, determined in incredible form that the nation may evolve in the right direction. Kudos to him and kudos to his government so far. I have to say this as a man of God; as a son of a late politician, all I can say is that am surprised and happy with his administration.

What is your perception about June 12?

My perception of it is that it’s good as it were but we are into democracy but we don’t know about it. We on know the definition of democracy; Government of the people, by the people and for the people but we don’t practice that here. I think June 12 should serve as an idea whereby the nitty-gritty of democracy should be introduced into our educational sector all the way from the elementary, primary and the university. The perception of june 12 if I want to be real with myself and if I want to be pragmatic in the whole sense of it is that, it is actually what I will call a day of turning point in the history of Nigeria reminding us that people’s mandate must not be taken away.

What is your take about our current democracy?

We have been toiling. What I call democracy since 1999 till now was preamble. We are trying to navigate our ways. I have been saying what befits Nigeria is civillitory.

What do I mean by that? You sink the military style because we are not matured enough not to handle firmness aggression.  Nigerians like aggression. Hear me, from church to the family house, it is aggressive language that we understand, so, we are not matured yet but we are growing but with the thing that evolving the last few days, is incredible.  The wheel is turning in the right direction. It seems the preamble has come to a full stop because we can’t go back anymore. So far, it was a child’s play but right now, we are maturing.

Are you in support of Nigeria’s disintegration in view of the prevailing situation in the country?

We are too integrated to go apart. We are intermingled. For example,  I just ran downstairs now to go and meet an 87 years old woman to greet her because she’s just coming from the hospital where she went for treatment. She’s from Akure and her husband is from Uyo and their oldest son is 58 years old. She and her husband has been co-habiting for 58 years. Now, if you separate the nation, where will both of them belong? I know about dual-citizenship but that’s not what we are saying.  What we are saying is that, why disintegrating the nation if it works?

If the system don’t work, we have to go out separate ways but if it works and favour us, then we need to be together because there’s strength in number. We need to stay together; things must not fall apart and that’s the way I have always seen it. I grew up with Ibo boys in Lagos by the name Lucky; Chukwudi; and mam Nnadia and until now, I don’t have much Yoruba friends,  I have Ibo and that’s the kind of life we live. Go to any part of Nigeria and wherever you go and you don’t find an Ibo there, then the place is not a good place. People from the North ate here too. Look at me as father, I have a lot of spiritual sons and daughters in the North especially in Taraba State where I have well over 100 of them. What happens to them? So, I believe the marriage of confidence is because the system works but the system before now has been selfish. For example, someone is in the government, he wants to favour his people.  For me personally,  one of the reasons I believe Nigerians should go its separate way before was if the Ibo perhaps been marginalized in their own country. Forget about Biafra. There was an issue behind the issue, so, are you going to say because I wet the bed when I was in primary school, so therefore am still bed wetter when I am a grandfather? It shouldn’t be. We learn but because there’s no chain of proper integration, that is why I agree with what we call NYSC, and that’s one of the purpose of NYSC to integrate us; cultural understanding; to create a nexus between a of us whereby we are connected together as families, brothers and sisters. Outside Nigeria, we don’t see ourselves as Ibo, as Yoruba, we see ourselves as brothers and sisters. I agree into disintegration of Nigeria because of cheating; because of lack of equity; because of history that should be filtered but we’re not filtered.

What kind of burden is Nigeria under?

Pride, selfishness. It’s from the pulpit to the presidential palace and I say that without any apology. With all due respect to our fathers in faith, Nigeria is in the bondage of quick fix syndrome. When a 14 year old boy want to start driving a Mercedes Benz; has he suffered? He doesn’t even know what life is  all about. They go into Yahoo plus; they go into fraud. They don’t want to labour but the reality is is what they do to make that money. It takes somebody with brain to do it. So, we are in z bondage of shortcut; cutting corners and that is what led us to where we are now. Whether you believe it or not, we are not really in any political bondage. No poverty in Nigeria. You can see the amount of money found with Emefiele, how many of us have such? Let’s say we are 500 million people in Nigeria, and somebody now yake your own money from your account meaning if you give each Nigerian 1million each, we will still have 500million set aside and you tell me that nation is poor? Nobody has national interest at heart anymore, even pastors. A pastor is preaching because he is looking for money to run his ministry; he is going to take care of his family. However,  there is something called life management. Go and find a job if preaching is not fetching you money.

There is widespread hunger in the land, what is your advice to our leaders?

Well, we are now in the right direction and it will work. The oil subsidy that was removed is one of the steps in the right direction. Imagine, we are here suffering and you’re catering for Cameroon, who made that deal? We are catering for Chad, who made that deal? Whoever made that deal and he’s still alive, he needs to be locked up. We are here suffering you’re thinking of the need of other people. Yes, we are brothers and sister nations but at this point we are dying. My advise to the government is that they should stay in the right track to negotiate it. Create a legacy that will not be forgotten forever and we will be fine but to remove poverty, we all have to go back to farming. Take our attention away from oil because it dries up. Let Nigeria be a country that feeds themselves and the world and then poverty will be out from grassroots to the top.

What is the role of the church in today’s world?

The church need to come back to reality. The role of the church in today’s world is to stop playing religious game and be pragmatic. Let them stop pushing dogmas rather than doctrine. Let them stop pushing personal idea (criticism). Let the church begin to preach love within the church. Let me say this, the place where you can find true love is the church but the place they don’t execute love is church. Nobody persecute the innocent more than the church, even themselves, they are persecuting not to talk of outsiders. The church has to come back into basic serious teaching. In John 3:16 which says “For God so loved the world that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” but that is not the end of the story, John 3:17 says “For God sent His son not into the world to condenm the world but through Him that the world might be saved”, but the church specializes in condemnation. So, the role of the church is actually to collaborate and help instead of condemning. So, the role of the church has to go back into exercising and showing love. Love without discrimination; love without hypocrisy. Speaking in tongue is good but it doesn’t make sense when you don’t have love. Look at it now especially in Nigeria, God has proved to us that church can fail. Ninety percent of churches supported Obi, where is he now? Those prophesies during the electioneering period by pastors were made out of selfishness; out of pride; out of unguided and unfiltered emotion.

Churches are spreading but the true salvation is dwindling, why?

The proliferation of churches is prophesy being fulfilled. I have no problem with that, but true salvation is absent and the reason for that is because of money. Our parents those days give what they need to the church. Pastors manage what they give them but these days, it’s not so. The real salvation is not being preached anymore and our message has reduced to overcoming the enemy and financial prosperity wherewithal and kling of the enemies. Church must be vision focused.

What is your opinion about the Student Loan Act signed into law by President Tinubu?

It was expedient a along. I think it came a little bit late. So, I think it’s the step in the right direction. Some of these ladies that has become prostitutes in school doesn’t need to sell their bodies again because of they want to pay school fees anymore. Some of those boys that goes into all kinds crime so that they would be able to have money to sponsor their education, that will flitter it out. Like I am a Nigerian-American citizen, for the 40 years I lived in America, that has been the way the system operates. There is always what they call Pell Grant and Student Loan. For me, more non of my kids that went to the university stressed me. They apply for Pell Grant which is Federal incentive meaning the tax bracket your parents fall in determines how much the government will give you to assist in your education and that is the number of your taxin return. It is linked with the IRS, then if it is not enough or you are from a wealthy family, you apply for Student Loan. The student loan, you don’t pay back until certain time after graduating. I don’t know what it is right now but in my days, it is a year after but if you’re smart by getting a job, you can start paying it right away. During my time after graduating,  my dad pushed me out to go and look foe a job. He reminded me of my loan that I shouldn’t expect him to pay it for me, making me feel responsible. Some of the children that goes to school nowadays are not financially responsible. When they have student loan, they will know they have a bill to pay after finishing from school, so, you focus on your education and you start setting responsibility out before you finish. It is going to bring sanity into our academic system. I fact, it is the best move ever.

Just recently, there was a report in the media that the suspended EFCC chairman, Rasheed Bawa,  spent 300,000 dollars on lesser hajj, what’s your view about this?

Obviously, you know that’s not his personal money. Where did he get such money? How much does he earn monthly? He shouldn’t go Scott free. These is part of the cabals we are talking about that nobody know their name. If it’s his personal money, he will be cautious in spending it. That is why I like the way they arrested him. In America, even if it’s Bill Gate or Donald Trump, they will still question him. That tells you why there’s poverty in this country. Don’t blame the nation,  blame those kind of people.

The former leader of one of the militant groupin Niger-Delta, Asari Dokubo, visited President Tinubu in Aso Rock and after the meeting, he told journalists that top military men are behind oil theft. Sir, is it supposed to be so?

It is not supposed to be so but ot is true. Let me say this, I think there are some of them that are doing legitimate business like T.Y. Danjuma and former President Obasanjo.  But when you look at the kind of life they live also, those behind them wants to do that too and that’s why it’s like that. I know there should be an incentive for serving the nation but you shouldn’t be given the opportunity to be the only one to amass wealth. I concour with him without any iota of doubt. The places they go in the forest to tap those line, nobody will have that mind, boldness or enffontery to go into such place without having some power backing them. It has to be the military and it can’t be the police; DSS because it has been there for years since the military has been ruling. It has to be the military. That tells you why we have militants in the country. They are irritated by what they saw. You’re seeing my wealth and you’re dangling the carrot in my face.

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