*Proffers solution to 2015 Guber
*Says People make politics dirty but pastors will help clean it
* God called me to speak for Government and people
In this edition of the HOT SEAT ON COMMUNITY PULSE NEWSPAPER, the number one Christian in Akwa Ibom State, Archbishop Cletus Bassey who doubles both as founder of Destiny International Mission and the Chairman of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), x-rays why church and CAN in general cannot be separated from the government. He also clears on the many wrong impression from the public about his personality and why he will never keep quite to watch Akwa Ibom State being dragged to mud by its leaders. Apart from giving his suppose true version of the Asan Ibibio saga, the Uruan born prophet of God proffers solution to the much talked about 2015 governorship race in Akwa Ibom State. Excerpts…
MAY WE KNOW YOU SIR?
I am Cletus Bassey, the Presiding Archbishop of Destiny International Mission. I also belong to many organizations within and outside Nigeria. I hail from Idu in Uruan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. I am the first son of my father; my parents are now late. I have other siblings who are also doing well and some are married. I am married to Blessing Cletus Bassey and I have two sons. I started schooling in Holy Trinity, Mbiakong and later I went to St. Patrick’s College before I headed to Trinity College in Aba. I obtained my first, second and Doctorate degrees from a University in the United State of America. I have received many awards and different Honourary degrees, but none of those things matter to me as the pastoral work I am doing. That is me! That is who I am.
WITH THE SEEMING INTIMIDATING PROFILE YOU HAVE, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY HAVE BEEN YOUR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR IN LIFE?
My Outstanding achievement, by the grace of God, is bringing the body of Christ together and remaining focused to do what God called me to do and irrespective of whatever happens or any issue at any given point in time as well as leading the Akwa Ibom State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN). Since I became the chairman of CAN in Akwa Ibom State, the level of leadership God has helped us to provide is amazing. There is togetherness in all we do and the people always embraced whatever we bring to the platform. We’ve had the highest gathering of the church and also outstanding men of God coming out whenever we have a programme either at the State, Senatorial District levels or even in Pastors conferences. For instance, when we were touring churches in the three Senatorial Districts, there was a teeming population of the church especially the pastors that came together.
THERE IS PROLIFERATION OF CHURCHES NOWADAYS JUST AS THE SCRIPTURE FORETOLD. SO WOULD YOU SAY IT’S A SIGN OF END AND IS THERE ANYTHING CAN CAN DO TO CURB IT?
Well, Nigeria first of all, is a nation where you have freedom of worship and as far as Nigeria is concerned, nobody is restricted. That is why you have the traditional worshipers, the Christians, the Muslims, the Hindus and many others. There is no law in Nigeria that says there should be no church, mosques and temple or gives limitations on the number that should be established. Therefore, as long as there is no such law, it means there is no restriction, so anybody has the right to own a church whether in his backyard, parlour, market or anywhere.
CAN does not exist to control churches, instead CAN exist to bring churches together to present the purpose of God upon this nation. That is why CAN always rise against Government’s policy that is contrary to the word of God. Factually, CAN is a pressure group from the church, it is not against churches but anything that does not honour the purpose for which the church exist and unconstitutional action on the church by the government; for example, when churches are barred from doing open crusade or the issue of taxing churches which some state government are doing. Churches are registered with the federal government as a non-profit organization; therefore, a non-profit organization cannot be taxed.
So how can taxing of church then become an issue as it was at National Conference, forgetting that if you tax the church, you are double taxing the people? In America, there is what is called the 50-IC of which if a church meets that level, it will be seen as a voluntary organization that seeks to help people. Churches help the poor, give scholarship and empowered people. Most churches even have orphanage homes, so why should the government still come back to tax them. That is double taxing because members of the church are also paying their taxes. It is the duty of CAN to rise and say no to such policy but not to churches. I can tell you, as far as the Constitution of Nigeria which gives right to freedom of worship is concern, there will be more churches and nothing can stop that.
IS IT TRUE THAT CAN IN AKWA IBOM STATE IS BECOMING MORE POLITICAL THAN IT SHOULD?
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) is the political wing of the church and that is what people don’t know. In other word, CAN is like the watchdog watching over what policies are made for the church by government at any level whether it threatens the existence of the church. It is a good thing for CAN to cooperate with the government in order to protect the interest of the church, but when the government goes against our scriptural belief, we cannot be friends with such government because we will tell you boldly that it is not right. Apart from the platform which CAN provide for the coming together of all the churches, it is also a platform where we speak on issues and matters that affect us as a people and as an organization.
SO, DOES IT MEAN THAT GOVERNMENT IS NOT INTERFERING ON THE AFFAIRS OF CAN?
How can the government interfere when we have our policies and philosophies, we have our own constitution and modus operandi as well as all an organization should think of? Government can only come in as much as we give them the space. Governments do recognize the church but they are not against the church neither have they come to take over the running of the church. No, they have not done that. No government has ever come to say, “church, don’t hold service from 7 – 10 O’clock or we now want you to hold service from 12 O’clock to whatever time. In fact, what government has done is to work in relationship with CAN. Whenever government wants to organize prayers, they call on CAN to assist them. People ought to understand that every religion is part of their government.
For example, in the northern part of Nigeria, Islam and government are inseparable and that is the reason northern governors, especially, the core Muslims brought into practice, the Sharia law, which is completely Islamic. Every northern governor wants to build a mosque either in their hometown or in government house and in public places so that people will feel free to go in and worship. They don’t separate their government from Islamic religion and that is why, whenever their government attempt to go against Islam, the Islamic people would cause problem. It is only in Christianity that people say there should be separation of church and state.
Find out what makes an Islamic nations; they are operating based on integration of Government and Islamic religion. So why is it only in Akwa Ibom that people come to say, there must be a separation of state and church? How can that be? That is the worst thing I ever want to hear because even in the Old Testament, it is recorded that God and government worked together just as the Prophets, and Priests worked together with the kings. Who anointed the kings? Who are the people that stood by the kings?
The Priest; they were there and working hand-in-hand with the rulers. Aside that, those in government including the Governors and Commissioners are members of different churches, some are Pastors, Elders, Knight and whatever they are called in their respective churches. Why then should we throw away the bible to satisfy selfish reasons? These are the truth that people always refused to say; but let them know that those who don’t tell truth will surely face God’s wrath which he will bring upon them. We must always stand by the government to make them do what is right and also let them know that God will bring us all into judgment for whatever we do instead of allowing them to go about doing wrong things and them come back to church and confess. Father I’m sorry, I sinned in the night.
HOW THEN WOULD YOU ELUCIDATE THE ARTICULATION IN SOME QUARTERS THAT CLERGYMEN SHOULD NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICS, MAKING REFERENCE TO WHEN JESUS CHRIST WHO DISTANCED HIMSELF FROM POLITICS WHILE WALKING THE EARTH?
That is a lie, they don’t read the bible; from which bible do they read that one. From the beginning, God never took himself out of government. When Jesus came, people saw him as somebody who came with a different government and that was what made people to be afraid of him. As he grew day-by-day, his followers became more and strong. The government of the day was afraid of him and was looking for as way to reached him. When the people continued doing wrong in his time, he called them, sepulcher, vipers and all sort of names, so they became angry and killed him.
His influence was more than that of gun and was able to attract crowds of people who sang “Hosanna to the Lord; blessed is you that come in the name of the Lord.” Even the Kings were threatened. It is only when people don’t know how to synchronies their political agendas and God’s agenda that they begin to go against the church. How can you say that men of God should stay away from politics with claims that politics is a dirty game? People made it dirty but men of God will help to clean it up. Many say that pastors should stay away from politics; but when they want to aspire for political office, they will run to the pastors to pray for them. Others say church should be separated from government; but when anything happens in the state like when neighboring states want to take our oil well, the government would run to the church asking the pastors to pray for God intervention. This is an indication that the church also has an authority of which without it, the government is empty. There is no throne without a priest and there is no throne without sacrifice.
THERE ARE CLAIMS FROM MANY THAT ARCHBISHOP CLETUS BASSEY IS MORE POLITICAL THAN NECESSARY. HOW WOULD YOU REACT TO THIS?
It is all about claims like you put it. Everybody has a calling and my calling is to speak to both the government and the people. I’m not just starting it today. I started praying for this state since 1988 when I returned from the United State of America and since then I have invested so much in this state in terms of fasting and prayers; that is why I am always interested in what happen in this state because my investment is at stake and nobody can tell me otherwise. Would somebody say that Martin Luther Jnr more political?
No! He noted that the blacks in America were marginalized and he began to talk in protest yet he was a man of God. So anybody who thinks I am more political than necessary does not know the calling I have. As a priest, I have a calling to speak to both the common man and those in position of government and same I will do because that is how a priest ought to be. There are pastors who do not want to join issues with the government for reasons best known to them and that is good for them. Jesus said “you are the light of the world and the salt of the earth.” So as light and salt of the earth, do we have limitation? Is there anybody who doesn’t need salt and light in life? Gospel demands that you should be holistic. It is not only about preaching and preparing people to go to heaven. You must also be interested in what goes on in other area of life and how it affects our children.
That was how I was able to cause a stop on pouring of libation during state function. Before now the government used to called traditional rulers to pour libation after prayer by a pastor in state functions; so one day I said to them you cannot have two altars and be serving two masters, you can only serve one. You have to choose whether you want libation or prayer so that you can stick to one otherwise you would die and follow those ancestors you are invoking back into this state; then the government decided to choose prayer and that was how pouring of libation was stop in Akwa Ibom State government functions. I have been closer to the government right from the days of late President Sani Abacha. He tried all he could to kill me.
I was arrested by the State Security Service (SSS) almost on daily basis. At a point the then Director of SSS seized my Passport and my traveling document and I was taken to Abuja but by the time we get there, the man died and I was freed. Also, during the days of Lt. Col. Yakubu Bako as military administrator of this state, soldiers came after me in large number at the bible college while I was praying and seeking God’s face for this state; when asked my crime, they said I was praying against the state. So, anybody can call me whatever they feel like calling me. I will always speak the mind of God to this state and I whenever God says anything to me concerning this state, I will continue to say it.
MOST PEOPLE SEEM TO BELIEVE THAT YOUR CORDIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOVERNOR GODSWILL AKPABIO HAS GONE SOUR, IS IT TRUE?
I don’t know what they mean by my relation with the governor going sour as you said. There has never been a time that the governor wants me that he cannot see me. Each time he wants to see me, I do meet him. There has never been a time I have any issue with the Governor. I always try as much as possible to stay away from unnecessary controversies but those who are seeing me from afar read and interpret things based on their knowledge. It is not all the time you want to see your friend that you can see him or have him visit your house always but that doesn’t mean that he is no more your friend. Some people think that the governorship should be coming to my church every day or I should be walking with the Governor everywhere.
I never used to be with Governor Akpabio everywhere. I never used to see him everywhere and every day. Those who think I am no more friendly with the Governor are saying so because they have not seen me with the Governor of recent according to their observation. Not only that, they are misinformed from what happened during the Akwa Ibom State Solemn Assembly in January this year when I said in my sermon that we must be careful not to allow sentiment of ethnicity divide us as a state.
I went further to say that Nigerians knows Akwa Ibom State as the Ibibio and the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria; that unfortunately, we have suddenly begin to segment ourselves into Anangs, Oros and the Ibibios. So I then advised that we should not allow anything to come against our unity as Ibibio because we are greater when we are together. So when the governor commented on it, I don’t know whether he understood my message, people began to read different meanings. You know some people like fabricating all forms of rumours. Truly speaking, there has never been a time a I have problem with Governor Akpabio.
THERE IS ALSO INSINUATION THAT WHAT THEY CALL NEW GENERATION CHURCHES ARE PREACHING GOSPEL OF MATERIALISM THAN THAT OF SALVATION. WHAT IS YOUR TAKE ON THIS?
The word salvation has seven parts and one of it is prosperity. It is a holistic word translated from the Greek word “Xozo” which has seven compound words. So when you are preaching salvation, it is not enough to say somebody is saved and is going to heaven. Jesus said he did not die on the cross of Calvary only to redeem us from sin but also for us to be prospered.
In the past, Christians particularly the pastors were seen as the poorest sect; in this part of the world, they were usually described as church rat meaning that a rat that lived in the church doesn’t have food to eat and as such will die of hunger. It was the late Archbishop Idahosa who stood up and began to preach prosperity, arguing that we cannot only be talking about going to heaven and yet lives in poverty or cannot do anything meaningful on earth. Disappointingly, some people often go extreme on their explanation of gospel of propensity; every child of God is expected by the grace of God to have enough for themselves.
I am not talking about such affluence where you alone would have everything while others suffering. What you have is for everyone just like it is recorded in the bible that “…every man brought all their lots to the Apostles’ feet.” Also, with prosperity, Christians will be able to assist the spread of gospel. The gospel is free when it comes to receiving salvation, but to preach it is a very costly venture. How would you move from one place to another to preach the gospel if you don’t have money to be there? So, that people misused and abuse the issue of prosperity does not mean that it is outside of the cardinal teaching of the church; no, it is not out of place but people misuse it.
DO YOU SUPPORT THE ACQUISITION OF PRIVATE JET BY THE NATIONAL PRESIDENT OF CAN, PAPA AYO ORITSEJAFOR WHILE MANY MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH ARE STRUGGLING TO SURVIVE?
What is wrong with him having a private jet with considering the busy schedule he has? Do you expect him to go to the airport and wait at the mercies of different airline so that at the end of the day they will say “we are sorry, the flight has been postpone” and all they will say to him will be “sorry for the inconveniences”, whereas he has a precious message to deliver to people who are waiting for him somewhere? Why is it that the pastors blessing today is a major point of discourse but then you have many who have embezzle government money and have done all kinds of things and nobody talks about.
Before somebody talk about Papa Ayo, has the person gone to papa Ayo’s church to find out how many people he has given scholarship, how many he has helped to earned a living, the number of women he has helped to own sewing machine, oil mill, cassava grinding machine and those he has given motor cycles? It always it pains my heart when people begin to talk about what they don’t know. However, did he use his money to go and buy the jet? His friends gathered and said, this man is too busy, he can’t meet many of our meetings and then decided to give him a private jet even without Papa Ayo’s pre-knowledge and after people begin to say all sort of things against him. Must a man of God be trekking and appeared tattered for people to know that yes he is a man of God. Nonsense! Not in this generation.
WHAT ABOUT PASTORS WHO MOVE ABOUT WITH HEAVILY ARMED POLICE SECURITY AND AT TIMES BLOW SIREN AGAINST THE BIBLICAL BELIEF THAT ONLY GOD CAN PROTECT AND SAVE MAN?
It began with Jesus, did you ever see the crowd that Jesus went with. Have you ever read the bible? Did you see the people that used to be with him? Jesus was never in anyplace with less than 200-300 people at a single time. I’m not talking about people that would come to hear his preaching but guards. Do you remember that when he went to Gethsemane to pray, he asked his disciple “do you people have any sword here?” and the answered “we have one” then he said “keep it”; that was what Peter used to cut one of those who came to arrest Jesus. Not only that, before they left Jesus said to them “whoever that does not have sword, let him sell his own jacket and buy one and keep.” People, who don’t know this whole thing and who are waiting for Boko Haram to come and slaughter or kill us would think that the Pastors should be lying down for people to slaughter as sacrifice. Only Christ was sacrificed, God does not need any other sacrifice.
SO DO YOU IMPLY THAT A PASTOR SHOULD BE MOVING AROUND WITH POLICE SECURITY?
Jesus himself had his own guards who had their sword with them yet they were also Christ’s Apostles. So what were they doing with sword when they were going to preach salvation message? It was because Jesus knew that not everybody loved him. Have you not read in the bible where they carried stone and wanted to kill him at different times? Even the bible says you can never be over righteous neither can you be more righteous than God. You can only try and go to heaven and not go rightly, they will throw you out.
In the Old Testament, the bible says, in the place of worship, there were priest who were to be armed; in some churches today, they are called Knights; they always go about with sword. Their duty was to protect the church and that was why whenever problem arose, the only safe place people thought they could run to was the church because when they get in there they will be protected. People think that Christianity is all about you getting ready to go to heaven; so whether attack you or even kill you, is not necessary. Sorry, it is not like that. I am among the radical believers who believe that Boko Haram should not threaten us in Nigeria and as such cannot act like a dummy.
Though they may have succeeded in the North which I know will not be like that for long, they cannot try that in Akwa Ibom State. We have no other country to run to and we will not be converted to Islam. How can you become a Muslim simply because somebody threatens you with a sword? Or you will sit down and allow them to slaughter you? I am telling you the truth, even God himself would have beaten you up once you get to heaven. Men of God are facing threats though not all of them. So if there are threats to some men of God, there is need for them to seek protection since Nigeria would not allow us to have our private guns. It is better we allow the police who are being authorized to handle gun to protect us because of the many enemies we may have. There is nothing wrong for those who are on the hit list having Police security since we would not fold our hands and watch them kill us. As for siren, the federal government can give to anybody that wants it. So if a Pastor need it and he been given, that is left for him.
FROM YOUR RELIGIOUS POINT OF VIEW, AS A MAN OF GOD, DO YOU JUSTIFY THAT IT SHOULD BE USED?
You don’t need a Siren if you are in a city but if you are on a long journey, it helps to clear the road for you to go and deliver the word of God; the gospel is a precious thing, so whatever thing we must do to reach our target before it is late, we must do it. Personally, I don’t have a Siren but I will if God gives me. It is not to use to make noise in Uyo but for traffic purpose. People don’t know the peril of the men of God; we go throw many challenges. Sometimes they would block you and keep you for some hours and you tell them, please I’m a man of God. Yet they will tell you “so what does it mean?” The bible says give honour to whom honour is due though some of us do get insane with because of greed or power drunk. I like being a simple man, People would think that Oh! Cletus Bassey is this and that; you can’t even reach him, the man is too large. But as you see me, am I?
RECENTLY YOU HAVE BEEN QUOTED AS SAYING THAT “WHEN THE TIME COMES, YOU’LL ANOINT THE POSSIBLE SUCCESSOR TO GOVERNOR AKPABIO”. IS IT TRUE AND WHEN WILL THAT BE?
I am a prophet of God to this state. If God should tell me anything like that I will say it but God has not told me yet. I’m waiting still waiting, when God tells me who the person is, whether it is before primaries or during or after primaries, I will say it; I know the person is already there but God has not shown him to me yet. I want you to know that God said that he cannot do anything without revealing it first to his prophets. And the bible says that the people prosper through the prophesying of the men of God (the prophets of God), so there is prosperity attached to prophesy of men of God who are actually called by God. Do you think God cannot show us who the next Governor will be? The issue is whether the people will accept the person.
WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON THE ZONING OF 2015 GOVERNORSHIP POSITION?
I support whatever will be the will of God. If God says, it should be on Senatorial Districts, I stand by that and if he says it should be on ethnic group that will be my stand. So whether the governor should come from Uyo, Eket or Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, only God can decide and his decision is my stance.
BUT DON’T YOU THINK THAT IF EVERYBODY KEEPS WAITING WE MAY RUN OUT OF TIME?
The issue is, our people are hypocrites and they do not want to accept what the truth is about. They are hypocrites, they lie a lot. They have too many sycophants who hide behind things, titles, big names and refused to accept what the truth is. As we speak, Akwa Ibom is not yet ready to accept where the next Governor will come from so let them battle it out. The only easiest way to know the right direction would have been meet the Prophets and God and asked them “where do we go from here?”
[CUTS IN…] ARE YOU SAYING THEY SHOULD SEE THE PROPHET?
No. What I am saying is that they should seek God. Akwa Ibom State Government should call the people and all the stakeholders of this state and sit together to seek God and ask him to show us which direction to go.
SO WHAT STEP SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT TAKE IN SEEKING THE FACE OF GOD TO ACCOMPLISH THAT?
Governments know how to do that. It’s to call the people and say in this assembly today we want to call on God to give us direction. It is as simple as that. I am not talking about solemn assembly of 27th anniversary of Akwa Ibom State or that of democracy. Every prayer has a key, so if government and the people of Akwa Ibom State want let them fix a day, assemble together and cry to God asking him to show us the direction. Once that is done, let us see if God will not talk to us. It does not matter the prophet or whoever God would use to bring speak but that day, we will hear and when the answer comes, everybody would say, God has spoken.
SOME DIFFERENT PASTORS HAVE PROPHESIED ON WHO WILL BE THE NEXT GOVERNOR, POINTING FINGERS AT DIFFERENT PEOPLE…?
That is bedroom prophesy and perhaps for bedroom governors. Let them come out like Samuel did as recorded in the bible. Samuel brought the whole of Israel into Shiloh and said to them, “today, you people shall see who your leader will be.” It was in the public. So let them stop giving bedroom prophesies. Who heard when they said it and who told them; let them come out publicly where other prophets are
SO WHAT DID YOU MEAN WHEN YOU URGED IBIBIO NEVER TO NEGOTIATE THEIR BIRTHRIGHT AS THE FIRST BORN OF AKWA IBOM?
If you have listen, you would have heard that the Ibibio people are murmuring over one thing or the other, so all I told them was that, no need fighting Governor Akpabio, you people must bring yourself together and approached the governor and tell him what you want. If the whole of Ibibio come together and tell Akpabio, this is what we want, is he going to kill all of them? You see, democracy is all about number, so why do you keep calling and blaming Akpabio in everything without spelling out your decision on what you want? Why don’t you people come together and say this is what we want as a people? Rather you keep blaming Akpabio on your inability to do anything for yourself yet many of them who blamed the governor are still eating from him. They meet and take decision and also go back and eat with him. How then can one take them serious?
WOULD YOU SUBSCRIBE TO THE ALLEGATION THAT GOVERNOR AKPABIO IS SIDLING THE IBIBIOS?
The Ibibios are suffering in their hands not in the hands of Governor Akpabio because it is always said, “how you make your bed so you lie on it” and that is the truth. We, the Ibibios always blame other people because we don’t want to take responsibility. The first thing an Ibibio man will do is to throw blames. It is hight time the Ibibios must stop blaming Akpabio and come together to do something for themselves.
TELL US ABOUT THE ASAN IBIBIO SAGA WHICH TOOK DURING THE OBONG ATTAH’S RECEPTION?
Truly, I left Asan Ibibio before the much talked-about incidence happened. I was there because I wanted to pay respect to the former Governor, Obong Attah because he was a wonderful governor. When I was consecrated as a Bishop, he came to honour me. Nobody can ever downplay who Attah was as a governor of this State; aside that, I was officially invited and I still have the card; that was why I went there.
I had a voice inside of me telling me to leave the place but I was arguing within me that I’ll loved to stay. When Attah finished making his speech, the voice kept telling me “leave now.” So after the inaugural lecture by guest speaker, I went and greet Attah, shook hands with him and other few people then I left. That same day, I had a tarry meeting in my church.
But surprisingly, few minutes after I left, I was sleeping when my wife woke me up to inquire from me what transpired at Asan Ibibio. She asked me, “What did you do at Asan Ibibio? What did you say at Asan Ibibio?” I told her that I did not do anything. So I decided to call somebody to ask what happened, only to hear that I was invited to come and pray and then the crowd booed at me. I was surprised to hear that and that is all I can tell you because I was not there when such thing happen.
I am told that the Ibibio are blaming me today that I anointed Governor Akpabio for a second term. If I may ask “has Cletus Bassey at any point in time invited the Ibibios to Asan Ibibio and say, let us anoint Godswill Akpabio for Governor? Do I have the key to Asan Ibibio? Am I a member of the Nkpisong Ibibio. Was I among the Akpabio’s cabinet or among those who organized Akpabios’s reception in 2009. What was wrong in my prayer which I was officially invited to pray for Governor Akpabio. What evil have I done?
I didn’t go there on my own; I was invited like every other pastor was invited. Other Bishops were there, some led opening prayer and other led other sessions yet nobody talked about them. I never called Akpabio on my own to pray for him, I was asked to do so by the organizers of the event. I only prayed and poured oil on the Governor. Why are they not also blaming the organizers of the event? Is that not an injustice against a man of God? The day I will open my mouth to pray and talk to the God, whom I served, many heads would roll in this state except I am not a man of God. I have never taken anything from anybody or impose myself on any position. All I have done is that I have not given anybody the chance to say that I have not exists when in the real sense God has created me into this state.
I have never been to anywhere I am not invited. Why is Cletus Bassey a major factor in everything? I was not at Asan Ibibio when they invited me to pray yet people said that Cletus Bassey went to pray and he was stoned and some said when he was on the platform, the crowd stoned him with water. Was it another Cletus Bassey and not the one that was sleeping in his room as at time the story emanated? Somebody should ask what I have done that should make me a major point of discourse among politicians and non-Politicians. I’ve never gone to anybody’s church to take over his church or property. I have never begged anybody for money. Let’s watch out the life of those that are pointing accusing finger on a man of God who have not offended them, for as far as I know, God will answer them.
WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR AKWA IBOM PEOPLE ESPECIALLY AS THE STATE CLOCKS 27 AND ALSO TO CHRISTIAN AS A WHOLE?
My message is that Akwa Ibom State is for all of us. Nobody should be made to think that he is misfit whether in church, business, politics, tradition or whatever. Everybody is a free citizen and all of us have the right of speech. Freedom of speech in Nigeria is guaranteed. Akwa Ibom people must realize that every time they raised their hand to stone their leader, the repercussion awaits future generations. How many times have they spoken against their leaders? Something that can never be heard in other states; we strive in causing unnecessary conflict. When Attah was in government, we were singing Attah – oh! You are the best, now the song has changed to Attah oh! You are the worst. Today again we are singing Akpabio – oh! You are the best, soon we will start singing Akpabio – oh! You are the worst.
We have never celebrates or gives honour to our leader once they leave office yet these are men and women who have served us in various capacities. There is no man that is perfect. We cannot expect 100% from anybody. We must always learn to give that benefit of doubt to individuals. The way we are going, if we keep stoning our leaders out of office, we would never have any moment that we would celebrate them or have peace from God. Let us be careful because whatever thing we are doing have antecedent and will continue to repeat itself. So, whether Akpabio and Attah are have done wrong or right we must give our leaders that iota of respect and allow their heart to be at peace so that they will be proud of their people.
If they are wrong, let’s find a way to reach them other than stoning them because sooner or later our son or daughter would be in the same position to face the same thing or even worst.
I believe there is need for Akwa Ibom to hold a solemn assembly to ask God for direction. We must keep our sentiment aside and seek God’s face for him to give us our next leader irrespective of where he will come from. It is God that will give us the next leaders. It is in the hands of God. Let me say, men of God are not people’s servant but God’s servant. We must learn to leave their judgment to God whether good or bad.