BY TOPE FAYEHUN
Primate (Dr) Ade Ademisokun-Turton (Onibode) is the President of Ondo State Unification of Leaders of Cherubim and Seraphim Church and founder of Success Gate C&S Christ’s Church International . In this interview with TOPE FAYEHUN, he speaks on the need for Christians to take part in partisan politics and participate in the war against corruption
What do you intend to achieve with the annual convention of your church?
The convention is a Biblical injunction that says once in a year, people should gather for seven days and it is called in the Bible festival of booths. When they gathered for that seven days, people must not forget God because of luxury of life. We all gathered and people slept in camp on the floor and we prayed together. This has always been yielding positive results because most of the things people come before the Lord to ask for always come to pass and it is always like that in the Bible.
What are the benefits to the members and the church leadership?
It is a spiritual upliftment for the members. We give them the spiritual treatment because a good church is supposed to be a spiritual clinic. People now have their spiritual lives rejuvenated and when they go back they are spiritually stronger. Of course, we will still receive blessings, but it is the spiritual growth that is the most important thing which is the main reason for the spiritual gathering.
With the way politics is played in Nigeria, do you think a devoted Christian can thrive in it?
Yes. You see, Christianity is supposed to be light to the world and light will thrive during darkness. It is darkness that really promotes light. If you bring out your halogen lamp around 12noon, the power of that light will not show. It is at the dark hours that the light can shine. Let responsible Christians go there and lead by example. I know they may be disturbed, there may a lot of factors that want to distract him, but if he means well, God will assist him. And when he gets there, let him lead by example as a Christian and people will follow suit. There is nothing wrong for Christians to get involved even at this particular time. This is a time for genuine Christians to rise and save the nation. God has given us everything, but we lack good economic managers. Let Christians show that they are Christians because we need to be light and we need to be salt. Everything is not in good shape now.
Do you think they can be elected, considering the negative factors involved in Nigeria’s politics?
I know there would be high wired politicking because you need to breed political thugs before you become a chairman of Local Government. This is true but once you have the voice of the genuine Christians speaking together, such a person would win the election. Let him convince his people from the local level that he is a responsible person. Let his neighbors attest to his character and his integrity and so on.. We need to allow a responsible person in the position of authority. As a matter of fact, we need independent candidature. If we allow independent candidates, you will be surprised. A lot of responsible people who turn things round and not go there to steal will come out. But if you want to contest under the platform of any political party now, they will milk you of your money, you have to probably buy the ticket of that party and in the process of trying to buy it, it will belong to the highest bidder any you are bound to be corrupt and that is the only problem. But if there is provision for independent candidate, I bet you, Nigeria will start to change.
How do you think the issue of corruption can be tackled in Nigeria?
If only we are holistic about it, people will stop it. To be holistic about it is to stop the flamboyant lifestyle which started from the leadership. You see them living flamboyant lives, blowing siren here and there. When you make things simple, people will not feel oppressed and there will be contentment in the land. And then, the members of the executive cannot continue with the way they do things and think that fighting corruption will be an issue. And I don’t want agree with President Mohammadu Buhari that he is doing a team work in the area of corruption. I think it is him who doesn’t want corruption not his ministers. Contracts are been awarded. Their method is still their method. Then, the number one people that supposed to help the government to fight corruption are the police. Police are still the same thing. They are still collecting their bribe on the highways. Not under any guise. In fact, somebody told me that they can give you change if you don’t have change of whatever amount you want to part with. Everybody knows that they still take money for bail. So, what corruption are we fighting in that respect? To mean well is not enough but the implementation must be holistic. In my opinion, some people are being shielded by the presidency because they are executive. National Assembly members are also shielded by their own and the judiciary has followed suit. Instead of allowing the case of that justice to be heard on merit, they used one excuse to strike it out. This is to tell you that a lot of people have a lot to hide in this country. The customs are still taking a lot of bribe. Majority of the vehicles that are coming to the country today are coming through illegal routes. So, if we want to fight corruption, the institutions that will help the government to fight it must be overhauled.
There was a dispute between the executive and legislative arms of government on whether to clear the acting EFCC boss, Mr Ibrahim Magu. Some are saying, yes he should continue, while some are saying since he has been rejected, he should be removed and be replaced with somebody. What is your take on this?
The reason for his rejection was spelled out by a branch of the executive. The DSS has said that he is not fit or at least indicted him in their opinion. Why would the Assembly clear him? There is nothing to suggest that there is no substitute for Magu. Another person should replace him. That’s the democracy in action. Even, if there are ulterior motives or hidden reasons, since there is a written document from the DSS, it should not be ignored if we want to really move forward. There is no point that the President is forcing him on the Senate or the nation. I don’t agree with him to that extent. The President should put his own house in order. It is the member of his own within his own house that said the person he recommended is not fit.
But some people are saying it is either Magu or nobody else?
Yes, you will also see that that action is dictatorial and not in the spirit of democracy. That is imposition and it must not be do or die thing. That’s not right. You’re not allowing democracy to thrive. With the scenario now, you will see that everybody will be more careful because they may not know what can happen to him or her later. Once he has been rejected via documentary evidence from the executive itself, let it be like that. Another person can do it. If they are shopping for somebody and if they don’t know who can do it, let them contact me.
An issue has been trending for some time about a person dropping N43m as his tithe in a church in the country, do you think this is feasible?
It is feasible, even though we know that thieving is second nature in Nigeria. That is why people are alarmed and worried. Apart from that, a lot of people still do legitimate businesses in the country and make that kind of profit. Because if we are talking about N43m, it means a profit of N443m. Aside from the fact that a lot of people have not been paying tithe in Nigeria, they only go to church to oppress, even the pastors and the hungry pastors too, don’t know the implications of allowing themselves to be oppressed. But if truth is to be said, it is not impossible that we have people pay that kind of tithe. We cannot conclude that is impossible. It is not that a lot of people have been paying like that. All we need to know as a church is that, we need to know the source of that money. The church has the right to reject it if the source is unclean. It must not come from a doubtful source. That’s the most important thing and that’s what we’ve been able to do in our church. We’ve rejected tithe in the past and Bible is also clear about this that you must not bring the money of blood, robbery or fornication to God. Aside from that, if somebody is involved in a legitimate business and have a fear of God to pay tithe whether huge or super huge does not really matter.
So what you are suggesting is that pastors should reject monies from doubtful source?
Yes. that is what I am saying and that’s the normal thing. Even parents in past do that . A lot of parents will not take gifts from doubtful source. Say for the recent time that anything goes. Poverty has demeaned, devalued and eroded the value. So the church must still stand tall in this. The church must be above board. That’s compulsory and not negotiable for church, otherwise church will not be church again.
Do you share the view of some people that are saying the President Buhari should disclose his health status?
The people that are hiding the state of the health of the President are doing that because of their own future not for the love of the president because his resignation means end to a lot of the goodies that are coming to them. It is not the interest of the nation or the president that they are having at heart. If they disclose the state of his health today, we still have a lot of powerful Nigerians that can heal him. Although, some want him dead, but majority of people don’t pray for such thing for him.
Different prophesies have been coming about the existence of the nation. During this convention, did God reveal anything to you?
We just prayed for our own Jerusalem which is Nigeria so that things can move well because if things are not moving well in the country, everybody will be affected. We only pray for peace and tranquility for the nation. But earlier in the year, we have make public our revelations concerning the year . Instead for the something to move forward, it will just move in zigzag and eventually, nothing will move forward. Automatically, nothing is likely to be gained throughout this year. And I urged people to continue to pray for this nation because the country needs prayer.