The Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province is not happy with certain current affairs of the nation as he rates President Muhammadu Buhari's performance in the last one year as grossly unimpressive.
Archbishop Chukwuma (2nd from right) with President Buhari during Anglican Bishop's visit to Aso Rock
As President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC federal government clocks one-year in office, the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma who is not happy with certain current affairs of the nation, has rated the performance of the president in the last one year and termed it as 'grossly unimpressive'.
Speaking in an interview with Sunday Sun, he also regretted the president’s failure to address the crisis caused by Fulani herdsmen across the country, in his Democracy Day speech, insisting that government is paying lip service to the issue.
Chukwuma, alleged that the menace of the herdsmen is a grand plan orchestrated to Islamize Nigeria, warning:“We are ready to face them. Any evil herdsman that performs any nonsense anywhere in the South-east should be ready for war. We are not going to draw a reprisal, but we will defend ourselves and make sure that they do not exist in this area anymore to rape our women, destroy our farms and unleash criminality!"
Below are excerpts from the interview;
President Buhari, and his APC recently clocked one year in office and while some Nigerians have given them kudos, others have described their outing as a year of broken promises. What is your view?
APC came on with a deceitful colour, blowing the mind of Nigerians day-by-day with bogus promises, which we are yet to see. One may not blame them so much anyway, but the fact is that both the government and the party have not behaved democratically in the last one year. We are supposed to be in full democratic setting but unfortunately, we have found ourselves under military-democracy. That is what APC has inflicted on Nigerians, and that is what I advise them to purge themselves of without delay.
If you compare the style of former President Goodluck Jonathan with that of President Buhari, you would notice that Jonathan was a better democrat as president. In fact, he was a democrat to the core. But now, we don’t have such democratic spirit in Buhari. It is such spirit that reassures citizens that their president realises that democracy is actually government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Where do you have such assurances under the present dispensation? Everything is militarized, which is not healthy. We are aware, with shock, that the quantum of spoil and financial depletion that occurred in the last 16 years is so enormous that it cannot be effectively addressed within one year.
We can also accept the excuse that one year is not enough to effect the desired recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of both the nation’s economy and infrastructure. But Buhari and APC should also know that Nigerians would not allow it to continue to run the country through intimidation, victimisation and spirit of witch-hunting. Things must be done in an atmosphere of love, care and concern. Citizens should be made to see and be convinced that the APC has truly come to repair and not to destroy. There is a way corruption is fought and you end up destroying whatever that is remaining. He who is saying look at a peck in your eyes should remove his own first.
There may be good intentions to fight corruption and reposition the economy of the country, no doubt, but the way they are going about it lacks coordination and professionalism. The government lacks professional financial economists that will help it to put things in proper perspective. I have said it before and I am repeating it again that the minister of finance is immature and unsuitable to manage the nation’s economy at this critical time. All we have seen her do in the last one year is just speaking English, which cannot help the economy in anyway. I don’t think she has any capacity in financial management to handle the management of Nigeria’s economy.
I do not have anything against her person, but I am sure that we have several citizens who are much more seasoned and qualified to manage our economy. As we speak, there is no clear economic team, no clear direction of the economy. Our economy is down, our foreign reserve is down, hunger is high and domestic pump price of petrol is high. So, citizens are helpless. Part of the reason for all these problems is because most of the Buhari’s cabinet members, which took him almost six months to put together, were appointed on sentimental basis, not professional basis.
For instance, Babatunde Fashola is a lawyer, who would have fitted better as attorney general of the federation but you find him in Power, Works and Housing. What does he know about power? Yes, he was a governor, but being a governor is different from being a federal minister. They are not even related at all. Headship of a ministry should be purely on professional basis. Look at Chris Ngige that is in Labour. He is a medical doctor that would have fitted better in the health sector. There are several others like that. Nigeria has come to a point where appointments should take the shape of round pegs in round holes and not the other way round. The president did well by appointing medical experts as both the senior and junior ministers to man the health ministry and it is commendable. He should shun corruption and repeat same in other sectors.
Are you implying that the APC government is corrupt?
They cannot say they are free of corruption. All we heard in the last one year was fighting corruption, war against corruption and all that. What has Mr President, who is the leader of APC done to the alleged or perceived corrupt people in the party? He is just busy pursuing perceived oppositions. Anybody who dares to speak against the government, they will clamp on him to make sure that person does not talk. Is that not tantamount to waging selective war? That is not democracy, and that has to be avoided! Nigerians are still looking forward to a better Nigeria where one will say he is coming to bring change and it would not turn out to be a change to poverty, hunger, hardship and inflation as we have witnessed in the last one year.
But the current hardship seems to be a global phenomenon, isn’t it?
Is hike in pump price of petrol, without proper dialogue and pre-information also a global thing? Can you mention any country in the world that can hike the domestic price of petroleum products overnight to the tune of about 80 percent even when the price of the commodity has crashed at the international market? Everyone knows that everything in this country is tied to prices of petroleum products especially petrol. After earning people’s votes through mind-blowing campaign promises of reducing the pump price of petrol to N40 per litre, Nigerians suddenly woke up to behold an overnight all-time hike to N145 naira, which is N105 naira above their promised amount of N40 naira per litre.
What do you call that? Can such happen in other countries? They should have first, engaged in extensive mutual dialogue with the masses, through various stakeholders, technocrats, labour unions and religious leaders. That would have ensured that whatever agreement reached would be communicated to the people in a way that will guard against undue shock. The labour movement was asking for increased minimum wage, you didn’t care about that but went ahead to increase the pump price.
You then began to muscle and intimidate their union. But the truth is that the current pump price is not commensurate with the income of the people as well as the current salary scale of workers, which is very wicked and suicidal. The implication is that the government is insensitive to the needs and views of the people. The president should be sensitive to the needs and views of Nigerians at all times. People are suffering and they need succour, not more suffering. That is why citizens seem to be losing confidence in the APC government, as we speak.
And any programme that will bring more hardship on citizens will end up totally crashing people’s confidence in the present administration. The government has been talking about putting some palliative measures in place but I do not agree that because you said you have palliative measures to cushion whatever effect then you are free to unilaterally force strange and stifling policies and programmes on citizens. The palliatives they mentioned are not even enough. How would the so-called palliatives truly translate to the economic development and relief of the people in Nigeria? They might just be packaging the palliatives for themselves, which may end up as money for the boys.
But beyond all that have been said, I see what we are experiencing in this country as part of God’s punishment for Nigeria, because we have taken so many things for granted just like the children of Israel, who were taken into exile in Babylon and also to Asyria. God had promised them inheritance of the Promised Land. But after they offended Him, God took them to Babylon and Asyria as well until they learnt hard lessons and were brought back again. Nigerians should use the current hardship to repent and think about the way we have been so careless, wasteful and indisciplined in managing our resources. Let us use the current situation to think about how to recover ourselves and be a disciplined, prudent society where we can be grateful enough to shun impunity, embrace integrity and value God and human life.
Click here to read the full interview on Daily Sun.