Archbishop Emmanuel Chukwuma shares his thoughts on the state of the nation and expressed worries that except the right steps are taken by the present administration, to put the country on the right pedestal, the country’s woes would continue unabated. According to him, “all is not well at all, with Nigeria.
In this interview, Chukwuma, who is the Anglican Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, while speaking on a number of other national issues, describes the idea of sale of national assets as shameful because, “when our forefathers acquired those assets, it was for us to build on them and not for us to sell off our birth right”.
And on ‘Wife in the Kitchen issue’, he said the President’s wife should be hailed because she, “…did not speak as a president’s wife but as an ordinary Nigerian who feels the bite of the prevailing harsh economic and socio-political situation on Nigerians.
What do you make of the current state of the Nigerian nation?
The current state of the nation is very bad, very hard, very, very much uncertain, and people are very much discouraged and living with uncertainty, given the state of the economy and the current biting economic recession.
People are really tired and confused about the present government. And one is, therefore, wandering where we are heading in this country.
It has become very difficult for the common man to make three square meals a day; and salaries are not enough to help workers to cope with the harsh economic realities. The income is getting minimal even as expenditure keeps rising by the day.
Also, the exchange rate has taken a disgraceful turn under a government that had proudly promised to make the naira equal or even stronger than the dollar.
What about the rising state of unemployment?
Many more of our graduates are still unemployed. Nothing is happening about that; it has all been wishful promises hence many of them indulge in crime, even as many workers are being relieved of their jobs. So, the situation has brought upon citizens, untold sadness and despondency. A look at our security is also nothing to write home about.
In some areas there have been increased cases of kidnapping while cases of armed robbery and terrorism have continued unabated in other areas.
However, we are grateful to God that some of the terrorists are surrendering their arms and embracing amnesty. But that notwithstanding, all is not well at all, with Nigeria. We must sound it: All is not well! Nigeria has become a very difficult place for people to exist.
It is as if we are in captivity; and we are looking forward to God’s deliverance. In fact, one can say that Nigeria is in captivity under Buhari’s administration. So, we are still praying to God to take us back to the promise land, and I know that He will deliver us.
Do you think that the change which the ruling party and Buhari had repeatedly promised Nigerians during their campaigns is still achievable by the present administration?
Well, it depends on what type of change they are trying to bring in.
I heard them promise that their version of change will manifest next year. However, the change that we see now is not a good version.
The change is of hardship and people are not comfortable at all. Right now, all I can say that is good about their sermon of change is that the situation is making Nigerians to change from their life of profligacy to prudence. To me,
Buhari’s government is a punishment, and caution to Nigerians. I think that God is trying to punish us, and at the same time caution us with the present administration, for our past recklessness and mistakes as a nation. That is why I said that it is a time of captivity – where God chose to put Nigeria into the kind of biblical captivity of Assyria and Babylon.
And until we repent from our sins, God may not rescue us. So, it is a time for everybody to repent, in their small corners, from life of wastage, wickedness and impunity; and begin to live a life of prudence, love and patriotism.
My understanding of the Change Begins with Me campaign is that Nigeria has come to a point where everybody should accept to begin to discipline themselves and adopt ways of righteousness and patriotism.
But sadly, as far as the Nigerian economy is concerned, we have only experienced evil change. We have not seen any good thing in our economy. There may be a change in attitude whereby people are now being more disciplined and cautious about indulging in impunity. That is all.