Posted by News Express | 3 December 2015 | 5,211 times
Rev. (Dr.) Moses Iloh, Presiding Steward of the Soul Winning Chapel, Ebute-Meta, Lagos, is a consummate sportsman, administrator and social critic. In this interview, the talented and fulfilled clergyman declares that President Muhammadu Buhari has enemies in both the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He also insists that Buhari and his vice, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, need politicians around them to be able to navigate the ship of state on an even keel.
Question: How would you assess President Muhammadu Buhari’s early days in office?
Rev. (Dr.) Moses Iloh: What I make of it is a manifestation of maturity, zeal, determination and wisdom. Slow and steady wins the race, is an adage. We must not also lose sight that he also handling a very delicate, explosive and dangerous business: Nigeria is a whole lot of intrigues. I doff my heart for his foresight and mellowness.
At last, the long-expected ministerial list is here. What’s your take on the names vis-a-vis the long wait?
Oh, yes. Let me tell you a bit. I played football to a very high level. If you want to prosecute a match, you have to assemble a team and you go into training. Your coach is training you, the captain of the team is watching. You take people not because you like them or because they have PhD, but because you believe they have the competence to win. When you put them there, people will say you could have done it in such a way to show federal character. That’s utter nonsense! If after fifteen minutes, and you discover that you made a mistake, what do you do? You take one player out and put another one because that player is not doing what is expected of him. All you know is to win the match, and if you lose, it’s you the coach. So you have so much at stake. Your own is to go in there, not to please people, but to know that you have a responsibility for the performance of the team. In essence, what I want to say is that we wait for their performance before we can genuinely talk about them. The President, from all intents and purposes, meant well for this country. You know Nigerians and their way of doing things. The President for sure would not spare any one found wanting to last in his federal executive council a second longer than necessary.
But President Buhari came in preaching change only to present the same old stock of politicians. Do you think that justifies the change mantra?
Please pay attention to this: If I can vividly look at you now and know your name and your face, maybe when I knew you four years ago you were a deity worshipper, an occult person. But one or two years ago, you converted, and became a born-again child of God. When I look at you, I cannot judge you any more by your name or by what you have done in the past. The fruit you are yielding presently, basically tells who you are at this moment. Old things for you have passed away; all things have become new. Tell me one Nigerian who is an angel or Holy Spirit. Like the President rightly said, no one has written any petition against anyone of them, accusing them of any crime. And even when that is done, it should be investigated. But do not assume that because they have been there, they must be corrupt. You must not forget that Nigerians are experts in criticism, no matter what you do. But what did they do to change the situation? They are Nigerians, three months is enough to show who they are. If they do not perform, you can kick them out. I think President Buhari knew where he’s going to and his honest intentions for the country are to remove the nation to the winning ways and stronger economic base. We should give him support and pray for him.
Talking about petition against any of them, Chibuike Amaechi had one written against him by the panel set up by the Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike. What can you say on that?
That has been on before now, why are they just bringing it up now? That issue should be left for the appropriate and competent body to handle it impartially. If he is found to have short-changed the people that entrusted him with power, then that is only when we can say or comment deeply on that. Nobody that is corrupt will last in this government; his or her sin will fish him or her out: mark my word. It is on that note I will say that for now l will say we should allow the sleeping dog to lie.
Many Nigerians before now had expected that Buhari would bring in technocrats that will help him drive his development policy, but he brought back virtually politicians. How do you react to this?
The ones you call politicians now at one point were called technocrats. I tell you something: the problem I know Buhari is having today is the fact that he is not a politician. Buhari is not a politician, Osinbajo is not a politician, and so they need politicians to team up with them to do what they want to do. If you go into government to do the right thing, no politics, you will soon run into trouble there. I think he needs politicians. I agree with him entirely. He is not a politician, Osinbajo is not a politician. I don’t know politicians that are already around him. He needs politicians so that when the thing is hot, the politicians will douse it. One thing I will like him to adjust is to stop telling us what to do, let him go ahead and do it.
On the issue of probe, a number of people are saying that it is selective. All along, the names of the people we hear being probed are members of the PDP, when it is obvious that quite a good number of APC members are equally corrupt. How will you react to this?
Can somebody show me one person that President Buhari has started probing? For now, he has not started; all he is doing is to get the facts ready before he will probe any person. I was born into a blessed Nigeria where honesty was the best policy. Now we have seen a man that has come to the saddle after many trials. God threw him up this time, yet Nigerians don’t want to give him a chance to do his work. The home truth is that the problem Mr President is having today is because he is not a politician, he does not believe in talking lies, which is the traditional hallmark of, especially, Nigerian politicians. He believes in being frank and straight to the point, without the usual colouring we are familiar with. God will help him, even though there are still many hawks around him.
But the government through Governor Adams Oshiomhole has continued to accuse previous ministers under President Jonathan of being corrupt…
I am aware that Oshiomhole has been attacking former President Jonathan viciously. Maybe, they have personal issues, but that is not President Buhari and should not be interpreted to represent his views. Oshiomhole can tell Nigerians why he chose to attack the former Nigerian leader the way he has been.
One of the campaign promises of the APC was that they would defeat Boko Haram in three months. Buhari’s administration is over five months now and, Boko Haram is still raging, even kidnapping
When you talk about security, you look at it from different angles. These things have been going on in the country for a long time now; you can’t pull it out in one day. Everyone knows that security will be given a priority. This country has been rotten for over 16 years. He will do it. However, he is not a magician. He is not Jesus Christ who cut the Red Sea and it opened. Don’t forget that Nigeria today is very lawless.
There have been calls for the implementation of the National Conference report, but Buhari’s government does not seem to be favourably disposed to it. What is your view on that?
We should wait for him to set his cabinet before asking him to implement the report. One thing about Buhari’s administration is that he has enemies both in the PDP and APC who do not want him to succeed. Virtually, everything that is big and looks successful in this country is based on corruption and they have money and so they can fight him to stand still. It is one of the reasons why he must be careful with these people that have acquired so much money over the years. So, they are just waiting for him to make a mistake so that they will mess him up. In fact, those who love him should be praying for him to succeed in this enormous task of administering this country.
•Photo shows Rev. (Dr.) Iloh.
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