Ehindero: Why Afenifere should refrain from endorsing any candidate in 2019 general elections

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Archbishop Joseph Ehindero berates Afenifere leaders for openly endorsing former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for 2019.

Tunde Thomas

Leaders of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere have been advised to refrain from endorsing or campaigning for any candidate as 2019 general elections draw nearer.

The advice was handed down by General Overseer, Messiah New Life International Ministry, Archbishop Joseph Ehindero. He berated Afenifere leaders for openly endorsing former Vice President Atiku Abubakar for 2019.
Don’t divide Yoruba, cleric warns Afenifere over support for Atiku

He also spoke on other national issues.
What is your reaction to the present state of the nation , some are saying that the nation needs a lot of prayers ahead of 2019?

It is unfortunate that the love and the bond that used to bind us together as a nation is no longer there. Now we have a lot of tribal sentiments playing out in our national life. Before, especially years after independence in 1960, the unity was there, the love was there , and the bond was very strong. Then we used to see ourselves as one Nigeria but today tribalism and ethnicity are dividing us, and that unity is no longer there.

Back then, Nigerians believed in hard work, they cherish values, integrity and morals but that is not the case again today. Today, immorality is on the rise, and the nation is fast decaying. Thank God for raising up President Muhammadu Buhari for Nigeria. If Buhari had not been elected into office in 2015, Nigeria would have been in a very terrible state. Those that were in power then before Buhari came, had messed up this nation. But we thank God that Buhari since 2015 has been doing a yeoman’s job to restore Nigeria’s lost glory.

The truth is that, as long as we don’t appreciate our own culture, we won’t record the desired and the expected development. Look at countries like China, India and those Arab nations that are making waves today, they are recording appreciable progress because they treasured and cherish their own cultures.

What I expect Nigerian elders to be doing now is to try as much as possible to engage in projects that will involve the preservation of our cultural heritages so that upcoming younger generations will know about them. We should not allow our culture to go into extinction.

But sadly, what some of these elders are doing is inimical to the progress of the country. Some of them like the Afenifere leaders are dabbling into politics. What is Afenifere’s business in politics? Why should Afenifere elders and leaders be endorsing and canvassing votes for party candidates?
Some people say they are doing that to protect the interests of the Yoruba ….

(Cuts in) No. I disagree. They are doing that to protect their own interests, but what Afenifere leaders are doing is dangerous. It can boomerang.It is not good. It can divide Yoruba nation.

How can Afenifere leaders be openly campaigning for Atiku Abubakar? Why are they campaigning against Buhari? Are these people politicians? Are they no longer elders and Yoruba leaders? What Afenifere leaders are doing by openly supporting Atiku Abubakar is capable of creating division among Yoruba. These people are supposed to play fatherly roles. What they are doing by supporting Atiku openly is wrong. They should retrace their steps. Afenifere by what they are doing are not preserving late Obafemi Awolowo legacies. Instead of taking sides in politics, Afenifere leaders are suppose to be promoting, and preserving Awolowo’s legacies.They are should be playing advisory roles.
These current Afenifere leaders are a big let down. What is Buhari’s offence that Afenifere leaders are not giving the man a breathing space?

Are Afenifere laders unhappy with the giant strides being recorded by Buhari’s administration? If Afenifere leaders are to support any candidate at all, that candidate should be Buhari. Buhari is incorruptible. He is a man of integrity and whether Afenifere leaders like it or not, Buhari will win 2019 presidential election. He is a selfless leader who think about this nation first.
But some Nigerians are saying that nothing has changed under Buhari, and that there is no difference between PDP and APC ?

Those who are saying that there is no difference between PDP and APC are being economical with the truth. There is no basis for comparison between the two. While Buhari and APC can be considered as light, PDP and the former President Goodluck Jonathan are what you can consider darkness. For 16 years, the PDP was in power, Nigeria was in darkness, there was rot and decay everywhere. Under Jonathan and PDP’s watch, Nigeria went into economic recession, but when Buhari took over in 2015, things started looking up for Nigeria. Buhari has reversed PDP’s rot and decay, and Nigeria is making progress today. I’m a cleric and not a politician but when we need to say the truth, we must not shy away from saying the truth. In the days of old during the Biblical era, great prophets of the period like Prophets Isaiah , Jeremiah, Jonah and Elisha just to mention a few spoke on governance and leadership in Israel during that period. So nothing prevent clerics from speaking out on national issues.What is important is that clerics should endeavour to say the truth,and curse be that Prophet who says ’thus says the Lord’ when God has not spoken to him.

Presidential candidates including President Buhari, Atiku Abubakar, have been coming out to speak on their programmes, but it is the belief of many Nigerians that the 2019 battle is between President Buhari and Atiku, what’s your take on that?

To some extent I agree that Buhari and Atiku are the major contenders but on Atiku I want to say this categorically that Atiku is wasting his time. Atiku is going nowhere. He is just wasting his time. Those prophets predicting Atiku’s victory are fake. They are fake prophets.

Buhari will defeat Atiku hands down. Buhari is doing well, we should allow him to consolidate. For now, any Nigerian that want PDP to come back to power is an enemy of this country. Anybody praying for PDP to come back is an enemy of this nation.
But few weeks ago, a prophet predicted Atiku’s victory in 2019, but from what you are saying now …

(Cuts in ) Anybody can call himself a man of God. Anybody can just wake up and start addressing himself as a man of God.

Look at those people who called themselves prophets of God how they were predicting Jonathan’s victory in 2015, but at the end of the day, were they not eventually proved wrong and end up being disgraced? Some of them even went to Aso Rock to publicly endorse Jonathan, but were they not all disgraced?

Nobody can anoint what God has not anointed, God has not anointed Atiku, so he is not going anywhere. I said it categorically months before 2015 general elections that a new leader different from Jonathan would win power. Some came to me, and pleaded with me to change that prophesy to say that it was Jonathan that I meant or that it was Jonathan that would win. They wanted to manipulate me, but I said no. I stood my ground, what God has revealed to me is that President Buhari would win re-election in 2019. That is my divine message for the nation. Atiku is going nowhere.
There has been fear, tension and anxiety over 2019, some are suggesting that we should declare a national day of fasting and prayers over 2019, what’s your reaction to that?

Fasting and prayers is good, and it’s okay if we declare a day of fasting for 2019. But already some of us have been carrying out intercessory prayers for Nigeria over 2019. About two weeks ago, some of us (clerics) gathered under the auspices of Christ Ambassadors International Ministry , which organised an inter-denominational prayers for Nigeria over 2019.

I want to assure Nigerians that there will be no crisis in 2019. Nigeria should not panic. In that election, I’m saying again that the second term of President Buhari is assured, that’s what God revealed to me. Atiku is just contesting for contesting sake, he won’t win the election. I will also like to advise Nigerians to vote wisely in 2019. They should not vote for politicians who are deficient in integrity. They should not vote for corrupt political leaders. Then for the politicians and their parties and leaders, we say no to violence, 2019 should not be seen or taken as a do-or–die affair. They should remember that Nigeria is greater than all of us.
On the issue of insecurity, especially the surge in Boko Haram attacks, what is your advise to the Federal Government?

Honestly speaking some of these problems are being instigated by those people who are not happy with what Buhari is doing. They are those that are not happy that the status quo has changed. These are elements that we call saboteurs. We are praying to God that the situation will soon be back to normal. My advise is that the government should do whatever it takes to neutralise and cage Boko Haram. We all knew the havoc Boko Haram was doing all over the country before Buhari assumed office, but since he took over power, Buhari has dealt devastating blows on Boko Hara. Before, Boko Haram insurgents were operating freely in Abuja, and other cities but Buhari drove them away. Whatever is now required to inflict the final blow on Boko Haram, Buhari should not hesitate to do it.

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