Speaking in an interview with Saturday Vanguard, last week, at the flourishing sanctuary of God, where he is the presiding Bishop, the Vice President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (South-South) and in style television preacher, still convalescing from the horrifying accident, said it was ridiculous to hear that Buhari was preparing to take another shot at the presidency in 2019, urging him to abandon the ambition because he was too old and had nothing to offer the country.
You are one of the anti-corruption apostles on the altar today. Are you satisfied with President Muhammadu Buhari’s corruption battle and the modus operandi so far? Saturday Vanguard asked the no-nonsense clergyman, known for his anti-corruption messages since the seventies.
He said: “I will say that as far as I am concerned, President Muhammadu Buhari’s battle against corruption is not straightforward. I also feel too that he is not qualified to be there for some of us who know the details about his operation when he was Head of State, particularly when he was in-charge of the Ministry of Petroleum. We knew that most of the things went to the north than here in the south, which owns the oil. So, what qualifies him to say he wants to fight corruption?
“Then I will say that things are being made a little bit more public now, you know that Jesus Christ was telling us that sometimes we are impatient, that there is nothing that is secret, every secret will someday be announced on top of the roof. The so-called chairman of EFCC, in the recent weeks, had allegations of corruption against him. So, how is the man who is fighting corruption allegedly corrupt himself? So everything about this government fighting corruption to me is full of deception.”
Does he, frankly speaking, have issue(s) with the style of the EFCC in fighting corruption? He sermonized:
“If we are going to fight corruption, it should be somebody who would not bring politics into it because it has eaten so deep in this country, almost every system of government in this country is corrupt, the public sector is corrupt, even the church, I will not remove the church, and some church leaders are terribly corrupt. So anybody who wants to fight corruption in this country must have clean hands, a clear conscience and be sincere to handle it.”
“And I believe that within three to five years, corruption can be reduced. I say so because I know that anywhere there are human beings, there is always a little level of corruption, even in the western countries,” he added.
Asked if he was not being hasty on his position on EFCC chairman, as the president had ordered a probe, Bishop Okah responded: “I feel that at my age and level in ministry work I have also my information and I should be able to have some sense of judgment.”
“I remember you were one man of God that declared it open before Buhari won the 2015 Presidential election that he was too old to be president, but today he is the President. Do you have any cause now to change that opinion?
“I am happy that you remembered. The man is an old man, old man is old, I am quite younger than he is. I am 64 years old, do you know that without the younger ones around me, there are some things about this generation that I cannot on my own understand because their way of thinking is very different from my way of thinking, not to talk of a man like Buhari?”.
The clergy man fired on: “First, he (Buhari) is too old, secondly, he is not educated enough. It pains my heart that just because former President Goodluck Jonathan is from South-South, there was a general hatred against him by the north and maybe the west. We, who travel, they were telling us that we were blessed to have a man who has PhD as a president, what does Buhari have apart from him being a general?”
Contrary to your opinion, your colleague in the ministry, Rev Ejike Mbaka, practically sees Buhari as a liberator of Nigerians, do you share his opinion? The reporter asked, thinking that he had boxed him to a corner, but Bishop Okah retorted: “Well, facts speak for themselves. What has he liberated, is it the economy, what? So when you say he is a liberator, what has he liberated?
“Rather, he has worsened the state of everything in this country; he took over government when naira was between 170 and 190 to a dollar but today how much is it? When he was campaigning, he said he would make one naira to one dollar, but what is the position today, the man has destroyed almost everything he met, everything Jonathan labored for. Everything is nose-diving in the country.
“Look at the stock exchange. He inherited a stock exchange of over N13 trillion. Today, it is about N8 to N9 trillion. What happened to N4 trillion? It is people’s money, so to me, this government, particularly, in my own sense of judgment, there are too many lies and lies go with depression and depression goes with oppression.”