WE TOOK A STAND!!!
FULL TEXT OF PENTECOSTAL FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA PRESS CONFERENCE.
SPEECH BY BISHOP SOLA ORE,
CHAIRMAN, PENTECOSTAL FELLOWSHIP OF NIGERIA, LAGOS STATE CHAPTER
Ladies and gentleman of the fourth estate, it is with great pleasure that I welcome you to this press briefing.
Since the inception of the administration of the present Executive Council of the Lagos State Chapter of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, this is the first major interface with the Press. Our silence over the years was not because we lacked what to say but our silence has been largely due to our own peculiar style. We had wanted to watch the situation in the country and give ourselves to the ministry of the word and prayers. This we have been doing in the last two years of this administration of PFN.
We have organized prayer conferences and meetings interceding for Nigeria. We have had empowerment seminars to equip our members for effective ministry in this generation. Our women have given out several items to help the financial status of indigent pastors wives. This administration has also embarked on members’ registration to consolidate our data base and keep out those who disguise as Pentecostal but are not.
STATE OF THE NATION
However events in the last few months in our nation have been so troubling and sad that we have decided to speak to the authority. It is with great concern that we are holding this conference and we hope that those who have ears will listen to what God is saying to Nigeria.
Let me start by first saying that many Nigerians including Christians voted for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR. Many, including some Church leaders especially the Pentecostal body staked their integrity and reputation to ensure that he won the 2015 presidential election because of the then parlous state of the nation’s economy and the security situation.
You will recall that by the time President Buhari took over, the security situation in Nigeria was becoming so worrisome. Many got tired of the unending insurgency and the near collapse of the economy.
President Buhari, just like in 1983 when he became Nigeria’s military head of state took advantage of the situation in the land to get to power through the ballot box this time around in 2015. Nigerians believed his coming into power would put an end to the serial crisis in the land and revive the nation’s economy. There were lots of expectations. This was against the cynicism in some quarters that he would come and perpetuate an Islamic agenda.
By the time he was sworn- in May 2015 there emerged signs that things may not be as majority expected. The nation waited six months to get a Federal executive council to help Mr. President in running the affairs of the country. We have heard conflicting figures and direction of the economy from those who represent Mr. President thereby leaving us more confused.
Our ministerial calling brings us in touch daily with the ordinary citizens of this potentially great nation and we will like our President to know that the people are crying and in pain daily. The naira has continued to lose value leaving many goods and services out of reach of the average Nigerian. Many now have to beg to eat while many businesses have simply closed down due to the high exchange rate.
Yet we have been inundated with promises and snippets of hope. Our dear President, please know that “hope differed makes the heart sick: but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” according to that divine wisdom in Proverbs 13:12.
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
All well-meaning agree that corruption is the bane of the nation and therefore welcome any meaningful and legal means of fighting this hydra headed monster. The fight against corruption as it now seems, it’s to many a selective fight and we hereby call upon President Buhari to make the anti-corruption war objective and fair to all.
All allegations of corruption leveled against some serving officials of this government must not be swept under the carpet; certainly not only the members of the opposition are corrupt in Nigeria.
Many of the notable politicians in the country who found themselves in the ruling party who had cases of corruption on their necks have surprisingly been decorated with the garment of righteousness. Please be fair to everyone.
KILLING OF CHRISTIANS
We commend the efforts against insurgency, however, there are obvious signs that a worse than Boko Haram is here with us in the name of Fulani herdsmen. We are left with no alternative than to conclude that there is something in the offing that is not clear to many Nigerians.
What is happening in Southern Kaduna presently is worrisome to say the least. It is sad that the President kept quiet on the killings for so long only for us to be told that he needed not to comment on all issues. Pray! What is that thing that is more important than human lives?
Who has been prosecuted for the killings of innocent lives in Kaduna if I may ask? Who has been sent to jail? As a matter of fact which of the Boko Haram insurgents have been prosecuted? Is this government saying it does not know the master minds of these dastardly acts?
Why is it that those who make legitimate demands on government are the ones being put in detention? The Biafra agitators may not be going about their demands the right way but, in civil parlance they have a right to self-determination and a right to be heard. The continuous detention of the arrow head of the struggle does not give the administration a good image globally.
In the recent time, many notable Nigerians have asked for the restructuring of this nation. Many are agitating for the re-negotiation of the entity called Nigeria. We call on the government to listen and engage constructively with the agitators and look at ways of allaying their fears.
What we have experienced in the last 19 months of this government seems to be confirming to us the fears expressed by some Nigerians before the 2015 elections.
While some believe President Buhari had some Islamic agenda, we have had to confront the Christian community on the agenda of the church. We are not overly sentimental about the fear of islamisation because we believe it is not possible to Islamise Nigeria. This nation is a covenant Nation and has been positioned by God to bring revival to nations of the world. At the same time we will not watch and allow the continuous decimation of the Christian population.
Nigerian Christians have suffered too much. We have been killed. We have been brutalized. We have been denied our basic rights. Many of our churches in the north have had to close down due to the insurgency but even before the security challenges many northern states deny our people right to land ownership when it comes to building churches.
We believe Nigeria is a multi-religious state and people should be allowed to worship God the way they want. The continuous repression of a particular faith will not augur well for us as a nation.
FINANCIAL REPORTING COUNCIL CODES
On the suspended Financial Reporting Council codes of conduct, we have studied the codes and we realize that some provisions seek to establish the culture of corporate governance for not-for-profit organizations.
We as Pentecostals have also had to call our members to imbibe the culture of openness and accountability at different times. We have within ourselves talked to members to make open their books and be accountable to the people they pastor and to God. We will not, however, welcome any interference with the way the church is run by government as suggested by the inclusion of certain clauses in the law.
While we are ready to abide by codes and laws that are legitimate and which are for the good of the land, we will like to state that the Pentecostal body in Lagos State will resist any attempt to frustrate the church.
HEALTH AND POWER SECTOR
While we enjoin all Nigerians to continue to pray and give this government the needed support, we are constrained to say that the government must put its house in order. We pray and wish Mr. President sound health, but it is important for him to realize that many Nigerians are dying in our hospitals due to the parlous state of our health institutions and they are not privileged like him to seek health care in foreign nations.
The state of President Buhari’s health should indeed give him the reason to put the health sector in order.
By May 29, this government will be two years, but nothing visible has been achieved in the area of electricity. It is sad that we are still talking about light. Rather than building on what the last government of President Jonathan did in the sector, we seem to be witnessing a reverse.
While there are indications that the private initiative of Aliko Dangote will help boost the power sector, it is important that this government takes the bull by the horn and redress the problem of power as soon as possible. It is true that the continuous pipeline vandalisation has contributed to the parlous state of electricity but even at that we advise that the government take decisive steps in redressing the situations.
We cannot end this conference without making some observation about some people who claim to be Pentecostals but are not. We have observed that over the years, there are a lot of charlatans and herbalists Christians who pose as Pentecostals. Some have only changed their herbal signposts to read “Pentecostal” while in actual fact they have had no experience of Pentecost.
We also observe with a great deal of concern that there are many atrocious practices among the so called Pentecostals. We will like to use this medium to state that churches that engage in merchandising the anointing, selling faith objects to members, collecting money for miracle, exploiting members and taking advantage of their spiritual ignorance to dupe them are not part of us.
We make bold to say that any church whose pastor is involved in all acts that are unbecoming of a child of God is not part of the PFN. We appeal to the good people of the press to please confirm from us before you label any Pastor as one of us at the PFN. We know our members.
Here in our Jerusalem, we like to commend the efforts of the State governor His Excellency Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode to keep the state safe, secured and accommodating for all persons regardless of their tribal or religious leaning. The federal and other state governments can borrow a leaf from here.
We believe Nigeria will be great again. We believe we will rise again. While we continue to watch and pray for Nigeria; we will henceforth not stop talking to the authority. We believe a word is enough for the wise.
Thank you for listening and God bless you all.