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Nigerians miscalculated on Buhari –Rev Eragbai

Buhari has disappointed a lot of Nigerians, so says Rev. Ben Eragbai who is the General Overseer of Divine Appointment Ministry, Lagos. He is a vocal personality, who has no qualms speaking his mind on and off the pulpit. When The Nigerian Xpress caught up with him at his new church auditorium at Ajah, the man of God discussed the recent happenings in Nigeria:


A lot of politicians have started again, jumping ship, an ugly trend that is shameful. what’s your view on that?

I want you to know that all these things are still politics. Unfortunately, that is how it is played in this part of the world. Politics in Nigeria is all about noise making. Most of them make noise so they can be noticed. You see, there is an understanding amongst them, an agreement, it’s just a matter of time, you will see the endgame. What I will advise is that we should not swallow Panadol for another person’s headache; we should not just bother ourselves. They know what they are doing. When I saw Fani-Kayode that spoke against a place and he still went back to the place he spoke against since that day I said to myself that wh, en it comes to politicians, just keep your mouth shut; let them play their own games.

You have come across different things and I believe no topic is off limit to you, as a man of God and as a parent, what is your take on the issue of sex tapes flying around the place?

The sex tape, I know about it, the Tiwa girl. Let me tell you something; people want attention, any kind of attention. I even read it somewhere that she engineered it because of her recent single release,to boost sales or popularity of her brand. There is a saying when people full market na when market dey sell. Probably, there could be some truth in that. The point is, which has always been my focus in all my talks and preaching is ‘Our Youth”. Look at what is trending. When we should be talking of how Nigeria can be fixed? ENDSARS was laudable. I just wish the youth could channel their energy to activism for good governance and accountability, politicians will sit up. But with all this nonsense flooding the social media, they will conclude they are unserious and will say, when the time comes for the next elections, we will just gather them, throw money at them and we have them in our pockets. Our youths get easily distracted; the politicians continue their ‘politicking and bad governance. Why should sex tape be a major topic or issue? Why should it trend for days and weeks? We shouldn’t be talking about nude pictures, sex tape and all other irrelevant matters. Everybody is talking about it and that’s exactly what the devil wants in Nigeria, remove their mind from their future so that they will not even know how to pray. Having factions and fights over sex tape as if it is football; It is just incredible.

Go to any BetNaija centre now, it is filled with youths because they want a shortcut to wealth, instant wealth; that is the mantra of the day. If our youths refuse to take their destiny in their hands and focus on frivolities, they will always cut them short.

What is your advice to the youths?

My advice to the youths is one, not to give up on Nigeria, stay focused because they said that the youths are lazy and we should surprise them by letting them know that we are not, we know what we are doing. Secondly, stay away from crime because if you get into crime,  they will kill you and forget you. Stay off arms and hard drugs.  Again I reiterate, stay off crime because a soldier that lives by the sword shall surely die by the sword. The Youths should step up their game, be more innovative. How can we take this country to the next dimension against all odds? We are in the cyber-digital age.

In the past, most people categorised all Nigerian youths were 419ers but that it is not true. There are still a good number of them making their money legally. We need to put on our thinking caps, think of what we can do, how we can contribute to this nation. Look at Innoson now, look at all he is doing. Let me tell you, Nigerians are talented. I am not saying it because I am a Nigerian, it is a proven fact, we are truly talented; any kind of talent or skill you want in the world can be found in Nigeria. Let us just maximise our God-given potentials.

There is no white-collar job again. Even the president revealed that if you go to school, where will you get a job? All we can do is  get back to the drawing board, let the youth have a general consensus, one voice, one vision, to make Nigeria great again.

There is no need to be fighting over irrelevant matters. Let the youths begin to see that this nation belongs to them; it is their only home. By the time these old men are gone, we are the ones that will be around.

What do you say about the troubling security crisis going on in the country?

They always say “call a spade a spade”. People have been slaughtered; let’s face reality. Yes, bandits have been slaughtering people; a lot of villages are being annihilated. I am not for Biafra neither am I for any other. But at the end of the day, people are dying daily. Every day you open the paper, bandits are abducting people, raping minors, pillaging villages. They are getting bolder; they are getting closer. They attacked the University of Abuja, I mean; the impunity with which they strike leaves me wondering what our government is really doing. The painful part is that the soldiers are not given the proper leverage to be able to fight these insurgents. Last month, it was Kano. Now America gave us a jet fighter that it must be used on terrorists; that was the condition. Now my question is, who are the real terrorists in Nigeria? 

Could you describe this administration in one word?

First and foremost, what has he done? Where is the light he promised us within a few months; what about security? Has he done any? How is the average man faring? We both know that everything we had aggravated. So, how can you ask me to describe it? When he came in, how much was the dollar and how much is it now? Till today, are we not still borrowing money? Where is the internally generated revenue? What is it being used for? Let’s put all these things together. Are we not still borrowing? Corruption, has it been addressed? It has left the sitting room; it now lives in room and parlour or is Nigeria not more corrupt now? Has our living conditions improved? I am not a politician; I am not for any political party or nurture any politician ambition but the truth has to be told.

You do follow politics, is Asiwaju the man for 2023?

Of course, one hundred per cent. I know about politics and I do follow politics but I am not a politician.

If you ask me about Tinubu, who else is the best person? Who wants to come? For those saying it is not Tinubu, who is the best person for the job? If you have the best person, then I will tell you what I think about Tinubu?

Recently, Ishaq Akintola of the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) announced they won’t vote for any Christian presidential candidate, what is your reply to such assertion?

I want to say again that if anybody wants Nigeria to work and move forward, please we should not look at religion as a basis to vote. All we are saying is that the best person for the job should come forth. If the best person is a Muslim and will surely deliver, then there is nothing wrong. Like I said, again, we should not bring in the matter of tradition, religion or nepotism when it comes to good leadership and governance. The question is who can deliver? Buhari came and said he was for everybody but later we now realised that he is for some set of people. I don’t want to talk about the politics of religion now. Who is best to take Nigeria to the next level of good leadership, governance and prosperity that is what is important. But the truth again is that I don’t trust politicians because they talk with two mouths; until I see a politician that says “I will do” and he does, then we have truly been delivered.

Is It not disturbing that the Christian leaders are not speaking out? This has led some people, most recently, Aisha Yesufu, to accuse Christian leaders of benefitting from bad government…

I got talking to one of my fathers in Christendom, precisely Baba Ayo Oritsejafor, and he said something. He said: “Ben, when I was speaking, nobody was listening.” Rather, the same youths were labelling him all sorts of names online. Baba said he raised the alarm but instead people gathered around and entertained themselves by trolling him and calling him all sorts of unprintable names while the destiny of their nation was going down, sinking. I asked him: “Sir, people are saying you are no longer speaking and he said to me.

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“Ben, when you talk and people don’t listen, what is the essence of talking because you have always been talking and children will start labelling you and insulting you. What do you do?” If you ask me, it is not because they are not speaking up but the truth is who cares to listen? There is a time to talk; there is a time not to talk. Now, if you talk, your talking is meaningless because the tentacles are already on the ground.

What Nigeria needs now is prayer. We should all ask God where we missed it and ask for mercy. All of us.

We thought Buhari was the messiah, including me. We thought Mr. Integrity had come; he will fix Nigeria. If we need a better Nigeria, it is for us to go back to our drawing boards and go on our knees; “Father, we are sorry, we missed it”. We need to go on repentance, everybody should go on repentance. It is not just a matter of coming to talk. Is Father Mbaka not talking? But before what did he say? Was he not among those who first said Buhari was the messiah? When he spoke against Jonathan, did anybody talk? There is a time to talk and there is a time to be quiet. So, I think this is the time to be quiet and go into our closet and ask God for mercy: “Baba, we missed it o, our calculation did not work. Please, save us. This is not the change we asked for. We didn’t get it right, Lord, what can we do? How can you help our nation? Most people are drumming for war. Let’s face reality, who can stand war? Do they know what it takes to fight war? Please, we should not be having such conversations. I believe that God can still help this nation.

Most people are drumming for war. Let’s face reality, who can stand war? Do they know what it takes to fight the war? Please, we should not be having such conversations. I believe that God can still help this nation.