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‘Nigeria needs interim government to Lay Foundation for a new country’

By Obire Onakemu
10 December 2022   |   3:11 am
Former presidential candidate of Fresh Democratic Party (FDP), and founder of Household of God Church, Ikeja, Lagos, Rev. Chris Okotie, in this interview with ....

Chris Okotie

Former presidential candidate of Fresh Democratic Party (FDP), and founder of Household of God Church, Ikeja, Lagos, Rev. Chris Okotie, in this interview with OBIRE ONAKEMU says Nigeria needs to put in place an interim government for the sake of the future of the country and its youths. EXCERPTS:

What is your assessment of the state of the nation?
I made it abundantly clear that the presidential system of governance, which is the second attempt at democratising the country, has become inimical and subversive to Nigeria’s cause. It has polarised the polity, balkanised the Nigerian society and fractured the whole configuration of the Nigerian brotherhood. It has also elevated corruption to an institution of business complexities, and I believe it must be jettisoned for national progress.

We don’t have any choice but to abandon that system. And that is why I am proposing an interim government that I call Government of National Reconciliation and Reconstruction. It will introduce aborigine democracy, which is the mechanical instrumentality for the crystallisation of a new Nigeria of our dreams. This concept is what is going to change our nation. There are many things involved; there are many ramifications involved. That is my position right now. I do not think we should conclude the coming election, because it’s a journey in futility. Nigeria needs to get into an interim government as soon as possible.

With your proposed interim government, are you saying the 2023 elections should not hold?
If only we are patriots and not politicians, we would know without any shadow of doubt that the 2023 elections are completely unnecessary; it is a journey in futility. It would take Nigeria back to square one! The aberrations are the problems that face us now, and it would continue to stare us in the face. That is why I am saying that if we truly love Nigeria, and we are patriotic, the only way out right now is interim government.

Do you consider the constitutional lacuna that will be created with your proposal?
I have often said that man was not made for the law; the law was made for man. Human beings create the constitution as a legal protocol that governs their union as a federal state. We can enact the law and believe that President Muhammadu Buhari has the capacity to effect any change necessary to secure the Nigerian state. This could be his greatest legacy. I have said that at the end of this conversation, I would send a transcript to the president, trusting that he will give a listening ear to it, and that necessary laws would be enacted to establish an interim government.

Some Nigerians had wanted you to begin your political journey from your state. How do you respond to this?
I am not a politician! I have said that before. If I want a political career, I would have joined a dominant party. You can’t win an election on the basis of Fresh Democratic Party (FDP). The big gladiators in the polity are looking for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) because these are the only platforms that would provide them what they require. But one may ask; what am I looking for in building a political career? I was looking for a podium upon which I would begin to demonstrate and articulate a philosophy that would engender change, unite Nigerians and prepare the country for the 21st century. So, I’m not really looking for a political career. The only way I can do that is by stepping into that office which gives me the authority to bring about change. If not, it is a waste of energy and time.

That means you were not really aiming at the presidency the other time you contested?
I wasn’t! If I really wanted to win an election, I would have gone to a larger party. Fresh Democratic Party doesn’t have any structure to compare or compete with PDP or APC. And that is a proof of the fact that I have loved the nation unconditionally. I wasn’t looking for anything that would bring me garnishment, but something that will bring unity, progress and wellbeing to our nation.

Some people want you to drop your pastoral job and join politics full time
I don’t think it has anything to do with it. I believe that if we are going to be a nation, we must rise above issues of religion and ethnicity and concentrate on issues that would engender national integration. Politicians who play religious and ethnic cards are people who have nothing to say to the Nigerian people. They are just political jobbers; they lack the necessary intellectual capacity to hold the kind of offices they had had so far.

Most times when men of God say God directed them to contest, some people don’t believe them. What do you have to say about this?
I hope you are not attributing this to me. God is spirit. He is not a monotheist creature like us. He doesn’t intellectualise, and the only way one can make contact with Him is through faith. So, if anybody says God spoke, it is presumptuous for anybody else to contradict that because they don’t have the capacity to determine whether that was said or not. It is left for that person to determine whether he or she heard from God or not! I think that questioning of the rationale behind anybody’s claims is very petty!

If you were to be elected next president, what areas of governance would enjoy your immediate attention?
I’m not looking for an election, but an interim government that will rectify the problems we have; a government that will take democracy back to the people. The democracy we have today is government of the party by the party and for the party. I call it partyzarism! That is not democracy! It is Jackisation of democracy. We need to take democracy back to the people and achieve government of the people, by the people and for the people. And that is why I’m proposing this interim government where there will be no legislature. We don’t need a legislature to run a government!

All I’m suggesting is that the responsibilities of the legislature should be given to professional associations that are already within the polity instead of duplicating that in the National Assembly and paying billions of naira to sustain that structure. There are 57 standing committees in the Senate, and about 81 in the House of Representatives. All of them are reflections of what the Nigerian society already has. I am saying if we want to strengthen our democracy, we don’t need the legislatures. Nigerians can represent themselves, they do not need to be represented by others. We don’t need ministers, we don’t need commissioners, and we don’t need governors. The people can decide for themselves how they want to be governed. All these things will be incorporated in the new Constitution that will have to evolve in the interim government.

How would you assess the recruitment processes among political parties in Nigeria?
You got it right. It’s recruitment; it’s conscription; they lack inspiration; they lack purpose; they lack coherence. We are looking at men and women of hypothetical philosophy coming together with a common document to harness wealth, and that is why our democracy is the way it is today. The PDP umbrella has undergone a systematic discolouration, perforation and has asked us to recline on its shadow. The APC, on the other hand, wielding a broom that can sweep dirt, but it is not clinically pro-active. It doesn’t prevent diseases. So, in their sweeping, they have forgotten that they could be affected. And now, corruption has grown in such a manner that we are talking of a society that has become so stratified that it allows corruption to spread passively. So, when one talks of political parties, each one has its own problems. And that is why I say we don’t need political parties to effect democracy!

What should be the role of the Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN)?
CAN is an association of Christian bodies; it is not just one particular body, it’s like an umbrella. The first responsibility they have is to pursue the propagation of the Gospel, to make sure our Lord Jesus Christ and his message of salvation is spread around the country. Second, it can monitor the welfare of Nigerian people and advise governments. This is because we understand that where policy is contiguous with prophecy, that nation prospers. Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to the people.

So, CAN could articulate that concept of advising governments that if we want God to prosper our nation, we should make sure our policies are close to the prophecy that God revealed concerning the way a nation should be governed.

I believe the complexities of Nigeria’s political situation has occurred because of people who are not patriotic, but are self-serving. So, the minute we stop the introduction of political parties, we stop approbation of political parties – no governor, no commissioners, no ministers. Then, government will not be business as usual, but of service.

In the definition of democracy, there is nothing that indicates that political parties would be involved. Nothing! That word ‘Democracy’ comes from the Greek word ‘Democratia,’ which is a compound word that is made up of DEMO, which means ‘people’ and CATIA, which means ‘power.’ But this has been perverted! It is supposed to be power to the people, and not power to the party.

I believe that when we come into an interim government, all these aberrations would be fixed, and Nigeria will become the nation that it should be, and the people would participate in writing a new constitution and determining for themselves how they would want to be governed, and their resources and things like that managed. All of these will be incorporated in our new constitution.

You mean Nigeria is not growing as expected of an independent country?
Really, we have retrogressed; we have been going back and forth in the wilderness of retrogression. This is because of politics. Politics is the science of government; it is a sociological contraction that is devoid of emotion and conscience. Politics will never lead a nation to greatness, but leadership would. Leadership is concerned with the individual as an irreplaceable, indispensable part of the growth of that nation. Politics is only involved with the state, and the state is that collective entity that represents its geographical expression.

To the politicians, you don’t matter! But the leader is concerned about you. You are an entity that is irreplaceable; your individualism can never be impeached. That is why Nigeria is where it is today. There are all kinds of people – charlatans, sycophants. A plethora of these sycophants and charlatans waxing in the place are the problem, and that is why we are where we are.

I’m saying if we go back to aboriginal democracy, politics will be redefined, leadership will be redefined, and unions will be redefined. All of these states, which are feeling marginalised, will no longer be as they are. They will have a sense of cohesion, a sense of participation – belonging. And that is what we are going to do.

What really is this aboriginal democracy about?
Aboriginal just means ‘original,’ which means it goes back to the definition of democracy – the “people – power.” The people demonstrating their power in their governance – demonstrating how they would be governed, writing their own constitution, deciding how their money will be used and appropriated, how their resources will be controlled, understanding centrifugal and centripetal forces, and how they are manipulated and intertwined in a federalism.

These are fundamental issues that we must address. I’m saying that “Aboriginal Democracy” is the only answer because it deals with what I call cultural historicity; it deals with evolutional modernity; it deals with global relativism as the necessary ingredients of our evolutional political digitisation.

It is an all-embracing concept. That is why I am saying I want to be the leader of that interim government. For you to get a concept, there are many things involved; you have to understand the way that thing is going to be, which is the methodology. When it assumed a political colouration, it becomes an ideology and an ideology gives birth to manifesto. That is an aggregation of philosophical extractions that are seeking practical demonstration or practicality.

Then, you go to the life. What kind of life will this generate? What kind of life will it give to the Nigerian people? What is the animation? What is the galvanising impetus? What is the meditational experience? What is the content pattern? These are things that should be internalised as the creator of that concept. It’s not something you can transfer to somebody else and you expect him to imbibe it.

I am saying that, because I understand all these things, I believe I am the right person to lead this interim government so that I can properly structure this philosophy to benefit our people.

What would you put in place for Nigeria to run as one united nation?
That is what I have said. We can change the concept of the presidential system. The presidential system of government is a failure. That is what I have said from the beginning. It has almost destroyed our society, our nation. The way we can change it is the way I have already explained.

When we do this, politics will be rendered inoperative. People will no longer be going into politics because they have nothing to gain. Those who go there would be to serve. We need the civil service structure of A.D. All we have to do is to develop it, and once it is developed, we don’t need ministers, commissioners and the rests of them. We just need these people who have supervising capacity.

We don’t need this godfatherism. If you are interested in politics, and you meet the basic qualification, your name is written, as well as your state, and they put it into a box and people would come and draw. If your name comes out, you have won!

Why is your church not growing beyond Ikeja?
My understanding of the New Testament is that I cannot appoint a pastor outside of myself. This is because I was ‘appointed’ by Jesus Christ. The pastoral office was ‘appointed’ by the Lord Jesus. I cannot establish a church and appoint a pastor there because I am usurping the authority of Jesus. So, I cannot go beyond where I have been appointed to supervise.

But Jesus Christ appointed others to assist him in His mission?
Yes, that is why I have been appointed. So, if he wants to create a church outside of my jurisdiction, he would create it and appoint a pastor by himself and not me. He will be the one to appoint a pastor for his new work and not me. I don’t have time for authorisation. The Holy Bible doesn’t allow me that authorsiation.
But other churches seem not to follow that way, if they do, they wouldn’t be growing the way they are growing?
I don’t believe that. I believe that if we do what the Bible says, we would have success. Man-made rules and conditions never profit. If you want to serve God, one must serve Him according to divine revelation. There are different concepts of church administration. You have the Presbyterian, congregational and what we call the world churches.

How would you end this interview?
To Nigerians at home and abroad, to everything, there is a season and a time under heaven. That is what the word of God teaches. Nigeria’s time has come. When the season comes, the agitation becomes ubiquitous; when the time comes, the mandate becomes imperative. This is our finest hour. If we work together and listen to the word that I have presented, if we come together in interim government, we would save this nation from oppression, marginalization, resentment and anger that abound today.

My responsibility is to articulate this philosophy. I didn’t join PDP or APC so that Nigerians would know that I’m neutral. I don’t have any political party persuasion. I’m only interested in the Nigerian state, and I believe there are so many people like me who are patriots, who are ready to enter into this interim government with me so that we would give Nigeria a desired future.

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