The Archbishop of the Methodist Church, Ibadan, Most.Rev. Michael Kehinde Stephen believes seeking return to power by the PDP is belittling of Nigerians by the party.
In an interview held with The Tribune Newspaper, Archbishop Stephen said corruption has eaten deep into the Nigerian polity and urgent steps have to be taken to make a much needed difference. As he prepares to retire in a few months’ time, Archbishop Stephen, who has been in the position since 1971 said the PDP have insulted Nigerians by seeking a return to power.
Archbishop Stephen said; “In 1993, I had the opportunity of giving a keynote address at our conference in Abeokuta and I said if we didn’t do something about corruption, corruption will kill Nigeria and that is what we are experiencing gradually. During this synod, I congratulated the president for having the ‘liver’ to talk about a war on corruption and allowing the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to do their work. Those criticising this government, as far as I’m concerned, are wasting their time. Corruption is so endemic. I have said they should beam the searchlight on the civil service and other parastatals. When people begin to say this administration is one-sided, they don’t know what they’re talking about. Face the side you see and deal with it; when the other side gets power, let them also face the other side. I think the greatest insult to Nigerians is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), when they start to talk about the fact that they want to return to power. The apology means nothing. When Jesus said to Zacchaeus ‘salvation has come,’ Zacchaeus said he would give half of his belongings to the poor. Let the PDP return the loot; they have deprived Nigerians.
The clergyman stated that the PDP should not seek power for a decade if they want to show true repentance.
He said; What I expected to hear was that they wouldn’t seek power for another 10 years for them to show to Nigerians that they are truly repentant. I think the fight against corruption must go on, in the church, anywhere. Let us all know and swallow the shame as a people. Let the searchlight beam everywhere. God intends for us to be better people, that’s why we must strive to pursue peace and holiness, otherwise, there is no future. The fight against corruption is a war that we must win to keep Nigeria.”
“Sometimes, I would say ‘no comment,’ but I would like to comment. Personally, I don’t feel that he should put himself up. Not because his intention is not genuine – there are great pluses for him. There has been a reengineering of the civil service, the fight against corruption, rebuilding the economy, the way he has managed to hold the country together – because the PDP didn’t know they would lose, so they had planned to decimate the country; the PDP actually decimated the economy. Now, they’re saying they always refer to them. You’ll always refer to evil. If the PDP had done well, every reference to the PDP would have been excellent. If they had done well, why should it be that in less than three years, they’re getting tired of listening to their record? However, I would have thought that with what we experienced when Buhari was ill for many days and there was no disclosure whatsoever, although he looks much better now, I feel since he was treated well in the UK, that should be a pointer to do something in Nigeria, so that people who are sick, can look as well as hem does today. I wouldn’t have encouraged him to want to run, simply on health grounds, not necessarily on account of age, since the Constitution doesn’t prevent him from doing that. If there is pressure on the All Progressives Congress (APC), thinking that his personality can win an election, and he feels he wants to run, so be it. However, our business is that we have our PVCs to do as we please. I would have felt that the APC would field Professor Yemi Osinbajo, since he did well as acting president, but it’s a party decision. I’m not in a position to pontificate on that. The Constitution allows him to run, and we should exercise our rights to vote.”