Bishop Francis Wale Oke, President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, has tasked President Bola Tinubu and the newly appointed cabinet members to assuage the pains of Nigerians rather than add to their long-drawn anguish and sorrow occasioned by poor governance experienced under the past leadership.
He stressed that rather than fight those who did not contribute to his electoral victory, he should be magnanimous by bringing relief to all Nigerians regardless of class or creed.
Bishop Oke spoke on Thursday, 17th August, at the press conference held at the end of the 2023 Executive Retreat of the PFN, titled, ‘Going from strength to strength,’ in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital. The programme, which attracted Christian leaders under the aegis of PFN across Nigeria, lasted three days.
According to the PFN President who is also the Presiding Bishop, Sword of The Spirit Ministries and Pro-Chancellor, Precious Cornerstone University, Ibadan, the citizens should also prepare to submit to the verdict of the presidential election tribunal in good faith bearing in mind the fact that greater tomorrow lies ahead if the country is peaceful.
The Christian leader said, “Nigeria had just gone through the general election; it was a keenly fought election. We do not want to comment on that, let the tribunal finish their work. We are praying that God will guide them. We want to enjoin all Nigerians to accept the verdict of the tribunal and let’s move on with rebuilding the foundation.
“We should come together in unity and let the healing begin because the politics of the past few months (during electioneering) inflcted serious injury on people in various sectors of our nation. We should learn a lesson from Sudan. Thirty years ago, they had an election that led to war.
“We cannot afford a war. We don’t want war in Nigeria. So, when the tribunal read out its verdict, let everybody bury the hatchet. Let’s join our hands together to build Nigeria. If we do that, another election would come. The loser now can be the winner tomorrow if there is a nation. If there is war, there will be no room for elections, so let’s accept whatever verdict the tribunal would render and let’s go ahead to build a new Nigeria. The Lord will help us.
“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has assigned new Ministers, 46 of them. We want to enjoin the president and his cabinet; we have a counsel for you Mr President, the experience in the last eight years had been very traumatic for Nigerians – kidnapping, banditry, Fulani herdsmen, ritualism, all manners of evil plus very terrible corruption. It was too bad. Then, with the economy, Nigerians are battling with so much. Mr President and the ministers, please relieve Nigerians of their pains, don’t add to it.
“Be conscious of the fact that we are a very traumatized nation. Let’s add the balm, let’s relieve Nigerians of their pains. Look at the various matters that I mentioned – insecurity, poor economy, awful corruption – relieve Nigerians of their pains.
“Number two, Mr President and the new cabinet, Nigerians are fighting personal war, economic war and war of survival, please fight their wars, don’t fight against them. Don’t fight against Nigerians. Whether they voted for you or they didn’t vote for you, fight their battle.
“Now, politicking is over, governance should begin. Let’s bring everybody together. Identify the battle they are fighting and fashion out how to survive. Identify their war and fight that war for them. Don’t make any group of people your target as enemies whether based on tribe, based on religion or ideology. No, that phase is over. Bring everybody together, fight their battle. These are our counsels for you Mr President.”
Making a Biblical analogy, he said, “When Rehoboam became the King of Israel, he took counsel from the elders that counselled his father. They told him that if you treat the people well they would serve you forever. Listen to them, heal their pain. He abandoned the counsel of the elders and listened to the counsel of the young ones, they lost the kingdom. Mr President, heed this call, relieve Nigerians of their pains. Whether they voted for you or not, you are now the father of all Nigerians. Bring them to together and help them, the Lord will help you.
“We are praying that the Lord gives you wisdom to succeed in your onerous assignment that is in your hand.”
To all Nigerians, the clergyman said, “Better days are ahead. The Lord that had seen us through different challenges that we faced will still help us through. Let’s not give up. There is hope for our future. The fact that we are alive means there is hope. The fact that Nigeria is still together as one nation means there is hope. The fact that you are not in a state of active war means there is hope.
“Let’s join our hands together to build a virile nation. As soon as the verdict of the election tribunal is out, let’s all agree and move forward. There is a nation called Nigeria, the future lies ahead of us. Other elections would come, those who lost yesterday would win tomorrow. God bless Nigeria in Jesus name. This is our message to Mr President, his cabinet and all Nigerians.”
On the disposition of the Economic Community of West African States to the tension occasioned by military coup in Niger Republic, Bishop Oke said, “We appreciate the stand of Nigeria and ECOWAS against military coup. Military coup is old-fashioned and we don’t want it. Not in Nigeria and not in West Africa or any part of the world. Blood will flow when you go to war, women would become widows when you go to war, children would become fatherless when you go to war, so going to war shouldn’t be an option. What about drawing sanctions? We are praying for you that the Lord will guide you as our president. Please, don’t go to war.”
The Director of Diaspora Operations for PFN, Bishop Goddy Okafor, said, “War does no one any good. Presently, most Nigerians are apprehensive over the stand of ECOWAS. People are jittery of whether Nigeria would lead other ECOWAS nations to battle with Niger (or not).
“PFN as a body that is geared towards praying for peace and prosperity of our nation has been praying so that our leaders would make the right decisions. War does no one any good so we are praying for peace to prevail. We want peace both in Nigeria and in Niger. We want our leaders to toe the line of peace.”
Among the PFN scribes who were present at the press conference are the PFN Chairman in Oyo State, Rev. Sampson Ajetunmobi; the National Administrative Officer of PFN, Pastor Akinola; PFN Chairman for Bayelsa State, Pst. Dr Tam Seth Eyedoude; and the National Secretary of PFN, Dr Cosmas Ilechukwu.