Why we no more have God-fearing people in politics –Ituah Ighodalo

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Pastor Ituah Ighodalo

 

 

 

 

 

Ituah Ighodalo  a Pastor, an Accountant and a writer, is  a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN)and  the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN). He spoke to CHINYERE IKEANYI on politics, COVID-19 pandemic among other issues.

How would you assess 21 years of democracy in Nigeria?

We are not safe politically, and if a man cannot give what he does not have, it is not likely he will govern well.  If somebody who was not really doing well get into politics, he/she won’t do well. When these people have done it three times, they will tell us, let me just face my business.

The general conversation is that politics is dirty; so, all the God- fearing people were not there, and now they are beginning to govern the people who should have been governing them. Till today, the Queen of England still receives advice from the Pope for that was how it was in the Bible, when David was in trouble he went to Samuel to protect him.

How will our country behave themselves during this COVID 19?

Well, there is very little that people can do under the economy, if you don’t go out to sell your Banana, you cannot eat. Like what happened some years ago of a girl I met while travelling because she comes out earlier to sell her Banana from 5am to 8pm, what profit will she make to feed her two children, so I bought the whole Banana.  If somebody has encouraged and trained her on a skill, she would have done better than selling that Banana. Late Abiola was a beneficiary of free education; even Obasanjo was a beneficiary of free education. Any meaning government must have taken up free education. So if everybody is skilled in Nigeria, and are producing like as they are doing in China nobody will be begging because China has a philosophy that everybody must be skilful.

How has it been under this COVID 19?

What has happened is that COVID 19 has been a blessing in disguise to some of us.  As long as I am concerned, it has made us reviewed our policies,; it made us review the way we are operate, it made us focus on technology (Zoom meetings) and things like that.  Somehow, it has made us a lot more efficient and we are waiting for post -COVID-19 so that we can incorporate everything into one whole. The period of resetting has been good to us.  Initially, it was stressful and painful, but now, we look at it from the positive side. It is just unfortunate that so many people are sick and so many people have the potential to be sick, and have their personal economy disturbed.  We also have had our own fair share; we have reduced our expenses considerably. So, it is in and out here; we are coping.

What is your view on the way government is handling this COVID-19?

Well, the government is trying to be honest; at least the Federal Government, Lagos, Ogun, Edo, and a few states like Ekiti, Oyo; the Governors are proactive in doing their best. The thing is that it caught everyone slightly unawares.  The thing is that nobody took it seriously when it started in November 2019, if we have taken it serious, we would have prepared more in advance; we would have been able to cope better. The thing is that the public may not have believed, for example, if the government has stopped flight from flying in February people will start complaining the government is panicking,  I think we all have to cope with it as it comes. I think we all have to do better.

What should be the role of the Church in finding solution to this COVID-19 pandemic?

What the church should do if they follow the principles of the Bible is very, very clear.The first thing the church should do is to begin to pray and seek the face of God. 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 verse 14 if my people who are called by my name shall;’ humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will l hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land. So, we need to pray; we should have done this before but some of us were caught napping. Secondly, we should call for National repentance. Everybody should fall on his/her knees and ask God for forgiveness. Those doing evil should stop;, those doing wicked things should stop; those not obeying should stop.  The reason that God allows a plague upon the world is because people are doing evil and He is not happy with the conduct of the people. Another reason is that somebody made a mistake in Wuhan, China is a physical reason but then, there is a spiritual background to it because of the evil in the land.

 God does not perform magic; when there is a plague, somebody somewhere might have committed and offence. Like in the time of Moses when people were committing Sodomy, and there was a plague on them they have to left up a serpent. Also the leaders in the times of David committed sin and God gave him three options of plagues, let there be famine in the land, let your enemies pursue you, but he said let him fall into the hands of God and not into the hands of his enemies.  Leaders are very, very important if the leaders don’t do things right, people tend to suffer or the devil came to attack a nation. So, like the battle siege against Sameria or the people of God. So, those are the three reasons, first prayer; repentance and locate the sources of the evil and remove the evil.

The oil price has crashed during this COVID 19, where does the economy of the nation stand, since it is the main stay of the country?

We will survive because Nigeria has a robust economy, in spite of the oil; the problem with Nigeria is that she is spending money on things we should not spend money on. But again, we must look inward; we will survive as we have always survived.  We must realistically look inward. There are four, five things Nigeria should not import, the first one is food. As we speak, the government is battling very hard to make us stop importing rice, they have not quite succeeded; we are still importing rice from Thailand. If I am the President, we should stop eating rice.  If we must eat rice, we should grow rice. Our parents and ground parents did not eat rice, but they ate yam, cassava, pounded yam. If we don’t eat it, we will not die. Today, we import a lot of cassava products. Meanwhile we grow most of the cassava here; all we need is to bring those machines in Nigeria and produce it. We import petrol when we grow them in our backyard, and export crude oil as we export Palm kernels, and import palm oil simply because few Nigerians will not allow the refineries to work or invest in our refinery. All those things must stop.

We import education too; a lot of Nigerian children are schooling in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Europe, and America. There is no American university that you cannot see Nigerians there. You can imagine how much we spend in education in overseas’ countries, all we need is a land to build schools here and teachers, they come here instead of spending one million naira, we can spend that five hundred naira to bring teachers and pay them to train our children here; train and transfer the knowledge to other children, we can train our children here who will benefit from this. In this day of technology, we don’t need many teachers but technology will teach them except it is critical that we cannot do without.

All those things that we have here we should stop importing them. If we face these things in three, four years, it may take us to do the policy. Once this happens, it will reduce the demand for foreign exchange and once it’s reduced, the rate will adjust.  There are so many things we can export in Nigeria that can give us foreign exchange that we are not touching in Nigeria, like gold, zinc, tantalite in Jos, among others. Some Chinese people are harvesting these things illegally and taking them to their countries; they are not paying us any royalty, or paying us anything, simply because we refused to do the right thing which is resource control.

The Federal Government does not have the capacity to develop all these resources; they think we will continue facing the oil.  We are doing ourselves harm, it was the military that started this resource control, but then there was no incentive to give to anybody, but if we change that idea and the federal said sell whatever is in your backyard and give federal 10 per cent, her own and give states 20 per cent and then keep the rest 50 per cent then that will be fine. This will make those who have these resources at their backyard to do.

Then this is what they do in Europe. It will encourage the people.  Let’s change the sharing ratio so that there will be need for individuals to bring the resources out at their backyard.  Let us change Nigerians, the person running a COVID 19 in Europe is a Nigerian because we are hard working people. If we ask Nigerians to leave those countries, their economy will run down because Nigerians are handling their critical areas.

Who is Ituah Ighodalo?

Ituah Ighodalo is a Pastor, an Accountant and a writer. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and also of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CITN).  He is a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management; a Member, American Society of Industrial Security and Member, American Institute of Management.

He sits on the Boards of several companies, chairing some of them among which are FAMAD Nig. Plc.; Elizabeth R; Trinicorp; Capital Gate;  FINATRUST Micro-Finance Bank; HEBRON Micro-Finance Bank; BRASS Aviation, ADIC Insurance, Trinity Leadership School, SBS Schools, CKC Schools. He also sits on the Pastor E.A   Adeboye Chair of Mathematics Board of UNILAG; and Chairs the Christopher Kolade’s Professorial Chair of the Lagos Business School.

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