Baba Aladura, Elder (Dr.) Israel Akinadewo is the Prelate and Supreme Head of Motailatu Church of Cherubim and Seraphim Worldwide. He is also the Secretary of Christian Association of Nigeria, Lagos State Chapter. He speaks in this interview on family values and the state of the nation among other sundry issues
Can you talk about the reason for the Marriage and Family Conference, tagged ‘Overcoming Marriage Pitfalls’, which you hosted at MCCSW Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos?
Simply put, if you observe very well there is a serious problem of morality in the nation which is making the nation not to get to where it ought to be. If you look at the nation critically, you will see that Nigeria is made up of humans which are products of different backgrounds. This means that if families are morally upright, it will be transferred to the nation; nobody can give what he or she does not have. When you see problems emanating in the nation, you know that family values are not well structured and when family values are not intact, it means the Church has also failed. This is not to ignore the fact that some people deviate from their family upbringing but the truth is that what we are experiencing in Nigeria is a product of lack of family values. The problem of the nation started from the root which is the non-attachment of importance to family values. Even if the older generations are not getting it right, we must not allow the younger generations to follow suit. A preacher said the younger and coming generations will be worse off if the problem is not curtailed at the moment because this is the age of social media. If the younger generations do not get the right orientation, the nation will be worse for it. Let us bring the right thinking to the families. The priests that head the Churches should look inward on how they manage their own families because it is possible that we have those who do not ensure that righteousness is enthroned in their homes but come to the church to preach righteousness.
Are you linking the increase in social vices to family disorder?
For instance, action, they say, speaks louder than voice. When you see couples fighting one another, you will not be surprised if children from such homes grow up lacking love and parental care. The way parents relate with themselves goes a long way in determining how the children will grow up to be. As a preacher, what you do will influence more than what you say. For instance, if I as a leader have more than one wife, I won’t be able to introduce such a programme like this. Parents need to be careful in the ways they train their children or pressurise them to get married for the sake of wealth or other material gains. Some parents are the ones that cause problems in the nation today because they did not train their children well; they created the issue of sending only male children to school while the females stay at home with the intention of them being married off. If female children are brought up to develop their careers and be independent, the problems in marriages would not have been there in the first place because there would have been a limit to the abuses they face by men. You see most of the abuses we have in marriage is because some women depend on the men as they do not develop their own careers and have no means of livelihood. Whereas when God talked about helpmate, He did not say the woman should be a servant, God talked about dominion. So God expects both male and female to channel their gifts rightly. God expects parents to teach their children the place of family values, prudence and as a matter of urgency begin to lay emphasis on godly character. We need a total cleansing of our thinking and actions. We should go back to that adage of ‘you should remember the child of whom you are’.
Do you think Nigeria can be revolutionised?
I think if we want to be honest with ourselves, I am not talking about the economic downturn we are facing but this government has shown some sincerity in the area of fighting corruption. I am not talking about whether they are doing enough or not but it is very clear that somebody is taking a direction. I am not a praise singer; I am only saying someone has taken a step in cleansing the nation. The truth of the matter is that monetisation of the nation’s politics is a problem and if that is not taken away, then we cannot get to where we desire to be. We must not let our political offices be for the highest bidders. In fact, it must get to a level where nomination form must be zero on cost and where people who want to vie for a position must justify how they make their income. Although there is what is called a declaration of assets but we know that we are still lagging when it comes to information in Nigeria.
So what is the solution?
The solution is to revisit our constitution. The constitution can say nomination form for political parties must be at zero cost. In that wise, the government will be the one to assist political parties. The parties must not be coerced to declare profits. There must be testifiers in the Church you attend and communities to your character if you are vying for a political office; when we get to that level you will see that the good people will be coming up.
There have been concerns that corrupt politicians are not been brought to book…
There was a particular ex-governor that was jailed. If the entire system is to be cleansed, the entire nation will turn to a prison yard. I am not a tribalistic person but it is as if the structure of the nation is an advantage and also a disadvantage. If a Yoruba man steals, the modern Yoruba person will say there are some Hausa people that have stolen and no one crucified them. If an Igbo man should be brought to book for corrupt practice, the Igbo will say there are some Yoruba persons that have stolen with no one getting them apprehended. This is the problem we have. If people begin to bear in mind that their names are more precious than all the wealth of the world, it will be better for us.
What is your charge to the newly appointed ministers?
They should know that it was God that appointed them and they should remember that they are there to serve God and the people and not themselves.
What do you think can be done to assist Nigerians who returned from South Africa because of xenophobic attacks?
I have read in the papers of different plans of the government in that direction. There is something to appreciate that Nigerians cannot be rubbished. God bless the boss of Air Peace for what he did. The government has done very well as far as this issue is concerned. If any government keeps quiet and watches its people being molested, then that government does not deserve to stay. It is good to appreciate this government for the step they have taken.
What next after the step?
From my research, if you wait for the government to do everything, nothing much might be done. You will agree that there are people that have made money in this country and have stacked the monies even for their generations unborn. Bill Gates is an individual and he is impacting nations. So many rich men and women in America help their citizens. Let us change from this mentality of waiting for the government to help everybody. There was a guy who almost committed suicide because he lost the money he was given as his fees. When I heard it, he was invited and do you know that guy is going to 200 Level at Tai Solarin University of Education? There are some rich people that the only thing they bother about is the next elections; they have money to keep thousands of children in school. I can tell you some people travel out of this country due to frustration. Our rich people can give scholarships because the government cannot do it all. If everyone helps his or her neighbour, then the assistance of the government will be additional efforts. We need to be our brothers’ keepers. We don’t need to make noise in helping others, and then our problems will be reduced.
What are the pitfalls to avoid for a blissful marriage?
There must be absolute faithfulness, not by words of mouths. We must ensure that our families abide in Christ. Bear one another’s fault; don’t see your spouse as a liability because most men do that. They see their wives as liabilities. Also, couples should have the highest level of tolerance. See that you have work to do to help your partners. Then close your ears to outside talks. Appreciate your partner. Marry for the right reasons and not for the wrong reasons like ‘my mates are already married’, beauty or wealth.
Nigeria is 59 years old as an independent nation, what is your take on that?
Let us pray for spiritual revival from the problems bedevilling our nation.
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