The Founder of Destiny Chapel and former Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Akwa Ibom State, Arch Bishop Cletus Bassey has said among other things, that the next Governor of Akwa Ibom State must have a Pastor.
He said this during an interview with newsmen in his office on Tuesday, July 28, in which he spoke in glowing terms about Governor Udom Emmanuel’s strides and scored the State Leader high in his strides.
Positing that the next Governor would have to be one who would maintain the tempo of infrastructural renaissance and industrialization, the Arch Bishop stressed that Udom’s successor must have a Pastor and must be one who takes communion.
“We strongly believe that the person must have a Pastor. You don’t come and tell us “I’m a church member”; which church do you belong to? Do you receive communion? Do you belong to a church where your own Pastor can testify of you? That is our own first position”, he said.
He also emphasized spiritual cleanliness as one of the criteria for the incoming Governor. “We must be also sure that you are not into a cultist group that will bring the State into another level of kidnapping, cult-crises and fighting. We are beginning to hear that oath-taking has started from some quarters again and as a Church, we’re watching. We want people to know that we’re receiving feelers and we have our people planted in different locations which they don’t know about…We won’t be able to carry people or see people who want to take this state back to where if you don’t belong to a certain cult group, you’ll never be allowed to be in government, do one thing or get position”, he said.
Moreso, the clergy man told newsmen that the Christian community would be particular about one who has the interest of God and people of the State at heart. “We also want to have a true Akwa Ibomite. Yes, the thing has come over to Uyo Senatorial District but it is not just about zoning. It is about a true Akwa Ibomite. One who thinks, prays, wishes, dreams, and is passionate about Akwa Ibom. And then, you’ll tell us what you want to achieve and we’ll look at your precedence – where are you coming from, what have you done before. Do you have leadership qualities? Do you have pedigree to lead us as a people? And we want to be sure that you have the Church at heart; you love God, you love God’s people and you love Akwa Ibom”.
Speaking on the role of the Church in the selection of political leaders, the former CAN Chairman disclosed that they had commenced leadership seminars before the COVID-19 outbreak, and were still having little meetings within close circles.
“That which is very particular about us is the commitment to educate, inform and continue to model proper Christian principles and consciousness to the fact that the Church must not be left out in the aspect of who rules over us. So, we put together conferences and seminars on that, which have not been before. But as you know, COVID-19 came and most of our plans for that period have been put on hold…but we are still keeping in touch with our structures…we’re still educating and training at every point in time, creating the consciousness of Christians involvement as far as leadership is concerned”.
He observed that Governor Emmanuel’ s leadership approach was worth appreciating, adding that his worth would be valued when he leaves office. “If he has disappointed, you would have heard from us…the issue is, has he kept to his agenda? Others would want to judge him based on what they feel but it’s like people watching those playing on the football field. You seem to know better than those playing on the field but you don’t have the plan of the game. At a point, one of the fathers of faith had to go to those places to see those things to be sure that those industries are existing, because there were those who said that all those things were things in the book which cannot be seen. Is it the Syringe Industry? Today we have the St Gabriel’s Coconut Factory, we have the Fertilizer, Garri and all of them in different locations and recently the Car Assembly Plant which equipment started arriving. What is it that he has promised and has not given?”, he enquired.
Furthermore, Bassey lauded the Governor’s management of the COVID-19 situation in the State, the State executive members and the Health workers for their relentless efforts at ensuring the smooth sail of things while the pandemic lasts.
“The Governor has shown a great level of control in what I would call Communication management. He has been able to manage this whole thing through his ability to communicate with the people, and he is forthright and down to earth in putting together a team that has best been able to manage the COVID-19 situation. Today, he is engaging in interactions with the press and opening up the lines so that, wherever you are in the world, you can call and ask him questions. He has been able to tame the tide so that speculations, anxiety and the stress that would have come if that communication line was not properly opened, has been take away. So, people are not living in doubt. Infact, he has so managed the thing to a point that people feel the thing does not exist. He keeps saying ‘Let’s do the right thing’. I also commend those that are working with him in that field – the health workers”.
He however suggested that Town Hall meetings be organized regularly to create room for feedbacks, as well as open discussions with opposition Parties.
Arch Bishop Bassey prayed for the safe landing of Governor Emmanuel, assuring him of finishing strong.
“You’ve not disappointed us. You’ve done your best. You’re not going to leave Akwa Ibom the way you saw it. You don’t need the songs of the multitude to believe that you’re leaving a legacy. Years, times and seasons will speak what you have done, what you are doing and what you’ll continue to do. I wish you the best, and I could say to you that you’ll finish strong. That’s my prayer. You’ll finish, turn back and look and you’ll say to yourself, by the help of God, we have succeeded together”.
“I believe the Church believes in you and I believe that we’ll continue to pray for you and look forward to greater days. War fares will never cease. We live in a world where people fight but you know one thing, greater is he that is in you than he that is the world. Jesus said, be of good faith, I have overcome the world already. So you have, because in Him, you live and have your being. I salute you sir and I congratulate you. Let your peace always guide your heart”.
Speaking on Churches’ compliance to the COVID-19 guidelines, the clergyman observed that greater number of Churches have kept to it. “I did not expect that we will have 100% compliance. There is no where you can have that in the world. We may have some who may not have been able to keep to it but it is our prayers that they should, because it’s not a myth”.
He called on the Christian community to remain in obeisance to government’s instructions, while maintaining that it was for the general good of the citizenry.