Dr. Theoophilus Akinbode Ajala, a Lokoja, Kogi State based cleric and school proprietor is the Pastor of First Baptist Church in Lokoja. The church was the forerunner of all Baptist churches in the state. The man of God is also the Proprietor of Baptist groups of schools, Lokoja. He speaks with SECURITY MONITOR’s Wale Abideen and Shola Akinyele at the church premises in Lokoja where he dissects the socio-economic and political problems facing Kogi state.
MANY PEOPLE GIVE DIFFERENT INTERPRETATION TO THE RECENT HAPPPENING IN KOGI STATE, BUT AS A CLERGY MAN, WHAT IS YOUR VIEW ABOUT THE DEATH OF PROMINENT POLITICIANS IN THE STATE?
To say the fact, the death of our political leaders in the state is not natural occurrence and it’s not what we hear or what we see that happens. It is the reality of what is on ground and where we found ourselves in Kogi state, which is quite unfortunate that such things are happening in the state. It has also become a threat to most of us who are clerics as the situation now required God’s intervention, because it has gone beyond the thinking of the state government. The insecurity that we are witnessing is very unbearable, especially the kidnapping issue that is filtrating in the state; there is another kidnapping case recently along Kabba road and this has become rampant in the state. As I’m talking to you now two of my church members have been kidnapped, they are in the hand of kidnappers and they request for Seven Million Naira as a ransom, which we are still negotiating with them up to this moment. What is happening in the state and the country as a whole is devil work, because how can some people think on how to kidnap people and make money from them. Our members who are kidnapped are not politician. So, it’s not a rumor, it is what is happening in the state, moreover it’s only God knows how Prince Audu Abubakar died and we really need serious God intervention in the state.
ARE THERE SECURITY MEASURE PUT IN PLACE BY RELIGION LEADERS INTERMS OF COMMUNITY POLICING?
Yes, I was in a meeting with local government chairmen few months ago, as the chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kogi state chapter, many issues were raised and everybody started strategizing that may be the police should be re-enforced or they should be encouraged and also give them more weapon to fight criminals. The Bible tells me that the weapon of our welfare is not gathered, but God can pull down the strong holes, So when we’re having the meeting, I raised an issue that, if the chairmen of the local governments in the state, can make sure that we Christian and Muslim come together to pray and fast for the state, which will be sponsored by the local government, we are not saying they should give us money, but to encourage us so that if we want to print poster we will have money to finance it. Government should look into that and we will be willing to fast and pray for progress in the state, but after saying this the chairmen said they will look into it, till date nothing has been done about it and I told them black and white that the issue in the state has gone beyond human strategies or planning, they should let us approach God.
WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO PARENTS ABOUT CHILDREN UPBRINGING?
The Bible tells me that by their fruits, we shall know them. Today’s parents are not doing enough in terms of children training. For instance, you must be able to assess me by the virtue of my children, so how many of us are conscious of that. As a parent you must give your children adequate training, quality moral and pray for them. If you do this, they will behave well and will not become nuisances in the society. Moreover I discover that nowadays parents are failing to perform their duty, until we go back to the will of God and remember how our parents trained us, for example, I’m a product of my parent training, whatever I become today God used them for my life and I also want my own children to be like that, so any bad gang you see in the street should let us find out who is their parent.
DO YOU THINK FULANIS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE KIDNAPPING THAT IS VERY COMMON IN THE COUNTRY?
Well I have stayed a little with the Fulanis and if I want to judge by what I know in 30 years back. When I was staying with Fulanis in the North, I will not believe that Fulani’s will involve in any of these criminal activities be it kidnapping or any violence against anybody. I found it difficult to believe it, a Fulani man is always concern about his cattle and if a Fulani man child is died that time you will not see him crying, but let his cattle die, you will know that something has gone out of the life of the Fulani man. Moreover, I have not seen a Fulani man caring a gun for over 30 years I was with them in the North, but it seems that people is adulterating the ranks of the Fulanis. May be they are just camouflaging and blackmailing them, am not saying they are not wise, but they don’t have the mind to carry gun, that is my personal opinion.
THERE IS A DIFFERENT CRISIS IN THE STATE NOW, WHAT IS YOUR FATHERLY ADVICE TO THE POLITICIANS AND POLITICAL OFFICE HOLDERS IN THE STATE?
I am not a politician by calling, but there is nobody that was not connected to politics in one way or the others, because we are political by accessing an issue, bring up opinions etc. If the government is angry with the party that brought him to power, he knows the reason and those of them in the executive of the party that are quarreling with the governor also have their own reason, but their reason is not far from what they will eat, they know what they are doing, greediness is worrying them, which is the truth they will only be talking and they want to use us as populace to get their interest and achieved there aims. From the bottom line what they will eat is what they are looking for. They will not fight if somebody is not suffering among them and their suffering is not far from money issue, my advice to them is that they should considered the citizen of the state not their own personal selfish interests.