The Advent Cable Network Nigeria Television (ACNNTV), recently had an exclusive interview with the Most Revd Dr Benjamin Kwashi of the Jos Diocese . The interview session was anchored by Venerable Dr. Hassan John, the director of communication for the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion where the Archbishop poured out his mind.
He spoke on his miracle healing from deadly cancer, his roles as the General Secretary of Global Anglican future Conference ( GAFCON), Future of Nigeria as a polity and of course the mystery surrounding the Primate of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion Most Revd Henry Ndukuba. As he celebrate his 30th year in episcopacy, we have this interview for you to watch and read read through and you will love reading it to the end.
Hassan: Your grace, it is an incredible thing all the time to just sit down and have a chat with you.So we are having this discussion because we are in a situation where our generation needs to open it’s ears and listen and learn a lot. So we’re having this chat because we want to tap into the insight of, your knowledge, I thought of two levels; one is, asking, what makes you… I mean, just peeping into your personality, your mind your thoughts about issues generally. But the other aspect too, is to just also look at ministry. Well, let’s talk personally, like we all know you have just come back from this incredible, amazing treatment that is (spoken about) all over the world. So it will not do justice to our meeting, if We don’t ask how you are now and what was your experience throughout your ailment?
Archbishop Kwashi: I think that you have delved into nearly what makes me Hassan, this is quite delicate, but I will try to be brief. First, let me answer you correctly. The first to your series of questions is to say that I am deeply grateful. Eternity will bear me witness how grateful I am. That God has made me, If God made a butterfly, that’s a butterfly and she is just grateful for being a butterfly. If God made an elephant, that’s who he is. so I’m trying to say for the world to hear and understand that I’m exceptionally deeply grateful to God that I was born by John and Elsie Kwashi. I’m eternally grateful that I was born in the family that I am with my senior sisters, and junior sisters. I thank God for my height. I thank God for my chemistry, I thank God for the school I went, I finished from St Lukes ‘Primary School in Jos, went to military school. And when I got the call of God, I went to TCNN and specifically my bishop sent me to TCNN and I finished and also through the life I got my first degree in TCNN. And later on, I did my Doctor of Ministries in the seminary of Trinity School for ministry in Pennsylvania, Ambridge, and then I got a Doctor of Divinity, also in in Wisconsin Nashotah House. This has been the journey of my life. But also, I’m deeply grateful for how God has led me in my search for a life partner to meet with Gloria in TCNN. Through GLORIA We have six children. Hannatu who is a physician. She is married to Matthew, Gabriel, Rinji Who’s a priest and is married to Helen, they have three beautiful girls, Pangag who just got married to Blessing Shangrot, and Albert who is a physician. And Nendel who is a lawyer, and Namunen who’s training to be an animal scientist. But we have about 70 or more other children. That we have adopted with us, thanks to Gloria and it is within that context of life and ministry, that after my ordination I have served under different Canons, District Chairman in the Diocese of Kaduna, I joined in the diocese of northern Nigeria but eventually, in my ordained years, I served under different Archdeacons and Canons whom I will never forget. I’ll never forget. Reverend Canon Achi and his wife, Venerable Adeniyi and his wife, he was Canon that time, Feron and his wife, who’s now Archbishop, and those are the key leaders that supervised my growth as a young Deacon and Priest. So I’ve grown in that way. And then I became a Bishop. So in serving as a Bishop, what I’ve always been called to be from 1978, when the lord laid his hands on me in a call to serve in the mission field.
Clearly my call was to be a rural evangelist and pastor. So becoming a bishop that has followed me as well, or that is what I’ve pursued because that’s my call, it’s my duty to prove my call that has a pursuit. Fast forward, about 11 months ago, I was diagnosed to have a cancer in the in the hospital here. So, Professor Mike Misounu, a young man, brilliant guy, did his job and sent me to several other doctors who confirmed indeed that was a cancer.
In God’s divine arrangement, he guided my foot to run up to my friend, Bishop Quick and his wife and Lawrence, who contacted my coordinating surgeon, Bob’s Williams, and Williams formed the team of four, all of whom agreed to do this colon cancer surgery and in the hope that in eight weeks, I will recover and come back home. But again, God had a surprise for us because when they opened me up, they found out that my liver also was affected. And they had to look for fifth surgeon, a fifth doctor. So, Dr. Dampa, interestingly, an Ivorian from Ivory Coast was the specialist of liver. And he came, he was traveling but didn’t travel so they got him, you know, and he so happened to be around, and he came and did the liver surgery. So, after all of that, I was now put in the hands of Dr. Paul Richards, who was the oncologist, the surgeon was Dr. Ellis he is the anesthetist, who’s an amazing man, you won’t believe it, he will lull you to sleep and take you into surgery.
Jenna is a crazy wonderful man. All these people put their heads together and fine Christian people who did a fantastic job at Roanoke hospital. And by the time the oncologist will look at everything on my paper that came to him. He was absolutely certain when they put their heads together, that the only way they can guarantee or do their best is to take me through the full regiment of 12 cycles of chemotherapy. In God’s divine arrangement, he took me and took this chemotherapy for me because there was no way in my human strength or imagination… I wouldn’t be able to take 13 chemos, I did.
At the Christmas break, I thought I would take a Christmas break and go to be with my younger sister. My immediate younger sister is also a physician. She has a practice with Mankato Clinic which is part of the Mayo Clinic’s and she looked after me for about 6 to 8 weeks. She and her younger sister Anna. They looked after us and we were able go through and then went back to Roanoke to continue. Long story cut short miracles happened. By the end of April, my oncologists in consultation with all the other doctors and nurses concluded that I can walk away. so, I rang the bell. And believe me I walked away.
I came back here my diocesan team of medical practitioners, the pharmacists, the surgeons, the nurses all came together to see me and they asked, and I gave them the whole file. Everybody looked at it and said, no medicine? I said no medicine. So I now took the whole thing and gave it to my initial doctor, who looked at it, and three days ago, I went for his exams and I’m waiting for his own official reply. So here I am. From the chemistry of who I am, to what God has made me. So everything I do, I play music, I play basketball, I still do stuff that I can do. I’m a journalist and all of that. I want to be thankful to God for putting me in the family where I am from the village. Where I come from, how I got to know Jesus Christ, from the hereditary that I have inherited from my grandparents who are the initial missionaries here from 1929. My father was the first headmaster, yeah 1936 And how God has made me who I am. All of this plus cancer. Listen to me Hassan I’m grateful to God.
Hassan: Let me look at GAFCON because you are the executive secretary of GAFCON. In addition to the additional responsibilities you have, I’m looking at the expansion of GAFCON from 2008 till now, the local and global ministry, what is your thought? give us an insight into this ministry.
Archbishop Kwashi: Well, I will be specific with names because I was in the missions commissioned for the Anglican communion. The chairman of our commission was Robin Williams, who later became the archbishop of canterbury, and the executive secretary for missions was at that time Dr. Cyril okorocha, who became Bishop for Owerri and it was our job to get the Anglican Communion enthusiastic in fulfilling the 10 years decade of evangelism within the communion. And Dr. Cyril okorocha, was a gifted, very gifted mobilizer for mission that he wrote several things which got the provinces of the Anglican Church motivated for missions and evangelism for we had a midway decay of evangelism. I think it was in 1995 in Canoga. And that review process was to again, launch out the provinces to commit themselves to the decade of evangelism. The reports were to be taken in 1998. The Right Honourable Dr. George Carey was Archbishop of Canterbury, was willing to take the report. So, when we went to Lambeth 1998, the office of evangelism was scrapped and the report on evangelism had not been taken till date. So it was obvious to Archbishop Adetiloye and other bishops of the third world countries who were committed to the decade of evangelism and took enthusiastically – in not only growing churches, no- but literally doing primary evangelism and seeing converts to Jesus Christ from other religions. Whatever religions they may be, we saw literally and for me, those were the exciting moments of my life because I just become Bishop of Jos. And there were just about 87 congregations in the whole dioceses of Jos, which comprise of Plateau State and Nassarawa states, political geographical areas. And we walked and within the first six years, Adetiloye was prepared to cut off Lafia and give it a diocese because from 87 We had grown to about 190 congregations with nearly 100 pastors. And then we cut down to just Plateau State. And we worked because the joy that I have, and the Thrive that I get from ministry, my motivation my mobilization is not that I don’t city evangelism, but it is rural ministry, and I can explain why that is so because I am an ardent disciple of Ajayi Crowther. I am an ardent disciple of the CMS missionaries that came to my home area in 1907. They were Cambridge University graduates, people with qualified certificates, doctors, and all of that. And they did the work and within 10 years of their ministry they had reach Bauchi Island, can you believe that? within 10 years, and they were only seven missionaries, I am a student of missions, and I love to see primary evangelism because that’s how God works. He works yes in the cities but rural ministry for the forgotten, the poor, and the helpless are always at the heart. So we did that work and then Akinola became primate, he was so excited with the work in Plateau State. He broke my diocese into three and four, believe it or not, so that the work will thrive. But we were now facing a Lambeth conference in 2008, that was unprepared to take our offerings from God which God gave us. That is to say, we were poor financially, but we were not poor evangelistically. We were not poor with manpower, but had something we could offer to the world. It was clear that Lambeth conference was unwilling and, in some cases, unable to take our offering. Akinola was very polite, because if you read his paper, how did he put it treacherous or difficult road to Lambeth? I mean, I liked that particular paper because it formed the basis upon which all the primates who moved away from Lambeth conference, you could see how they were treated badly. They swallowed it. They were humble enough to take it. They went to several meetings, the outcome of which – if you want to know more about to read – is in the book of Akinola: “Who Blinks First”, and you will see why by the end of May, Akinola immediately recruited me. I wasn’t even in the country. He just called me on phone and said ” I want you in Tel Aviv on this date”, you know how he works. I was in Chicago on the 30 April and on the 6 May I got to be in Tel Aviv to meet with Chris Sugden, Martin Minns, Archbishop N. Okoh and Vinney Samuel who couldn’t come, so four of us at early May to meet and organize the conference in June, which became to be known as GAFCON. So GAFCON met at the first meeting, those who led GAFCON, to the place where its Chief movers of GAFCON, Former Primate Akinola, Archbishop Peter Jensen and Archbishop Henry Orombi Luke, at that time also Archbishop Valentino and Archbishop Munir. They put their lives to that movement and produced what is now known as a Jerusalem declaration. My role and the rest of us that was behind the scenes is now history. We were making sure everybody got accommodation, and other times we thought of the theological implications and so on. But those who did the real work are the ones I mentioned. Then those at the back of the theological discussions would be Chris Sugden, Vinney Samuel, Archbishop Okoh, Archbishop Nwosu, myself and a few others who thought behind the scenes of what GAFCON should look like. So, GAFCON began 2008 on the defence of the faith, Jude, 1st Peter, we saw clearly that the infiltration of a cultural idea was forming into a theology imposed on Scripture. It was a revisionist agenda, which seemed to promote that which we now believe is no longer tenable. But a new system of belief that was acceptable to the culture of the modern world is what we should be promoting. That was the first approach, but the second approach was that a secularist idea is more acceptable to the generations and generations to come than an ancient biblical teaching, I don’t want to call it idea biblical teaching is not an idea is the real word of God for who God is. But thirdly, that the norm of evangelism as we received it from the apostles teaching is no longer practicable.
And we sit down and say, Excuse me, what are you talking about? So fast forward to two years ago. We’ve had Jerusalem one, Kenya to Jerusalem three where I was appointed General Secretary. So I’m not a novice to the struggles of where we are. But I must admit, I do not know what the future holds. What I do know is that we’ve moved away from being on the defence, to where we are pursuing now. Jesus wants the whole world saved. God does not deserve that anyone should perish. What God wants is that we give the knowledge of salvation to the world and the world is willing to accept it, if only we explain it correctly. If only we can explain, it how God wants, if only we can explain it, with humility, with simplicity in the power of the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is sufficient in itself, the integrity of God to be able to save anybody, anybody, and there I say, any sinner. But that’s not what the world wants to hear. As I speak, even now over 35 people were killed daily. Yesterday, just about 10 kilometres away from us. Five kilometres from us here. There has been an over five days of killings of people. You need to see the video of those who were massacred, those who survived and gathered in a church, when the people say we want to go to heaven, we don’t care, they can burn our homes, but Jesus will take us. We didn’t create this. We didn’t give them any money, they don’t have money, The rains are falling, they have nowhere to sleep, no blanket, but they are joyful in the Lord. Now, you want to tell me that this gospel that was 2000 years ago, needs to be changed or that it’s not tenable. I see the tenability. Right now I see the veracity of the power of God at work. So that’s the GAFCON I’m leading now.
Archbishop Kwashi: We can count provinces that align with GAFCON, but I will not do so because I don’t want to dive into politics. I’m not a man who cares about numbers because that doesn’t impress God. I mean, God reduces numbers to 300 to win his battle, in fact, he shocked the whole of Israel with Jonathan and his servant, and he won the battle. So, it’s that’s not for me. If you know me, well, I’m not a politician. I don’t do politics, but I am so convinced that God’s work done in his way will always have the desired results. So right now, in a few weeks time we’ll be meeting in GAFCON. We’ve not been able to meet in COVID we will be meeting in Nairobi, and I know of at least eight primates who have committed themselves to wanting to be in in Nairobi, face to face, the others will be on Zoom. So, if we are looking at the spread of GAFCON, I can tell you that from the little group that we were in 2008, we have GAFCON branches in the UK, we have in New Zealand, we have one growing this week and in the next few weeks in Australia. We already have the Diocese of Sydney with Australia as a nation. We have another growing branch in Europe as a whole. So apart from the UK, we also have Europe, I don’t want to mention African provinces, but you can count solidly most of the African provinces in Africa solidly GAFCON, although there might be splits in some cases. Some still are unsure of where they belong, whether they want to align with non GAFCON or other branches so long as it is Bible based, so long as it is evangelistic, so long as it is salvific in its approach and believes we’re fine. We’re not trying to split the Anglican Communion Far from it. We are a movement within the Anglican Communion. Latin America is the fastest growing GAFCON movements that we have led by —– and the US course long before now, before the GAFCON branch will be formed even in the US, then the Technology has driven the Bible believing peoples out, so they became refugees. It was my responsibility as Akinola assigned me to serve for five years of seeing the formation of what we now have as ACNA. So ACNA is the province of its own and is growing in leaps and bounds in the US. So, the next place of course is Canada, and we have small representation in Canada but its a growing thing. So, we’re not looking at followership in terms of political followers. No, we’re looking at faithfulness to God’s word, faithfulness to God’s ministry and mission. That’s where I am.
Hassan: You mentioned the killings of people just not too far away from here. Now, it would seem of course that Jos has been a hotbed of crisis. I mean, the tremors in Jos have resonated the entire country in the last maybe 20 years since 2001 in fact even proceeding that. I am talking about the recent challenges before we now now went into totalized violence that we see. But of course, the impact in the entire country is massive. The persecution of Christians is huge.
Archbishop Kwashi: I think the church of Nigeria is yet to come to grips with the fact that the church in Nigeria is facing persecution and will face. And the reason is that the political narratives of the East, West and North that was sold at Independence in 1960. It is that narrative that the church has foolishly adopted. And the church is so engrossed in its regionality and may I say, expired regionality , that the church is not the church as it should be. If the church did not swallow the political narrative, Nigeria would have seen so much goodness of God, that we would be persecuted for, not to the extent that we are now because normally, those who believe in Jesus Christ will be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. Now, the persecution we’re going through now is not even for righteousness’s sake, is a political persecution. Righteousness could be part of it. But I don’t think so. I think that the church has failed, and we have swallowed the political narratives. And we have imposed the political narratives and cultural narratives on the church. So now, when anybody is suffering persecution, people say, what tribe are they killing? It’s because of those narratives. We are so split into our ethnic backgrounds, that even without persecution, we would normally be fighting one another until we remove the political narratives. And until we impose the biblical injunction of what the church should be, because if you look at Galatians, the Christians agreed we would neither be barbarians nor Jews nor Gentiles, no male or female, and that succeeded. So, the church in Nigeria is still fairly weak, in that it is holding on to its cultures, traditional cultures, and holding on to the political narratives. So, the persecution that’s going on in the church is not getting the correct narrative of persecution of the church. If this persecution of the church, it would be across range of ethnicity, of class, of gender, and devoid of any other narratives, whether you come from the north, east or south. So the persecution of the church seems to be only in the north under persecution of the church, that is in the north also has people who come from the south. And they have been persecuted in the north. But those in the north always have a hope to return to in the South for safety. But those in the north, those who have come from the south always have a home to return to for safety, but those in the North have nowhere else to go. So it would seem that when we give a story of the persecution, we’re talking about persecution of the Christians in the north. Well, when they finished killing the Christians in the north, guess what, they will move down south, because that was the weakness of the church also in North Africa, that went into Europe, up to Turkey. So, history should be teaching us that we need to rethink and throw off all political narratives and all cultural narratives and be the church If we want to be the church, then it will be persecution of the church. Now, not many people know. And I say this authoritatively, that Primate, Ndukuba we were together in Zaria, in 1987. I was the CAN chairman in 1987 of Zaria, so when I was going to be killed, and we escaped, and the burnings of the churches and a few people were killed. Ndukuba was a casualty. He had been newly married; he lost all his wedding gifts and boxes and house and books. I thought he would be going back home. Ndukuba refused, I was posted back to Kano as an evangelist of the rural areas in Canada. I testified visiting him and some of the trees where he slept are today churches. Then he becomes principal of St. Francis, again, the upheavals in Zaria would have turned him back home, he didn’t, he stayed. Then it becomes bishop in Gombe, had hardly spent a year and I will never forget, because I had invited him to come and lead my Bible studies with clergy, when, early hours of the morning, three to 4am, I was called that he had been shot. I thought he had died. So I drove with my clergy early that morning, to go to Gombe. And we met him bandaged, and his house, his daughters, his his wife, injured and everybody else. And I said, Well, as it this one now, you’ve seen this hell several times. I want to advise just in case, people from the South come and approached you to go back down south, I have not finished making that sentence, he became angry with me that “I don’t want to hear that. Don’t talk to me about that, I will die, I’ll be buried here. That’s the idea of church in persecution. And who knows, fast forward, God chose him, the primate and perhaps people will wonder, why his heart and mind is here for him home is here with his wife to this job is where Jesus has proclaimed or put him. I use him as an example because he is the leader of our church. And people don’t know why he’s desperate about the mission of the gospel of God. He has shared in the persecution of Christ, here on the soil in the North. And that is the gift he brings as a primate. Now, if I speak of mine, people say, Well, I’m a northerner now, but here is somebody else. So I want us to understand that if we are Christians, we are to be Christians with no geography, with no ethnicity, coloring, no political nationalistic colouring, because at the gate of heaven, none of those will count. It is us in Christ that will count. So how am I managing? I tell you, I can’t manage persecution. That’s the truth. I that there was a time I lost weight. I lost weight to the extent that a colleague Bishop asked me Are you well ? I said, how can I not lose weight? When for five years gunshots were going in the streets, the government did not care. This was 2001 to 2004. It then started again 2005 to 2008. No government could come to our aid, there’s an army barracks, there are police, there is federal government, we were stigmatized in Jos, the Christians in Jos were stigmatized as people who hate Muslims. And that stigma has gone all over the world. And so when we are being killed, nobody rises to our help, nobody rises to our sympathy, not from the south, nor anywhere in the world. In fact, I’ve got letters from missionaries who had served in Jos who told me how disappointed they were with us, because we were unkind towards Muslims which is not true. It was a stigma that stuck. And every day, we see gun bullets flying everywhere , I know, I will be left with an orphan, or with a widow, we now have a large concentration of orphans in Jos Plateau State and a large concentration of widows in Jos Plateau State. And nobody cares. Because we’ve been stigmatized, nobody’s listening. So, any good that we do to people, whether they be Christians, or Muslims, nobofy is looking at that. we’ve been stigmatized as people who hate Islam. And it is not true. I grew up in this city. I went to primary school here, in our school are Muslim people. In my school, St. John’s College, are Muslim kids till date, in any of my schools are still Muslim kids till tomorrow. But we’ve been stigmatized, nobody wants to see the good side of the church, and even Christians who don’t care to find out the truth, are not listening to us. So really, I don’t know what I will do about the persecution we’re going through. I’m not a happy man. And that’s who I am till date.
Hassan: Because you have, carried the burden, not only for the church, you know, but also for the Muslim community that are within your diocese. I know you hate to say what you have done, in terms of the transformation for communities and societies. But of course, I mean, just for the sake of putting into context and perspective, the role of missions and evangelism, and reaching out. Could you just give us a little insight to the relationship between your work and the Muslim community, in your diocese?
Archbishop Kwashi: My work and Muslim community will continue to thrive anytime and anywhere in the world because we grew up together. when I was born, my father was one of the most educated people in northern Nigeria. I mean, his great tool was way back 1936 And he was the first headmaster in 1936 grade 2 so in government of Northern Nigeria, when Sedona colonial masters first started. They handed over to Sedona, Sedona was quick to pick out my father to help him set up schools, public enlightenment education centers, and so on. Who sre my friends? My almajiri friends, we went to almajiri because I knew the houses where there was money and good food leftovers. I remember Zaria I’ll take them to house of Baba Zakaria Dinka. I’ll take them to house of Baba Yusuf Fulani, the Christian man. These are wealthy people and educated and to other areas, and they’ll follow me so every time they come and wait for me in front of our house, because I knew the house where they will get better food until one day Mama Zakaria caught me. I will never forget that day when I was begging. So my all early school was Quranic Alhamdulillah Minashi. My mother was scared, I was going to be a Muslim. But that was how we lived right through in Zaria, to Wusasa to Sokoto, to Katsina, so we have never been taught animosity against one another as human beings. That was not our upbringing, in my generation. Where this animosity have come from I will tell you, they are largely political. Because the Christians have not understood the Christian narrative, the political narrative, and the church has adopted it. Politicians have taken it up. And they use it to divide people for their own gains. When a political man wins elections, he no longer remembers those poor that he has used for killing No. They’re now crying. They’re the people being killed by Boko Haram, by terrorists, by bandits, by abductors. It is the people, the farmers, the politicians who have propagated this nonsense, don’t remember the poor anymore. They have the liver to eat and drink and sleep. But they always know that we the poor all the time they come, they give five Naira and tell them the Christians are going to take over, or Muslims are going to take over. And so they put the two together, and it is always the poor that are fighting. And I am praying that the days of knowledge will come very quickly. So that nobody believes this politicians because very soon, by the grace of God, the poor are going to rise against these politicians, and it will not be funny. It won’t be because they think now that they’re thriving by training Italia ballistic people, by training a militia on either side. When one day they will turn against them.. So in my own case, I will resist telling you what I do and what we are doing with my clergy. In fact, I’m now an elder in the Muslim community, because a lot of these are the elders, because we’ve committed just two years in primary school, there are people I know who believe in education.
I will encourage the church that we will do good to the household of God, and to all the other people around us. And it’s a matter of time, change will come even if after we are dead. Change will come and God will honor his name.
Hassan: Let me wrap this up by just asking because Nigeria is so desperate in search of so many things in terms of the political divide, and the quagmire we seem to be facing now, is the problem now of where the nation would stand ? There’s this desperate search for peace or unity and everything within, and we hear a lot of the political narrative on the street, you want to just forgive and go on Okay. Let’s not bring ethnicity. But I do not hear the call for justice. How do we move forward from here?
Archbishop Kwashi: It is it is erroneously wrong to negate justice for any body, even for your children. Because if you do that your children will grow up with bitterness. When you are old and helpless, and need their help, you will not get it the way you want. Thankfully, they’re your children. They will bury you all right, but they will not be happy, and you will not be happy. It gets worse when it is community or communities. Because the communities that had been wiped out of their ancestral lands, with people killed only a few have escaped. They will live with that trauma. For 30 years, 30 years down the road, they’ll be revenge. They’ll come back to take their communities and it will not end well. This is human history. Right from the biblical times. If you take away people’s lands, when they are helpless, when they become strong, they will come back. So injustice is a manure as well as a seed that on its own will grow and breed another set of injustice. This is a history of humanity. No matter how much you people say we forgive now. If the injustice is truly injustice when they become strong, they will pay back cash. The Afghanistan is just most recent. why are people running away? it is 100% Islamic country, 100% Sharia why are people running away from the same Sharia, why are people running away from the same people. So, injustice always breeds another kind of injustice. The Nigerian politicians are the most unwise that I’ve ever seen on Earth. Because if they read history, they should have known that building a nation is building a family. That is the only way to be safe. But building a religion, or building a clan, or building a tribe, or building an ethnic theory, never built a nation. Even then it doesn’t even build the ethnic or clan or tribe or family that you want to separate from people. I was born 1955. I’m 66 this year, there were no fences. I began to see fences only in the late 1970s. There were no fences in GRA’S. There are no fences and comfortable. In fact, I will never forget in Bauchi as a little boy. This time I was about eight or nine and we’ll be coming back from somgwa and you passed by the market and the market was empty and the things people were selling were out there, Nobody had stores. They were there. In fact, even in terminals here. Nobody covered their things, nobody stole, But with the rise of insincerity, insincerity give back to bigger insincerity, insincerity is bigger, in fact now people’s eyes are now open, people know that their monies have been stolen by politicians who are sitting in places, and they have armed people to defend them. And so they’re killing people to cover up their sins. This people are going to turn against them one day, mark my words, because any unregimented army is capable of anything. Otherwise, how would people get into NDA a whole army institution? How would they ransack army barracks, Army formations in Minna, and everywhere else, injustice gives birth to more injustice. So, if politicians are wise, they must sit down now and stop calling interreligious meetings, and all those funny meeting that they call.
They should sit down as serious politicians and say, look, let’s build a nation. Or let’s build our state. Look at people who are building their states. It’s only outsiders that come to invade. But within them, they protect their states. But these are people who don’t want to even build their state, not talk of their nation. So, they’re taking their resources out elsewhere. And these poor people are seeing it. And now it is even better to be a bandit because you will never be arrested, or you will never be killed. The president said we should shoot every Fulani man with a gun, who has been shot. So, everybody is now becoming a Fulani man, because when you become one, you will never be arrested or killed. Nobody is arresting criminals. Why? Because the criminals themselves are sitting in the seat of power. So, when you arrest the criminal, the police are frustrated because when you arrest the criminal, they are afraid that somebody from higher ups will say release them. So people are been released. this is not wise. I hate to say foolish, but that’s what it is. Because if you build a just system, you don’t have to be a Christian or a Muslim. Any justice system will give birth to justice any day. That’s how God created human beings, even without religion. Look, let me tell you how God works. God will never bless iniquity. He has never blessed it and will not bless it. So when you practice wickedness, no matter how many times you go to church or mosque, forget about God? But when you do things, right, any right doing any right thinking, any right practice will be blessed by God. Whether you are an unbeliever, pagan, or Christian, Jew or anybody because God is right. He is righteous. Let me tell you this, the seat of God, the imagination that we have of the seat of God, as the psalmist said, the tool holding the pillars of the seat of God is righteousness and justice. If you don’t practice righteousness and justice, you can be the Pope, you can be anything, forget about God, God has not changed, he will not change till the end of the world. So nation building is simple. Very, very simple. The same thing with diocese building. I mean, I’m a bishop too, I fall in that judgment. How am I building my diocese, am I looking after my clergy, Am I executing justice? Or do I just punish people because I don’t like their face? Or am I just training only those I like, am I not training everybody, or am I giving justice to good or bad? No. Justice is an essential practice of where God is. If you see a revival, you see people speaking and doing and rejoicing, there is justice and there’s righteousness, take that out, forget about faith, you have non.
Hassan John: Does Nigeria have a future. I mean, if you look at the insecurity, you see the clamour for restructuring, you see the north seem to have made up its mind, the south seems to have made up its mind with all those things, do you think in this current situation can still have a united Nigeria as it is now? Perhaps in the next five or 10 years?
Archbishop Kwashi: Hassan Nigeria has a future; The reason is simple. The future of Nigeria is not in the hands of man, if God allowed the nations to be around the world and Nigeria is one, it is beyond any humanity. If a group of a generation chooses to follow the evil path, and they choose the worship of Satan, like we see sacrifice of human beings shedding of blood, injustice everywhere and that becomes the practice over time. God gives us time and again, time and again to change and we refuse. God is capable to wiping away that generation and raising another. It has happened in several nations. When God does, you see people running away to second homes to England, America, Abu Dhabi or so on, and they’ll just go and stay there for years with their children, and they can’t stay here anymore. God can make this nation un-inhabitable for wicked people, they will run when the time comes. So, God can do that. On the other hand, when they repent and change and choose the path of goodness to humanity, kindness to humanity, and so and so forth. God can do it. God has always done it. He did it before, England was worse than we were. But when the revivals and the movements of fear God, Fear God came and took the land, then England changed. French followed Germany followed and then this people from Europe, moved to America and changed America. So it’s a possibility, it has always happened. God has not changed and has not changed his mind about goodness. So if we have a good leader now, who says God, I want to do your will and he decides to start changing and brings justice and truth and righteousness on the table for everybody. There is no such thing as equality in terms of life. No, but there’s equality in terms of creation, for we all are created equal in the sight of God. Now, if we agree with that, some will be poor. Let’s look after the poor. Some will be rich but let them not be thieves or let them not oppress the poor. Some will be powerful, but they should not oppress the poor, let them use their power for positive business. We have leaders who can do that. Once that is been done. God will still be God. And he will say my children have changed their minds in Nigeria. I will bless them the more but as long as this evil continues, blessing will leave us no matter how much rich we are. Our wealth is still very ugly around the world. Take your green passport anywhere in the world and see your are an ugly person, no matter how much preaching good man you are. They will treat you as a criminal first. I have suffered it in Malaysia, even in Kenya, anywhere in the world, we’re not a good name, no matter how intelligent no matter how wealthy, no matter how wonderful, we are still useless. Nobody takes us seriously. Our athletes went to Tokyo. How did they come back? Our own people who should have looked after them didn’t look after them. So that kind of wickedness. If that is what we want to practice God has a medicine for this kind of things nationally. So back to the question. We have a future in God. And here I want to appeal to the church, that the sins of the world are not found inside the church. Because the church, no matter how weak the single instrument of salvation for the world. And if we choose to work with God, God can save this nation, provided we are also not guilty of the sins of the world, in the church.
Thank you, I’m so grateful. It’s a privilege and honor for me to share these few thoughts and I pray that God will bless our work together as ACNNTV and bless all that the primate is doing and that we harken and heed to the truth of God’s Word and put it in front of us not just for knowledge, but for practice. I thank you