Ozioma Onuzulike, a professor of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, is the leader of God’s Urgent Call, a non-denominational prayer group based in Enugu that holds free freedom lectures with positive action for all between the first Fridayand Sunday of each month, except in December and January when it holds its annual camping for the word of God. In this interview with SEYI JOHN SALAU, Onuzulike speaks on his desire to build individuals through the superpower of God in Christ, who will withdraw from today’s crowd of sinners and uphold God’s banner of righteousness without minding the cost. Excerpts:
As an educationist, what in your opinion is wrong with the education sector in Nigeria?
It is glaring that the rot in the larger society is also found in the educational sector. Many people are not interested to work but are very desirous to “eat”. So, they devise all sorts of means to eat down the system and the sector. Corrupt teachers and other so-called “jobbers” take money from students and write WAEC and NECO exams for them, thereby laying a very poor background for them. Many parents pay such money knowingly. And these are all very religious people making lots of religious noise in this country. Again, that shows clearly that religion is different from salvation. What we need in this country and around the world is salvation, not empty religious activism. The message on “Differentiating Religion from Salvation”, which God used Ben Unegbu to publish, is available for free for all to read. Many corrupt staff in our schools collect bribes from parents and give admission to less-qualified candidates who subsequently wangle their way through school on the wobbly wheels of bribery and corruption. Many school supervisors serving in Inspectorate Units of the education sector take bribes and keep a blind eye towards gross abuse of standards. Yet, they are all members of one religious group or the other making religious noise everywhere. Similarly, many senior academics and other professionals hired by the National Universities Commission (NUC) to accredit university programmes take bribes and write false reports. Many university administrators pay such bribes and hypocritically turn around to complain about falling standards of education. They pretend to rusticate students who indulge in exam malpractices but are the chairmen of malpractices in NUC “examinations”.
Looking at the rate and mode of modern slave trade across the globe, especially West Africa, who is to blame: the migrants or government?
Both parties share their own blames. The different governments have not sincerely planned for the good of their people, leading to conditions that tend to drive people away. Citizens themselves are not helping matters. They refuse to look inwards to help themselves. Many of those migrants are those who want to acquire huge wealth in a short time simply because of envy against those whom they think have “made it”. There is no reason why people should leave the arable lands around them, which can conveniently feed them and others, to risk their lives in perilous seas and hazardous deserts. Why not migrate to Benue, or Abakaliki, or Kano, or many other places in the country, to farm? This is only an example. Most people do not want to sweat for their money. They want it “sharp-sharp”. Religious gangsters in suits and cassocks are not helping matters. They are also in the fray, driving people mad with intoxicating messages and testimonies about “quick-quick prosperity”, prosperity by all means.
In line with that, what is your advice to the youth, especially those still planning to travel out of the country?
The youth should look inwards. They should patiently work with their heads and hands. God will bless them genuinely, especially if they first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, forsaking sin and other satanic activities that cause them unwholesome distractions. In doing so, they will see well to take up opportunities that may be humble at the beginning but huge at the end.
One thing we cannot rule out with the rate of migration in Nigeria is economic hardship and lack of environment conducive for small businesses to thrive. What is your take on the business climate in Nigeria?
The NBS may have its own benchmarks for determining when the economy is in “recession” and when it is merely “hard”. For the man on the street, the economy is in recession when cost of living is high, that is, when things are “hard”. My wife bought things at the Nsukka Main Market recently. She told me that a cup of hand-processed ‘egusi’ is now sold at N130 as against N60 previously. I think that is economic recession in action. This is only one example that is not isolated. When we exit recession, we expect the cost of living to be better. When we exit recession practically, not in theory, we do not even need the NBS to tell us, just as we did not need them to tell us when we entered recession.
Currently politicians are going into alignments and realignments in preparation for the 2019 general elections. What advice do you have for our political class?
The political alignments and realignments we witnessed in the past were all self-serving and hypocritical. My candid advice for politicians at this time is that they should take sincere decisions to emulate the no-nonsense governor in Israel called Nehemiah. I’ll like to read them Nehemiah 5:15. It says, “But the former governors that had been before me were chargeable unto the people, and had taken of them bread and wine, beside forty shekels of silver; yea, even their servants bare rule over the people: but so did not I, because of the fear of God”. The fear of God is what they need to succeed in turning things around for good. Without it, we will simply make all the political noise all over again and still remain where we are. Proverbs chapter 8 verse 13 says that “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil…” I am talking about genuine fear of God that is demonstrated in the way they run the affairs of this country as Nehemiah did in his time. I do not mean that our politicians should carry God like lip-sticks while devil is chairman in their hearts, which is what they have been doing all these years.
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