Apostle Johnson Suleiman is the founder of one of the fastest growing Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, Omega Ministries in Auchi, Edo State . In this interview, he speaks on some national issues.
Recently, the Senate passed the bill seeking that under aged married girls be regarded as adults, thereby encouraging girl child marriage. What is your opinion on the matter?
One of the major problems of Nigerian government which has adversely affected the Nigerian people is that we push the cart before the horse. We have issues bothering the lives and development of Nigerians and Nigeria to tackle, but rather than nipping them in the bud we are addressing relegated and inconsequential issues.
Nigeria is not an Islamic country. Nigeria can never be an Islamic country. If somebody is talking from an Islamic point of view he should not pin it on Nigeria. He is free to have his personal views. There are no Christian views passed into law, because we live in a multi religious and plural society.
If you look at section 23 of the Child Rights Act, it says any man betrothed to an under aged girl should pay a fine of N500,000 or sentence to jail or both. So, when we now have pedophiles in Government who now impose their private lifestyles on the public space, it is sad. What they did is simply a reflection of their private lifestyles. Are they saying if a girl is 13 she should be married? There is so much VVF all over the North, and for them to privately mess up the girl child is enough. But to further imprison and hoodwink them with such Act is an absurdity that will not hold.
Most Nigerians even question the fact whether any of these Senators like Senator Yerima, can marry out their 13 year old child?
The issue is that Senator Yerima should be arrested. When he got married to an under aged girl in Egypt, he was escorted there by some senators. But in case they have forgotten, Islam says when you marry a girl under 18 years, you do not touch her until she is 18 years. It is when she is 18 years that you will have access to her body. Is he saying he has not touched that little girl now?
They are just being ritualistic and barbaric. Even if Yermia can give his daughter out at age 13, that does not justify it. I will not be surprised if a man like Yerima gives his daughter out at 10 years. He definitely has no respect for womanhood.
What is your opinion on the agitation for power shift?
Nigeria is not owned by a secluded few. Nigeria is not a private enterprise where people will say it is my turn or your turn. I donft believe in zoning. The present administration has done its best, but it is not good enough. It is not what was expected by Nigerians. They expected things to be far better than this. We hoped for something higher.
When President Jonathan told Nigerians he had no shoes they expected that when he comes to power he will remember the shoeless. Sadly, the shoe of the average Nigerian is now in his kitty. I believe God will give us a good leader. But if you ask me, I don’t think President Jonathan should run. But it is his constitutional right to run, if he wishes.
What is the way forward for Nigeria?
The way forward is to drop ambition for service. We have rulers in Nigeria and not leaders and leadership is not position but personality. Hence leadership is not just sitting on one high chair. It is the man not the office that is a leader. We should have people who are ready to serve Nigeria. In the past we had rulers stealing millions, but now they steal in trillions. The level of robbery is so much and nothing is done to checkmate it. Christians should pray and nobody should stand by anybody who has no pedigree.