Archbishop of the Enugu Anglican Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Reverend Emmanuel Chukwuma, has revealed why he attacked Nigerian politicians during his sermon at the burial ceremony of former Vice President, Dr. Alex Ekwueme.
The cleric said he was inspired by the legacies and principles of the former Vice President when he delivered the message fearlessly.
Speaking in the interview with Punch, he said, “What inspired me, I should say, was the legacy that was left behind by Ekwueme, a legacy of commitment, politics without bitterness, endurance, and faithfulness to his political party.”
He said it was an opportunity to reach out to the major prospective candidates for the 2019 presidential election like Buhari and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is 71 now, to forget about their ambitions because they are “old wines” and expired already.
“And also, for accountability, and for posterity, because each one of us, as I have said, was created by God, we have an assignment in Nigeria and the world. It is important to know that one day, as God has sent us, he will call us back, and we will give an account of our stewardship.
“So, I was inspired by the need to let people know that this world does not belong to anybody. It is a matter of you doing your best, performing your own role, for the goodness of humanity and development of humanity, knowing that on the last day when you give account of your stewardship, you will now be commended by God.
“I want people to know that whatever position you are occupying, they are occupying it on behalf of God to reach out, to salvage, and not to destroy, so that on the last day as we depart from this world and we are being buried, we will not have any regret on the judgment day.”
On politicians above 65, he added, “Such a politician is already expired! Thirty two years ago, you told the youths that they are the leaders of tomorrow and 32 years later, you are still there. The youths that were 32 years old when you told them they are the leaders of tomorrow 32 years ago, when will their time come? Where is the tomorrow?
“Time has come when our elderly people should give chance for the younger ones to lead the country. You said the young shall grow, how will the young grow when they are becoming old and you are still there? As a bishop, at 70 years, I will retire. Catholic bishops retire at 75, judges retire at 65 and 70, so why can’t you retire from holding political positions when you are 70? At 75 you still want to be there, and 32 years ago, you were there and after removing this man (Ekwueme) from office and then you put him in prison, 32 years later, you are still there and he died and you still want to continue?
“Ah ah! I think that it is unfortunate and ridiculous. We don’t want the spirit of Robert Mugabe (former Zimbabwean president) here, we also don’t want what is happening in South Africa to happen here. There will come a time when youths will rise up against these elders who have refused to go. That is why I keep saying if they don’t treat the youths well by making Nigeria better and create employment, these sirens they are blowing, there will come a time when the youths will block them on the roads saying ‘Enough is enough!’ People are suffering, there is hunger.
“No, what I am saying is anybody who is going to be a President should not be more than 65 so that by the time you finish your term, either four years or five years as a term, you are up to 70. But after 70 years you still want to be the President of this country, it is not acceptable. Seventy is the age of retirement, so anybody going for any political office in Nigeria should know that once you are 70, you are not qualified anymore. You are already expired, so you should retire and become an adviser or a consultant.
“You can contest at 65 but anybody of 70, as our President is 74, and he still wants to continue, it is not advisable. It is advisable that he should retire honourably now when the ovation is loudest than staying on for people to mess him up.
“All of them are old cargoes.”