Revd Francis Waive is the senior pastor of Church of the Anointing in Warri, Delta state. In this interview with emeraldng.com Editor, Austin Oyibode, he speaks on his desire to represent Ughelli/Udu at the House of Representatives. His dream is big. Excerpt:
Now, you are the senior pastor of Church of the Anointing. You have intention of going into politics, specifically to run for the House of Representatives. How will you manage the two?
First, it is not an intention but I have a calling from God to go into partisan politics and governance and change the way things are being done and do it differently. To set a standard for our society. It’s a new phase in my life, it’s a calling from God. I have an intuition, a calling in my spirit that I should take it to the next level. The next level is to be involved in governance. The only way evil can triumph is when good people keep quiet.
And good people have been keeping quiet in this country since independence. This is the time good people need to wake up. I have a standard in the scriptures which I want to bring in. The scripture says when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice. Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people. So, that is the calling.
Now that I’m going into partisan politics, I’m well aware that I can no longer be boxed in as a pastor who looks at the day today activities of a local church. I can no longer do that. Definitely, God has raised up people who are going to take over as pastors of our churches and mission stations. But I will remain as a pastor. I’m going to resign as a member of the board of trustees of the church because I can’t be in partisan politics and be a member of the board of trustees.
The remaining part of my life I’m going to commit to making our country a better world. I’m going to make my contribution to make this nation that God has so blessed with human and material resources changes for good. I’m going to commit the rest of my life to better the lot of this country. It’s a great country, it’s just that we’ve not had the kind of leadership we should have, that is the challenge. We’ve had bunch of thieves, bunch of people who have no plans and passion for the nation. We need to make a difference.
How do you think your presence in the House of Representatives will impact on both your church and the general church in the country?
First, it will make believers know that we can be in politics. That is the first statement my being in the House of Reps will send out. I have been born again since October 1977. This is October 2017, making it 40 years of being born again. So, those who know me know that I have a testimony of salvation, sanctification and the infilling of the Holy Spirit. I have a testimony of walking consistently with the Lord over these years and if I’m there, it makes a big statement, that somebody with my quality of the Christian life could be there, it means believers can be there.
That is the first achievement. And I hope it’s going to trigger something in the body of Christ in this country. It will bring up many more people to come in, people who are born again, people who want to see God. The only way evil can triumph is when good people keep quiet. We will not keep quiet again in this country but rather we are going to change it. So, that is the second thing that’s going to happen. And then while I’m there, I will always be present, I won’t be an absentee member. I will make positive contributions to every debate on the floor of the house.
I will try to influence my colleagues for good. I will bring them to Christ, bring them to salvation, to the part of morality, nationalism, patriotism, one at a time. Over 300 members, I believe that in 4 years, I could impact on one, two, three or four and then the story continues. Change will take place. That’s my commitment to the church.
Now, with the system of politics in Nigeria, how do you think you can achieve all these because we know what happens in the system. There are powers that may want to block you. You are trying to stand against them, they will resist you. How do you think you can make impact in the midst of a corrupt and decadent environment as this?
In the first place, I want to say that nobody owns this country more than us. God made us and put us in this country. This is our country, we have no other country. I have had opportunity to become citizen of other developed countries, but I’ve always turned them down. I believe that God has reasons for me remaining in Nigeria. I can belong to the caucus too. And I’m going to belong to bring change. What is required is courage, wisdom and the divine protection of God.
Once I’ve heard from God, I lose every sense of fear and doubt. When I’ve not heard from God is a different story. So, I’m going to face it with courage and wisdom. We need to be wise about it. God will help me, the word of God will not fail. I believe that God will help me through over there. I’m looking forward to having people of like minds and network with them. Because is not something you cannot do on your own.
In the last couple of months I’ve been consulting on my political career. I have seen a few things and I smile at many. But I know I’m going to see more. I also know that faithful is He who hath called and will also do it.
Let’s look at Delta. You are going to the House of Reps under the APC. And you know the powers in Delta state. How do you think you can break through the powers and get there through APC?
I really don’t know but I’m obeying God one minute at a time. And I know that God is faithful. But I must tell you that as at 2014 if somebody had said that PDP will lose power at the federal level, none of us would have believed it. So, 2019 can be any man’s game. And I know that the people of Delta state from the reactions I’ve gotten in the last couple of months, majority of them are fed up with the system of open thievery or robbery. Look at our cities or towns they are slums, poverty everywhere and the people who have access to our common wealth are living like lords. The people are tired. If we don’t change the leadership, a day is coming there will be a revolt against those who have held us captives. Mark my words.
I’m not inciting anybody. I have no platform with which to incite anybody but suffering in itself will be the incitement. So, I cannot boast of being able to change the system myself. But going to the House of Reps is a first step in my obedience to the word of God. I don’t know what God will say tomorrow, I don’t know what he will say a day after. But today he has said House of Reps. You may ask what platform at the moment, we are using the APC platform.
I received a good reception at my ward the other day. At the local government level it’s been great. At the state level, I’ve been well received and I know that at the national convention which I plan to attend, I will be well received. I believe they will give me the platform and we are going to see changes.
There is what they call constituency projects, the people are misusing the money and the villagers back home do not understand. How would you manage such project funds?
I know there is this debate about the constitutionality or otherwise of constituency projects. I will not go into that aspect but I must say that in my own constituency, I have not seen one constituency project. I stand to be corrected. Anybody within the Ughelli North, South, Udu federal constituency can point out one completed or ongoing constituency project. There is no village nor town in this constituency I have not gone to preach the gospel. I have not seen any. And that’s one of the difference I will make. When I get there and there is the need for constituency projects, I assure my people of Ughelli North/Ughelli South/Udu that my constituency projects will be visible to all. And they will be valuable, useful and beneficial. It’s a promise I give to my people.
What do you think will endear you to the people?
Yes, for my constituents, first difference I’m going to make is that for the first time they are going to have a Rep who will be accessible. The members we’ve had in the pass, I say this boldly without any fear of contradiction, my constituency has been very unlucky with representation. And the first difference I’m going to make is that my people are going to have a rep that is accessible. You give me a call, I’m preaching, I’m praying, I’m speaking in the house, I can’t pick your call but I will return your call when I’m through.
My second promise is that I will be present in the house. When you watch the proceedings of the house on television you will be proud to see your rep seated in the chambers of the national assembly. My people will also be proud to see me sponsor motions and bills that will be for the benefit of our people. Again, I’m going to be involved in the budgetary process even as a legislator. I will go round my people to ask what they want. I will package this together and go to the relevant ministry and make sure it is included in the budget as the ministry is preparing the budget. So that when Mr. president comes to the floor of the house to read the national budget, my people’s needs will have already been captured.
In this way, I have already won half way, the next will be to lobby my colleagues to make sure my people’s project is approved. I lobby those in the appropriation committee. I lobby my colleagues to make sure when we are voting for projects in that year’s budget my people’s projects scale through. What to do next, I go to the directors, those in charge of funds disbursement and make sure that my project is funded for that year. I will do more.
Talk about jobs, contracts, my constituency has never benefited from jobs in the federal ministries and departments. I will be that vital linkage for my people to know when there is advertisement for jobs, contracts I will bring it down. My constituency office will be a working office. There will be people working there, you will meet them any time. Every advert that comes up in any of the federal ministries, agencies and departments, you will see them pasted on the wall in my office.
I will make sure town criers carry this message to the people. This is public service. How many cars am I going to drive, how many houses am I going to live in? I’ve already made a mistake, I built a big house here in Warri, duplex and all my children have left us, remaining only me and my wife. We never step into many rooms for many months. And I’m thinking should I sell it and build two bedroom where we can just spend our days. Then I see some people build 50 bedroom mansions, built one in Abuja, Port Harcourt, 10 in Warri, three in the village, what are they doing with it? I want to set that as an example. These are the kind of things I want to do.
Now, do you think these things are realistic because the way you say it appears very simple but when these people get there, the environment there is not conducive to actualize some of these things.
I disagree, it is not the environment that is the problem. We get a lot of people into power who are not prepared. You just pick somebody and elect him a member of the house of assembly, he knows nothing, he has no plans. He has no vision. Or you are somebody who is loyal to the political boss, and said you are the next chairman of the local government, he has no vision, he has no plan. He siphons all the money with his godfather. That is the difference.
There is nothing there that makes people to forget what they want to do. People who go there and do nothing are people who have no plans, no passion. People who are greedy, people who have godfathers to service. And I have no godfather to service, I have only one father who is in heaven. My earthly mother and father are dead and buried. I have only one father who is in heaven and all I have to do now is to please him. And to please him is to serve my people.
Let’s look at Delta, you have been in Delta for most of your life, how do you see the state in terms of development with the resources that are coming in?
You make me want to cry. It is sad. It’s very sad and sickening. It’s something I can’t believe that people will do this to themselves. You steal government resources and build yourself a big mansion. And then you have no road to drive there. It is bad and that is what we are suffering in this state. Look at 8 years, look at the allocation we are getting and look at what has come out of it. Underdevelopment.
We, in this state, have been so much unlucky with governance since 1999. It’s such a shame. Our state gets one of the highest revenue whenever they share the monthly allocation. And these people think we are fools, we travel elsewhere. Look at us now, we can’t pay salaries, local government over a year, pensioners several years. You are paying civil servants based on some demonic formula in Delta state. Look at Anambra, they are not owing any debt. What are we talking about? Somebody is saying our staff strength is the issue, come out of it. Why can’t we as a state do a thorough staff verification exercise.
Why don’t they publish it and say ministry of works, this is the number of staff, Delta state university, this is the number of staff and this is the wage bill, put it in the public domain and tell me whether we will get seven billion naira as monthly wage bill. It’s all robbery. And until we change these people, our state will continue to remain underdeveloped. Our people will continue to be poor. People will continue to be hungry, but one day will be one day. My prayer is that there will be a peaceful change. My prayer is that those who have hijacked governance of this state will tell themselves o boy this thing don do, I don take reach, make I leave and the state have development.
You are aware that our debt profile is going to a trillion naira. When Governor Okowa came in, he said it was N600billion, he has been borrowing since he came and before he leaves, you can be sure it will be a trillion naira debt hanging on Delta state. And some people say we should not compare it with Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River. Then what should we do? Swallow this mess, no, there is going to be a change.