- Can we meet you officially sir?
ANS: My name is Innocent Nnawuihe Erimujo, I am the prelate in charge of Church of God in Christ, Imo ecclesiastical judiciary as well as the Presiding Bishop Winning the Nation ministry and by the grace of God I am the Imo state Chairman of Niger Delta Bishops and Ministers Forum.
- What is the vision of Niger Delta Bishops and Ministers Forum?
ANS: Our vision is:-
- To create a platform of network and fellowship among ministers of the Gospel within the Niger Delta Region.
- To help one another in terms of needs and encourage ourselves in times of despondency and challenges.
- To organize conferences, seminars, revival programs in order to build our self spiritually, physically, mentally, and otherwise.
- To unit ourselves together as one force to fight any kind of injustice against the church or an individual Christian in Niger Delta or Nigeria at large.
- To raise Godly leaders and create a platform where we encourage our members to participate in politics and in the process of governance.
- To promote peace and unity in our communities and also to partner with relevant security agencies to foster peace.
- To pay cuticles to prominent stakeholders in the Niger Delta and beyond, in order to strategize our collective efforts for the betterment of the Niger Delta Region
- To hold accountable our leaders and demand for good governance and to agitate against bad leadership through Godly harmless protest, demonstration, press conference and another civil way to address our displeasure against evil government policies and its activities.
- To give awards to deserving individuals, to ordain ministers into the fivefold ministries, to consecrate Bishops and adopt other Bishops from other colleges with proven integrity and Godly characters. We also give a ministerial license.
- To use this platform to propagate the Gospel of Christ and bring about revival in the body of Christ and to prepare us for the second coming of Christ in order to prepare us for the rapture.
- Your Lordship, what is your assessment on the development of Niger Delta Region with particular reference to Imo state?
ANS: There is virtually nothing to talk about, it’s been like a zero mark and it has been about politics and the sharing of our God’s given resources of the Niger Delta by those who are privileged and opportune to manage it all these while. It has not, to the best of my knowledge, gone to the grass root. The average man or woman is yet to be rewarded by our God-given resources. So in all, there is no recent development.
- How do you see the governors’ activities as it relates to Oil producing states?
ANS: In those days when the oil was discovered, one of the first Head of state we had, that actually supervise the initial development of it was Yakubu Gowon. One of the statements he made was that at that time the problem of Nigeria was not money but how to manage our money because of the oil wealth. Yakubu Gowon called it Oil boom, that was the common name. But subsequently, the Oil boom has become the Oil doom, if you are talking about corruption in this country it came as a result of the oil boom. Every other sector of the economy was abandoned like agriculture and the rest of them. Every focus was on oil and today look at where we found ourselves, we are supposed to be the richest country in Africa but we are ranked as the 2nd or 3rd poorest country in Africa with all the wealth we have just because of corruption and a few individuals have cornered our commonwealth and are using it to subdue the rest of us and we have become slaves in a country that is supposed to be the richest.
4b. As a Bishop do you still have faith and hope that Nigeria can be reversed?
Ans: Yes! That is why we have the Niger Delta Forum and that is one of our primary goals. So that we can talk to our leaders look at them in the eye and challenge them to know what they are doing with our money.
As a Bishop I can go to any Governor, Minister, and President that is not doing well and tell them they are not getting it right and nothing will happen. That is why we have the Niger Delta Bishops and Ministers Forum.
- Sir in your own view, has the NDDC performed well in terms of infrastructural development in the Niger Delta States?
ANS: NO!!! The government at the Federal level have done what they should do by creating the Niger Delta, and NDDC, so all these were aimed at bringing the wealth of Niger Delta to doorsteps of the average Niger Delta but unfortunately the privileged once of the Niger Delta including the Royal Fathers are living a flamboyant life within their families while the average Niger Delta person is still suffering. The worst is the pollution that has come with the so-called blessings, right now there are some people and communities in the Niger Delta that have been deprived of this oil and their lands, they cannot cultivate. Like the fishermen and women who have it as a profession their water has been polluted and they cannot fish because their fish have died and they are hallowing now in poverty.
- What is the stake of your forum to oil derivation funds for the oil-producing states?
ANS: Our stake here is equity, let our resources derived from the Niger Delta be judiciously used and we know it is a national and constitutional issue and the Federal government is entitled to manage it but we are insisting that the place where this wealth is derived should have their own fair share in terms of employment, development and provision of amenities. So this is our stake and that is what we are in for and what we will be fighting for the rest of our lives.
- How do your forum hope to partner with the state Government on the empowerment of Niger Delta People with particular reference to Imo state
ANS: It is not up to 1 year that this Imo branch started and we have not been officially been inaugurated but we are still putting everything on going to let the new governor know that there is such organization in existence then we extend to other branches of the Niger Delta like the Ministry of Niger Delta, the NDDC and others to let them known, we are here and we expect things to be done the way they should be done and our commonwealth becomes our commonwealth.
- Finally, Sir, what is your advice to Ndi-Imo particularly youths on their expectations as the oil-producing state?
ANS: The government is supposed to be for the people managers of the commonwealth of the people for the good of the common person. We of the Niger Delta Bishops and Ministers Forum, we do not only expect, but we also want to partner with the government by way of advice, and prayers. We are going to be remembering them in our prayers/and subsequently advised where necessary. We are going to be available at any time. We are prepared to speak for peace, we are ready and committed. We want to go and partner with the government to make sure the people of the Niger Delta in particular and Nigeria in general experience prosperity and peace.