Bishop Buba Lamido is the Anglican Bishop of Wusasa-Zaria. In this interview with MIDAT JOSEPH, the Adamawa State-born clergyman states that President Jonathan will succeed if he stops listening to bad ideas from insincere folks surrounding him. He also shares insights in the state of faith matters in Nigeria, amongst other issues.
Who really is Bishop Buba Lamido?
My name is Buba Lamido. I was born in the village called Shelle area of Adamawa State and was brought up in Jos, at the age of five. I grew up in a Christian family. I went to Kagoro Secondary School, Kaduna State in 1979. Thereafter, I proceeded to Katsina Teachers College in 1979. I had my tertiary education at College of Education, Jalingo, Taraba State.
I also had my degree and masters at University of Jos and my doctorate at Trinity College in Petersburg, USA. I grew up in a humble background. My parents were poor and typical cattle rearers, and I was privileged to be the first child in my family to attain western education.
In my later years, I taught in primary and secondary and tertiary institutions but I finally went to the seminary when I felt led to be a priest; I became a priest in 1991. In 1997 I was made a Bishop in the church of Nigeria Anglican Communion and I was the first Bishop of Wusasa Diocese.
You have been living a quiet and simple life in spite your intimidating background; what is the magic?
This depends on one's background. I try as much as possible to be away from public life. I want to be free; I want to be free to go to the market like any other normal being. In my place of work, I want to take everybody as my sister and brother. Christian leaders should not be seen or taken as emperors or kings; people should have access to them any time.
My house is open to all, which is why I have not given up my old friends. I still sleep on the same bed with my friends when am with them. I don't want to be caged; I am a man of the people and I want to be available for the people.
How was the church in Wusasa founded and it relationship with other non-Christians?
Well, the Church is surrounded by our good Muslim brothers and sisters. Wusasa itself was founded in 1902 and it was a pure mission headed by a young doctor, a graduate called Walter Miller. He expanded the church in Zaria and due to lack of space, he brought it to Wusasa.
We have in Wusasa pure Fulani/Hausa who are Christians and other settlers and those who came to settle down here around 1936; people like the Angas from Plateau State. So, we love ourselves and the community loves us. We do not feel like we are surrounded by enemies even though Nigerian is changing fast.
What is your stand about the proliferation of churches?
The thing is that you can view it in two sides. One is that of the church. Church government has given room for people to break away and where some people are not satisfied with the leadership of the church, they will look for a place where they will be comfortable to worship the way they want and that has led to proliferation of churches with different names.
Then, you have the borrowing of culture maybe in a western way. Now, people want to worship in a pop kind of life where you have a stage and band, you speak like American pastors. Most of them are not trained theologically; they hate seminaries, they have no knowledge of the scriptures and all they want is to get money out of the ministry.
Nowadays, you discover that the shepherd looks fat and the sheep grows thin. Our government has much to do on the so-called freedom of religion; so many religious faiths have been imported into the country. Pentecostalism is part of it. People are been taught a lot of things against their doctrine. What is the philosophy of Nigeria, what is the ideology of a Nigerian?
Due to unemployment, people now see the church as the faster place of making money. They believe in governing people by all means; they will make offering and collections and it goes to the pastor who is the president and founder. So these are the problems that are associated today with the proliferation of churches.
What is your take on men of God flying private jet?
I think some Bishops should be ashamed of themselves, because if you are a true Bishop and you are living in luxury and your members are living abject poverty, then something is wrong somewhere. I don't see myself enjoying a very luxurious car and my members can't feed.
What is your take on CAN?
CAN as a Christian body is to force government sit-up; but when CAN is seen romancing with politicians, then forcing the government to sit-up becomes a problem. For instance if I collect money from President Jonathan, I can't give him good criticism. Nobody gives me money from government and that is why I can talk or pour out my mind. People criticize Oritsejafor but if you ask me I will say he is trying and there are things in CAN that needs to be checked.
What do you make up of Catholic's breaking away from CAN?
In the first place I don't think they are toeing the right part because if you have problem within an association with which you belong, the best thing is to give room for dialogue. Catholics have been the head of dialogue between Muslims and Christians, is it so hard now for them to dialogue with CAN in order to get solution?
Another problem is a common observation by other Christians is that when they (Catholic) are at the helm of affairs they are happy; they are comfortable but because it's a Pentecostal person they feels they know nothing about the scripture or public speech and he says whatever they wants to say and so therefore they want to move away from CAN. This is not Christian solution to the problem of CAN.
What are your expectations from the new Kaduna State governor?
I have high expectations as usual and like I will always have high expectations from every governor. My expectation is the unity of the state which is very crucial and I will expect that the present governor will unite the state and when I say the state I mean Southern Kaduna with Northern Kaduna. I want to see a situation where people will start working as one family in irrespective of their religious beliefs. Unity is very crucial to achieve meaningful development.
I also have the expectation of trying to bring peace through having good security system in the state. I think he has started well and from what I gathered, Okada (motorcyclists) will be banned in the state; this is long overdue because they have used the group of commercial motorcycle to commit crimes in the state.
If the tricycle and taxes are provided in the state, it will go well in providing peace in the state. Buses should go intercity on a very low price it will reduce traffic congestion in Kaduna metropolis. Another area I have much expectation is the area of physical development, you can see that most of our industries and factories are closed such as the textiles.
Do you see President Jonathan winning the 2015 general elections if he decides to contests?
Goodluck Jonathan is a good man surrounded by bad people. If he can listen to himself and work on his ideas without listening to bad advice and does great things before 2015, then he will win. Nigeria Government is nobody's birth right, everybody has the right to vote and be voted for.