Radical preacher, Founder and Lead Pastor of The Transforming Church, Rev. Sam Oye, on Thursday, warned President Bola Tinubu to exercise caution and not take sides in the Middle East conflict between Israel and Palestine.
According to him, the advice became necessary following demands that Nigeria should cut diplomatic relations with Israel.
The Ogun State-born cleric stated these during a press conference ahead of the annual programme of the church with the theme, “The Encounter” slated for Friday, November 3 in Abuja.
He said the President should rather play the role of a mediator with other world leaders in finding lasting solutions to the age-long conflict.
Oye said the programme was aimed at inspiring Nigerians to have hope, despite the current economic challenges facing the country.
While advising Tinubu to take path of mediation, instead of identification, Oye said peace between Israel and Palestine was necessary for global peace.
He said, “I believe that Nigeria as a country has its political stance on matters like this. I am not privy to the details of that in terms of our bilateral relationships with Israel and Palestine. Now, one of the things that I want to say is that there are Christians in Palestine and there are Christians in Israel. There are Muslims in Israel and there are Muslims in Palestine.
“The whole idea which is powered by ignorance is an assumption that the Palestine is all about Muslims forgetting that right there in Gaza Strip, we have Christians there too. So I would say rather than take sides, why don’t we just help resolve the conflict?
“So I will say Nigeria should follow the path of mediation, not the part of identification. I will not suggest that Nigeria identifies with Palestine or identify with Israel. I will say Nigeria should mediate to make sure that there is peace between Israel and Palestine. It’s very important that there’s peace between both countries
“Whatever has to be done, whatever role we can play, I will encourage we play such role but I will not encourage Nigeria taking side. For humanity sake, let us all work together towards peace and reconciliation.”
Explaining reason for the upcoming programme organised by his church, the religious leader lamented the high rate of depression and suicide in the country.
Oye said there was no better time to refocus people’s energy and minds than the time of turbulence.
He said, “The encounter has been an annual programme of our church and the practice for the past 10years. It is all about inspiring people. Most times, the most depressing part of the year is always towards the end of the year when many dreams and goals people think they would achieve were not forthcoming.
“We realise that there is a high rate of depression and suicide this time and we thought that there is no better time to refocus people’s energy and minds to let them know that there is something to be thankful about both now and years to come. So “The Encounter” is that period of inspiration. It is a time where we gather to inspire hope in people and we do that through the instrument that is universal which is music.
“We bring people together in an atmosphere where they got to listen to those singers they like to listen. This year edition will be different. It is now a public knowledge that depression is so high in this country because of the economy and political situation. Our people are committing suicide like never before. There is depression, hopelessness, banditry, naira fall and all that.
“We are facing multiple problems at this time. But there is one thing that uplift an average Nigerian which is good Music. What we are trying to do is to put everyone together and gets inspired by God. This year our goal is to make sure that an average that comes to the event is encouraged.
“One of things that has really encouraged us from our last editions is that people have testified that they found solutions to their problems from attending this programme. Above that, we believe that people come here and receive both physical and mental healings.”
The cleric said the church had reached out to government officials, especially those in the security sector, saying the progamme was also to prompt government to take the issue of insecurity seriously.
He said, “I have reached out to the person in charge of military operations and I am expecting him to come. Security is a collective thing. It is about all of us finding coming
“People go into crazy things because they have lost hope in the country. We are trusting that most of the people in the security sector attend the programme and when they hear us pray, they will know that there is something of great concern. If they doing their job, perhaps we won’t be talking to God about security.
“When people pray to God for security, it is a stylish indictment on the entire security architecture in the country. When people are turning to God for safety, it means they have lost hope in the government.”