I can clearly see now that Nigeria is going on a very slippery road by our tolerance level for prosperity preachers that most of our religious pastors and Imams have become. I have been watching lately on my Roku 3 device a few videos of two of our Nigerian pastors who represent the worst stereotype of these preachers. I am talking of Bishop Oyedepo of the Winners Chapel of Nigeria and Rev. Father Ejike Mbaka who have turned their bully pulpit as men of God into something else. They are busy playing with fire mixing politics with religion in Nigeria with nobody to stop them.
I will be the first to say there is nothing wrong in many of our preachers using their bully pulpit to expose the evils of society just like the Holy Scriptures and even the Quran have stipulated from the beginning of time. Becoming whistle blowers is the role of the men of God but if they want to play politics, they should follow the example of Archbishop Makarios of Cyprus and put away their cassock for good. The way things are going, there is very little to separate pastors and imams from their counterparts who are voodoo priests. They operate the same way and the first God they worship is money, if you see what I see. The Catholic priests are beginning to join the chorus. Rev Father Mbaka of the Enugu Diocese is decidedly one. He tells you God communicates with him more than He does with Pope Francis and his docile congregation agrees with him just like our illiterate first lady.
My grandfather, the 40th Deji of Akure and the longest-reigning Deji in all of Akure history never knew or believed in Christianity or Islam. That did not stop him from becoming the greatest promoter and defender of both faiths in his domain. He was an unrepentant believer and consultant in Ifa Asoro dayo, Aterere K’aiye, Alakaiye divination. When the Christian Missionaries came to Akure three months into his 60 years reign from 1897 to 1957, His Ifa told him some alien visitors with a new religion were on their way to Akure and that he must welcome them to his domain and be their friends rather than their enemies. Ifa assured Kabiyesi Akure would grow by leaps and bounds under his reign and everything came to pass.
His Royal Highness took the premonition to heart. So when the missionaries followed by the colonial administrators came to Akure looking for plots of land to build their shelter and first churches in Akure, Kabiyesi fully cooperated with them. He persuaded his Council of Chiefs to do the same. He offered free of charge to the Anglican Missionaries several acres of land at Ijomu where the current Saint David’s Anglican Cathedral was built. The land extended up to the boundaries of Ijapo Housing Estate and as far as the present location of the Fiwasaiye Girls Grammar School on Oba Ile Roundabout next to the Mobil’s Filling station in Akure.
The piece of land which include where the old St Matthias Teacher Training College and the Vining Memorial Seminary campus next to the Nigerian Police Headquarters at Akure was more than 10 square miles in diameter. The same Kabiyesi gave to the colonial administrators the area now called Oke Eda and its extension known as the Government Reservation areas where the State House and the House of Assembly are now located in Akure. The Kabiyesi extended the same hands of friendship to the Muslims when they came to Akure more than 40 years later. As a show of solidarity with the Muslims, the Kabiyesi allowed one of his sons, Prince Adesunmi of Akure to be converted to a Muslim. He became the first prince in Akure to convert to Muslim.
Kabiyesi did not abandon his Ifa oracle. He showed up on special occasions if he was invited to come to the Church or the Mosque but he never for once knelt or bent down before any clergy or Chief Imam or allowed any Bishop or pastor or Chief Imam to lay their hands on him in prayers like other Dejis after him starting with Deji Adelegan. Deji Afunbiowo the First was one of a kind among Akure traditional rulers. I grew up in his Palace and I was raised by him and my grandmother, Olori Alojo Adesida nee Olutoye from Idoani. I witnessed Chief Osinio the Chief Ifa priest of Akure come to the Palace several times to join hands with Kabiyesi to offer sacrifices to ward off any evil coming to Akure.
I now see some striking similarities between those voodoo Ifa priests and present day clergies and Imams. Rev, Father Mbaka and Bishop Oyedepo are two good examples. If you are an armed robber or a murderer and you go to a voodoo priest to seek help on how to get off the hook of the Law and regain your freedom and peace of mind. The voodoo priest will not tell you that what you have done is wrong. He would assure you that there is no sin or crime that his Ifa, Sango, Obatala or Amedioha or Arochukwu or Okija deities cannot forgive or wash away if the price is right.
The Nigerian clergies of today or the Muslim Imams of today will tell you the same thing if you are willing to pay enough tithes to the Church or to the Mosque and if you are able to grease the palms of the pastor who is the intercessor between you and the God they serve. It’s is all about money and the willingness of the offender or the sinner to pay. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune. Only God knows how much donation Bishop Oyedepo and Rev Father Mbaka must havereceived for their partisan help to Mr. President and his credulous first lady who are looking for approval from God anyway and anywhere they can find it.
I won’t be surprised if the couple is not also making nocturnal visits to Okija shrine in the East, and Shomorika shrines near Auchi as we speak! They are just desperate and will do anything to snatch victory out of the jaw of defeat.
Once upon a time it was rumored all over Nigeria how notorious armed robber Oyenusi used to consult his voodoo intercessors or “Babalawos” any time he was going on a major operation. He had to do that to make sure the operation would be successful and that Oyenusi and his gang would not get caught and if they got caught and if they were made to face the firing squad, they would never die from their gunshot wounds. When Oyenusi and his gang of 9 armed robbers were to be shot at the Bar Beach in Victoria Island in the 70s, I made it a point of duty to be there to see Oyenusi defy the gun shots. He only survived the bullets for a few seconds. He did not die at the first rounds of shots but he surely did when the second round of shots hit him. I saw him drop his head in total surrender with blood oozing out of his chest. His voodoo men could not save him just like Bishop Oyedepo and Rev Father Mbaka’s intercession with God could not save Jonathan from defeat in this election.
The point I am making is that a great many of the voodoo consultants and pastors and Bishops now call the name of God in vain as they try to cajole their audience and congregations. I witness a lot of that scenario occur when Dame Patience Jonathan the Nigerian First lady attended Mass in a Catholic Church at Enugu presided over by Rev Father Mbaka who turned his homily on the occasion to a political stump speech that few politicians in Nigeria could ever match. I could not believe my eyes and my ears as the Rev Father went to town describing the First Lady as the greatest blessing to Nigeria and her husband the President as the anointed of the Lord with the crown of victory on his head because Father Mbaka the great man of God had all of a sudden washed away all his sins because the First Lady had the wisdom to come to Church that day. The First Lady dressed in dazzling Yoruba attire was just too happy hearing all the encomiums showered on her and her husband by a master politician and orator-turned Roman Catholic clergy named Father Mbaka.
It was then I could see his criticism earlier on made by Cardinal Oniaiyekan of the Abuja Diocese of the Catholic Church of Nigeria as right on track. Cardinal Oniaiyekan had told the nation he would have sanctioned Father Mbaka if he were the Catholic Bishop of Enugu. Father Mbaka went over and beyond his role as Catholic Father to present himself as a dubious politician who is clearly taking undue advantage of his role as a Rev, Father to start using the name of God in vain and claiming to be a spokesman for God using his bully pulpit as a clergy man. He was not just arrogant but pedantic and self- opinionated telling the First Lady not to worry because God was clearly on their side and God had told him to tell them to be happy and not to worry because the next election was theirs to lose. He told the first lady that her husband had performed better than any of his peers in Africa and that no opposition could defeat him in Nigeria because he had the grace and the favor of God all over him for identify with his Diocese in Enugu. He told the audience that he was the anointed of the Lord, and he quoted pertinent verses in the Bible to support his claims.
I switched off from that video to watch another video the same Father Mbaka had made two weeks earlier in which he lambasted President Jonathan as bad luck for Nigeria. He talked and spoke in the second video like an aggrieved person who has been robbed or swindled by the President and his First lady. He was therefore using his bully pulpit to climb down hard on the President for not paying the money the President owes him or any promise the President and the First lady might have made to him. It was a right about turn that would make you wonder if Rev Mbaka was still the same spokesman for the same God he spoke for the first time around.
If you listen to the two videos, you will draw the conclusion that father Mbaka is a big politician in cassock claiming to be a man of God. The man sounds exactly like Femi Fani Kayode in his two opposing videos, one supporting Jonathan as the best, and the other one castigating Jonathan as the worst President Nigeria has ever had. Their duplicity in the age of computer and cell phone technology is totally repugnant
I felt the same way about Bishop Oyedepo using his huge auditorium at his Ota Winners Chapel as a bully pulpit to re-launch the losing campaign of President Jonathan. He invited President Jonathan dressed in immaculate white like Bishop Oyedepo to come out to the podium to talk direct to the congregation. The President evidently pleased about the warm reception he had received before such a huge crowd could not hide his adoration of the powerful Bishop as he openly acknowledged the Bishop as the greatest among his peers and the chief promoter of education in Nigeria. The President reminded the gathering that Bishop Oyedepo has established two first class Universities in Nigeria. But he stopped short of telling the crowd it was a business venture. Only children of millionaires and multi-millionaires in Nigeria can ever go there. Oyedepo did it not to help anybody but to enrich himself.
Don’t be surprised if Bishop Oyedepo finds his name among the recipients of the highest honor in Nigeria if by any magic Jonathan is able to win on February 14. Don’t be surprised if Bishop Oyedepo got paid millions of Naira for his public relations stunt for the embattled President who is fighting for his political life.
The President must have felt several inches taller than he was by the time he left the Winners Cathedral that day. He actually felt like a winner for once in this political season because Bishop Oyedepo actually went above and beyond to show he was a more sophisticated politician than any of his peers in the Evangelical movement. He did it in a grand style speaking in tongues and mesmerizing the whole congregation and the President and his entourage. It was unbelievable. Bishop Oyedepo justified whatever amount he was paid to pull the stunt. He did it exactly the same way Father Mbaka did it for the first lady at Enugu. The world should than God that none of these two characters would ever be crowned a Pope. Can you imagine a Pope lending his weight to any Italian politician the way Oyedepo and Mbaka have done in Nigeria. The two are evil genius in their ability to use the name of God to push their own agenda on Earth.
No Nigerian politician or President has gone further than President Jonathan in using religion to polarize Nigerians the way the president has been doing by trying to present himself as the candidate of Christian South in a big battle against the Muslim North. If the presumption catches fire, Nigeria would never be the same again because mixing religion with politics is more deadly than any other thing any politician could ever do. America the leader of the Free World for all her greatness has always counseled her people on the inherent danger of doing that. The Catholic Church has become a big force to reckon with in America. So are the Zionist regime and the Jews in America and the other Christian denominations but the American Constitution the Supreme Law makes it a point of duty no to let Americans mix religion with politics because they know the move can eventually ruin or blow up their country. That is why the Constitution preaches religious freedom and tolerance like no other country in the world.
Communist countries like China, Russia and North Korea would not even allow Christianity or Islam to freely operate in their countries because of the fear that religion might interfere with their totalitarian politics and central control dictatorship. President Jonathan’ attempt to use religion to divide the people for his own selfish interest is a precedent Nigerians must resist and that is one more reason Jonathan must be defeated on February 14. I will be saying the same thing of General Buhari if his track record has revealed anything suggesting the mixture of religion with politics. I have always said it and I would repeat it again that if the man does not perform to our satisfaction in 4 years, Nigerian should reserve the right to kick him out.
I cannot yet accuse the man of mixing politics with religion because the man had all the powers in the world to Islamize Nigeria by enrolling Nigeria in the IOC when he and his Deputy General Tunde Idiagbon were in power from December 1983 to August 1985. Buhari did not do it. The man has run for President 4 times and each time he has always nominated a Christian as running mate. He nominated Chuba Okadigbo, then Ume Ezeoke, then Pastor Tunde Bakare and now Pastor Yemi Osinbajo. Not even Obafemi Awolowo who ran for the same office up to 3 times ever did what Buhari has repeatedly done in his quest for the presidency in a democracy
There was a time Awolowo wanted Odinamadu to run with him. Another time he nominated Philip Umeadi because he could not find a northerner of stature ready and willing to run with him. But General Buhari has always found a credible Igbo leader willing and ready to run with him. This time he has been lucky to find a most credible Yoruba man with ties to Obafemi Awolowo who is ready and available to run with him. It was the most formidable opposition party the PDP has ever faced in Nigeria.
The PDP is scared to death it is going to lose this election in a big way because for once the merger of all progressive elements in Nigeria has become a “fait accompli” the PDP did not anticipate. They were hoping the APC was going to implode and wither away but rather than doing that, it has become a day star that dazzles the elderly and the wise among us. Members of the PDP like Femi Fani Kayode, Ayo Fayose and Atari Ajanaku Iyiola Omisore who still have criminal cases pending against them in the Law Courts are scared to death; their crimes are going to be revisited if Buhari and Osinbajo come to power in Nigeria. President Jonathan himself and his first lady, former Minister of Aviation Oduah and Petroleum Minister Deziani Madueke and other corrupt Nigerians in the PDP are already having hallucinations because they are scared to death about what Buhari might do to them in his war against corruption.
Majority Igbos who dominate the Nigerian World forum at Google dot com are already having sleepless nights because they know what is going to happen if their bread wiener at Aso Rock is swept off by the Buhari Tsunami which has taken hold in Nigeria as we speak. There would still be powerful Igbos in the APC to guarantee their own slice of the pie from the national cake but it is going to be nothing to compare with what the Igbos are getting today from Goodluck Jonathan. That is why Igbos have been throwing brickbats and anything that would stick at Buhari in the hope that something is going to stick. Unfortunately the die is cast for President Jonathan. Bishop Oyedepo and Rev Father Mbaka cannot save him now. It is just too late.
Their stiff opposition makes Buhari looks stronger every day as Nigerians are now determined to go vote for him regardless of any scandals thrown at him by his political enemies. Nigerians just want a change by all means. The Igbos as a block are going to suddenly find themselves being forced into isolation and into the opposition against their own will. That is why the Buhari victory is going to cause a major re-alignment of forces in Nigeria. The last two weeks to the election will witness many mercenary politicians decamping from the PDP into the APC in droves. I will remind you when the panic begins.
I rest my case.