#NigeriaIndependenceDay: Nigeria & Her Religious Fiascos

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Nigeria's Religious Fiascos

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, recent happenings amongst some Nigerian clergy must mean the road to heaven is plagued with scandal.

These are trying times for leaders of certain Christian organisations in Nigeria. First of all, there’s Pastor Chris of Christ Embassy, whose wife, Anita, has filed for divorce in the UK. The Episcopal Consul-General took offence at the initial reports that Anita’s divorce petition was based on adultery, though it seems now that that was false and the sole ground is unreasonable behaviour. In his defence, Pastor Chris responded that he was incapable of guilt because he is “not a preacher but a man of God”.

He then went into an exposition on the biblical difference between Preachers and Men of God. Men of God never stray, he said. They never depart from the way of God. The unsaid inference is that mere Preachers might stray.

So time for a little pop quiz – Preacher or Man of God?

  1. Moses

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  2. Jesus Christ

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  3. Elijah

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  4. Samson

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  5. Solomon

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  6. David

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  7. Pastor Chris Oyakhilome

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  8. Pastor Chris Okotie

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  9. Pastor TB Joshua

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  10. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King?

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We have no idea either. We’ll try to get Chris to give us some answers.

Anyway, Chris has removed Anita’s pictures from the Embassy’s website and she is now nothing more than a digital shadow. Which is a shame for everyone who has to endure her picture on his or her copy of Rhapsody of Realities…

Luckily the update just reaching us is that Anointed Scissors have just been approved by the embassy for sale, so you can all safely cut her out of your devotionals now. You can find them online at www.holycutout.com and www.cutoutmywife.com

A final word though, on this alleged unreasonable behaviour? Did it have anything to do with his many white suits and the fact that she could no longer wear white? Or was it his jehri curls and that he spent more time getting done up than she did? Or that his church voice was also his house voice?

We wait for further details to emerge. One thing we CAN be certain of however is that Chris was right when he said “ being married to a man of God does not make you a woman of God” No. Borrowing from Wole Soyinka, all it makes you is a divine appendage in the hands of the ministry.

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Now, we all now that the weapons of Christian spiritual warfare are not carnal but mighty to the pulling down of strongholds. Tragically, if the Man of God’s theory is to be believed, other people deployed weapons to pull down his tourism stronghold at the Synagogue Church of All Nations. Tragically, a multiple storey building collapsed killing, in addition to an unknown number of Nigerians, 115 South Africans, so far.

We know again that spiritual things are spiritually discerned and the carnal mind cannot comprehend them. So, when TB Joshua, head of SCOAN released a video of the collapse and editorialised it, saying a strange aircraft passed over and hovered over the collapsed building several times whether (and somehow caused its collapse), it was not clear whether this was carnal or spiritual discernment.

But wait a second, and hold all the Roswell, Area 51 and X-Files conspiracy theories! The church has since been visited by no less than the President of Nigeria and the Governor of Lagos State, to condole with TB Joshua. It is also being rumoured that Jacob Zuma might also be paying SCOAN a visit. Any official talk of investigations into building code violations (a much more carnal approach) has been in hushed, reluctant tones. Never mind that the church initially denied government rescue workers access to the disaster site, or that a ranking officer of said agency has said the 6-storey building only had a foundation for 3-storeys. With all the diplomatic immunity being afforded Joshua so far, perhaps his SCOAN is the real embassy of Christ.

Joshua has since gone on record to say those who died in the collapsed building are “martyrs in the kingdom of God”. Martyr is a very curious word to choose. You see, by many dictionary definitions, a martyr is someone who has been killed for their religious beliefs. Who killed all these unknown and unverifiable Nigerians and the 115 South Africans? Who martyred them?

We have absolute trust in the Nigerian justice system however, safe in the knowledge that absolutely no one will be prosecuted for this building collapse. Not the contractor, not the civil servants from the Lagos State town planning agency, not the principals of SCOAN. To borrow from the famous words of Richard Nixon to David Frost, when a Man of God does it, Oluwa is involved.

Finally, we take a trip down memory lane to December 2012, when Pastor Ayo Oristejafor, president of the Christian Association of Nigeria, celebrated 40 years in the Lord’s vineyard and his church members gave him a private jet to commemorate the event, and banished the spirit of commercial air transport from their shepherd’s life. In response to public furore over what was seen by many as ostentation, church members clarified that the jet was for evangelism.

What does this have to with anything? Nothing perhaps. Except that a private jet from Nigeria was intercepted in South Africa with 9.3 million dollars on board. If the plane had flown in from Zimbabwe, or had the money been issued by the Central Bank of Robert Mugabe, this news would not have gotten anyone out of bed. However, this was 9.3 million never-before-used American dollars.

On board were 2 Nigerians and an Israeli, purportedly on a mission to buy arms for the Nigerian security services from South Africa. Because, apparently, the South African government runs a big Guns-R-Us, where anyone can walk in without a prior appointment, a wadful of 9.3 million dollars and simply chuck AK-47s and RPGs into their shopping carts, cash only. Or not, because, SA has denied prior knowledge of this purported arms acquisition journey.

Someone’s PA is about to lose their job! How hard is it to send a gun-ringing meeting invite via Google calendar and prompt the guys on the other end to accept so that everyone’s phone buzzes 15 minutes before the meeting?

This is all so ridiculous it has to be money laundering, right? WRONG! The Nigerian government has admitted ownership of the money and validated the purpose of the trip, blaming a procedural oversight for not properly activating the SA government. SA has called bullshit and has impounded the money. The Nigerian government insists however that this is how security agencies all over the world buy arms – cold-calling on the weapons-supplying government in private jets bearing hard cold cash.

If it is true, we’ve just shown again that we’re no MOSSAD, FBI, CIA or MI5. If it was them, that money would have self-destructed and the agents chomped on that cyanide capsule embedded in their molars. And then, they would have been martyrs in the kingdom of God, given that this plane has divine links. How?

Well, Sahara Reporters quickly broke the news that the cash-bearing jet belonged to Pastor Ayo. The Christian Association of Nigeria quickly responded alleging a smear campaign by opposition party politicians (don’t worry, Nigeria is complex like that). It was then clarified that Pastor Ayo had “an interest” in the company managing the aircraft .This company alleged that it had leased the jet to another company, which in turn had provided the jet for charter by a certain John Ishyaku. Holy Cow!!!

So, is this jet in question the same as was given for evangelism? Pastor Ayo has now admitted that it is one and the same. Does the Federal Government generally charter private vehicles to carry out its procurement exercises? In the words of Pastor Chris in his blessed video, “That’s crazy”! Or, was it a covert operation for the dark side and the FG had to assume responsibility to save face? Again in the words of Pastor Chris, “That’s Crazy!”

But is it, really?

Chioma Halima Olabode

Chioma Halima Olabode

Chioma Halima Olabode is born of an Igbo dad and Yoruba mum in Jos, Northern Nigeria. An avid lover of Nigerian music and PS games. Deputy manager in an IT firm during the day and Vodka lover at night. Follow me on 360nobs for THE PILL on my precise thoughts on all sorts of Nationwide or Worldwide silliness.

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