We might not have heard or seen anything yet. Certainly, not the end of it. More might still unfold, with time, perhaps. But at hands, presently, the Signs and Wonders promised us by our Lord Jesus Christ,
through his Disciples, while finally ascending to Heaven, could well be here now. I read the octane-high Preacher in Kaduna, Apostle Samson Suleiman,
of Omega Fire Ministries, boasting the other time about his private jets. He’s got two. His goal is to have twenty. Signs of Wonders indeed. Also, from the Papa that claimed to have the keys to the gate of Hell in Ota, his congregants called him Papa, Bishop David Oyedepo
comes with more signs of wonders. He already owns four private universities and equal numbers of private jets. But Eleti Ofe picked a piece of information about his goals of twelve universities and also double numbers of private jets.
Not to be undone, our revered Papa, the one acclaimed Apostolic father of the Yoruba people, Pa Enoch Adeboye thought of pushing the signs of wonders from these Spiritual children to the footnote of the page. He came up with a wild thought. Perhaps with a copy of the map of South West part of Nigeria before him, or maybe perusing through the city of Ibadan from Google map and reading some notes from Wikipedia, the thought of a church auditorium as big as the city/village, Ibadan.
Before the blinding explosion of Lagos, both in size and population, Ibadan, the land of Oluyole, was the acknowledged largest city in West Coast of Africa. The town till date remains a city-village, also retains her status, despite the merging of several autonomous communities into one large Mega City, Lagos. Ibadan covers a total area of 3,080 square kilometres. Ibadan is huge. Snaking through from Lagos end to either Ile Ife road, or Oyo road would easily tell this simple story better.
A city planner having a land size of 3,080 square kilometres laid in a chart before he could be easily overwhelmed. But not the spiritually inclined person. Pa Adejare Enoch Adeboye, the Spiritual leader of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and the Apostolic Father of the Yoruba people visualized this at the just concluded Holy Ghost Congress of the Church. He wanted to build a church auditorium as big as Ibadan city.
If the Papa in Ota and the Kaduna fire preacher do not startle me for a second, anyway, they are well-known for Spiritual garrulousity, rather than any impactful ministering, the Redeemed Papa does and will always do. He has built a huge image and reputation of a serious and focus apostolic leader. In 1998, he told us how he would die. He said it is going to be a Sunday evening, after finishing a bowl of pounded yam with egusi soup. Trust the Ijesa man in him, pounded yam with egusi soup, is the king of meals. Now it is this dream of building a 3,080 square kilometres Church auditorium. Like Daddy Freeze and all those spiritually uninitiated fellows hitting our Daddy GO below the belt on the social media, I do not begrudge that statement. Papa is called by God. He has His mandate to speak and to do greater things than our Lord Jesus Christ did while on Earth. It is doable, simply put.
The other day, a roadside analyst was huffing and puffing inside a BRT bus ride from Ikeja to CMS, Lagos. He would have been pleased with a factory as big as entire South West, Nigeria. I chuckled on hearing this nursery proposition. I tried to induce some sleep. Yet couldn’t. Ogba Industrial Estate came rushing to my mind. Oregun Industrial Estate flashed through my mind and so also the Bodija Industrial Estate, and so several others scattered in the old West Region. All the factories built by our fathers and handed over to us have been sold and converted to Churches and other places of spiritual worship. Yes, Daddy GO was called by God to preach His gospel and do wonders. His dream of building this bogus auditorium might just be one of the wonders he is commissioned to do. Why call him out? If I may ask.
The Islamic preacher downtown can also rise up and build his own worship Centre the size of entire Lagos, while the Ogun or Sango priest can build a Shrine the size of Abuja. All these are acceptable in a country that has lost her ways to greatness. A country manacled by religious ceilings of growth and ambition. Papa might not be dreaming of such gargantuan edifice if key government officials do not flock to his church on a daily basis, looking for what is not lost.
A pointer, here is a huge fraud embedded in the Constitution of the Country. The conundrum of unequivocal affirmation of secularity of the State is nothing, but a big fraud, and a total bastardization of the concept in its entirety. If we hold the sanctity of that secularity provision in all honesty, why must we still mix religion with matters of State? Why invite religionists to State functions? To do what? In what capacity? Since we have by our weakling nature of over-promoting religion to the fore of all what we do, rather than relying on our thinking faculties, and natural instincts, to do things, we are without any doubts, bound to be boxed to the corner, the way we are right now.
Ritualistically, every month, be it on the night of the first Friday or the Saturday morning after, or on the pulpits, every Sunday, major policy thrusts of the government are either announced or denounced. It is a common sightseeing preacher on major TV networks taken down governments of the day in a most caustic tone. Mixing religion with state matters is never going to work. It has never worked anywhere before, and will never work here as well. Papa GO and the rest will only keep attracting public opprobrium and disdain to themselves coming out with such statements that rile the sensitivity of the people. Anger rules the land presently, several factors are adduced for this. But mainly economical than political or religious, but all now intertwined.
No matter how you viewed it, Pastors generally live on the society, their congregations. Yet they live large, very large indeed. They blindly display bogus opulence, they splash all manners of grime in the face of the congregations by their ostentatious lifestyles. Pastors buying multiple jets, building not one, not two tertiary institutions may be sending a serious message to the congregations. What about their children? The little one says about Hollywood’s lifestyles of the children of these Papas with all manners of appellations, the better for keeping one sanity level healthy. And to cap it all, the level of insensitivity, aspiring to build an auditorium the size of Ibadan city, is gruesomely insensitive at this point.
Afolayan Adebiyi writes from Lagos, Nigeria
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