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Monday, 4 January 2016

Nigerians Are Slaves To Dictators On The Pulpit

As a child, I remember the antics of the likes of the late Benson Idahosa (pictured above), Patrick Ngozi Anwuzia (Zoe Ministries), and later Ayo Oritsejafor (current president of the Christian Association of Nigeria) along with his regular guest prosperity preacher, Reinhard Bonnke, who used to grace our screens with their miracle crusades which featured testimonies of the blind regaining their sight, the deaf being able to hear, and those in wheelchairs getting up and walking, or even running. 
One thing that struck me then was the way my dad and his friends sneered at these televised miracles while quaffing bottles of beer in our living room. They doubted the veracity of these miracles, but they still held strongly to, and never once (at least not to my hearing), questioned their christian beliefs. Chris Oyakhilome (pictured below) enacted these same 'miracles' in the late 90's and early noughties in his very popular 'Atmosphere for Miracles' program which was banned by the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation in 2004, and South Africa did the same to his miracle broadcasts sometime in 2011. Mr Oyakhilome was recently divorced from his wife, pastor Anita, who has accused him of repeated emotional, physical, and psychological abuse, and infidelity. Let me share a personal experience of the deadliness of these miracle healing pig fart. A friend of my younger brother suddenly 'disappeared' in their fourth year of secondary school in the mid 90's. It turned out he had a brain tumour for which he underwent a very expensive, but sadly unsuccessful, surgery at the University College Hospital in Ibadan, south-west Nigeria. The symptoms included some really violent seizures and very bad headaches. It was a traumatic time for this poor family whose resources were drained by this unfortunate illness. One day, I saw the young boy, on the tv, on stage with pastor Chris (as he is commonly addressed) during one of his 'atmosphere for miracles' program. My brother's friend claimed to have been healed and even did the usual 'victory (over the devil) lap' on stage with pastor Chris. He died at home about a week later. His name was Eta Ikomi; I will never forget him.

Of course there are still those who claim to perform such miracles today, but in this day of the social media and smart phones with HD video recording capabilities, it has become quite difficult to stage such 'miracles'. Many still do, but most of what they do today could pass for a magic show on stage by a veteran illusionist, but the difference here is that stage magicians do not claim any extraordinary or supernatural powers. We all know they are tricks, but we continue to be amazed at how they are able to fool us so convincingly. James Randi, a sceptic and stage magician, exposed Peter Popoff as a fraud in May of 1986. Randi was able to prove that Popoff relied on radio messages from his wife to accurately tell those who came to him for 'healing' their names, addresses and ailments. Megalomaniacs like David Oyedepo, who regularly boasts about his relationship with God on the pulpit, is a seasoned bully, conman, and liar. He has so far been unable to translate this relationship into a cure for his diabetic wife. Mrs Faith Oyedepo has a history of long absences from public appearances and nearly had her leg amputated after a small injury following a fall. She spent weeks in hospital in South Africa as doctors battled to save her leg. We can begin to ask these people very uncomfortable questions, because our monies, reverence for them, and culpable silence, keep them comfortable and snug, and enable them to continue to devise ingenious ways to fleece us.

We should not forget the last moments of many dictators such as  Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi, and Nicolae CeauČ™escu who had ruled their countries with iron fists; they were all scared to die in the end. Our prosperity preachers are no different - they rule from the pulpit and enslave minds. They promise eternal life where there is most probably none, allowing us to focus on an afterlife while they enjoy all the best things that this world has to offer. Nigerians were witnesses to David Oyedepo's scam when he led his vast congregation to believe they were contributing to the building of Covenant University, one which would offer world class education, and not be plagued by the regular strike actions of grossly underpaid lecturers which characterized Nigeria's state-owned universities. The poor congregants were coerced into contributing to a special fund separate from the normal church offerings, and after the university was completed, a great majority of these people could not afford to send their children to Covenant University with its prohibitive tuition. Mr Oyedepo's excuse was that good education was not cheap. He (pictured below) currently has under construction a 100,000-seater indoor stadium-like church auditorium which will boast so many facilities, it could pass for a town; that is how stupendously wealthy he has become, in a country where at least 70 per cent of the population are poor and even more lack access to potable water. This scenario is not so different with other prosperity preachers.

We are being bullied and raped by these charlatans and despicable deceivers. They themselves are the very devil that they accuse of being responsible for our faults and failures. And like the victims of bullying and rape, we are too afraid, and too ashamed to do anything about it. That period of fear and shame is over, we can no longer watch these plunderers control  our minds and take our money. We refuse to be cash cows for these clowns who strut the pulpit in their sanctimoniousness. They are not holier than we are; it is time their filthy facade was stripped away to expose their even more putrid interior. All the fake accents, false declarations and 'prophecies', stage managed healings and miracles, and Jheri curled hair will no longer impress us. We are not sinners from birth, we are humans with the right to enjoy our lives free from the psychological bullying of an oppressive and thieving clergy. Our women should no longer be labelled "barren" nor should they be treated as second class citizens, our kids are not witches and wizards, and disabled persons deserve the love of family and friends, and favourable laws from the Nigerian government; not the false hope of a miraculous healing. We are Nigerians; we are loaded with so much potential, and we can certainly do without their god who (which) is "arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully (thank you Richard Dawkins!).

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