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@Uchekorie: Can we question these men of God? (Y! FrontPage)

by Uche Okorie

I have always marvelled at Organized Religion- that structured pursuit of great interest often followed with great devotion by adherents which has an eerie capacity to not just befuddle but to render logical reasoning sacrilegious.

Often times in my personal life, I have been at great odds with organised religion as we know it. Don’t get me wrong, religion has its uses. Its capacity to serve as the moral compass of society can scarcely get enough praise. Neither can its inherent potential to guide human conduct towards a nobleness of spirit nor hence deeds be overlooked. But after all said and done and on the strength of contrite introspection, it is my considered opinion that organised religion of the variants that flourishes in Nigeria is seriously blemished and thus deserves a critical evaluation.

Even without any statistical backing, I make bold to say we have the highest per capita religious men of God who have become gods of men globally. A large chunk of our religious leaders and institutions are deeply flawed but enjoy a near immunity from logical introspection due to a combination of numbing factors. It’s not just because, at the purported ideological (or at best window dressing) heart of the deadliest internal conflict in the history of Nigeria is organised religion in the form of a manic, terrible, blood curdling mutant variant of Islam that takes no (Christian, Pagan, Atheist or Moderate Moslem) prisoners in its avowed viciousness. It’s not even because of the historical inadequacies of organised religion like Christian Inquisitions and Slavery, Islamic Jihads and other such fanatical expressions of religion, but because of the sober awakening that a dispassionate examination of our contemporary religious milieu evokes.

I am a Christian by birth and by individual conviction, and stress this fact I must. I am a Christian who believes in the gospel of salvation and in the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. This is who I am. Yet I do have significant issues with the many Nigerian mutations of Christianity that approaches the Christian doctrine in a staccato of self-serving polyglot haze.

1453512_pastor1_jpg271c2dd3855d62f56d22e479f84da0f4I mean let’s face it, what drives our religious ministries in Nigeria? Does it have anything to do at all times with the propagation of our faith and the deepening of our relationship with our maker? Not necessarily so.

 

I have always had a problem with and will always do, the ‘golden calves’ actuality of Nigerian Christianity that elevates Pastors and leaders of the church to the realm of infallible and unquestionable deities.

I have always had and will always have a loathing for the mass hysteria induced and reinforced by organised religion through its lopsided focus on some portions of Holy Books mainly for self-aggrandisement but carefully orchestrated by the religious hierarchy to prey on a legion of human fears and failures of human institutions.

I mean let’s face it, what drives our religious ministries in Nigeria? Does it have anything to do at all times with the propagation of our faith and the deepening of our relationship with our maker? Not necessarily so.

If you ask my opinion, I’d say that the religious ambiance of our day feeds fat on our fears, riding on these fears to build tremendous material empires. It preys on our fear of the unknown, our fear of the dark, our fear of morbidity, our fear of failure, our fear of human intentions, our fear of poverty, our fear of death and so on. It feeds on the colossal failings of our Nigerian institutions and the many fears it begets. Why do you think we have a thriving anti-accident and sudden death gospel ministry? Surely it has something to do with our badly tarred death trap roads big on grandiose political promises and short on quality construction materials; basic road signage; and speed limits enforcement. Why do we have a thriving prosperity ministry? Surely widespread endemic poverty in the land must have something to do with this. Why do we have a ‘fire and brimstone’ rain on my enemies’ religious hustle? Of course you can’t feign ignorance that our high unemployment rate and societal desperation fostered by an obvious lack of social security has something to do with it. Why do we have an all-consuming faith based Ministry that so surreptitiously encourages a culture of totally abdicating the dictates of logical solutions to personal and national problems and delegating all and every responsibility for our lives to God? Could it be that our timid acceptance of our lots in our personal and national life has something to do with it?

We have a religious system dominated by two religions that was impetuously imposed on us and radically altered our world view. Many decades later the local offspring of these foreign religious establishments have adorned the garb of hallowed solidity, with any criticism or examination of perceived shortcomings met with needless religious hysteria. Again I ask why I can’t as a Christian question the interpretation of Christian doctrines and pastors. Why can’t a Muslim question doctrinaire absurdities propagated by his Imam that conflict with the Quran? Why can’t we on the basis of personal conviction and even logic question religious institutions and men of God?

Contrary to popular religious belief, I am convinced that faith and logicality are not at variance. These concepts are not at odds with each other. After all look at creation and all around you and tell me if you don’t see logic in action. I don’t know about you, but I serve a logical God who created me in his own image and likeness with logical faculties including the ability to think critically and challenge the status quo.

If I may ask when you swallow some of the religious crap of the day which has no basis in faith or logicality under the excuse of not speaking out against religious institutions and personalities who are you emulating? Certainly not Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour. Jesus constantly questioned the religious institutions and personalities of his days. Remember the Pharisees and Sadducees? How about the turning of the Temple into a place of commerce-something akin to the unscrupulous accumulation of wealth and influence to the detriment of the flock, some of which church leaders in Nigeria are guilty today?

While the chief Western and Arab propagators of these religions and new world order have long moved on and have defined the relationship between the secular and the religious walking a distinct line that calls into account the institutions of religion and mostly building model prosperous nations, we still hold on tenaciously to a totally unnecessary and pesky code of religious omerta where our religious institutions and authority figures can scarcely be questioned for fear of eternal damnation.

Well I do think it’s time we begin to question, to discuss and most importantly to push for reforms to some of our erring religious institutions. There is certainly no damnation for those who do. How do you think that the Inquisition and other religious monstrosities gave way? Certainly through questioning. The only person that is infallible and hence beyond questioning is the Almighty.

Of course you can choose to denounce me as a heretic. You are well within your rights to do so. But I am sticking to my guns.

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Uche Okorie tweets from @Uchekorie

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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Opinion: Nigerian churches and their individual madness (Part 1)

by Imoh David

Believers Love World, aka Christ Embassy, is my favourite clan of all the Nigerian Christian blocs.

If you are no stranger to these Christians, you’ll definitely agree that there is no funeral spirit around these guys. They are just one hell of a sui generis in the sky-daddy bandwagon.

Attend one of their services, I assure you there is no house of bedlam like the Christ Embassy church service. I call it a beautiful absurdity; an orgasmic show of religious fascism at its best. Nobody, I say it again: Nobody does the mental fascism thing better than the Christ Embassy bunch. It is so enviable that I had to dedicate my biro to this.

First of all, a moment of silence for a Christ Embassy brother somewhere, applying gel and hair relaxer on his head. Right now as you read this, an adult male somewhere is partaking in some form of fascist cosmetics in order to come close in appearance to his venerated Pastor Chris Onyakhilome; their idol of a general overseer. I heard if you are an adult male in the crew and you haven’t applied some gel and hair relaxer, then you are a novice. The sisters, droll for the brother who speaks, looks and act Pastor Chris.

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Ever attended a Christ Embassy service and listened to their sermon? If the preacher is to preach for 60 minutes; 40 minutes of sermons goes this way: “Pastor Chris says….”, “Pastor Chris once said…

To the fellas: Is there any Christ Embassy female you are wooing and she is not giving in? Now, take my generous advice to the Casino:

Go get your hair some laxative product, practice some Pastor Chris accent and then memorize his fuzzy lines. Get a clean white suit. Learn to technically use words like “Zoe”, “Rhapsody”, “Grace”, “Different”, etc. Most importantly, spew your garbage very beautifully; you know that soft-madness they call “Speaking-in-tongues”? Get it right.

So you walk-up to your “Embassy” sister target with your curly hair, a pastor Chris smile on a white suit and of course amble graciously like the venerated idol, and then begin with the Pastor Chris accent:

“Hey sister, you are the “Zoe” of the year, the prophecy of the century; the one who Isaiah spoke about. You are the Rhapsody of our time, for the Grace of your beauty shall make nations fall at thy feet. Because of the supernatural auction of the word on you, you shall suck the breast of Kings and become the envy of nations. All things are mine in the holy ghost; I speak you into my bedroom lapasantrakado! Pepelepekendato! Meme suntafantakando!” And boom! It is done. Lest I forget, be sure to have Pastor Chris’ posters in your apartment, use it for your mobile wallpaper. Play Pastor Chris sermons and some Sinach’s music in your car stereo. Be 100% “Christic” and I swear she’ll be in between the sheets performing the holy ghost show.

Ever attended a Christ Embassy service and listened to their sermon? If the preacher is to preach for 60 minutes; 40 minutes of sermons goes this way: “Pastor Chris says….”, “Pastor Chris once said…”, “I remember when Pastor Chris talked about…”, “I learned from pastor Chris that….” etc. The remaining 20 minutes will be dedicated to motivational lines and rhetoric like “You are different!” “You are the salt of the earth”, “where men fail, you shall succeed”, “Let the world see the excellence in you”, etc. And most importantly the organizational soft-madness called “Speaking-in-tongues”, is never missing in action. Christ embassy has remixed their with version spices like “holy-ghost laughter”, “Holy-ghost worship”, etc. If you’re bored on a Sunday morning, just visit a branch and see the beauty of organizational mental fascism.

One thing that seduces me about them is their holy secularism. In this Christian sect, there is little discrimination on the appearance of a person. Wear dreadlocks, tattoos, mini-skirts, low-waist jeans, sagging pants or even walk into their auditorium with a bikini, nobody cares. “To the pure, all things are pure”, they say. Their open-arms to all is unequal; Pastor Chris is not a limited minded pastorpreneur. I am so inspired!

Yes, business man I say. Don’t kill me dear pastor “Christists”. Isn’t the gospel a business? The biblical Jesus once called it “my father’s business”, do not crucify my garrulous ass please. I know you all can catch a grenade for Pastor Chris and throw same for him. I pledge allegiance!

The Christ Embassy clan are the most intelligent and creative of all the Christian sects in Nigeria. An average Christ Embassy churchgoer is more tolerant, open-minded and creative than their other sky-band counterparts in Nigeria. Put a Christ Embassy member side by side with a TB Joshua patronizer or a Lazarus Mouka crew member, the mentality of the Christ Embassy fellow surpasses the rest.

They have a way of making their “shit” sound intelligent by applying some fancy verbiages and pseudo-philosophical rhetoric to sound nice. But shit is shit no matter how hard you try to package it in a beautiful bag. Once you open it up, it still greets your nose with it’s reputable reception.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Opinion: Because we are all ultra-religious, we are Boko Haram

by Frederick Nwabufor

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Besides, while Boko Haram is waging a Jihad against the country, churches in Nigeria are waging crusades against the pockets of their adherents. Nigerian churches employ mind-bending strategies to keep their faithful mass of penitents under a regimen of compulsory and thankless giving. Nevertheless, that is a subject for another day.

As the Boko Haram “intifada” continues to transmogrify in monstrosity; upping the ante in barbarism and savagery, more Nigerians, undoubtedly, will be martyred. This is not a prognosis of doom, but a cringing deduction from the exegesis of the terror group. However, this article does not broach Boko Haram’s future killing statistics.

All around the navel and fringes of north-eastern Nigeria,  Boko Haram roams cutting down feeble “usurpers” who are pawned by fate. From the rustic communities of Borno to the slumbering towns of Yobe; it is the same fate that binds them in one tragedy loop. Boko Haram has become to the inhabitants of this axis of infamy and horror a festering sore which they have to live with; a nightmare that has become a daylight reality.

And so it is, today Boko Haram has become the spitting image of evil; the belch from the bowels of hell. True as this representation of Boko Haram may be, the fact is that it has always been with us. Boko Haram has always been the subservient, quiet and docile demon in our ultra-religious space. And when that demon has soaked up enough contaminated religious water, it unleashes itself fiercely on obverse people knifing, biting, mauling and mowing. All tools in its killing kit, it unleashes to relieve itself of religious concupiscence.

“Religicide” (killing in the name of God) is the child of ultra-religiousness. It is common where religion trounces reason. And in Nigeria, an ultra-religious country, reason is a prisoner. Again, what ultra-religiousness in Nigeria connotes is incessant frictions and clashes arising from the collision of different religions or faith. And that means, even if Boko Haram is subdued today, something greater than it may rise from its ashes.

As a matter of fact, Boko Haram is a manifestation of the loss of reason, and it can be apparelled in the robe of Islam, in the hood of Christianity, or in the raiment of any religion. The Anti-Balaka, a collection of Christian militias giving the Boko Haram treatment to Muslims in Central Africa Republic is a clear indication that a delicacy of terror can be prepared and served by Christians too. The truth is, a mind fecundated by religion is schizophrenic, and as a result, it is dangerous behind the trigger.

Come to think of it, have we wondered why terrorism is common in ultra-religious societies? The Middle East, in spite of all its resources is a hotbed of violence, rape, child marriage and gender discrimination. One would have hoped that being ultra-religious; societies in the Middle East would be front-liners in promoting democracy, fairness, gender equality and peace. But sadly, that is not the case.

Ours is an ultra-religious society with little care for reason. We hold our religious beliefs arrogantly to our chests, and cease to reason out or think through what our religious lords feed us. We gulp down large morsels of religious tommy-rot, and challenge any authority that disputes our “truths”.  We keep contaminating our minds with religious poisons until our guts cannot contain them, and then we puke the poisons on people of obverse faith.

Besides, while Boko Haram is waging a Jihad against the country, churches in Nigeria are waging crusades against the pockets of their adherents. Nigerian churches employ mind-bending strategies to keep their faithful mass of penitents under a regimen of compulsory and thankless giving. Nevertheless, that is a subject for another day.

Truth be told, beyond the political and economic reasons that have been given for the rising and thriving of Boko Haram, one neglected reason that may be the kingpin of the other reasons is religion. Boko Haram is the fallout of our ultra-religious society. Our society being ultra-religious gives expansive room for the mushrooming of dangerous sects and groups. It also engenders religious conflicts and schisms.

In the 1980s what appeared to be a harbinger of today’s Boko Haram rampaged through the north. It was Maitatsine and his boys. Then later, it was Musa Makaniki and the residue of Maitatsine boys. Many lives were lost in the riots that these ultra-religious men caused.  These terrorists rose and thrived because the society in which they operated was ultra-religious.

So, as it is now, if the economic and political causes of terrorism in Nigeria are addressed, the same problem will persist because of the ultra-religiousness of its people.

The battle to stifle terrorism must be taken to the minds of Nigerians. Ridding the country of its ultra-religious garb is a necessary action that must be taken to salvage what is left of it.

Physical combat may stunt the growth of terrorism for a while, but it cannot kill its seed. The seed of terrorism in Nigeria today is religion.

Boko Haram’s ideology is pickled in religion. Steering the minds of Nigerians away from ultra-religiosity through seminal re-education may be the one way out of the one-end street of naked violence. We must de-emphasise religion!

The truth is, we are Boko Haram because we are an ultra-religious society.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

 

Femi Aribisala: How to deal with thieves and armed robbers

by Femi Aribisala

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One of the places where thieves and robbers are most rampant in Nigeria is in the churches.  This should not come as a surprise.  Jesus says: “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”  Make no mistake about it: Nigerian churches are a den of thieves.

NIGERIA is a country of thieves and robbers.  Anybody in the country can be a thief and a robber, from your plumber, to your doctor, to the traffic-warden on the road.  But the biggest thieves are government officials.  Whenever you are dealing with Nigerian officialdom, be on your guard; you are going to be robbed.

Tactical measures

If you need to get some permit or document from a ministry or government agency, it is best to go there carrying a baby or a little child.  If you don’t have one, borrow a neighbour’s just for the occasion.  Nigerians are suckers for babies.  By the time we have finished admiring your baby, you have won us over, and whatever transaction you require will be done expeditiously without blackmail.

If you are a white man living in Nigeria, but you need to get something legal from a Nigerian agency, go in a Nigerian outfit if you want to avoid robbery.  Nigerians love it when foreigners wear our clothes.  It validates us.  By the time we have finished admiring your buba or agbada, we would have forgotten that our primary assignment is to rob you of a few thousand naira.

Here are examples of ways whereby some people have dealt with Nigerian thieves and robbers.  They are presented here as guidelines only.  In all cases, wisdom is the principal requirement.

Pastor thieves

One of the places where thieves and robbers are most rampant in Nigeria is in the churches.  This should not come as a surprise.  Jesus says: “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’”  Make no mistake about it: Nigerian churches are a den of thieves.

Jide Ayanfalu inherited a generator from his parents.  He used it for business purposes by renting it out to people who needed it on special occasions.  It so happened that the generator in his church was stolen.  The pastor insisted that church-members should not be told about the theft; otherwise they might conclude that God was not in the church.  He asked Jide if the church could use his generator in the meantime.

Jide was agreeable to this: some of his best customers were churches.  But one week, two weeks, three weeks, one month, after the church took his generator, Jide was not paid a dime.  Two months, three months, four months afterwards; still no payment for the use of the generator.  Finally, Jide summoned up courage to confront the pastor.  If they would not pay him for the use of his generator, at least they should give it back to him.

The pastor was very offended.  He preached a fiery sermon in which he told the people in no uncertain terms that their destinies were tied to his church.  “Don’t you know,” he asked menacingly, “we have the power to withhold your blessings?”  The royal “we” referred to the pastor himself.  Then he button-holed Jide after the service and went for the jugular: “Don’t you think you should give the church your generator?” he demanded.

Jide was troubled and could not answer.  He came to me to seek counsel as to what he should do.  I immediately pointed out to him that a robbery was in progress.  I said to him: “Jide, forget about having any discussion with your pastor.  Hire a van and go and remove your generator from the church.”

Police thieves

The business of the Nigerian policeman is to protect lives and property.  But somewhere along the line, he lost touch with this business.  Instead of catching thieves, the policeman himself became a thief.  Now his primary business is the extortion of money from both the innocent and the guilty.

A technician to whom I gave my VCR for repairs was bringing it back to me.  However, just a few buildings down the road from my house; he was arrested by a policeman who accused him of stealing it because he did not have the proof of purchase.  The “thief” was then allowed to drop the VCR and come to get me.  When I arrived on the scene, I shook hands with the policeman and thanked him profusely for his diligence.  I observed that were it not for conscientious officers like him, property-owners would be in danger of losing their possessions.

The policeman was initially confused.  It was clear to me and to him that he had no interest whatsoever in protecting my property.  This was just an opportunity for him to extort some money by asking for the purchase receipt of an old VCR.  But he quickly recovered from his confusion and said in agreement: “We cannot be too careful; there are so many thieves around these days.”

Knowing full well who exactly the “thieves” are, I thanked him again and briskly picked up my VCR.  As I made a quick getaway with it, I resisted the temptation to look back to observe the confusion on his face.

Customs thieves

On returning to Nigeria after a fourteen-year absence, I had to clear my personal effects at Apapa port.  However, every morning I met the same brick-wall.  A port official told me repeatedly: “Your bill-of-laden has not arrived.”
One day, while waiting in his office, some drama was enacted for my enlightenment.  His assistant came in and gave him some money furtively behind his table.  He counted it and quickly put it in his drawer.  Then both of them turned to look at me.  Their look spoke eloquently: “You get the message, you moron?  You need to give us some money if you want to get your release papers.”

I refused to get the message.  Thereafter, I was accosted by a gentleman who claimed he worked in the mail-room.  He thrust a piece of paper into my hand which turned out to be my bill-of-laden.  He told me it had arrived a long time before then but was just being kept from me.  He said I must not reveal he had shown it to me, otherwise he would lose his job.  He was only doing this because he and I were Yoruba.

However, when I went in to see the port official, he still insisted my bill-of-laden had not arrived.  Then he asked me a loaded question.  He wanted to know if the boy in the mail-room was my friend.  “Why don’t you ask him if your bill-of-laden had arrived,” he said.

Instead, I contacted my shippers in London by phone and asked them to send me another copy of my bill-of-laden directly by DHL.  I received this within 24 hours and took it triumphantly to the port official.  He congratulated me lavishly and promised that, under the circumstances, my goods would be released without further delay.  But when I came the next day, I met a new resistance; he told me he had lost my bill-of-laden.

This now called for drastic action.  I went up the staircase of the building and walked into the office of “the oga at the top.”  I poured out my heart to him and told him my plight.  The man smiled and told me not to worry.  He said he was the boss of the man who was trying to extort money from me.  “Just follow me,” he said.

When we got downstairs, he asked my nemesis what the problem was with my bill-of-laden.  He explained that it seemed he had misplaced it.  “Let us look for it together,” said his boss, who started rifling through the papers on the man’s table.  In less than one minute, the oga found it.  “Ah!” he exclaimed, “we have found it!  I’m sure there won’t be any other problem after this.”

Thereafter, my release-papers were promptly given to me.  I went back after this to see my defeated foe.  I apologised for being so difficult, claiming it was because I had been out of the country for so long.  “I don’t know how things are done here,” I pleaded.  The man refused to be taken in by my apology.  “You know everything,” he insisted.  “You are fooling no one.”

LASTMA thieves

My wife’s driver made a U-turn and was immediately arrested by a LASTMA officer.  Apparently, U-turns are not permitted on that particular road.  Karen said to the LASTMA officer: “How do I know that you are even a bona fide police officer?”  The man became very angry.  “Bona fide!” he shouted.  “Bona fide?  Today, today, I am taking you to Obalende.”

While he was consulting angrily with another LASTMA officer, Karen decided a change of tactics might be necessary.  She said to him: “Officer, anybody can see that you are really a bona fide officer.”  The man refused to be persuaded by this belated flattery.  “So I am now a bona fide officer eh?  Today, today, we are going to Obalende!”  This called for a further change of strategy, so Karen tried a different tack.

She said to him: “Oga Sir, the truth is that I am completely fed up with living in this country.  I am a university lecturer.  ASUU is on strike, so my salary has not been paid.  We have not had electricity at home for over one week.  This car has been giving so much trouble.  And now you are arresting me because my driver has made this illegal U-turn.  Honestly, I am really fed up with living in Nigeria.”

The policeman opened the car door on the passenger side.  He got in and sat down.  Then he turned round to look at Karen with intensity.  He said to her: “Madam, you are not a Nigerian?” “No!” she answered.  “But you are married to a Nigerian?” “Yes,” she answered again.  “And you are tired of living in Nigeria?” “Yes,” she insisted, “I am fed up with living in Nigeria.”  He looked directly at her again.  “Madam,” he said with a big sigh, “I am a Nigerian, and I am also fed up with living in Nigeria.”

That was the end of the case.

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This post is published with permission from Femi Aribisala
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Opinion: Goodluck Jonathan and his loads of unfinished business

by Olalekan Adetayo

president-goodluck-jonathan09836All these persons were forced to wear the emblem before gaining access into the Council Chambers venue of the events. Some workers in the Villa were seen selling the emblems to those who were desperate to go inside. Journalists were not spared as yours sincerely had to part with some naira notes to get one in order to enter and get stories for you.

Today is the last but one Saturday in 2013. In religious centres, many slogans will be flying in the air to indicate the desire of the faithful not to enter the New Year with carry-overs of what they should have achieved in the outgoing year. Adherents would be invited to crusades with different catchy themes such as “there will be no carry over” and “my last minute blessing, a must,” among others.

For President Goodluck Jonathan, barring any last minute drastic decisions, he will be ending the year with loads of unfinished businesses. One of such is the inability of the President to fill the vacancies in his cabinet. He had in September sacked nine ministers, bringing the number of vacant positions in the cabinet to 11 having earlier sacked the erstwhile Minister of Defence, Dr. Haliru Bello; as well as the Minister of Youths Development, Alhaji Inuwa Abdulkadir. The positions of Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters as well as Special Adviser on the New Partnership for Africa’s Development are also currently vacant. In this area, there may likely be a carry-over for Mr. President.

Another area of carry-over for Jonathan is the much-expected implementation of the report of the Presidential Committee on the Rationalisation and Restructuring of Federal Government Parastatals, Commissions and Agencies chaired by a former Head of Service of the Federation, Mr. Stephen Oronsaye.

The panel which submitted its report to Jonathan on April 16, 2012 had recommended the reduction of the existing 263 government’s statutory agencies in the country to 161. The committee recommended the abolition of 38 agencies, merger of 52 and reversion of 14 agencies to departments in the relevant ministries.

For instance, it recommended the scrapping of both the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission, saying the two key anti-corruption agencies were performing the functions of the Nigeria Police Force. It also recommended that the Federal Road Safety Corps should not be in existence in its current form. It said although the FRSC had been quite active, what the body was set up to do was a replication of the mandates of two existing bodies: the Highway Department of the Ministry of Works with respect to the maintenance of safety and orderliness on highways and the role of the Nigeria Police in ensuring law and order on the roads.

Oronsaye said if the committee’s report was adopted and agencies reduced in accordance with the recommendation, government would be saving over N862bn between 2012 and 2015.

Upon receipt of the report, Jonathan set up a 10-member White Paper Drafting Committee led by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Mohammed Adoke. Till date, no formal pronouncement has been made on the matter, making it Mr. President’s second carry-over.

As if those are not enough, the President recently added to the burden with which he will be crossing over into the New Year his refusal to clearly tell Nigerians where he stands on the N255m  BMW bulletproof cars reportedly bought for the Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah, by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

Following public outcry that trailed that purchase, Jonathan inaugurated a three-man presidential panel to investigate the matter. A former Head of Service of the Federation, Alhaji Isa Bello, chaired the panel which had the National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and Air Vice Marshal Dick Iruenebere (retd.) as members.

Although Jonathan had confirmed that the panel had since submitted its report to him, he has not deemed it fit to tell Nigerians (the same way he made the establishment of the committee public) whether the minister was indicted or not.

On November 5, the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North chaired by the Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Taminu Turaki (SAN) submitted its report to the President. Nigerians are yet to hear of any plan of implementation.

To add to all these, Jonathan on Wednesday received the report of the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Dialogue saddled with the responsibility of designing a framework for the conference. The report which he aptly described as “frightening” came in 16 volumes totalling about 4,000 pages.

As the year winds down, it is obvious that “there will be no carry over” is not a prayer that the President can pray!

Operation show me your emblem

President Jonathan on Monday led other dignitaries including former heads of government and leadership of the National Assembly to launch the 2014 Armed Forces Remembrance Day emblem. The emblem is launched and worn by Nigerians every year to raise money for the families of the nation’s fallen heroes and war veterans. At this year’s event, about N105m was realised instantly for the Nigerian Legion.

In order to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible wear the emblem and donate to the Nigerian Legion, the President said he would not grant audience to any person who is not wearing the emblem between the day it was launched and January 15, 2014 when activities marking the remembrance would be rounded off. He added that the emblem would be a requirement for government officials and visitors to gain access to any government establishment nationwide during the period.

“I will like to encourage all Nigerians to procure and wear these emblems with pride throughout this period. In fact, for those who have the opportunity to have interaction with me within this period, if you do not wear it, please do not feel embarrassed if they turn you back. It will be a requirement for all our staff and visitors to wear the emblem to gain access to all government establishments. I personally will put on the emblem from today till the end of the remembrance period, that is, January 15 next year,” the President said.

Those who thought Jonathan was joking got the shock of their lives on Wednesday before the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting as security details were directed to turn back any person not wearing the emblem.

Interestingly, there were numerous visitors at the Villa that day. Before the commencement of the FEC meeting, the President swore in four new permanent secretaries and one member of the Federal Civil Service Commission. The new government officials came with friends and family members.

Also at the Villa were members of the Senator Femi Okurounmu-led Presidential Advisory Committee on the National Dialogue who came to submit their report to the President.

All these persons were forced to wear the emblem before gaining access into the Council Chambers venue of the events. Some workers in the Villa were seen selling the emblems to those who were desperate to go inside. Journalists were not spared as yours sincerely had to part with some naira notes to get one in order to enter and get stories for you.

Let me therefore advise that in case you have any reason to visit the seat of power between now and January 15, 2014, you better come with your emblem or be ready to buy one at the gate.

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This post is published with permission from Abusidiqu.com
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Incredible: Angola becomes ‘first country to ban Islam’, dismantles mosques

by Akintomiwa Agbaje

CORRECTION-ANGOLA-VOTE-DOS-SANTOS

President of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos

Announcing plans to eradicate the world’s fastest growing faith from its territories, Angola has become the first country in the world to ban Isalm and has taken preemptive steps to enforce it by actually destroying mosques. This action comes by popular demand of the Angolan people because “they see what Muslims are doing to non-Muslims, especially in Africa, and are taking steps to prevent the same from happening in Angola.”

This spate of demolitions started in October when Muslims residing in Luanda woke up to a demolished mosque without prior notice or permission. Other occurrences in the same month included the destruction of the mosque Zango located in the urban district of Viana and a radio broadcast by the Governor of Luanda, Bento Francisco Bento, announcing “that radical Muslims are not welcome in Angola and the Angolan government is not ready for the legalization of mosques in Angola.”

The African Globe reports:

 

And on Tuesday, November 19, the Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva said. “Regarding Islam, the legalization process has not been approved by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights. Therefore all mosques would be closed until further notice. “ It should be noted that the Angolan government has made closing of all mosques a priority. The only two mosques located in Luanda have already received a warning document signed by the mayor of the municipality of Viana José Moreno.

 

The provincial governor of Luanda, Bento Bento, said on the airwaves of local radio that “radical Muslims are not welcome in Angola and the Angolan government is not ready for the legalization of mosques.” Minister of Culture, Rosa Cruz e Silva explained that the law on freedom of religion will be reviewed given the current national context , noting that the Government will redouble its efforts to fight relentlessly against religious cults like Islam which are contrary to the customs of Angolan culture.

 

95% of Angola’s population is Christian. A quarter belongs to Protestant churches founded during the colonial period, including congregational evangelical church.

 

This decisive action taken by the Angolan head of state is based on a desire to guard against the rise of theWahhabi ideology that has created havoc, death and destruction in Africa and elsewhere. And as rightly explained Tunisian philosopher Mezri Haddad: “Islamism and Islamophobia feed each other. Worse, long-term Islamism as an ideology destroy Islam as religion. “

 

According to the International Religious Freedom Report 2008, Islam in Angola is a minority religion with 80,000 – 90,000 adherents, composed largely of migrants from West Africa and families of Lebanese origin. The Muslims comprise between 2.5 to 3 percent of Angola’s overall population of 17 million people, most of them Christians.

 

in the last decade, but especially during the last few years the Muslim community in Angola has grown appreciably and Islamic activities have become more common in major cities. Mosques have sprung up in a number of places and Qur’anic schools have been built to provide Islamic instructions and teach Arabic language to adherents.

 

Public attitudes toward Islam have been generally negative. Cultural differences between Angolan and Muslim immigrants have been the basis for negative views toward Islam, as was the perceived link between Islam and illegal immigration. Since the September 11 attacks, there has been a deliberate attempt to link Muslims with terrorism. It has become a matter of routine at Luanda airport for security officers to detain Muslims arriving from Sahelian countries.

 

On September 1, 2008, a Muslim mob attacked non-Muslims in the community of Andulo. The school-age daughter of a deacon at one of the churches was decapitated. Forty Christians were assaulted or tortured. The mob burned three church buildings. They also went to non-Muslim houses to intimidate them or destroyed items of property. Stones were thrown at the headquarters of a local Christian project, causing some damage. An Angolan Christian leader said that the local police were unable to stop the attack and fled the scene.

 

The PDP will win in 2015 and Nigeria will break up – Primate Ayodele reveals

by Akintomiwa Agbaje

pentecostal

The General Overseer of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Lagos, Primate Babatunde Ayodele, speaks in a compelling interveiw on issues that affect Nigeria: Nigeria and the elections come 2015, the proposed National Conference, the current divide in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) airplane crashes, politics and politicians and more.

See excerpts from the interview below:

Is there any spiritual undertone to airplane crashes  in Nigeria?

There is. When there is a cleansing for the whole nation, then the aviation sector will be calm. For now, there are still going to be troubles in the sector and some ministers will be removed from the cabinet. I could see some averted plane crashes, but still, I advise that the air force and police watch their aircraft very well. The presidential fleet should also be guarded against technical faults.

Nigerians do not respect God, that is why the Dana plane crash occurred the other time despite warnings from God. That also is exactly what is affecting this government. There’s going to be a lot of political turmoil in the polity. Governor Rotimi Amaechi particularly has to be very careful because they want to ground him politically; they want to rubbish him.

He also should manage his court cases well. Kwara State’s Bukola too should manage his court cases so they are not used against him. Akpabio and Presidency will face challenges. The seven governors in the New Peoples Democratic Party-nPDP- will come back to PDP; they’re just wasting their time. The All Progressive Congress, APC, will be a strong opposition but it will not be able to overthrow the PDP in 2015.

In the end, where are these leading us; will they work in our favour as a nation?

Nigeria needs a lot of prayers to avert dangers ahead. I’ve said it several times that Nigeria is going to break. Even this National Conference will take us nowhere! Kidnapping for instance has come to stay! Government will only do its best but it is coming to the South-west as well. Before Nigeria splits however, we need prayers to sustain the country and end disasters. The problem is that we have a president who has turned deaf hears to the word of God. And CAN is unfortunately nothing to write about.

You just said the national confab will lead us nowhere while most people seem optimistic about it…

There will be elections in 2015. However, the National Conference is a mere waste of resources and time because nothing will come out of it. Even when decisions are taken at the end of the conference, they will not be executed. When the time comes for a genuine National Conference, you will see the signs and be convinced. But this particular conference has a lot of political undertones which I will not disclose because I am speaking as a prophet, not a political analyst. I therefore want to rename it a ‘corrupt national conference’.

But is Jonathan the best candidate for 2015?

Jonathan’s second term will cause some problem in this country. I see republics coming out. Mind you, pipeline explosions and bombing is not over. Jonathan is not fighting Boko Haram the way he is supposed to fight it! The truth is, Boko Haram is more spiritual than physical and until the sect is weakened spiritually, it will not go.

Are you indirectly advising Jonathan to step down since you’ve said his second term will not be fantastic?

If I say he should step down, he will not listen. So, I will let him go and see the consequences. The only way forward is to consult God. By a very slim chance, he will get his second term, but that second term will not be fantastic.

Where exactly has CAN gone wrong?

They go to Mr.President every now and then, why can they not advise him on what to do and what not to do? Truth is bitter but you have to say it! CAN is political! Ayo Oritsejafor is not operating as CAN but as a Christian politician. CAN is blindfolded and there is no leadership in it.  That’s why we’re getting so many things wrong in Christendom.

CAN doesn’t know how many churches we have in the country, it has not created any youth empowerment or pastors’ empowerment. CAN should be scrapped. Christianity is not how rich you are but how well you’ve been able to touch the lives of others. CAN should employ not less than 20,000 youths and should do something about women, widows. The truth is: Ayo Oritsejafor is a politician and  not a pastor. If any white garment church should invite Ayo, he won’t go! We need somebody who is more vibrant as CAN leader.

What if he is turning down their invitations because he doesn’t see them to be genuine?

Is he God to say a church is not genuine? Any man who does that is not a pastor! It’s not your right to say you are holy!

But the Bible says God has blessed us with the spirit of discernment…

Can Ayo see? Is he a prophet? How can he tell me his spirit discerns? White garment churches are among the best worldwide! That’s why you see influential men and women going to them for prayers! Why don’t they remain in their Pentecostal churches? Even pastors from Pentecostal churches go to white garment churches to consult privately and get spiritual powers. I am a godfather to many Pentecostal churches but I have no godfather! God is my only father in the Lord!

Boko Haram militants

BUSTED: ‘Repentant Boko Haram member’ arrested by police in Enugu

by Adeola Balogun

A man pretending to be a repentant former member of terrorist sect Boko Haram has been apprehended by security agents in Enugu State.

Daniel Danboyi, 35, was arrested by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) after it was alleged that he used his tall tale of repentance to extort money from well-meaning churches.

Danboyi, who also goes by Shuaibu Shehu Rabiu, was said to have toured the country regaling intrigued church members with the fictitious story of how he was actively involved in the activities of the Boko Haram insurgents before he repented and became a Christian.

Vanguard reports:

The State Director of DSS, Mr. Victor Duru, who paraded the suspect in Enugu, said that Danboyi, a native of Garshi District, KuraFalls, Barkin-Ladi Local Government Area of Plateau State, “has been going about duping innocent Nigerians, using religion as his tool.”

According to him, the suspect was arrested at Mountain of Fire and MiraclesChurch, Zik Avenue, Enugu, in connection with Boko Haram activities

Duru said: “He has been going about with a false testimony, deceiving people, duping and exploiting people in the name of religion.

“He claims that he was a Boko Haram member, who has converted to Christianity.”

He added that Danboyi began the deceit in 2001 in a church at Abuja.

 

Opinion: All you should know about that controversial Lord’s Chosen church video

by Precious Adeloju

Lazarus-Muoka-612x300

The said video, mass-produced but not censored by the National Film and Video Censors Board, and on sale in illegal makeshift shops around the state, features a woman clad in native regalia which gave her a familiar look of a typical member of a Nigerian political party. She, indeed, revealed that she is a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

For a few days now, a video that claims to be broadcasting secrets of The Lord’s Chosen Charismatic Revival Movement (aka Lord’s Chosen) and ostensibly that of the church’s head, Pastor Lazarus Muoka, has been circulating in Lagos. The said video, mass-produced but not censored by the National Film and Video Censors Board, and on sale in illegal makeshift shops around the state, features a woman clad in native regalia which gave her a familiar look of a typical member of a Nigerian political party. She, indeed, revealed that she is a member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP).

Many who have been conversant with the Nigerian dailies would instantly recall and connect this lady with The Lord’s Chosen  Church. She actually began what could be termed a campaign of calumny, defamation and assassination of character against the person of the church’s General Overseer, Pastor Muoka, about four years ago.

Her attack on Muoka came on the heels of a fall-out between the Church and herself. The writer didn’t witness what transpired but from her accounts and the accounts of a few other close associates of Muoka, it was gathered that things fell apart between the two when a team of the Law Enforcement Agency stormed her shop around the church’s premises in Ijesha, Lagos, to demolish the shop on the grounds of it being not only an illegal structure but also a platform for promoting and circulating pirated CDs and DVDs from Alaba and Idumota markets. The woman said in the clip that she has been sponsored to circulate some materials. According to her: “After, my shop was destroyed, where I was using to sell the goods I was getting from Alaba and Idumota markets. When we went for the Onistha crusade, I came back to discover that my container shop has been demolished again. And I was very angry. I was lamenting why Fashola would demolish my shop because it wasn’t on the main road, it was in the church’s premises. But a brother told me that it wasn’t Fashola, that it was Muoka.  I was angry at him saying that couldn’t happen. But when I went to Alausa ( Lagos State Secretariat) I was told that it was the Lord’s Chosen that wrote them to demolish my shop. They even showed me the letter from the church to confirm it. I was really mad and took Okada (motorbike) back to the church to confront the pastor, he first denied it but when I showed him the letter he signed, he began to counsel me saying that the business I was doing was distracting me from evangelism for the church….”

A discerning mind would have to ask a very important question based on this lady’s allegation: Why didn’t she mention the goods she was selling and getting from Alaba and Idumota markets?. The answer to such question is only too obvious, given the notorious reputation of the two markets as havens for pirated intellectual properties in the country.

Another sponsored campaign of calumny stage-managed were claims that Pastor Muoka has sued her and the husband for various offences ranging from defamation of character, and giving false information to the police against him: Her point is that it is wrong for the cleric to sue her and her husband because he is a man of God.

Who preaches that Christians shouldn’t have any dealings with the unbelievers! And I wonder what yardsticks she is using to describe an unbeleiver? That a man is in the police force makes him an unbeliever?

Why shouldn’t the cleric or his team of lawyers institute a legal or civil case against anyone who plans to defame the church or the person of Muoka? Haven’t we witnessed other mega churches such as the Redeemed Christian Church of God ( RCCG), Winners Chapel, Catholic Church, Christ Embassy, and Christ Apostolic Church in legal tussles with individuals or organisations when  occasions warrant it? If Ezonye and her husband are trying to constitute nuisance and defame the reputation of the church in this modern age, why shouldn’t the church’s legal team swing into action by instituting a legal case against them?

Oh! She wanted them to keep mum and watch her drag the good name of the church and that of its leader in the mud: They should clap for her while she goes about giving false information to the police, telling them the pastor arranged for her kidnap in the court before the judge, policemen and members of the public and dropped her on the road thereafter! And, such information, leading to the arrest, detention and torture of the church’s prominent representative and head of communication for four days without fair hearing or charge to court! She expects the church’s legal team to hold a party for her after such ugly and unpalatable development!.

This lady and her sponsors are making Nigerians think that when they (herself and her husband) receive police invitation or court notice based on their previous inactions against the church, it is Pastor Muoka instigating such moves. Meanwhile, in the real sense of it, the church’s legal team and corporate department both have duties to perform on behalf of the church. Such duties are bound to be performed when the need arises. This is because when you fight the church, the church as an organisation, a corporate body, would also fight back and not Pastor Muoka who is only a spiritual head of the church. So, this lady and her sponsors should stop the infamous campaign and false alarm they are raising against the person of Pastor Muoka because it is the church as a corporate entity that fights back when they attack the church.

Her treachery and dubiuos nature are exposed in her confession that she used to address Pastor Muoka as “My lord”. That sounds strange to a sound mind because of all the years I have been associating with the man of God, I have never heard anyone call or address him as “my lord”! We know people who use such flattering accolades: Sycophants!

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Read this article in the Sun Newspapers

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Photo of the Day: Is this building the modern day Tower of Babel?

by Oge Okonkwo

We hope it does not cause some sort of confusion all in the name of religion but apparently the churches with the large banners seem to be managing well despite the fact that there are six of them struggling for space and anointing in the same building.

With this confusion we wonder if members sometimes mistakenly turn up in a different church on Sundays.

Considering that churches are now registered as businesses, who are we to complain if business is booming for all six churches?