by Obinna Akukwe
Anita Oyakhilome, the frustrated wife of Nigeria’s most flamboyant preacher, Chris Oyakhilome has obviously passed through 15 years of adulterous endurance and what she needs is our prayers and protective respect and defence of her choices to forget all the anti-rhapsody of heartbreak she endured all these years.
Fifteen (15) years of being abandoned by a preacher husband is not an easy way of life for a preacher’s wife. Fifteen (15) years of hearing that some mini skirted daughters of Jezebel have taken over your possession is not a joke. Fifteen years of a husband not staying with the wife for up to a week on a stretch, while spending time with some double breasted figure eight(ed) daughters of eve is not an easy thing to swallow. 15 years of being used as a showcase to make church members believe in Rhapsodies of Blissful Union, while dying in silence, is not a palatable experience for any woman.
Fifteen years of being called Mama, Mummy, and other glorified names of Senior Pastor’s wife while some domestic harems sneer at the same Mummy behind is not a sweet experience. For goodness sake, this woman never probably had a good kiss in fifteen years and yet she is being accused of carnality for crying out loud. She was continually being led into temptation of seeking for sexual satisfaction from outside for fifteen years and she managed to escape the traps of sin.
Fifteen years when their two lovely daughters would wake up and ask their mother why Dad had not cared to visit, and she would have to release a lie to stave off the frequent probing questions. Above all, fifteen years when Anita had to fake that all is well with their marriage, while she is actually dying emotionally. Every person she complained to among the pastoral cadre sided with the man, and she was left alone to bear her cross.
I warned some pastor friends with Christ Embassy early 2013 that they had better settle this marriage rift between Oga and his wife before it destroys the church. The same pastors have called me to express regret that a national embarrassment has ensued.
This woman has been called Jezebel by some pastors and members of the church. Some claimed she was disrespectful while others claimed she was always bitter of recent. They have tried to castigate her before members of the church who came in private to ask for the way out. She was described as unreasonable and insubordinate.
Her husband, according to news reports has even followed to cast her in bad light. According to Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, “Bitterness is prolonged and accumulated anger. My wife is always angry and bitter,” Going further he told his members to “Be careful of the friends you keep. My wife keeps friends who bring out the worst in her and help her see the worst in people, instead of keeping friends that will help her vision, especially as the wife of a global pastor like me.”
Please, which preacher woman who has been abandoned for fifteen years will not be bitter and angry? Was Anita expected to clap and dance while some hot legs are parading around the White House?
This pastor’s wife was also disclaimed by her husband who told his congregants in reaction to the divorce saga that Anita is not necessarily a Woman of God. According to Pastor Oyakhilome “Don’t act like those people. If you are married to a man of God, it doesn’t make you automatically mature. You can make mistakes; you can do something that is wrong. But some people expect the wife of a minister to definitely be at the level of that minister and so they may be looked upon and the expectation may be like that, but it’s a positional thing”. He clarified his theory by saying that “If a man of God is married, it doesn’t automatically mean that the wife of a man of God is therefore a woman of God. That’s not the way it is in the Bible.” Pastor Chris also added that “That’s why you don’t really find the wives of men of God mentioned in the Bible. How many of them? Who was Peter’s wife, did you ever know her name? You never find that out. Who was John’s wife? Did you ever read the name? What about all the other Apostles? How many of their names are written in the Bible. You never find their names.”
Anita Oyakhilome actually proved that she has fear of God in the manner she worded her divorce plea. She opted to use the word “inappropriate relationship with female staff members” instead of out rightly accusing her husband of adultery. According to the statement, “the wife has discussed with the husband his appropriate relationship with some of his female staff members. She has explained that this has given her cause for concern. The husband has minimised her worries and taken no step to alleviate her grievances.”
Anita Oyakhilome could have said that her husband abandoned her and ran into the arms of sister A or B, or gospel singer C or D and left her roasting and murmuring in the house. Anita could have said that her husband is a hypocrite who says a thing and means another, but she veiled her grievances of years of abandonment by saying in the divorce file that “The wife feels that she has been used to portray and enhance the husband’s image as a family man when the reality is that there is no existing relationship between them. She feels that she has been present for official functions simply for his convenience. On occasions she has been copied into his travel itinerary which has been given to him by his staff on a need to know basis”. “The wife has tried to discuss her concerns with the husband. He claims that she is carnal and he is insensitive to her feelings and her needs.”
Thus Anita had acted with much restraint in order to preserve the integrity of Christ Embassy and the work of evangelism, and all she got for her discretion was hate messages from many sections of church members who wanted her to sacrifice her marriage to keep them in a rhapsody of deceit.
This woman, according to the testimony of many British residents whom I spoke to and claimed they attend their church, is one person who is always willing to give gifts to the needy. She is ever ready to counsel people and does not breed class. She is a patient listener who laboriously introduced many things in the church for which the glory goes to her husband. Londoners believe that she is not that demon they want to portray her as. Those who know her closely have attested to an affectionate good naturedness and stickler for details. She was said to have lived a life of cautious display of affluence and rather preferred to build people and give to the less privileged, a course that did not go down well with some of their pastors in the UK. She also frowned at promiscuity among ministers of the gospel and some randy pastors in UK did not like what they called her ‘judgemental interference’
Whatsoever thing some misguided church members want to think, Anita had lived a lie for many years. Anita was said to have became born again at Believers Loveworld campus fellowship at Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, while Chris was the pastor. She had probably paid her dues as a Christian and knows what it is to deceive the congregation. She cannot deceive herself and the church anymore thus she opted for divorce. Divorce, according to scripture is unbiblical, but between deceiving a congregation that already knows the truth but pretends otherwise and staying in unfulfilled marriage, which is better. It is a matter between her and her conscience.
Last year, a Nigerian personality blogger by name Ese Walter was lured by her Senior Pastor in Abuja into a cosy hotel bed space in London and after two weeks of adultery, the man cleaned up, returned to Nigeria and told his congregation to shout some Hallelujah. The sin partner was arrested by the Holy Spirit and she sought a meeting with the COZA Chief to resolve the burden of guilt. She was continually shunned and described as agent of Satan even by other senior pastors in the church until she turned the internet into the confessional. Ese Walter freed her conscience and probably escaped eternal damnation but the entire Christendom took the brunt of the exposure.
Pope Benedict made several attempts to stop the incidences of homosexual paedophiles among priest and leaders in the Vatican. His attempts were rebuffed by a cabal of officials who resisted probe and pious change. In exasperation, the Pontiff abandoned the Papacy and triggered the change that is being forced down on the resisting cabal. Pope Benedict freed his conscience and left with clean records before his God.
Anita has chosen to free herself from a life of deceit and lies. The truth had set her free. However, I still counsel her that if the misbehaving preacher husband demonstrates a verifiable change of heart, she should consider him back and so that somebody can shout some more Hallelujah. Fifteen years of adulterous endurance in the midst of charismatic rhapsody is not easy and Anita Oyakhilome sure needs all the defence and understanding she can get- Let somebody shout a better Hallelujah !