Wednesday, 11 April 2012

The Oracle Vs Nigeria's Clergy


Chief Priest! I am vexed at the stupidity of my people! Their stupendous ignorance is irking me!! You have to work harder to get them informed...Due to their ignorance, unscrupulous elements have decided to take advantage of my people. You find such men in government, in the civil and public service, in schools and most unfortunately, in church-which is the area that pains me the most.

Now, due to the average Nigerian’s belief (as predominantly Muslims, Christians and idol worshippers) in a supernatural being who knows, sees and has answers to everything; crafty men and women have emerged, who pose as mediators to this Supernatural being. They pose as men and women who can get the supernatural being to solve any given problem which cuts across finance; health; careers; academics; politics…name it! They even get this supernatural being to prevent unfavorable circumstances from befalling their faithful. With the average Nigerian undergoing series of hardship from all corners and the affluent needing prayers to prevent them from becoming average…everybody seems to run to these men and women for help which usually comes at a fee.

This has been the issue from the days of old, when your fore-fathers used to beckon on Amadioha, Ala-ogbaga, Ikenga etc through their Chief Priests. With the strong belief that the supernatural governs the natural; anyone who claims to connect to both sides is revered dearly, therefore giving the person so much power and authority that even kings bow before him. At one point, back in the days, Chief Priests were known to fabricate  problems and issues, claim to have the solutions and then demand that their ‘customer’ bring impossible-to-find materials for cleaning or sacrifice…if such cannot be obtained, the customer would pay in ‘kind’  or cash. The Chief Priests are known to request for things like the legs of a yam tuber; 2 ants that got wedded the previous day, the urine of a pregnant he-goat, etc. All these are needed to stop a customer’s dead child from eating up his farm produce. Fast forward to this day! Churches, especially the Pentecostal ones, are the Shrines of today; the Clergy are the Chief Priests and the congregation is the unsuspecting customers who are constantly fleeced of their money.

With problems existing everywhere, Nigerians turn to God for solutions and protection therefore making the country a fertile ground for ‘church-related businesses’.  These poverty-stricken and ignorant Nigerians might have prayed on their own without seeing signs of things changing for the better. They may previously have belonged to a denomination where the clergy do not speak in tongues to drive away evil spirits and people nor talk about ‘open-doors’ and ‘open windows’ from which God’s blessings flow in, hence the ever increasing number of people turning to Pentecostal churches.

These, so called men of God need people to be afraid of the unknown and wary of some calamity waiting for them by the corner; they need people to be poor and ever hopeful for better days through their intervention; they need people to be suspicious of their neighbours, friends, colleagues and relatives…if these do not happen; the men of God would go hungry.

They make themselves evangelists, pastors, prophets and bishops. They preach prosperity and material wealth more than anything else; they make money from the congregation and diversify into several other businesses. For instance, Oyakhilome is known to have his investments spanning across the hotel industry; music industry, real estates, entertainment and publishing. Bishop Oyedepo- Nigeria’s richest clergyman- has investments in education, real estate, publishing, manufacturing, aviation, etc. Forbes sees him as being worth about 23 billion Naira…a man who cruises around in private jets and have owned four over the years.

The Many sins of Nigeria's Clergymen and Women:

Oyedepo built his Covenant University with special donations from members of his congregation who were basically the poor of society. This set of people also worked day-in and day-out as labourers during the construction of the university. Oyedepo had hitherto told them that God instructed him, in a vision, to bring salvation to mankind via education. This ‘vision’ and ‘instruction’ from God undoubtedly gave hope to the poor members of Oyedepo’s congregation who thought that Oyedepo’s God was a lover of the poor and that He must have had them in mind while giving that ‘instruction’.  This must have prompted them to invest their time, energy and money in the construction of the institution, but alas, after the institution was completed came the shock! Not only were they expected to pay to attend Covenant University, the cost was and is still so exorbitant that only the elites of society can afford it. Oh! The partial and elitist God of Oyedepo!!

Oyedepo preaches riches and prosperity to his congregation! He repeatedly claims that God instructed him in a vision saying ‘Go make my people rich!’ but one does not need to be an Albert Einstein to  see that the only person getting richer and richer is the Pastor himself. I have this to say to you, dear Oyedepo: ‘woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess’ (Matthew 23:27).

Some years ago, Helen Ukpabio’s ministry and films sparked off a massive killing of children who were seen as and accused of being witches and wizards by their ignorant parents and family members. In this present age, Helen Ukpabio and her ilk fuel unnecessary superstitious beliefs many of which are against children. She boasts of having an infallible formula for detecting child witches/wizards; she further suggests that children who constantly cry and are in feverish conditions are most likely to be witches/wizards. One would have thought that a kid who has fever and cries constantly would be ill…but Helen Ukpabio feels differently and as usual, the gullible members of her congregation fell for it. Most of these kids were put through hell in the bid of ‘driving away the evil spirit in them’ and a number of them died from it. Others were driven from their homes and disowned by their parents with various degrees of injuries, most being permanent.

Pastors like Helen Ukpabio have set family members and friends against each other; every little misfortune must have been caused by someone. I know of a Professor who was used to having rats invade his ceilings, but after he joined a Pentecostal church, every little sound made by a rat on his ceiling is followed by a bout of aggressive prayers…binding, casting and returning to sender! It even got to a point where he makes sure that he kills any unfortunate housefly which invades his bedroom with a special broom from his church. What a shame!! Superstition is not part of Christianity but of idolatry!!

Oh my!! Great Oracle! It is would be a horrible sight when an educated grown man runs after houseflies with a broom like a retard…Kai!

Shut up Chief Priest, I am still talking!

I am so sorry, Great Oracle.

We have seen Pastors render controversial sermons which appear to support issues which go contrary to the will of God. For instance, Oyakhilome of Believer’s Love world recently preached that masturbation is not sin. He said ‘…it is your own body, masturbation is about you and your body and God is not offended by it (He does not care what you do with your body). He is only offended by any habit that takes a hold of your mind and dominates you…’ Even as an Oracle, I know that it is written somewhere in the bible that ‘your body is the temple of the holy spirit who lives in you’…so if your body is God’s temple, how could He not be concerned about it as Oyakhilome suggests?  Leviticus 19: 28 actually says ‘Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh (body) for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the Lord’…does this portion of the bible not tell you that God  pays attention to what you do to your body as well as your soul?  That masturbation was not explicitly mentioned and criticized in the bible does not make it less a sin. To you Pastor Oyakhilome , remember that ‘…whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him that a huge millstone should be hung around his neck and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea’ (Matthew 18:6).

It is common to see Clergymen parading themselves as demi-gods; implicitly and explicitly bragging about their eloquence and ‘power’. We have seen Oyedepo slapping a little girl who was presented for deliverance as a witch and who, probably out of ignorance, opined that she was a ‘witch for Jesus’…he went on to proudly ask the girl ‘do you know who you are talking to?’ amidst applause from the gullible congregation. Subsequent to that ‘slapping event’, Oyedepo went on to boast in a different gathering that the child-witch went back to her witches’ coven and reported that he Oyedepo was ‘too powerful’ for her to handle. In both events, it was more about the Pastor than the God who he should represent.

Oracle! I have been to Winners Chapel located off Port Harcourt Road in Owerri . As I entered the supposedly house of God, the first thing that got my attention was a mighty portrait of the CEO…oooops! Sorry! GO (Bishop Oyedepo) and his wife; this portrait was conspicuously positioned at the Parish entrance. I unconsciously looked around; hoping to see a bigger portrait of the real owner of the Parish (Jesus Christ)…but to my disappointment, there was none. I then thought within myself…’who is revered here? Oyedepo or Jesus Christ?’

Shhhh! Chief Priest…I am still speaking.

Apologies! Great Oracle! Speak on…

It does not take a great deal to equally notice the likes of Chris Okotie mesmerizing his congregation with his eloquence and use of vocabularies thereby placing emphasis on his speech rather than on the essence and importance of the message contained therein. He often gets applauded for his 'ability' by a congregation who understand little or nothing of what he says. Okotie has become an orator; an actor and his congregation has turned into spectators. As a Preacher, Okotie must be aware of Apostle Paul’s warning against preachers distracting the members of their congregation with their presence, eloquence and superior wisdom. We have seen the effect of Pastors not heeding to Apostle Paul’s advice…a look at the Believer’s Love World Ministry would show a trend where men, both clergy and lay, perm their hair like Oyakhilome…

Ha! Oracle! I must confess that it is kind of irritating, especially when 2 or more grown men (pastors) appear on TV with their hair all permed up…

Chief Priest! Shhhhhh!!

I am sorry, Great One!

Again! We have heard of silly prophesies by certain Prophets. TB Joshua for instance has been known for predicting scores of football matches. He predicts both what happens when the National Teams are on duty and what also happens in international leagues, especially the Barclay’s Premier League. I am not going to start probing the validity of his prophesies and whether they came to pass or not but I do have a question to ask: For what purpose were such prophesies? Has God turned into a football fanatic and enthusiast?
On the 5th of April, Mali’s President – Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika –suffered cardiac arrest and died. His death, according to the media, had been earlier prophesied by TB Joshua. TB Joshua was said to have announced the prophesy 2 months ago and reiterated it 2 days before it happened. He predicted that an old African leader was going to suddenly die; he never gave a name, neither did he say what country the President was from although he excluded West Africa from the picture. The prophesy even brought about serious prayer sessions by Zimbabweans who asked God to take the life of their sit-tight and aged President- Robert Mugabe…but alas, it was Mutharika that died.

The prophesy and happening brought about a resurface of arguments concerning the powers of TB Joshua. While some argue that his prophesies are not always correct; some say they are, and others say that even when correct, they weren’t from God as he uses diabolical powers; others even suggest that he is a prophet of doom…I would not delve into these arguments, rather I would ask the same question: of what purpose was that prophesy?  In the bible, God used prophesies as signs of hope and as warning systems…where do we class TB Joshua's latest prophesy? If Mutharika had been warned that his death was at hand and that he should seek repentance, maybe it would have been a different case; but TB Joshua chose to be silent about who the object of his prophesy was –it never gave hope, it never warned anyone- such a useless prophesy. He only takes the glory and applause that his predication came to pass exactly as he said it would.

I also do know that in Mathew 10: 7-8, Jesus said ‘…and as ye go, preach saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils, freely ye have received and freely give…’  So I do wonder why a certain Catholic Priest by the name of Rev. Fr Ejike Okonkwo demands for money from people to cast away ‘ancestral sprits hindering their progress in life’. This is not peculiar to Ejike Okonkwo, but has become the norm with so-called priests and pastors who claim to see visions and perform miracles and speak in tongues.

Kai! Great Oracle! That ‘Speaking in tongues’ issue seriously confuses me! In the bible, the disciples got filled with the Holy Spirit which caused them to speak in tongues and preach to people of different languages in a single language which they all understood…but now, the reverse is the case. I understand the ‘men of God’ until they start ‘sherimamaing’ and ‘sheripapaing’ all in the name of speaking in tongues. Also based on the Bible’s account; I believe speaking in tongues happens unconsciously…I wonder why Rev. Dr. Chris E. Kwakpovwe (the author of Our Daily Manna) keeps telling his readers : ‘Begin to pray/speak in tongues now…’ ; na by force?

For the last time! Chief Priest! Shut your mouth!

Forgive me Great Oracle…My busy-body don too much...

Since these super-power clergymen and women have built their churches around no one else but themselves; have you ever imagined what would happen when they die? Yes they would surely die because they are human beings, and when they die, the congregation shall scatter. In churches where men like TB Joshua and Chris Okotie preside (the one-Pastor, one –parish churches), when they go who takes over? The end of an era! In churches like Believers Love World and Winners’ Chapel which have hundreds of parishes/branches and multiple pastors heading each branch; when Oyakhilome and Oyedepo go back to their Maker, a power tussle must surely ensue unless they have already instituted persons that would take over from them. Some of their branches might even take up new names and ‘stolen’ by Pastors who wish to be independent…the end of an era! Unlike Jesus, these men cannot send the Holy Spirit to come comfort, unite and empower their followers…it would be the total end of an era.


The excesses of the so called 'men and women of God' are not limited to the Christian fold; in fact, it takes a rather gory nature in the Islamic world. Imams have been known to brainwash their congregation into hating people from other religious groups to the point of harming and killing them. Muslims have been mislead with the promise of 7 virgins for anyone who dies while involved in the holy war-jihad-which is mainly focused on infidels (non-Muslims). When these randy men die, especially through suicide-bombing, they usually leave behind, their wives and children who then become the Imams' responsibility, sex items or further weapons of destruction. One wonders why these men have not asked the Imams why they do not want to die and benefit from the gift of 7 virgins...Pathetic!


The Advice:

My kinsmen, having cited these obvious points, I do not expect the mentioned elements and their type to change…but if they do, it is a plus. Of more importance to me is that you emancipate yourselves from whatever bond and slavery these elements have subjected you to.  The legendry Bob Marley once said: ‘emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds…’ Religion, especially Christianity, should be about freedom because Christ’s death has set you free from every sort of bondage as long as you believe; why then should you allow mere mortals to make you slaves? Free yourselves, free your minds! Read the bible, if you believe, God would make you understand; after all, these men and women who you revere so much only read the bible and they have just a head each like yourselves.

Again! Mind how you give to the Church and to these unscrupulous elements. I am not dissuading you from making offerings in church; after all, even God says that He likes a cheerful giver and that He also blesses anyone who helps in the upkeep of His Church and Priests. Nonetheless, mind how you ‘sow seeds’ in the lives of these extremely rich men. Answer me, of what essence is giving up your entire monthly salary of about N20,000 to an Oyedepo who is worth billions in the name of sowing seeds when there are beggars out there who would deeply appreciate a fraction of that N20,000? Yes! It is in the bible to sow seeds but back then, the prophets had no fat bank accounts, vast business empires, fleets of cars or private jets. Donate to Churches my people, but pay more attention to those less-privileged people around you whom your wealthy Pastors and Priests have chosen to ignore and, surely, God would reward you abundantly.

The Oracle has spoken!!