For once, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has been called out in a protest led by some Nigerian celebrities during the week, writes Omolabake Fasogbon
In what appeared to be a drama, Nigerian celebrities under the aegis of ’Creative Industry Group’, has through a protest, questioned the silence of RCCG’s torchbearer, Pastor Enoch Adeboye on the state of insecurity in the country.
Coming at a period when Nigeria is confronted with myriads of security challenges, ranging from kidnappings, ritual killings, Boko Haram insurgency, and herders/farmers crisis, amongst others, the protest led by hip hop legend, Eedris Abdulkareem, and a host of other celebrities is strongly considered apt and timely.
However, that the protest is directed at a religious institution and again, one of the most respected or perhaps, the most respected man of God in this clime, has not only made it shocking but has since thrown the airwaves and the social media space into uncontrollable chaos.
At the peaceful demonstration that took place at the church’s Redemption Camp HQ on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway, the protesters in their hundred, including popular acts like Charles Oputa, Felix Duke, Friday Igwe and Mykel Parish, were spotted in branded T- shirts, brandishing placards with different inscriptions that were supported with biblical quotes.
Some of the placards read: Adeboye, would you have kept quiet if Leah Sharibu were your biological daughter; Adeboye, who led you to dissociate yourself from pastor’s Bosun prophecy on the islamisation of Nigeria, They that are led by the spirit of God are the sons of God-Romans 8:14; Adeboye, speak up for Leah Sharibu, to whom much is given, much is expected….”
Shedding more light on their grievance, chairman of the protesting group, Duke, reiterated that they wanted the spiritual leader to lend his voice to the security challenges in the country just as he subtly did on the rape scandal involving senior pastor of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly COZA, Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo.
He said, “A lot of people are dying; our women are being raped; men are being kidnapped and killed; children are being slaughtered and no one is talking about these. Any government that wants to change the orientation of the youths usually uses entertainment; so we have decided to use our followership to influence people to speak up for the underprivileged.
“We believe that the RCCG is the biggest church in Nigeria and Adeboye has a lot of influence in the country; if he speaks up on the country’s security challenges, President Muhammadu Buhari will listen to him. The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, is his son; Adeboye also has a lot of children in the National Assembly, so his voice is very important.
“The people whom we met at the Redemption Camp all understood that the fight is not about us but it is for the betterment of all Nigerians and the unborn children. We want Adeboye to speak up so that efforts can be made to put an end to the killings, even if he just makes a statement.”
Even though the sponsor of the protest clearly stated that the protest is for peace and for the betterment of the country, the demonstration is still very shocking to many Christian folks, most of who feel such is sacrilegious to a great man of God.
This period has witnessed attacks and moves from critics against men of God which are fast becoming a trend that is being emulated by folks around. Again, much have been reported on spiritual leaders who hide under cassock to perpetrate heinous ills while some trusted shepherds are seen and alleged to have betrayed their sheep and defiled the altar, all of these which add up to strengthen the arguments of fault-finders.
Possibly, this trend might have formed the basis of the arguments of the group’s proponents who were bent on the fact that all men of God are pretenders and are constantly fighting for their own interests. Many of them believe Adeboye maintaining lull on the contending issue was not unconnected with his bias for the present administration, especially with is spiritual son, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is the No 2 man.
Although, Adeboye is yet to personally react to the protest, some of his junior colleagues have started registering their stands on the issue, including the popular Apostle Suleiman. Suleiman who could not shield his sentiment reacted via his twitter page where he wrote: Papa Adeboye said the government should hasten the release of Leah and all captivity (I was there)…..he only told us not to take laws into our hands and pray for Nigeria, and you say he is not speaking. Wait till you are that age so you show us how else an elder should speak.”
Suleiman’s response appeared to have angered Eedris who seemed to be the front man of the protest. The musician wrote in his reply, “Dear Apostle Suleiman, are you aware that Leah Sharibu has been under captivity for 501 days?….Yes !Let me ask you why you did not pray to God when Stephanie Otobo accused you. Instead you went to the police. Why did you speak up against her and now ask us to be silent while our people are killed daily? I remember Pa Adeboye praying for Buhari. Why did he not also refuse to pray for him then? What is this hypocrisy that we like to dey embrace for Nigeria? All I am saying is this: Keep praying but also speak up? It costs all of you nothing. The Bible says Faith without works is dead. I am not a pastor yes I know this. If you as a man of God cannot join me to condemn the atrocities that are currently going on; if you as a man of God cannot condemn with your mouth (I no talk say make you carry gun or make you fight); then the God that you serve and the one that hates injustice are not the same. Na me Eedris Abdulkareem talk am! Peace and Love always.”
To bolster his submission, he went ahead to post a screenshot of a newspaper publication on his instagram page which he captioned, ‘Flashback for those wailers’ the publication reported Pastor Adeboye to have petitioned former President Goodluck Jonathan and arranged a one million- man protest rally against insecurity in the country during his tenure. Hence, he wondered why Adeboye could not have done so now when the situation is tougher. This further attracted backings for the pop star as fans hail his step.
While the protest was planned by a group, Eedris and Baba Fryo have carried the bulk of the blows from oppositions who queried their motives. For the duo, who have been off the radar in the show biz space, revilers feel that it was a cheap come back stunt or perhaps, they were displaying a Dutch courage.