FeaturesGroaning Under Pastors, Police And Politicians

Groaning Under Pastors, Police And Politicians

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

It is not only the P alphabet that connects pastors, politicians and the police. They also share similarities in their behaviour, attitude towards those they ought to counsel, govern and protect. Findings by THEWILL show that more often than not Nigerians are almost always hard done by – by those in whom they place their trust for spiritual guidance, proper governance, security of lives and property. Michael Jimoh reports…

Sometime in December 2021 in a white garment church in Akure Ondo state, a worshipper, Bukola, approached her pastor for deliverance. Whatever for has never been quite clear. She was five months pregnant. Probably fearful of a miscarriage, the woman took her case to the man of God and overseer of the church where she worships.

It was a Wednesday, a day the church in question used to have special prayer and delivery sessions. The programme had ended that day by the time Bukola got there. The unnamed man of God assured her all would be well. Declaring that the list, prescription given to the woman in her hospital was too long, the pastor instructed her to make a photocopy. She did and returned to the church. “He then said I should take it to the altar. While I was sitting down, he started pressing my stomach and asked how many months my pregnancy was and I said five months.”

Glo

By some funny coincidence, Bukola and the preacher man were alone in the church on that day. “He said he was going to do some spiritual work on me before my delivery,” Bukola recalled the man of God saying. “He stood up and entered a room. He later called me to enter and I did.”

The “spiritual work,” it turned out, was a carefully worked out plan by the supposed man of God to seduce and bed the expecting woman.

Alone with Bukola in a room within the church premises, he commanded her to remove her clothes. Like most women would in the presence of an adult male not their husband, she timidly obeyed. Before she knew it, the pastor brought out anointing oil and proceeded to massage her private part with it.

Not done, he told the woman the baby in her womb was not in the right position which he opted to correct. How did he do it?

Hear the woman herself: “He asked me to open my legs and dipped his middle finger with oil in my private part,” Bukola said. “He said my baby was in a vertical position instead of horizontal. He said he would put oil in my private and would help me insert it with his private part so that oil would get into the baby.”

Continuing the man of God’s tale of deception, Bukola said the pastor “then rubbed oil on his private part and had sex with me. He said he was not supposed to do it but he helped me because my husband was not around.”

Whether the anointing oil got the baby in the rightful position is hard to say. But what did happen was the man of God got himself into trouble. “It was later after he had sex with me that I came to my right senses,” Bukola recalled to the police in Akure, as if she’d just woken up from a hypnotic state.

For Bukola Dakolo, wife of singer song writer, Timi Dakolo, it took her decades to wake up from her hypnotic state, for her to “come to her senses,” as she later said. In her own case, her pastor and close friend of her family raped her at her family home. She was just sixteen!

Now a full grown adult, Bukola narrated how, in her teens, celeb preacher, Biodun Fatoyinbo of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly used to come around her family. One early morning, Fatoyinbo duly visited. Nobody was home, even Bukola’s mother. A mentee of Fatoyinbo whom the young Bukola depended on for everything from counseling to inspirational books, her sibs were upstairs asleep when the man of God arrived. After forcing himself on her, Bukola recalled, Fatoyinbo went to his car and returned with a bottle of Krest Bitter lemon for her to drink, telling her at the same time that “you should be happy that a man of God did this to you.”

Probably worried about the teenager’s depressive state after the act, Fatoyinbo, Bukola said, told her not to worry: “You’ll be fine. This thing is not a new thing. Men of God do this.”

If that was a personal confession, Fatoyinbo couldn’t have been more correct. In 2015, a lady called Stephanie Otobo let it be known that she had an affair resulting in a pregnancy with Pastor Johnson Suleiman of Omega Fire Ministries. In her telling, she and the pastor spent time alone in a hotel where “they had intercourse among other practices.”

Suleman has since denied the charge.

But one man of God, Pastor Chukwuma Nkwocha Nkwocha of Tongue and Fire Restoration Ministry, at least owned up to camping and defiling more than a dozen under-aged girls in his church. Following complaints about his proclivity for minors, the Lagos State Police Command surprised him by raiding his church premises on Jacob Taiwo Street, Oshodi. What was the charge against Nkwocha? Having unlawful carnal knowledge of some of the girls.

Cases of Nigerian men of God taking advantage of parishioners or those under their custody – either through sex or by any other means – abound such that compiling them can fill a sizeable tome.

Like the predatory pastors, the police browbeat and intimidate Nigerians for even the flimsiest of offence and sometimes for no offence committed at all. Sometimes they even kill innocent Nigerians just for spot.

Gbenga Raheem and his wife, Bolanle, a lawyer, were in the company of their niece when the police waved them down at a check point in Ajah. They didn’t stop. A police inspector, Vandi calmly shot the person on the passenger seat. It was Bolanle who was hit. She was pregnant with twins when Vandi shot her. Doctors could not save her and her unborn babies. The case is presently in court.

To begin to document the brazen brutality of the police against Nigerians can equally fill a sizeable tome. In fact, it was on account of their numerous atrocities against civvies, their lack of empathy for those they are meant to protect, of their extra judicial killings and arbitrary arrest and detention of innocent Nigerians that led to the wave of uprisings across much of the country in October 2020 aka ENDSARS protests.

Fed up with the excesses of the police, Nigerian youths rose up with one voice against the law enforcement agents and, by extension, the Federal Government, an unexpected protest that shook the country right to its very foundation. Enough is enough, they hollered from the rooftops and on the streets.

Ironically, the same intrepid police who thought they were invincible prior to the riots simply melted from the scenes of demonstration. Some, it was said, hastily removed their uniforms and then joined the very protest directed against them. But some unfortunate ones were caught, killed or burnt alive in some state capitals. For the young people, it was like giving the police a dose of their own tripe.

Prior to the ENDSARS movement, a good number of the police really took laws into their hands. They gambled with the life of innocent Nigerians, throwing some in jail just on a whim, cocking their rifles and pulling the trigger on others when it pleased them. One of them, ASP James Nwafor, former OC Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) Akwuzu in Anambra state, symbolized such police brutality that Nigerians protested against in late October 2020.

He it was who, according to one report, “could chest-thump to a distraught parent that there was nothing he could do to him (Nwafor) after killing his son without recourse to the normal judicial process.”

Though the ENDSARS protest has come and gone, there seems to be no end in sight to spontaneous police brutality and intimidation of innocent Nigerians everywhere. It’s as if ENDSARS never happened judging from recent police/ civilian encounters. In most cases, civilians are left with the short end of the stick. Again, Raheem Bolanle’s casual and needless murder comes to mind.

Though without guns or the Bible to intimidate and stupefy Nigerians with, politicians also lord it over those they should otherwise court for success during elections.

In fact, of all the three Ps, politicians have the greatest influence over the lives of Nigerians for the very reason that they call the shots because they are in government – from the local to state and federal government.

To be sure, not every Nigerian falls under the spell of dubious men of God looking to just reaping them off. For instance, if you don’t much care for their sermons, however sugar-coated or apocalyptic, you can call their bluff and see through them for what they are. Armed with your rights as a citizen and a law abiding one, for that matter, chances are you might never have anything to do with the police let alone become a victim of their intimidation and shake downs.

This is where politicians have an edge over the other Ps. Love them or hate them, you’re sure to be affected by a politician’s actions or inaction. Right now on the cusp of major elections, there is a consensus of opinion that politicians have really messed things up, have messed things up right from 1999 when the new civilian dispensation began.

To begin with, politicians are distrustful and generally do not care about the welfare of those who vote them into office but their own immediate families and cronies. They renege on campaign promises serially only for them to reappear every four years – like they are doing now – to ask to be elected or reelected into office.

And once elected, they seem to not care at all for the welfare of those who got them into office despite their campaign promises. In the eyes of many Nigerian voters, there is no such thing as public service for politicians, a genuine commitment to the betterment of the lives of the people they represent.

What there is, however, is a carefully calibrated attempt to do the masses in, to make life better for politicians themselves at the expense of the electorate.

There is no better time to witness this trend than now that the February and March general elections. From presidential candidates to governorship and senatorial flag bearers, the spectacle is infectious right now, involving nearly every section of the society from the political actors themselves taking centre stage to traditional rulers and market women down to youth associations singing their praise and generally endorsing their candidature at campaign rallies in most state capitals.

Last Thursday, for example, Arise TV beamed to Nigerians and the rest of the world two mid-afternoon rallies at Abakaliki Ebonyi state. The first was of the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress followed shortly by that of flag bearer of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar. With his wife by his side, party loyalists did what they are expected to do: vote for our candidate for a better Nigeria, they all chorused.

Of course, Nigerians themselves have known better. Ask any eligible voter his opinion of the average Nigerian politician and your guess is as good as ours. And yet, they can’t do without politicians or those in positions of authority, which makes the social contract between the two much worse.

Politicians are also not beyond using the religious big stick to whip the masses into line. In a sense, it is if they are in cahoots with the pastors and just like them, the resort to prayers to solve practical problems.

Last Friday soon after news emerged that the Electoral Tribunal sitting in Osogbo had nullified the election of Governor Adeleke of the state, the opposition All Progressives Congress were naturally over the moon.

But to the surprise of all, they exhorted party loyalist to embark on fasting and prayers for a positive outcome of the appeal the incumbent governor was sure to file at the Supreme Court.

Is the prayer and fasting session by APC members in the state going to affect the decisions of the Supreme Court judges? It is simply ridiculous. But others see it differently. It is a demonstration of the power the party (read politicians) hold over the electorate (read the masses.)

Do politicians know this one-sided arrangement?

Yes, they do and they know it is to their advantage. They know that the whole contraption called politics favour them more than those they rule over. After all, they have the power, the authority and the cash. A former governor of one of the states in the South-south once boasted that Nigerians cannot foment any revolution anytime soon. “They have to come to us for money to be able to start up anything like a revolution.”

How true! The lesson is blindingly obvious: Without us, the governor inferred you are nothing. And like Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, the military dictator-turned-senator for life in Chile, used to say, “No blade of grass moves in Chile without my ordering it.”

But over reliance and over dependence on politicians by the electorate also stems from one possible theory long ago proposed by HL Mencken: “The whole aim of practical politics,” the sage of Baltimore declared, “is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

About the Author

Homepage | Recent Posts

Michael Jimoh is a Nigerian journalist with many years experience in print media. He is currently a Special Correspondent with THEWILL.

THEWILL APP ADS 2
Michael Jimoh, THEWILLhttps://thewillnews.com
Michael Jimoh is a Nigerian journalist with many years experience in print media. He is currently a Special Correspondent with THEWILL.

More like this
Related

Messi Nets Double, Assists As Inter Miami Beat Nashville

April 21, (THEWILL) - Lionel Messi scored twice and...

Bayern Dismantle Union Berlin In 5-1 Demolition

April 20, (THEWILL)- Bayern Munich produced a ruthless display...

Cerri Strikes As Empoli Earn Vital Victory Against Napoli

April 20, (THEWILL)- Empoli claimed a valuable 1-0 victory...