A couple of days ago, the nation became agog with the news that Presidential aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe, likened his principal, President Goodluck Jonathan, to Jesus Christ. In his attempt to ensure that Nigerians see more than enough reasons to support and vote for the PDP in the coming elections, Dr. Okupe simply redefined sycophancy, took servility to a new height, and introduced a new interpretation of groveling ingratiation.
Before pointing out Dr. Okupe’s obvious wrongness in his labour of thralldom, which peaked days ago in his imprudent testimonial of President Jonathan being comparable to the Lord Jesus Christ, it is important to say a few words about this man who, for reasons beyond human explanation, has intentionally refused to grow into a man that he ought to be. It is the nature of a child to go with just anyone, including a stranger, who holds a jar of candy or chocolates in their hands, even if that stranger is the number one enemy of the child’s father, and one who seeks to destroy the child’s life. The kid’s concern, against all judgement, is just to grab and enjoy the offer. This is Dr. Doyin Okupe’s manner of living, in a nutshell.
Listening to Dr. Okupe as he goes about his business of trying to justify his pay, an essential revelation about him stares one in the face – he is a child, wearing an old man’s body. I’m aware that in the enterprise of politics, partisanship is a must and political actors often do foolish things. But as it has been observed all over the place, their foolish acts are often covered in inviting and enticing robes of choice words and appealing gestures; but not Dr. Okupe. He goes about his business totally naked and striped of all forms of decorum. If he is not abusing critics of Mr. President, he is asking Nigerians to rename him Bastard if the APC, the opposition political party, does not go into extinction within its first year of existence. This is tragic.
To support his infantile spectacle of repulsive jabs, Dr. Okupe claims he is a firm believer in certain ideals espoused by Mr. President. This is total poppycock. Recall that when President Obasanjo held sway, Dr. Okupe was everywhere praising the former president to high heavens. At that time, OBJ was the best thing to have happened to Nigeria. What ideals did Okupe believe in at that time? Now that President Jonathan is in power, Okupe has shifted his loyalty to Jonathan, claiming rather ridiculously that President Jonathan is the best president Nigeria has ever had! Really? That must be some great news! The truth is that Dr. Okupe is not governed by any ideology, philosophy or creed. If he has any motivation in life at all, it is filthy lucre! He is ruled by money!
I believe in loyalty. The Bible teaches it. It is a good virtue – one that grows the follower into a leader, and causes the master to give all manner of support to the loyal disciple. But loyalty and foolishness are not spelt the same way; neither do they mean the same thing. Okupe totally misapprehends the concept of loyalty. Loyalty is determined devotion to a course or an individual for a good end; it is an attachment to something or someone with a view to enhancing, promoting and securing the success of the thing or person. As it can be clearly seen, this is not what Dr. Okupe is engaged in. He seems set to destroy whatever remains of his principal’s diminished goodwill.
If Dr. Okupe must know, he is President Jonathan’s number one foe. His garrulousness, tactless effusiveness, and unabashed loquaciousness are atypical. But then, in this open show of witless chattiness that has come to define his humanity, the person who takes all, not just much, of the entire blame is Mr. President himself. Truth be told, President Jonathan’s ability to hobnob with, entertain, and accommodate men of base character is more than legendary. Think about Okupe’s partner in shame, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode.
Months ago, Femi Fani-Kayode wrote to viciously lampoon President Jonathan. In the damning article, he stated, among other things that,
“If Goodluck Jonathan wants his fortunes and the fortunes of his party to change and if he wants peace to return to our shores he simply has to do twelve things. Firstly, he has to resign as President forthwith and undertake to stay out of Nigerian politics for the next ten years and confine himself to fishing in Otuoke. Secondly, if he cannot step down, he must give a public undertaking to the Nigerian people that he will not run for re-election in 2015 and tell them that if he changes his mind and decides to do so at the last minute they should stone him.
Thirdly, he must go and prostrate flat on the floor with his face touching the ground before seven of the most respected and distinguished men in this country and tell them that he is very sorry for the mess he has created and he must refuse to get up until they swear by the Holy Bible or Holy Koran that they have truly forgiven him for destroying our country. Those men are President Olusegun Obasanjo, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, General TY Danjuma, General Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Fourthly, he must write an open letter of apology to the 36 Governors of the Federation, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House and the Chief Justice of the Federation for his manipulative ways and the gross incompetence and ineptitude that he has displayed whilst running the affairs of this country over the last three years”.
Please observe that one of those respected and distinguished men that, according to Femi Fani-Kayode, President Jonathan must prostrate flat on the floor with his face touching the ground before and tell them that he is very sorry for the mess he has created is General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB). Today however, Femi Fani-Kayode is singing a new song; essentially because he must curry the favour of the man in power. He now wants us to believe that the same man he described as being manipulative, just months ago, is now a thoroughly refurbished man that Nigerian must wholly embrace again. To think that such an unstable man is in the embrace of a President who wants to succeed is utterly terrifying!
These two unconscionable and extreme souls – Dr. Doyin Okupe and Chief Femi Fani-Kayode – are part of the reasons why Nigeria is what it is today. They help to further divide the country along ethnic and religious lines, all in an attempt to create some political advantage for their principal, and then to guarantee the continuous inflow of their own income.
And just like Femi Fani-Kayode, Okupe has gone to town to announce the wonderful similarities between his paymaster in Aso Rock on the one hand and the Lord Jesus Christ on the other hand. One is compelled to ask whether Okupe gave his allocution a thought before presenting it.
It is imperative to remind Dr. Okupe that the Lord Jesus Christ laid down his life for the human race; and He did so willingly (John 10:17-18). Is Okupe’s paymaster – Dr. Jonathan – ready to sacrifice anything for the welfare of Nigerians, not to talk of dying for the nation? Considering the way and manner the president has holed himself up in Aso Rock, paralysed with fear, and unable to venture to even Chibok, where over 200 school girls were seized by the gun-wielding, throat-slitting rogues, it is obvious that the President is not the kind of leader willing to risk his comfort and safety for anyone.
If Dr. Okupe must learn anything however, it is this: President Jonathan actually has a doppelgänger in the Bible; but that character is not the Lord Jesus Christ. That character is King Saul, the son of Kish – Israel’s first king ever.
Their first similarity is in their emergence as leaders. In 1Samuel 8:1-22, the Israelites had, arising from certain national issues, asked Prophet Samuel to give them a king. But the old prophet, being not in a position to unilaterally give them a king, talked to the Almighty God about this demand. In response to Prophet Samuel’s prayer, God divinely chose Mr. Saul Kish as the king over Israel. It must be noted that Saul, who was busy about his father’s animal business, contributed nothing at all to his emergence as King of Israel (1Samuel 9:15-17). Nigerians have not forgotten how President Jonathan, against all odds, and without any dream in his heart, suddenly became the vice presidential candidate to late President Musa Yar’adua. And then eventually, the nation’s president.
Their second similarity is their style to leadership. Shortly after being anointed and pronounced king, Saul, who earlier appeared to possess a lot of prospect, began to incline towards rashness, misjudgment, disobedience, and eventually spiritism. As king, all he was supposed to do was to follow divine orders as laid down in the Law of Moses and as divinely directed from time to time by the able Prophet Samuel. But Saul failed. He went into establishing a code of operation for himself, different from what God prescribed. This continued until God had to totally reject him (1Samuel 15:1-28).
President Jonathan is one president that assumed office with a lot of goodwill and expectations. Like King Saul, all he was expected to do was to uphold the nation’s Constitution and obey other extant laws; do what is right in all situations, eschew all forms of evil – pettiness, corruption, deception, sycophancy etc. –, and move Nigeria up in the right direct. But what do we have today? The very opposite of all that he should have stood for. Under President Jonathan, Nigeria has been pushed to the very edge of disintegration. Under him, financial recklessness of unimaginable proportions has occurred, and is still occurring. Under him, and just like King Saul who, again and again, pointed in the direction of the “people” as his reason for failing (1Samuel 15:21), we have had more untenable excuses thrown at us as the reasons why the C-in-C, with all the powers and resources at his disposal, could not perform his constitutional duties. Everyone and everything, apart from Mr. President himself, have been blamed for his failure. Very much like King Saul indeed!
The third similarity touches on the uncanny ability of King Saul to hide under the pretext of his closeness to Prophet Samuel to maintain his high rating before the people of Israel. Except one reads this particular portion of the Bible carefully; one is very much likely to miss this point. This is crucially important, and this is how the Bible puts it:
1Samuel 15:30: Then he said, I have sinned: yet honour me now, I pray thee, before the elders of my people, and before Israel, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD thy God.
1Samuel 15:31: So Samuel turned again after Saul; and Saul worshipped the LORD.
The above situation occurred just immediately after King Saul had received a damning judgment from God, and his rejection announced to him. Saul, a man wholly preoccupy with peoples’ rating of himself, wanted Prophet Samuel to still move around with him so as to give further impression of continued acceptance.
It is like this: “I know I’m already rejected; I know I have failed the LORD and His people; but these people are gullible, they will continually accept me if you keep up with me openly. You are a prominent prophet, and associating with you is very important; just move around with me and my subjects will continue to believe that I still remain the divine choice”. This was King Saul’s devious appeal to religion. Well, Prophet Samuel granted his one request, but that did not change the mind of God. God eventually reminded His prophet that He had rejected King Saul (1Samuel 16:1).
It is open secret that President Jonathan, despite his dismal performance and inability to stir Nigeria and Nigerians towards tangible developments, has continued to hobnob with leading and powerful spiritual leaders to shore up his rating. But I’ll like to say that leadership goes beyond serving just the people only; God, whether this is believed or not, is keenly monitoring affairs of the world. When a leader steals, embezzles, deceives, kills, destroys, and then pushes his nation into a backward movement, God sees and records. And no amount of prayers (wherever it is offered) or laying on of hands, will bring divine blessings until the leader repents and does what is right! This is the Bible and nothing changes this!
As long as Nigerians are suffering as a function of the actions and inactions of President Jonathan, God cannot be expected to suddenly break his Word and continue to support him. God honours his Word. God’s mercies can be sought and received, but the receiving heart must be ready to change. With our national wealth being gleefully stolen; with our patrimony being squandered by a few at the top; with millions of Nigerians being daily driven deeper into despair; with funds meant for security agencies being diverted into private pockets; with the word “shame” daily become more conspicuous on the faces of Nigerians; it is certain that President Jonathan’s approach will not work for him, just like it did not work for King Saul, his real look-alike.
Dr. Okupe must therefore tell his leader that Nigerians have wised up. They won’t accept, any longer, some empty religious lines delivered by some empty fellows. They won’t accept that he is similar to the Lord Jesus Christ, except they see real changes. However, I doubt if any change will occur now, given Aso Rock’s preoccupation with winning 2015 presidential election. A preoccupation that is bound to end in whispers and tales!
Pastor Gabriel Olalekan Popoola, a former University of Port Harcourt Students’ Union Leader, worships with Living Faith Church and can be reached by email ([email protected]) and Twitter (gabriel_popoola)