I was shocked when a man of God, Bishop David Oyedepo who I respect so much said in his church some days ago that his members should slaughter any one that looks like a terrorist. The key word there is "anyone that looks like." While I am 100% in support of self defense, I abhor tribal profiling and targeting. When this happens, innocent lives are bound to be lost. Then in the 3rd service of his Church on Sunday, January 25, 2015, attended by President Jonathan, my dear Bishop Oyedepo said in a comment directed at President Jonathan “We will open the gates of hell on those who oppose you.When God enthrones you no one can dethrone you”
My Bishop's support of Jonathan is anchored on the false premise that Buhari is planning to Islamize Nigeria. Nothing could be further from the truth. IBB not Buhari registered Nigeria as a member of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC). IBB, Abacha and Abdusalami Abubakar attended OIC meetings. No President of Nigeria has attended OIC meetings in the last 15 years until President Jonathan attended an OIC meeting in late 2014. Buhari never attended any OIC meeting and refused to join the OIC even though he was a military Head of State possessing immense powers. How can the same Buhari now Islamize Nigeria in a democratic setting which has the checks and balances of the National Assembly and the Judiciary?
Is my Bishop aware of what happened a few days ago? At the Presidential campaign rally of GEJ/Sambo in Jigawa state on January 21st, 2015, in the presence of President Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo stated in Hausa : "Buhari ya dauko pastor a matsayin mataimakinsa kunsan coci nawa yake dashi? Yanada coci 5000, don haka karku zabesu. The translation is - "Buhari has selected a pastor as his running mate, do you know how many churches he has? He has 5000 churches, so based on that, don't vote for them".
My Bishop, Sambo used religious sentiments in his attempt to divide the country and incite Muslims against Christians. Sambo also said at the rally that the PDP is the most Islamic Party in Nigeria because nobody can be more Muslim than him. He said that his name is Namadi which is a derivative of Namadina, meaning someone from the Medina in Saudi Arabia. At the Rally in Jigawa State Sambo also stated that he goes for the Hajj every year.
My dear Bishop, in Sambo's determination to whip up religious sentiments and divisions, he stated at the Jigawa state rally that all the security chiefs in the Jonathan administration are Muslims and based on that, those alleging that Jonathan is supportive of Boko Haram are not being fair. He mentioned the names of some key ministers in the Jonathan administration including Defence Minister, Aliyu Gusau, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, Inspector General of Police, Abba whom he emphasized are all Muslims. He also mentioned all the Muslim ministers from Kano, including Aminu Wali, Foreign Affairs Minister and Shekarau, Minister of Education.
Bishop, Sambo then asked if anyone could claim to be more Muslim than him Namadi Sambo. Then he shouted Allahu Akbar (Allah is great several times). To close his speech he recited the AlFatiha, (The Opening, the first seven verses of the Holy Quran, which for Muslims is the Mother of the Book, highly revered by all).
My dear Bishop, Sambo's outburst against Christians and Pastor Osinbajo would not surprise close watchers of political events in Nigeria but it does reconfirm the outcome of late General Azazi thorough and extensive investigation of Boko Haram and in which he concluded that the PDP founded Boko Haram and finances its terrorist activities.
MY ADVISE TO CHRISTIANS WHO RESPECT BISHOP OYEDEPO
To Christians like me who hold Bishop Oyedepo in great esteem this is my advise to you;
Don't let any pastor tell you who to vote for. Does Bishop Oyedepo experience the effects of misgovernance? Bishop is on 24-hr power generators and he does not even know when there is power outage. You bear the brunt of misgovernance daily and you should know that voting GEJ is a guarantee of another 4 years of no electricity, corruption galore and insurgency that will claim more lives and disintegrate Nigeria. Vote based on what you know not on religious or tribal sentiments!
Currently, 70% of the territory of states like Borno, Yobe and Adamawa are under the firm control of Boko Haram. This is the first time this is happening in Nigeria. Boko Haram bombing and genocide has targeted both Christians and Muslims, churches, mosques and schools attended by both Christians and Muslims. Because of Boko Haram's control of about 5% of Nigeria's territory, Nigeria's map has been redrawn.
When a bomb goes off in a market place it does not discriminate between Muslims and Christians. When the village of the Chief of Defense staff close to Mubi was attacked he did not rescue his fellow christian villagers but he airlifted his relatives out of danger and leaving his fellow Christians to be slaughtered by Boko Haram. The "polithievians," "executhieves," "legislooters" and "judishare" officers of Nigeria have only one religion that unites them and that religion is stealing and looting with impunity.
How many of the Pastors that are telling you to vote for Jonathan have children who are unemployed graduates sitting at home; bear the brunt of insecurity; send their children to public school; patronize government hospitals like you do or understand what the members of their religious organizations go through on a daily basis?
Did Bishop Oyedepo speak out when ASUU and ASUP were on strike twice in 4 years thereby leading to the loss of almost 2 years in the academic calender of Universities and Polytechnics?
Did Bishop Oyedepo speak out to condemn the manner in which the almost 300 Chibok girls were kidnapped? Did he condemn the manner in which the President refused to acknowledge that they were kidnapped? Did Bishop Oyedepo condemn the failure of the President to rescue the Chibok girls 9 months after they were kidnapped by the insurgents?
Did Bishop Oyedepo speak out when medical doctors went on strike twice in 4 years leading to the death of millions of Nigerians.
Has Bishop Oyedepo spoken out against the ongoing strike by health workers and judicial workers in Nigeria?
All these strikes have to do with the inability of President Jonathan and the PDP government to abide by industrial agreements signed after extensive bargaining among stake holders and their insensitivity to the plight of Nigerians.
Did Bishop Oyedepo speak out when 16>19, 5>26 and 7>19 in the Governors Forum election, Rivers state house of Assembly and Ekiti State House of Assembly in clear and reckless violation of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria?
Has Bishop Oyedepo spoken out to condemn the legalized looting of billions of dollars of Nigeria's money taking place under the watch of President Jonathan? Did Bishop Oyedepo speak out to condemn the beating up of a state High Court judge in Ekiti state by the Chief Thug of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose and his gang of thugs?
Did Bishop Oyedepo speak out to condemn the deliberate flouting of court orders by President Jonathan which has become like a recurring decimal in his administration?
Let Pastors like Bishop Oyedepo who don't know what their members are going through or who are unable to feel the pulse of the masses, stick to what they know how to do best which is feeding Chist's sheep as Christ commanded them, but let them stay out of politics. Bishop Oyedepo should not try to influence Christians to vote for a failed President like Jonathan. I urge all Christians to vote their conscience to free themselves from the 16 year bondage of the PDP led administration.
Section 95 (3) of the Electoral Act, states that “places designated for religious worship, police station and public offices shall not be used for political campaigns, rallies and processions or to promote, propagate or attack political parties, candidates, their political ideologies or programmes.”
Let my darling Bishop note that his actions on the pulpit violates this law and as a man of God the scripture expects him to obey the laws of the land. We are to give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.
Bunmi Awoyemi, Ph.D, the author of this opinion piece, writes in from New Orleans, Louisiana and is a public affairs analyst, lawyer and entrepreneur.