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OPINION

Tinubu, Fayemi 2023 Ambitions Fuel Ekiti APC Crisis

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For the ruling All Progressives Congress in Ekiti State, the search for unity among members has been elusive since the 2018 governorship election in the state and this has been compounded by the rumoured presidential ambition of Governor Kayode Fayemi and a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, which has polarised the party, ABIODUN NEJO writes

Although the party was unable to resolve the varying issues that came up with some aggrieved members that time, the congresses that produced the executive of the party at the ward, local government and state levels added insult to injury.

The party was divided along two major lines with the state governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, his backers and the party executive on one side and the Ekiti APC Stakeholders’ Forum led by Senator Anthony Adeniyi, which parades bigwigs like Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Senator Adedayo Adeyeye, Bimbo Daramola and Adewale Omirin, among others, on the other side.

When the crisis got to a head last year with suspension and counter-suspension, the party’s national body commissioned a committee to reconcile the two groups. Although the committee has yet to get down to business, there appeared to be calm in the two camps until recently when the issue of the 2023 presidential ambition came to the fore.

Although neither Fayemi nor the APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has expressed interest in the party’s presidential ticket in 2023, their rumoured ambitions have already torn the party into two.

Some APC leaders in the state loyal to Fayemi have been strategising to ensure the realisation of the governor’s presidential bid. A local government chairman even last year took further steps by pasting posters of the governor although he was reprimanded and suspended from office for the act.

Similarly, some APC leaders, including members of the Stakeholders’ Forum, are either rooting for Tinubu or expressing support for the zoning of the presidency to the South, with the South-West as the first step.

However, the APC State Caretaker Publicity Secretary, Ade Ajayi, stirred the hornet’s nest at an event in December when he said party members would drag Fayemi into the contest for the presidency if he refused to join the race willingly.

Ajayi, who represented the APC State Caretaker Committee Chairman, Paul Omotoso, hinged the decision on the governor’s outstanding performance, saying, “On the 2023 presidency, the time has come for the President to come from Ekiti. That is why we are pleading with you to support Governor Fayemi.

“Though Governor Fayemi has not said he wants to contest, we will force him to come into the race, because of his competence, dedication and loyalty to the APC.”

Irked by the statement, the forum was quick to disown Omotoso, saying he did not represent the party, but expressed his personal opinion “on the idea that the APC, Ekiti State chapter, has backed Dr Fayemi for the 2023 presidency.”

Bamgboye Adegoroye, speaking on behalf of the stakeholders, said, “Leaders of the APC are unaware of the idea. All the states in the South of Nigeria deserve a shot at the Presidency if it is agreed upon by the national leaders of our party.

“The Ekiti State Stakeholders’ Forum, along with other eminent Yoruba leaders, will canvas the opportunity to produce the next President in 2023 from our zone.

“Adoption of an authentic, qualified, well known, humane and experienced Yoruba man is our goal and we will play our part in accomplishing that task.

“We want to state unequivocally that Ajayi, who represented Mr Omotoso, barely expressed a personal view. Again, we note that Ajayi’s boss does not even believe that the position should be zoned to the South-West as expressed on the national platform recently.”

A party leader and former state House of Assembly Deputy Speaker, Karounwi Oladapo, was quick to dismiss the APC members in the state, who are against Fayemi’s presidential bid as inconsequential, saying, “The bottom line is that those who are supporting Tinubu for President in Ekiti are fringe or peripheral members of the APC.

“They add no value to Fayemi because they are not within the party structure. They do not have electoral value; they cannot participate in the primaries. As far as Ekiti is concerned, the entire structure that will participate in the primaries anytime any day is closely knitted.”

Oladapo, who said his support for Fayemi for the presidency was based on the fact that it was time for Ekiti State, which he noted had been treated as an appendage, to produce a President, adding that the governor’s “age, credentials, strength of character, integrity, religion and being from the South” eminently made him to tower above others.

He said it was normal that some APC members in the state were supporting Tinubu just as some members in Lagos State were backing Fayemi for the presidency, stating, “If we are on the same page, that means we are no longer playing politics. There are some people in Lagos State, who are rooting for Fayemi; it is politics.”

Adeyeye, who is the leader of the South-West Agenda, a group canvassing for Tinubu’s presidential bid, said the division on the matter of preference was normal, querying, “Why will everybody be on the same page? Are we not human beings, who are naturally endowed with the ability to think freely and make up our minds individually?

“That is not a strange thing at all as far as we are concerned. People make their minds up based on a number of factors. It must be that people have seen and evaluated the governor and those who are perceived as his potential rivals and they have made up their minds to support one person or the other. That is not a strange thing in politics.”

Adeyeye, however, said that he was rooting for Tinubu and leading SWAGA on the mission, adding, “The year 2023 is approaching; we have someone who can succeed President Muhamadu Buhari in 2023. He is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

“It is time for the South to succeed Buhari. This is why we say that the Yoruba have someone who is capable. I have been in politics for many years. I worked with the late Chief MKO Abiola and Chief Obafemi Awolowo; there is no other person that has what it takes to succeed Buhari in 2023 except Tinubu.

“We need an experienced hand. The kind of security challenges we are facing in this country, economic challenges and youth restiveness, show that we need someone who will calm the situation and put Nigeria on the path of rapid socio-economic development. We believe Tinubu is eminently qualified to do that.

“He is the most qualified. If anyone thinks he is more qualified than Tinubu, the person can come out. By our evaluation, we have concluded that today in the South-West, Tinubu is the leading active politician. His credentials are known.”

But the Chairman, APC, Ado Ekiti Local Government, Michael Akinleye, said the party members and leaders, who were against Fayemi for the presidency, were only envious of the governor and Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum in view of his achievements in office and in life.

Akinleye, who is the Chairman of the APC chairmen in the 16 local government areas of the state, said although Fayemi had not openly shown interest in the presidency, “We will beg him; we will appeal to him to aspire even if it needs our contributions. We in Ekiti are ready to contribute to finance it. He is a man of our generation and time.

“It is my wish and it is my prayer that the President in 2023 will come from Ekiti State, because our state is not an appendage of any. Although we can see some Ekiti persons coordinating for another person, there’s no problem with that. Some people from Ekiti State are envious of Fayemi because of his achievements. When we get to the river, we will know how to cross it.”

However, to the Presidential Adviser on Political Matters, Ojudu, the governor is only on “an assignment to divide our South-West caucus and bring our party to its knees. The assignment is to destroy the APC from within.”

Ojudu, who said Tinubu provided the necessary support that made Fayemi a governor, added, “If it is true that Tinubu wants to run for presidency, Fayemi should be carrying his banner considering what he did for him (Fayemi) in life.”

But Ajayi said members of the stakeholders’ forum could not have been opposed to Fayemi’s presidential bid nor criticise his statement that the APC would drag the governor into the race because they were on suspension from the party.

Ajayi, who noted that the Ekiti APC position on the matter would be made known at an appropriate time after the convention slated for June, said, “So, what I said was my personal opinion, which I intend to sell to the party at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is after the convention.

“I believe that by the time we get to that stage, the party will buy the idea and we will now talk to him (Fayemi) to show interest. He has not told us anything now; what some of us feel is what I granted as an interview, and I deliberately did that.

“Those people, who claimed to be stakeholders, who are outside, who said they dissociated themselves from the statement, are on suspension. The party has taken a position on them; that decision is to the extent that they have been suspended from the party.

“They have no locus to speak on whatever issues affecting the party, at least, until the supreme council of the APC reconsiders the decision on their suspension.

“We have qualified, notable and loyal party members in Ekiti and Governor Kayode Fayemi is one; we have as many as possible and that is why I said Ekiti will be showing an interest. Other than what I said, I won’t entertain interviews regarding the 2023 elections until after the convention.”

But the Secretary of the Stakeholders’ forum, Femi Adeleye, snapped, “You can ask him – was he (Ajayi) not suspended? Are you not aware that there was a time they were all suspended and the national body came out and said the two suspensions had been nullified and reversed? So, if he’s saying we are suspended, it applies to him too.”

Adeleye, who said Fayemi had never said he wanted to be President and no other person was talking about the President coming from Ekiti, the agitation at present was for a power shift to the South, hence the need for unity of purpose to achieve it.

He said the South comprised 19 states, adding, “We are agitating that power must come to the South. All we should do as a body is to be able to work together; you cannot work in isolation. Work as a body so that we will be able to get what we want.”

The APC chieftain, who said Ajayi should be queried for the information given, asked, “Have you forgotten that somebody in Ekiti, the Chairman of Ikere Local Government, who pasted postal that Governor Fayemi wanted to be President in 2023, was suspended from office? “If it is the turn of Ekiti to become President, then, it is the turn of my hometown to become President. God will give it to whom He will give it to. Don’t forget that in 1993, Otunba Reuben Famuyibo contested the Nigerian presidency? Is he not from Ekiti?

“Ajayi is somebody we said we did not recognise as an executive council member; so, for anything he says, he is on his own; he’s not speaking on behalf of the APC.”

 

However, if urgent steps are not taken to redress the situation, the widening gap created by the divisions will continue to weaken the levers that hold the party together, especially with the 2021 local government and 2022 governorship elections in the state around the corner.

 

©Punch

OPINION

28years Later, Counting The Gains, The Losses Of June 12

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June 12

When the military regime led by the General Ibrahim Babangida (rtd.) once again postponed civil rule elections to June 12, 1993, it was unaware it was setting an historical date that will eventually consume it and disgrace the military out of power. He was equally unaware that the date will become of symbolic significance in the very fabric of the Nigerian nationhood.

 

It was all a part of the generals’ hidden agenda of organising party primaries and elections, turning round to annul them and shifting the transition programme goal post.

 

 

But today, Democracy Day in Nigeria is being celebrated on the 12th of June. This change from May 29 carries heavy symbolism for a country that is known more years of being ruled by military men than by democratically elected leaders. May 29 is also symbolic as it was the date rtd General Olusegun Obasanjo, as the president elect in late February 1999, was duly sworn in same year.

 

 

What makes the date truly significant? It was on this date in 1993 that presidential elections were held for the first time since the 1983 military coup. It was an event many observers have described as the most outstanding in Nigeria’s post-independence political history. It was still viewed as the freest, fairest and most peaceful election ever held in Nigeria.

 

 

On the day, an estimated 14 million Nigerians – irrespective of ethnic, religious, class, and regional affiliations, (in a period when religious acrimony and tension had reached its zenith) – defied bad weather to elect their president with the hope of ending eight years of military dictatorships.

 

 

Unfortunately, results of that election were never released. But unofficial results gathered through the various polling stations by civil society groups across the country indicated broad national support for the presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party, Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

 

 

The then military head of state, General Babangida, in an unprecedented move, annulled the results of the election, justifying his actions on the grounds that it was necessary to save the nation. He alleged that political activities preceding the election were inimical to peace and stability in Nigeria. The June 12 election and subsequent annulment marked the beginning of a decades long struggle to see the election result restored and democracy rehabilitated.

 

 

Decades later, perhaps in righting Babangida’s wrong, President Muhammadu Buhari announced the change in date and honour of Chief Abiola.

 

 

“…After due consultations, the federal government has decided that henceforth June 12 will be celebrated as Democracy Day.

 

 

“Therefore, government has decided to award, posthumously, the highest honour of the land, GCFR, to the late Chief M.K.O Abiola, the presumed winner of the June 12, 1993 cancelled elections. His running mate as vice president, Ambassador Baba Gana Kingibe, is also to be invested with a GCON. Furthermore, the tireless fighter for human rights and the actualisation of June 12 elections and indeed for democracy in general, the late Chief Gani Fawehinmi is to be awarded the GCON.

 

 

“The investiture will take place on Tuesday June 12, 2019, a date which in future years will replace May 29 as a national public holiday in celebration of Nigeria’s Democracy Day.”

 

 

However, Nigerians from all works of life have been asking whether the country has gained anything from the June 12, 1993 presidential election or if the endorsement of the day would be of any significance since its adoption last year.

 

 

They are worried that none of the critical issues it raised about the system of governance during its press conference in 2019 when Buhari recognised Abiola had been addressed even though they remain critical and fundamental towards resolving the incessant political instability, economic misery, national mutual mistrust, lack of cohesion and unacceptable level of national insecurity.

 

 

One of the closest associates of late Abiola, Chief Jide Sawyer, had described the present democracy as being even worse and deficient more than military rule. He said the country appears to have learnt nothing, neither could it boast to have gained much from June 12, 1993 presidential election, apart from the fact that former military rulers dropped their military uniforms and assembled some politicians to form a civilian administration.

 

 

According to him, “There is nothing different despite the fact that the present administration recognised June 12 as Democracy Day last year. Those in government today who pushed for the agenda only paid lip service to whole idea for their selfish political interests. I describe them as people who didn’t participate in what they are currently benefiting from. This democracy is even worse than military rule.

 

 

“For instance, we have a selective mode of election where individuals, who claim to be godfathers, decide and or select who represent the people and not through free, fair democratic process, and in effect such public officers are directly responsible to their masters and not to the electorates.”

 

 

Sawyer added: “As much as it was good that the incumbent government recognised June 12 as Democracy Day over a year ago, tell me what has been different in the system of governance and democracy that we have had since 1999? Democracy is about honesty, determination and focus to deliver good governance to the people. The reason I said we are worse than when we were under the military regime is that critics of government are viciously attacked these days by government-sponsored agents, which has almost stopped very reasonable people from talking or faulting government’s policies.”

 

 

On the agitation to restructure the country, Sawyer said, “One unique thing about Abiola’s aborted presidency and the 1993 democratic process was the ‘hope and confidence’ it gave to Nigerians irrespective of their ethnic differences. ‘Hope 93’ made SDP very popular and acceptable before the military struck by annulling the result. Today, can we even discuss restructuring without giving the people hope first? There is the need to allay the fears of Nigerians. To get this done, good governance is key. This is when we can start talking about restructuring.”

 

 

Also, the seeming total disregard of this administration to fulfill the major electoral promises and manifesto to restore the country to federal constitutional governance constitutes a betrayal of public trust upon which it secured its mandate in 2015. It is painfully clear now that the president and the APC made false promises that they did not intend to keep.

 

 

President Buhari’s so-called three pillars – to secure Nigeria, to revamp the economy and to fight corruption – have clearly recorded very low achievements because the current centralist and unitarist governance structure remains unsuitable, unsustainable and counterproductive in a heterogeneous geographical and political space where the different ethnic nationalities or groups must be free to govern themselves as they deem fit, given the divergent languages, religions, traditions, cultures, artifacts and folklores of the people.

 

 

Reacting on what the country had gained and lost on the June 12 struggle in the last 28 years, a former governor of Ogun State, Segun Osoba, said the greatest gain of Abiola’s sacrifice for democracy is the stability it brought into the transition programme. He said before the late business mogul paid the supreme price, which brought about the present democracy, “Nigeria had always found it difficult, if not impossible, to transit from a civilian administration to another without the military intervening. For instance, during the First Republic, the military seized government giving excuse of the uncertain and chaotic atmosphere that enveloped the political terrain then. This led to the January 1966 coup.

 

 

“When Nigeria eventually returned to democratic rule in 1979, another military coup took place four years after the 1983 elections. But since MKO Abiola paid the supreme price in 1998 and Nigeria wriggled to return to civil rule in 1999, the military had remained in the barracks while we have had about five uninterrupted civilian-to-civilian transitions from 1999 to 2020. Indeed, Abiola was a political and historical factor.”

 

 

On the losses, Osoba said many people have been doing a symbolic celebration of Abiola and June 12 yearly without necessarily showing enough love and commitment to the late philanthropist and his family.”

 

 

Steve Adesemoye, a senior lecturer at the Lagos State Polytechnic, LASPOTECH, concurred with Osoba when he said, “Celebrating a symbolic day is not bad. Especially if it is in remembrance of somebody or a phenomenon. But we need to work on why we set this day aside. It goes beyond setting aside a date, there must be a political will to enthrone the reason for the day.”

 

 

Lamenting that the political elites in this country are just in their own world, he explained that these elites are practically disconnected from the people and without respect for the rule of law, democracy and/or free and fair electoral system.

 

 

“June 12 will remain a mere date until the political elites actualise what the day stands for – fairness, equity, good governance, economic prosperity, selflessness, etc.,” he intoned.28years later, counting the gains, the losses of June 12

 

Latching onto the recent ban of microblogging site, Twitter and Buhari’s recent interview on Arise TV, Otunba Olumide Abegunde, a social commentator was of the opinion that Nigeria is in need of prayers as the country’s democracy is in a nascent state.

 

 

“Nigerian government has just shown us ‘crazy!’ How can people who claim to be ruling and not leading or governing get so emotional at the prick of an ‘inconsequential’ entity? I always thought rulers had zero emotions.”

 

 

 

He queried, “What is democracy? How do we describe democracy? I hope it still has a meaning in this terrain of ours. For a country whose largest demography is youthful, suspending a more or less e-commerce platform where young people who the state could not provide jobs for, have come together on and found a means to survive, is so much.”

 

 

Disgusted that it took Nigeria 21 years from the re-inception of democracy to establish the fact that June 12 is the marker for the struggle to free Nigeria from the wicked stranglehold of military dictatorship, executive secretary, Nigeria National Summit Group (NNSG), Tony Uranta, however, said Buhari deserves to be commended for recognising that the Fourth Republic is built on the sacrifices of MKO Abiola, his wife, Kudirat and other political martyrs who lost their lives in the nationwide struggle to right the wrongs that the military foisted on Nigeria from 1984 especially.

 

 

Uranta added, “Having said that, one must state that the end of military rule only ushered in civilian governance, and not democratic rule. Nigeria is still governed by non-democratic systems and personalities, who have entrenched a corrupt electoral process that has only produced a political elite still owing their existence to military and not at all dependent on the electorate.”

 

 

 

He said until there is internal democracy in the political parties, “we cannot say Nigeria is a republic, whose leadership respects democracy. Until we have elections not premised on fake population census and the threats of a violent few, Nigeria cannot claim to have embraced democracy. Until only the eligible vote for candidates who emerge through transparent elections at all levels of the democratic system counts, we cannot truthfully be said to be a democracy.

 

 

 

“Until the country is so reconfigured to clearly aspire to the highest standards economically and politically; that is, until Nigeria is restructured along the lines that our founding fathers agreed to, Nigeria cannot be seen as the united, stable democracy we like to fool ourselves that it is already.”

 

 

In his own line of thought, Prince Adeyemi Aseperi – Shonibare said June 12 is the godfather of the democracy everyone is enjoying now.

 

 

“June 12 also gave birth to many political Stars today. June 12 also removed the military permanently. June 12 gave birth to the longest democracy in the history of Nigeria.”

 

 

According Niran Adedokun, a senior journalist and social commentator, “I take June 12 to be the turning point in the Nigerian politics. For the fact that you had two Muslims on the ticket and Nigerians massively voted for them was an indication to me that Nigerians can actually be united. June 12 was a sacrifice for democracy and late MKO Abiola was the sacrificial lamb. Now, are the people, who are beneficiaries of the struggle living the reality of it? Can we truly say that many years after the struggle, Nigeria is progressing? I don’t think so because even those who claimed to have those progressive democratic credentials during the June 12 struggle are not living the truth of that declaration at the moment. We now have states where the judiciary and legislative are just appendages of the executive.

 

 

“All said and done, there is nothing as good as having a democracy. I’m hopeful that it can only get better and the people should also be alert to their responsibilities in demanding accountability from their leaders.

 

 

“It is not the responsibility of the Nigerian citizens to be supporting blindly even when they’re not doing what they’re supposed to do. If we continue to do that, democracy will not develop the way it should.”

 

 

With all these said, it is obvious that the goodwill of June 12 has not really reflected on the fate of the nation and with 28years down the line, what does the future hold for the average Nigerians, who fear that the struggles of the June 12 heroes are appearing to be in vain?

 

 

As we move forward as a nation, despite our many challenges, insecurity being major one, let us continue to take account of the need to truly make the dream of a truly democratic Nigeria by the late Chief MKO Abiola and several other actors, dead and alive, a reality.

 

 

Happy Democracy Day, Nigerians!

Victor Ojelabi 

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Pray For The Pope Against Covid…Goodluck Jonathan Will Rise Again -Prophet Alex Ugochukwu

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As the year has started to unfold, Prophet Alex Ugochukwu of the Immaculate Chapel Ministries aka Jesus The High Court Judge, Owerri, Imo State has asked Christians all over the world to pray for the Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis against the dreaded pandemic, Coronavirus.

 

In his prophecy for 2021, Ugochukwu said; “Eight months from now, a leader of a church will die. Everyone should please pray that the Pope of the Catholic Church will not die. If it happens, it will be said he died of covid 19. We need to pray for him.”

 

 

Ugochukwu who prophesied about the recent invasion of the military in Orlu, Imo State said that the Lord told him that former President Jonathan Goodluck will again rise to fulfil destiny.

 

He said: “I saw many fishes around him, and those fishes signifies people. Very soon, Johnathan will rise for something about Nigeria and it will be something positive for Nigeria.”

 

Continuing, the man of God revealed that there are ongoing plans to thwart the 2023 election, but their plans according to him will fail. He said: “In 2023, God will raise a genuine president for this country Nigeria.”

 

Hear him on other prophecies: ““The Lord told me that October 2021 will be a strange month. Evil things will happen but I will save my children.

 

The Lord said that a bomb of judgement will drop and fall on all fake people living in Aso Rock and people will run helter-skelter.

 

There will be a clash, a kind of misunderstanding between three African nation’s this year.

 

Before middle of this year 2021, over 25 native doctors in the form of pastors will be disgraced this year

 

A governor who has been suffering his people will be disgraced and destroyed.

 

I saw an eagle spraying something like a gas in the air and covid 19 disappeared. Anyone that inhales it will be healed. Before April this year, covid 19 will be reduced.

 

I saw a very popular sport star dying wearing jersey number 9. If you turn 6 upside down it becomes 9, and they said he died of heart problem.”

 

 

Adding, the firebrand preacher further declared thus: “The Lord said that He will show Himself to the world between August and September 2022. I don’t mean the end of the world but He alone knows why and how He will show Himself.

 

Very soon, the Nigerian government will be running for help but no one will agree to help Nigeria.

 

Nigeria as a government will become more confused and disgraced from now. All the people I saw as Nigerians are confused, running in one room, hitting their heads on the wall from one wall of the room to another.

 

As I was praying and closed my eyes, I saw people running helter-skelter around warehouse roundabout at Orlu road Imo state. I saw the army running around warehouse and there were shootings and stray bullets killing people.

 

I even saw a Reverend father who got hit by stray bullets as he was trying to run away from his car. I saw a dark night in Imo state. There will be dead bodies. People will declare curfew for themselves, they won’t come out because of fear. This will happen before April.

 

I saw big men running out of the state and abandoning their cars.

 

Before October I saw many big men being killed by angry youths/mob

 

The Lord spoke to me again to tell the world again that they will conspire to probe President Joe Biden before two years from now. The conspiracy will not be true, it will be cooked.”

 

 

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OPINION

The Quarrel Sunday Igboho Picks With Pastor Adeboye (2)

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SUNDAY IGBOHO

Last week, I noted the role of religious leaders in any nation. One more thing I add here is that respect is earned;  it’s neither automatic nor commanded as some glibly claim. So there’s a very thin line between earning respect and losing it where a religious leader is concerned.

 

The higher power he claims to represent is what essentially attracts reverence to a religious leader. In addition is the dignified and responsible manner he conducts himself. Once a religious leader abandons his job of calling mankind to the higher power, and publicly makes divisive comments like mere ethnic agitators do, he’s thrown away any aura of reverence he has.

 

For the simple reason that his divisive utterances can make Rwanda happen here many reasonable Nigerians won’t hesitate to engage him in a robust debate.

Now,  I come to the second segment of my intervention which I stated but didn’t touch last week. That is, calling Sunday Igboho’s attention  to a few things he might have missed and which made him to make the kind of comment he did about the General Overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E.A. Adeboye.  Different forces are ever at play in any nation.

 

Those who agitate for one thing or the other are part of it. Such are relevant to the functioning of any democratic system. However, I put the following to Igboho. An agitator should have a focus. No organised agitator takes on all battles. It cannot help his cause that he takes on too many battles on too many fronts. For just as Igboho has missed the point that a religious leader leads people from different tribes, his comment also shows he misses the point that he may be alienating the Yoruba in Adeboye’s church, the same Yoruba he agitates for.

 

What use is it to Igboho when he alienates a segment of the people he needs in order to remain relevant in the cause he pursues?  He didn’t think that part through.

 

 

Also important for Igboho to note is that there’s a manner the Yoruba don’t talk.  We are a refined people. Any Yoruba person who talks recklessly obviously misses some fundamental training.  In fact, as I continue to relate with tribes other than mine, I see the difference in Yoruba polished sensibilities as well as the manner we talk. The other month, one Yoruba man was interviewed on TV.

 

Asked to comment on a statement made by someone, this interviewee responded that the Yoruba don’t talk that way. Igboho speaks about Adeboye in a manner no Yoruba person who’s from the area which the historian, Dr. O. Johnson, referred to as ‘Oyo Proper’ does.

 

 

Leaving out religion, no Yoruba person would look at the face of an elder who has never offended him and say what Igboho has said. More than that, I once told a friend what one person said sarcastically about yet another person who had some personal challenges. My friends   reacted: “Ah, when he too doesn’t know what can happen to him.”

 

I’m still wondering as to what spurred Igboho to say he wouldn’t  commiserate with Adeboye over the loss of his son. But it sounded to me like another comment that was not thought through before it was made.  In case some journalists lured Igboho into making comments that would sell their newspaper, I would only state that I hope Igboho would refrain from dabbling into issues that cannot help his cause.

 

Alright, Igboho wants Adeboye to act the way he does. But I had stated it on this page in the past that in any setting, militants, activists, street protesters, and religious leaders occupy different spheres.  In any case, just as we don’t all have the same personality traits, so also all religious leaders don’t have the disposition of a Rev. Martin Luther King. More so, Adeboye has once said that as far as he’s concerned, prayers achieve more than activism.

 

Furthermore,  do some agitators have the notion that certain changes in Nigeria happen just because of their activism? I imagine Adeboye has an answer to that as well.

 

 

Recently, this religious leader was saying his followers should never mind those who claim personal credit for the lower rate of COVID-19 infection in Nigeria. He told his followers that it happened because they prayed. This thus addresses the wrong notion many have that just one course of action brings about changes in any society. Many routes actually lead to a destination.

 

It’s the way it works.  Just as Rev. King was in the streets in the 1960s, I imagine that some other religious leaders in the US were on their knees praying for changes to happen. There were also African American lawyers who moved from one court to another to challenge injustice meted out to African-Americans.

 

 

I suspect, going by his past public comments, that Adeboye will  make the submission that while some religious leaders make divisive comments about Nigeria and its peoples, he prefers to pray. He might submit that as some religious leaders openly insult government that their Book says they should pray for, he uses his good offices to counsel members of the same government. As some religious leaders become activists, Adeboye might say he and his followers have been engaged in their own activism too, but of a different kind.

 

At least every Nigerian sees on TV how different groups and NGOs under his church help many poor people, how they establish institutions for skills acquisition among disadvantaged Nigerians, and how they establish state-of-the-art hospitals  across  Nigeria to help the helpless. This same religious leader, in his home state, paid for the construction of kilometers of road to his town and neighbouring towns.

 

 

The beneficiaries of this last item are Yoruba people, the same people Igboho says he’s fighting for.  So while he agitates by attending rallies, it’s obvious that Adeboye does his own agitation by filling the gaps which  the government has left, especially in the area of improving the socio-economic condition of our peoples. Different paths do lead to a market.

 

I imagine that as some religious leaders fight for only members of their tribe, Adeboye might say he doesn’t lose sight of the fact that he has people from every tribe as followers, so he cannot insult any tribe because of the criminality of a few.

 

I suppose he would add that the founder of his religion didn’t fight for tribe, so he’s following the example that the founder of his religion has set.  But if Igboho expects Adeboye to agitate for only the Yoruba, he’s not alone.

 

Many people who may not have a thorough understanding of what it means to claim to have a religion or be a religious leader say the same thing. As I implied last week, a religious leader is like a traditional ruler.

 

The traditional ruler belongs to everyone, irrespective of tribe or religion. Everyone trusts and seeks his protection. A religious leader shouldn’t be anything less than this in any community where he resides. But here’s Igboho who expects a man who presides over a congregation that includes all tribes and nations to begin to agitate for only one tribe.

 

It’s not surprising, some religious leaders have laid a wrong precedent in other places in Nigeria and  Igboho thinks Adeboye should be like them.

 

 

I submit here that I’m alarmed at how some who say they are religious leaders are sounding these days. I’m not alone. The immediate past Deputy Governor of Kaduna State, Yusuf Bala Bantex, once watched videos of what some religious leaders were saying on pulpit about people of other tribes.

 

 

He’s so shocked that he issues a strong statement condemning such religious leaders, adding that this isn’t what his religion teaches.

 

 

For me, Igboho, with his comment on Adeboye,  has moved beyond the boundary he carves for himself into a  territory he shouldn’t have ventured into.  He’s an agitator, and he should focus on that. There’s one space for him, and there’s another space that true religious leaders fill.

 

As for religious leaders who focus on their calling, conducting themselves in such a manner that they remain unifying forces in our polarized communities and nation, they deserve the support and respect of all of us

– Concluded

 

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