FEATURE ARTICLE

Mankind Olawale OyewumiWednesday, February 9, 2011
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THE NIGERIAN PASTOR

“My lord temporal, today is the day to rise up against the regiment of Lords spiritual and proclaim the values of enlightenment, compassion and common sense.” ----Polly Toynbee.

“There are pastors who won’t go to people’s sick beds. How can people of God turn back on the sick, poor and hungry?” ---James Robinson.

“Happy and fortunate indeed would this nation be, nay, completely blessed, if it had good prelates and pastors, and but one prince, and that prince a good one.” ---Giraldus Gambrensis.


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ong I have been aware of certain unseen but clearly seeing, widely influential element that exists to stir the central soul of man. Its compass is the illuminated, charting substance of the soul. It was made popular by prophetic claims, philosophers’ depths, and the beauty-permeated verses of mystical poets. These historically mighty claims and dialectically distinguished depths however debar not its reach as guides. This element, for the animist, perches on leaves, dwells in the cracked crevices of rocks, hides in dens, flows in the unceasing rush of rivers and exercised its acrobatic infiniteness in the rise and fall of waves. It adds to the exhausted bars in the electro magnetic force of fate and faiths. Men’s might in righteousness stem from it; his muses, actions, conquests or sobrieties maintain some esoteric affiliation with it. On it, congresses and assemblies are built. From it, organizations and institutes derive their aims and relevances. Discovered by man, this element wings into spiritual marvels that had differently traveled the human race to the far region of depth and love. Noticed by Confucius, Confucianism; identified by Mohammed, Islam; observed by Mankind Olawale Oyewumi, Samaformism; found by Zoroster, Zorostrianism. Behold, it is the same infinite substance that Christians, Hinduists, Jews, Sikhs, Spiritists, Shintoists, independents, Buddhists, Taoists, Jains, Baha’is, etcc., have so passionately proclaimed in the history of human spiritualism.

In whomever this element shines, he or she turns a phenomenon worthy of intellectual concern or scholarship’s light. It scatters and collates our planet’s all. It redefines and re-characterizes our joint plot. It sympathizes with transcendentalism, idealism, realism, structuralism, internationalism, regionalism, etc., according to the humanely applicable propositions of definite angular truths. It is justice and order. It is holiness and righteousness. It is peace and harmony. It is art and poetry. It is psychology and sociology. It is science and technology. It is found in all men and women according to their varied measures in passion for beauty, love and positive ardour; in whatever the human mortal believes or does, or plunges his/her metaphysical immortality, traits for comprehension, clarification and organization, there this element lives. By various Nigerians of impeccable character—through whatever form of existence or field—this element has been undauntedly pronounced, note. Those I tag Nigerian pastors are destroyables of the Nigerian geographical ambience with

Soul-fondness for the Christian pathway. Effectively as the holy Samaformist scholar sees the filth and improve the world, or the revered Buddhist priest points the world to the truth with the magnifiable lens of the progenitor-author of the First Thoughts, the pastor takes his congregants away from the realm of existential vanities, through Christianity, for the healthy alliance of the flesh and the soul as inspired by Jesus Christ. These men and women, these pastors and prelates, Nuns and evangelists with profound belief in the perspectives of Christ, are unarguably Christians or followers of Christ.

With its ancient subscription to moral scruples, humility, Christly nature, Christianity as an improved version of several known ways of getting to piety has agelessly carved an inch for itself in the spiritual story of my native Nigeria. So from Henry Townsend, Bishop Ajayi Crowder and a host of other Christian missionaries, this religion had begun its slop-slip into the doctrine-creed of my people. Characterized by deep Christian teachings that are guided by the Holy Bible, miracles that improve the physio-spiritual well-being of the faithful, and a stubborn, almost incurable clinch to the second coming of Jesus Christ, Christianity in Nigeria is no small agent of Man’s perception of divinity and quest for piety. Contributed by Jossy Nwocha, Olu Ojewale, Chris Ajaero, Obong Akpoekong, Anza Philips, Fola Adekeye, Solomon Ibharunefe, Geoffrey Ekenna, Victor Ugborgu, Favour Okereke, Aneette Edo, Betty Onuh, Enu Reuben, Tosin Ominiyi, Juliet Akura, and edited by Bideh William, a fascinating list of Fifty Most Powerful Nigerian Pastors endear us to the fundamentally behavioural patterns and the spiritual feats (doctrines and deeds) of those I call Nigerian pastors:

“When on April 9, 2000 , Jeremiah Ejikeme, general superintendent of Faith Pentecostal Ministry, Umuahia, stood before a large congregation to testify that God raised him from death, January 29, 2000 , it sounded incredible. He claimed to have been certified dead at the Model Hospital and Maternity, 4, Oboru Street ,Umuahia, Abia State on January 25, and was transferred to the morgue before his dramatic "resurrection" five days later.

Ejikeme thanked God for using Victor Onukogu, popularly known as Daddy Hezekiah, founder of Living Christ Mission for the miracle.

In a less dramatic but no less amazing circumstance, a woman who attended a crusade organised by Francis Wale Oke, founder of the Sword of the Spirit Ministries, attracted the attention of the congregation with screams of joy and halleluyahs while waving a newspaper in her hand.

Her testimony was in 1999. She had approached Oke in London to pray for her as she faced an immigration order to deport her back to Nigeria . It was her last chance and she just had to win. A day after the prayer, the House of Parliament in London decided that all asylum seekers in Great Britain for a certain period be given automatic residence. About 56,000 people were affected and the woman was among them.

Gabriel Akubueze, 24, a trader in textile materials at Agege was among the thousands of people that trooped into one of Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s Total Experience crusade in Lagos . "I want a miracle for my business," he said.

Ejikeme, Akubueze and the asylum-seeking woman aptly portray the various reasons why millions of Nigerians search for miracles, signs and wonders. They have continued to attend religious crusades to seek miracles to their numerous problems such as barrenness, unemployment, financial difficulties, deliverance from ancestral curses, sickness and more.

In Nigeria today, there are more than 50 of such powerful pastors in whose areas of speciality are miracles, prophecy, healing, teaching, preaching, marriage counselling, and are attracting people with such problems. They include Pastor Enoch Adeboye, general overseer of The Redeemed Christian Church of God. Humble, the mathematician-turned preacher has impacted on the lives of millions of Nigerians with his monthly Holy Ghost Night programme.

On every first Friday of the month, all roads virtually lead to the "Redeem Camp" at Kilometre 46, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, venue of the crusade. The programme attracts thousands of miracle seekers every month. And they come from as far as Kaduna , Benue , Ilorin , Ibadan , Lagos and Port Harcourt .

The RCCG is one of the fastest growing churches in Nigeria with branches all over the 36 states of the federation and in London and the United States . In Lagos alone, nearly every street has a branch or fellowship centre of the church. It has been said that this is in line with Adeboye’s vision to spread the gospel.

David Oyedepo, general overseer of Living Faith Ministries aka Winners Chapel has grown to become an oak tree in Christendom. His 50,000 capacity worship centre known as Cannanland in Otta, Ogun State , has attracted Christian worshippers from within and outside the country. Newswatch learnt that in the last 10 years of his ministry, many barren women have given birth to babies after attending his miracle programmes. Many more claimed that they received healings, secured employment, financial breakthroughs, turn-arounds in their respective businesses and deliverance from ancestral curses.

Oyedepo’s motivational, faith-building teachings have also endeared him to many. As part of his outreach programmes, the church acquired an aircraft in 1996 to facilitate his evangelism programmes to countries outside Nigeria . Tagged "Gospel on Wings," the programme was launched as an arm of the World Mission Agency Incorporated - the organ responsible for foreign mission operations.

Today, the church is said to exist in every state of Nigeria and in some other African countries. Oyedepo has more than 20 books published by his Dominion Publishing House to complement his soul- winning efforts.

Samuel Abiara, 59, founder, Agbala Itura World-Wide, faction of Christ Apostolic Church is known for his healing services, evangelism and prophecies. Abiara told Newswatch that he is not a miracle worker but said God has used him to perform miracles. "The blind see, barren women conceive and bear healthy children, among others that God has used us to perform in the name of Jesus,"he said. The church headquarters in Ibadan , Oyo State , is capable of seating 5,000 worshippers at each service . Abiara enjoys the perks of his ministry. "Our God is God of prosperity and wealth. Nobody that does the will of God would lack anything," he said.

The name Chris Oyakhilome, pastor, Christ Embassy, is almost synonymous with miracles. He is widely known for his Atmosphere for Miracles, a television serial which advertises the numerous miracles performed by him. The programme is a hit on many state and private television stations all over the country. Oyakhilome’s recent outing at National Stadium, Lagos , early this year attracted about 50,000 people.

Another man of God who has continued to hold sway in the miracle arena is Pastor Temitope Joshua, founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, Ikotun Egbe, Lagos . His miracle programmes which is aired on television stations have continued to elicit reactions from church leaders and the public. Particularly, his genuflection of the hand during every miracle healing process has been widely described as reflection of occultic leanings.

Scathing as the criticisms are, he has remained unperturbed and has continued to dazzle the public with his feats. Located at Ejigbo, the Synagogue has turned out to be Mecca of a sort for miracle seekers. Among them are Europeans and Americans, who flock to his ministry for miracles. It was this same curiosity that compelled President Chiluba of Zambia to visit the Synagogue in 1999.

On June 19, this year, Paul Dhanakran, an Indian but internationally acclaimed evangelist and mentor to world pentecostal leaders such as Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn, visited the Synagogue to receive healing for an intractable ailment that defied any cure. Barely four days after, Dhanakran left the Synagogue a new man. He had not been able to walk in the last five years. Joshua has in store, films of his healing powers. One of the films shows that he had also raised a man from the dead. He also claims to heal people of AIDS, cancer and other deadly diseases.

Victor Onukogu became born again in 1967 and changed his name to Hezekiah. Between then and now, he has grown to become one of the leading miracle workers in Anambra State . Popularly known as Daddy Hezekiah, and founder of Living Christ Mission, Onitsha , Anambra State , he told Newswatch that the first miracle that God performed through him was to raise from death a young girl at Inland Girls Secondary School , Onitsha , November 21, 1982 . Ever since, he said God has performed many other miracles and blessed a lot of people through him.

As part of efforts to accommodate the geometrically growing congregation, Hezekiah has started work on a new church headquarters at Onitsha .

Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Ede, founder of Catholic Prayer Ministry of the Holy Spirit, Elele, Rivers State, is perhaps the first Catholic priest whose miracle works remain immensely popular. Ede has a penchant for breaking of curses and healing the sick through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The monthly miracle programme he organises at the Pilgrimage Centre, Elele attracts Christians from all parts of the country who desire breakthroughs in life.

Beyond the transformations Ede has brought to the style of worship in the Catholic church, he has also established reputable academic institutions. He is the proprietor of OSISATEC, a polytechnic in Enugu and Madonna University , Uli, where emphasis is placed on academic excellence and moral upbringing of students.

Ejike Mbaka, another Roman Catholic reverend father in Enugu is known for his firebrand style of preaching. Signs and wonders follow his ministrations. Mbaka’s weekly all-night adoration crusade at the GTC field, Enugu , has never ceased to inspire Catholic faithfuls to attend his programme. At one of his crowd-pulling crusades March 7, disaster struck and 14 of the worshippers died under mysterious circumstances. Though the ill-fated event generated a lot of controversies, it did not diminish the rising profile of the priest.

His miracles have checked the drift of Catholic faithfuls to other miracle-happening churches. It has also brought Pentecostals, Methodists, and Anglicans to swell the crowd: "People fly from abroad to come to our crusade and fly back," Mbaka told Newswatch.

Christ Mustard Mission, Port Harcourt , carved a niche for itself with the divine revelations of Glory Chika Nsiegbe. He predicts future events on January 1, every year. One of his predictions was that the then gubernatorial aspirant in Rivers State , Rufus Ada-George would become a governor in 1992. It came to pass. He also predicted the death of Sani Abacha, former head of state, in 1996. He is popularly known as the Anointed Man of God in Grace because of his miraculous exploits.

Primate Theophilus Olabayo, founder of the Evangelical Church of Yahweh Worldwide has equally been named in such fashion for his predictions. Although, he has not been visible of late, Olabayo was one prophet whom the nation looked up to for his prediction of the nation at the beginning of a new year. His predictions on political matters and leaders were profound. Olabayo manifested that much even in his writing of letters to leaders of thought, traditional rulers and world leaders to come together and find solution to perceived looming problems.

His predictions were published in his book: The Book of Revelations for Today and Tomorrow. Some of his major predictions, however, created bad press for him because they didn’t come true. When Newswatch sought to interview him last week, one of his able pastors explained why the request could not be granted, "There is a divine revelation that he (Olabayo) should cease from talking to the press untill such a time when there is a counter- instruction," he said.

There are some other pastors in Nigeria whose divine calling transcended miracles and prophecy. They have the power of oratory and teaching of the word so convincingly. Often times, their power-packed inspirational teachings create a new life for the hopeless, the down-trodden, the widows, single parents and youths.

Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo, founder of Kingsway International Christian Centre, KICC, London is one of them. He has penetrated nearly every home in Nigeria through telerangelism. Guided by the motto, "Raising champions and taking territories," Ashimolowo has continued to inspire many lost souls with his sound knowledge of the scriptures. His "Singles Summit" on July 12 was a case in point. Participants found new meaning and confidence in Christian relationships and courtships.

Barely 10 years of existence, KICC now has about 8,000 members at its headquarters in London and four branches. Ashimolowo has published many books on relationships, prayer, motivation and finance power. He has also produced a "Power and Positive" Bible.

Pastor Chris Okotie, founder of Household of God, Oregun, Lagos , is another firebrand preacher that often sends his audience into ecstasies. He is also known for televangelism but with bias for preaching the end times which he titles The Apocalypses. In his messages, Okotie reveals a knowledge of the book of revelations beyond the ordinary.

Fondly called "Grace teacher" by the multitude of his followers, Okotie’s teaching tend to evoke reactions more than edifying his listeners. His latest book, The Last Outcast, which he claims are revelations from God attest to his controversial teachings. The book has raised a palpable degree of dust among Christians because of its spiritual explanations on cloning, polygamy, the church, the anti-Christ, the virgin birth of Jesus Christ and more.

Tunde Bakare, pastor of Latter Rain Assembly, Ogba, Lagos is in a class of his own when it comes to political predictions. In the course of such predictions, Bakare has on one or two occasions invited the wrath of government. In particular, the prophecy on "Hundred Days and Hundred Ways " rattled the government so much that he was arrested and interrogated by the State Security Service early this year.

Beyond his predictions on national issues, Bakare is one preacher who has inspired and motivated so many. He features regularly on radio and television to share his knowledge of the scriptures.

Every church has its own history. Paul Adefarasin’s House on the Rock deserves a mention. Born with a silver spoon, Adefarasin squandered his life away on drugs in the United States until he saw the light in 1994.

From the living room of his mother in Lagos , he set up a church that blossomed over the last seven years to 7,000 worshippers at its present headquarters. This is in addition to 36 other branches both within and outside the country.

Eloquent and charismatic, Aderafasin is one of the favourite televangelists. Through his "Something Is About to Happen" television programme, he has been able to touch the lives of many weary souls in many ways. Many find his turn-around from his previous drug addicted lifestyle as a great challenge in their own lives.

Today, Adefarasin is putting up a N1.3 billion " Rock Millennium Temple " that would accommodate thousands of worshippers. Quite a trendy pastor!

But long before the emergence of the likes of Adefarasin, Gabriel Oduyemi, founder of Bethel Ministries made waves with his "Miracle Night" television programme in the mid 90s.

The midnight programme which caught the attention of millions of Nigerians then featured worshippers waving handkerchiefs above their heads on instruction to realise their miracles of becoming millionaires. For millions of Nigerians who are constantly looking for miracles, signs and wonders, Oduyemi was God-sent then.

A firm believer in financial prosperity, Oduyemi encouraged most of the miracle seekers to donate generously to his church because "God loves a cheerful giver." Today, Oduyemi, who is now less visible has changed the name of the church to Bethel Worship Incorporated.

Mountain of Fire and Miracles is another big ministry in Nigeria . Founded by Daniel Kayode Olukoya, the church had gone a step further to establish a " Prayer City " along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

Olukoya has been able to pull a large crowd of worshipers because of his power in effective prayers and spiritual warfare. He has inculcated in the minds of the worshippers that there is a demon or two to fight in every human problem on earth. To this end, he has de-emphasised the dependence on pastors by worshippers in preference for a "do-it-yourself-prayer sessions."

William Kumuyi, general overseer of Deeper Life Christian Ministry has also changed the lives of many by teaching members to live a Christ-like life and praying ceaselessly. The church is also strong in house fellowship programmes as a way of encouraging spiritual growth. It views television programmes as too worldly and as tools of distraction. The thrust of the church is an emphasis on righteousness and holiness.

Rev. Wilson Badejo, general overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church is also known for his powerful sermons on holiness, righteousness and salvation. His teachings have indeed changed the lives of many and have led them to Christ. He is a powerful preacher of the word of God. Since he took over the mantle of leadership of the church in 1999, the 53-year-old veterinary doctor-turned preacher has taken the church to high spiritual pedestrial.

Sam Amaga, founder of the Foundation Faith Chapel Incorporated preaches prosperity like many of his peers. That is not unexpected from a man ordained as bishop by late Benson Idahosa. Amaga commands large followership from his miracle exploits. He has healed, and delivered many from endless problems that confront man.

Amaga is also popular with his televangelism programmes. His book, How to Be an Achiever, is a Christian best seller.

Francis Wale Oke, founder of Christ Life Church is another powerful preacher. He had carried his crusade to even states that are sharia-based. He said he had taken his missionary exploits to 49 countries including the Soviet Union where Christianity was intolerable. Oke is the bishop and founder of Christ Life Church , aka Sword of Spirit Ministries.

Founder of the World of Life Bible Church at Warri, Ayo Oritsejafor is another protege of the late Benson Idahosa. Described as flamboyant and a forceful preacher, Oritsejafor is gifted with teaching the word. His fearless style of preaching has earned him several invitations to several countries including Germany , Great Britain , America and France , among others.

In confirmation to his winning souls for Christ, the church today boasts of many members.

Like Wale Oke, Emmanuel Nuhu Kure, pastor of the Throne Room (Trust) Ministry has taken the gospel of Jesus Christ to Islamic enclaves in the North. An uphill task no doubt, Kure succeeded in training a lot of northerners as pastors.

With headquarters in Kafanchan, Kaduna State , membership of the non-denominational ministry is estimated to be more than 10,000. In recent times, Kure has extended his spiritual warfare to Port Harcourt and Lagos . Winning souls and commanding large crowds has never been an all-men’s affair.

Bimbo Odukoya, powerful female preacher is well-known for her Singles and Married programme on TV. It has stood her apart as one of the remarkable church leaders.

As a role model to the youths, Odukoya’s teachings of the word centres on moral uprightness, Christian courtship and counselling. Singles and Married programme is very popular among the youths. Odukoya’s unique style of delivering her messages has continued to endear her to many Nigerians. Her husband is also a pastor.

For Margaret Idahosa, the presiding bishop of Church of God Mission International , her strength could be best appreciated in her effectively managing more than 3,000 branches of the church worldwide. Added to this was the extra burden of overseeing the numerous investments on education of her late husband, Archbishop Benson Idahosa.

Over the years, Margaret had worked tirelessly to perpetuate the legacies left behind by her husband. "His greatest desire is for us to continue where he left off... we must not allow the work to die," she told Newswatch.

Nkechi Anayo-Iloputaife, general overseer of the Victory Christian Church, Badagry Expressway, Lagos , is another female pastor who assumed headship after the demise of her husband, in 1995. The gruesome murder of her husband affected the strength of the church but the strong-willed woman resolved to forge ahead with painstaking efforts and dedication.

Today, the church, under her leadership has catered for many "Victory" faithfuls in many ways. The church has branches in 12 states of the federation

Evangelist Helen Ukpabio, founder of Liberty Gospel Church , is another female minister of the gospel. She has carved a niche for herself at evangelising through film making than in physically preaching the word. As an actress, it was easy for her to use her acting to send out inspirational messages to her growing audience. - Films such as From Grass to Grace, The Price, Power to Bind and Wasted Years, are soap box for believers. Originally a member of the Olumba Olumba fraternity, Ukpabio has published two books against the sect: "The Seat of Satan Exposed" and Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft. Barely four years old in her new-found ministry, Ukpabio has established 18 other branches in the country.

In the last 15 years, Tunde Joda, pastor of Christ Chapel, Lagos has consistently engaged members of his congregation every December in fasting. An astute preacher who always sermonises the need for exemplary political leadership among lawless leaders in the country believes that it is the only way to create sanity in the country. "I want to effect a change. It must begin from the leaders. Lawlessness is a spirit. It started from the top. When leaders are lawless, it affects everybody," Joda said.

It has been the centre of his sermons and he therefore, concentrates more on fasting and prayers. He is a medical doctor-turned preacher.

Apostle G.D. Numbere, pastor of Greater Evangelism World Crusade is a chip off the old block. A one-time chairman of the Rivers State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Numbere lays much emphasis on prayers and evangelism. He commands a lot of respect among fellow pastors in the South-South zone because of his miracle exploits and spiritual powers.

Mike Okonkwo, bishop of The Redeemed Evangelical Mission, TREM, is another leader no Christian would forget in a hurry when it comes to preaching prosperity and prayers for deliverance.

But his additional role as the president of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria tends to be more pronounced than his first calling as minister. Yet, a closer look reveals Okonkwo as a force in the present crusade to win Nigerians for God.

Lawrence Osagie, the founder of Powerline Bible Church is known for his umbrage against government, public institutions and religious bodies.

He is also known for his trendy dressing. Osagie preaches holiness to fight against social injustice. He is also a gifted teacher in scriptural matters. He is so miffed by the political situation in the country that he has suggested the church should lead a revolution that would usher in a better society. Powerline has branches in Abuja , Edo , Cross River , and Abia states.

Uma Ukpai, a well-travelled Nigerian evangelist is the founder of Uma Evangelistic Association, Uyo. A profound and charismatic miracle worker, he has traversed a number of churches, delivering powerful sermons and offering prayers backed with miracle.

Several pastors from different denominations have invited Ukpai to be part of their programmes but he could only honour a few. Others have used Ukpai’s photograph in their handbills to sell their programmes and it has worked miraculously.

Another powerful miracle worker, Samson Ayorinde, prophet of the World Evangelism Bible Church , Ogudu, is said to have a special anointing on problem of barenness. He is known as "barenness bulldozer." Ayorinde has drawn wide membership within a short period of his ministry.

From testimonies and through telephone calls in his Samson Ayorinde Live TV programme, some have testified that they have received miracles from Ayorinde by just placing a glass of water in front of the TV set as instructed.

As a miracle worker in high demand, Ayorinde has moved to the Lagos State Television premises where he now conducts night vigils. Women in search of the fruits of the womb have continued to flock his miracle programmes. So are the unemployed, students and a host of miracle seekers.

The more than 2,000 worshippers at the Evidence of the Gospel Church, Benin City never hide their admiration for Oyonnude Kure, general overseer of the church for his eloquence and motivational teachings. In addition, Kure has also performed a number of miracles on his church members and non-members alike.

When it comes to anointing, Kure often resorts to the use of handkerchiefs and anointing oils to perform his divine duties. Kure has now set aside the first Friday of every month for special anointing but the crowd never seems to get enough of him as they surge to touch his garment or any of his members.

Pastor Patrick Anwuzia of Zoe Ministries is noted for his no-holds barred prosperity preaching. He heads the Zoe ministry spread across Nigerian cities and some other foreign countries. He describes himself as a strategic preacher of practical Christianity.

Though on the ebb following some scandals and assassins’ attack on him, Anwuzia years ago, took the pentecostal community by storm. He is gradually bouncing back to recognition.

Rev. O. Ezekiel, the general overseer of Christian Pentecostal Mission, CPM, Ajao Estate, Lagos , one of the fastest growing churches in Nigeria is a powerful man of God. With branches all over Nigeria , CPM lays much emphasis on prayer and personal consecration. Mercy Ezekiel, the overseer’s hat-loving wife and vice-president of the church organisation, a firebrand preacher, is an able partner beside her husband.

In the same category is Felix Omobude, the founder of New Covenant Ministry based in Benin . A protege of the late prosperity preacher, Benson Idahosa, Omobude stands out as one of the present day popular pentecostal pastors and a strong advocate of exemplary leadership even among the men of God.

Prince David Zilly-Aggrey, pastor of the Royal House of Grace, Port Harcourt has become a house-hold name in the south-south zone of the country because of his popular television programme known as the Prophetic Watch.

His teachings have won a lot of souls to Christendom. The Bayelsa-born pastor believes that "you need superior information to cause change in somebody." The strength of his church is more than 5,000 and members of his church believe that although he does not advertise miracles, God is using him to bring prosperity to many people in this period of hardship.

Emmah Isong, a graduate of banking and finance from University of Calabar , wanted to work in one of the most well-to-do banks in the country. But that was not to be. Before he graduated from the university, Isong became born again and later founded Emmah Isong Evangelistic Ministry, after his national youth service corps programme.

Isong now pastors the Christian Central Chapel International at Ikot Enebong, Calabar which has a congregation of some 4,000 worshipers. The centre attracts worshippers from all churches and denominations. Isong is essentially a Bible teacher but many miracles and report of same have been attracting people from all works of life to the centre.

Anselm Madubuko, general overseer of Revival Assembly, Ikeja, travels all over the world. Though, he has no branch elsewhere, he has an apostolic ministry all over the world where he preaches. "What God has done for me is to give me a stable base," he said.

Revival Assembly is a very big church with a capacity of more than 3,000 worshippers at a time. Its worshippers show taste, class and style. The church attracts large membership from the upper class of the society, which explains the fleet of posh cars parked in the church premises on worship days.

Alexander Ekewuba, founder of Overcomers Christian Mission, Owerri, is another powerful man of God in Nigeria. Ekewuba is known for his miracles and demolition of demon-infested institutions in and around Owerri.

The most prominent was the notorious Owerre Ebeiri traditional institution that thrives on the killing of human beings at the event of the death of the Eze and the installation of a new one. It was Ekewuba and his pastors that demystified the barbaric culture at the invitation of Chidi Uzomah, a lecturer at the Imo State University, Owerri and the heir-apparent. He, in fact, liberated the community from the demonic bondage which had existed for years.

Rev. Fr. Dominic Nwobodo, director of the Vincentian Retreat Centre, Lagos, is one of the Catholic priests being used by God to perform miracles and win souls in Nigeria. Convinced that Nwobodo has the divine gift of a miracle worker, the Catholic archdiocese of Lagos gave him the approval to establish the Vincentian Retreat Centre in Ojodu, Lagos. Today, the centre has become a pilgrimage centre of sorts, as miracle-seeking Christians troop to the place in search of divine solutions to their problems. Some of the programmes he organised include counselling for couples, monthly midnight vigil and breaking of curses.

Umoh Ekwo, founder of Bible Standard Christian Ministry with headquarters in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, is a holiness preacher who is popular for his work in rural envangelisation. Since 1978, when the former high school mathematics teacher established the church, thousands of people have been reached with the gospel in Lagos, Abuja, Abia, Imo, Edo, Delta, Rivers, Akwa Ibom and Cross River states.

In Akwa Ibom State, the ministry has been in the forefront of battle against the practice of witchcraft and other evil powers.

Pastor Stephen Akinola, of the Redemption Ministries, Port Harcourt is noted for his prowess in the area of televangelism. His church commands a large population of worshippers who admire his emphasis on practical Christianity.

Gbile Akanni, who lives in Gboko is a teacher of the Word. He holds an inter-denominational fellowship which attracts Christians of all backgrounds. This is possible because the services are held during week days. He does not run a church. He is an itinerant preacher who moves from one denomination to another on invitation.

He is in high demand and travels a lot. Because of his tight schedule, he is booked several months before the appointed date. In addition, he runs a week-long programme in December each year tagged Ministers Leadership Retreat. His areas of strength are in teaching and evangelism.

Idem Ikon, founder of Revival Valley Ministries with headquarters in Calabar, was an undergraduate of University of Ife before he quit school to start preaching. He has been very popular among university students and young people who have been largely reached by his work. Ikon is a respected guest speaker and has featured in many international conferences across Africa .

Nicholas Eze, founder and general overseer of Christ for the World Mission Incorporated with headquarters in Calabar, is another pragmatic preacher. Eze founded the church in the late 1970s with the main objective of reaching the younger generation with the gospel. Over the years, the Abasi Obori, Calabar headquarters of the church is being besieged by miracle seekers and people who seek deliverance from powers of darkness. Christ for the World Mission has now spread to many villages and cities in eastern Nigeria . Eze is basically a holiness preacher and Bible teacher.

Eugene Ogu, pastor of the Abundant Life Ministry, Port Harcourt , is a preacher and teacher of faith. His commitment to the ministry has affected the lives of thousands of people in Rivers and Bayelsa states, who have been abundantly blessed by his spiritual power.

So also is Yomi Isijola, of the Logos Ministry, Port Harcourt . He is a flamboyant man of God who is using the gift of oratory to do great exploits for the Almighty. He is also a prosperity preacher and believes firmly that Christians who serve the Lord in truth deserve to be rich.

His ministry has continued to grow from strength to strength because of people’s belief in his spiritual power to unlock the mountain of achievements which are latent and imprisoned in their individual systems.

Isaac Oriakhi, general superintendent of Gospel Light Redemption Ministry, Abuja , was a foundation member of the Deeper Life Ministry. The ministry which was established in 1991 is very popular in Abuja because of the versatility of Oriakhi in teaching the gospel. The powerful man of God who is humble and unassuming, said that his ministry operates in five-folds. He is a teacher, pastor, prophet, an evangelist and apostle.

Sam Adeyemi whose velveteen voice on the inspirational radio programme, Success Tips, has continued to inspire the youths, is the founder of Daystar Christian Centre, Oregun. The civil engineer-turned preacher is popular among his faithfuls with his radio programme. He offers sound teachings of the scriptures and the principles of success in life. The church has 5,000 members today.

Yet, more powerful pastors are emerging to continue the great exploits in Christendom. And as long as there are miracles, signs and wonders, crusade grounds would continue to attract new faithfuls and testimonies. ”

Said Mahatma Ghandi of India, “I hate you Christians; you are very much unlike your Christ.” Sentiments of this nature matriculated a powerful argument on one of the Online social networks I belong, when, enraged by the unchristly exuberances of most of the Nigerian pastors (and the innocently foolish, or should I say gullible and miracle-glued, prosperity-happy millions they manipulate and exploit), I wrote on my Facebook Wall:

“Unequivocaly, Nigerian pastors are thieves! And leading this trail of moral and spiritual fraudsters are Adeboye, Oyedepo, Kumuyi, Olukoya, Okotie and Oyakhilome. The sane insinuation of those philosophers and radical scholars who declared that religion was a farce has been constantly corroborated by the narrow spirituality and ethically violent, quest-for-materialism traditions of these disguised gangsters.”

See the fire-responses from Christians and intellectuals that I had accordingly responded to with meticulously creative degree of calm and toughness:

Afikode Michael: May God deliver us...I reserved my comment.

Saenet: Why did u have to mention only pastors! What of other religions? My friend take things easy in your write-ups.

Segun Adenekan: Yeah dad! They are bloody thieves!

Saenit: @Mankind, mind what you say before God strikes you down…pity. ?Tochukwu: @ Mankind, why did you criticize Christianity, what of other religions? You said you believe in God and not in religion, so I ask: how do you serve and worship God?

Joseph: Let's call a spade, a spade. The fact that you say the truth about the shortcomings of our 'men of God(Allah)' has nothing to do with your relationship with God. Come to think of it, we have 'men of God (Allah)' everywhere in Nigeria, yet the ...corruption, backwardness and moral decadence of our people is alarming. People steal money and give some to churches/mosques, the religious 'leaders' smile to the banks and leave in opulence while the nation bleeds. 419ers, prostitutes, thieves, etc., have invaded our religious houses, the religious leaders look the other way as long they receive their 'share' of the illicit proceeds. Politicians steal, kill, rig elections etc., and go to religious houses to give thanks to God/Allah(?) while the pastors/reverends/imams look away. I think we need to tell these people that enough is enough; they should stop robbing people in the name of God/Allah. The truth must be told no matter who is involved or affected!

Alege Babayunde Ibrahim: By their fruit we shall know them. ?

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: @Michael: Thanks for being neutral. If I do not know you, I might take this neutrality for complicity. I believe you are irritated too. @Tochukwu: The question is not whether or not my criticism goes after the jugular of yours or another person's religion (I don't have to take permission from anyone to kick against whatever I do not support, or does not make sense to me).We are only interested in the morality-status of these fraud-dealers claiming to know the routes to the Kingdom of God. Are most of the Nigerian pastors not thieves? @Saenit: The true God, in my Samaformist orientation, does not strike anybody down for saying the truth. And if your own God, radically different from mine, is set to oppress me by denying me my freedom of expression, I will fight back. I am Mankind! @I.B. Alege: Yours is a bit hazy here. By whose fruit? You may have to clarify to syncopate the spirit of the discourse. @Segun Adenekan: Thanks, my academic son! May you wax stronger in all the facets of mystical intellectuality and spirituality. May your heart be braver, and mind deeper as you live on as a scholar. I am proud of you. @Joseph: Thanks for these brilliant contributions. Most people will readily accept evil for as long as it is being hatched by a religious leader. For them, asking question is romancing the devil; and going further from questioning to critical declarations that source from logic of events imply aspersion-casting, an immortal blunder to be accompanied with deadly disaster. But they do not know that people exist, who will always say the truth no matter whose horse is gored. Evil is evil, let the perpetrator be our revered angel! Let's wait for more reactions and appropriately address them as they rush in. [email protected] Oyelumade: You are already aware I am never a religious person. And I do not believe we serve God as mortals kept alive and active by his rain and sun, air and water, and other essential factors that we live upon as his creatures; God serves man! However if serving God implies showing Him some gratitude for these things He supplies humanity, I am grateful too. But my gratitude does not have to be given in anybody's name. Beyond the redemptive power my own conducts and blood can offer, I seek none further in or through another man’s blood. I am a Samaformist!

Isaac Oluyi: What happens to plurality of beliefs? The fact that you do not believe in what these men of God preach or profess is not sufficient to call them names. I respect your belief and your views are sound. Is there anything like the absolute "Truth"? Definitely not! It is multiplicity of ideas and beliefs that makes the world tick. It actually takes away monotony and boredom. So, let us live with our beliefs and allow others to live with theirs. No name calling, my brother!

Tunde Olaoye: Isaac has said it all, as long as a man has not come to force you into his belief, or stolen what belongs to you. I doubt if you have any moral justification to condemn him, those who venerate these men (of God) do so because it works for them. Samaformism works for you; Redeem works for some, Christ embassy works for others. It is difficult for a real man to compromise his conviction, it is a core value! And we should respect everyman for his convictions.

Christian: Wale my friend; I'm sure you are aware that it's not scholarly to make a blanket conclusion on conscientious issues! As for your insinuations on the person of Jesus, it's highly condemnable and blasphemous. It is yet unfortunate that u chosen to attack Him for just no cause. The truth about Jesus is that He is the Son of God who existed in human form in order to identify with us. He has since assumed his throne in Heaven haven resurrected from death after 3 days of sojourning in the land of death (tell me who else qualifies for that description). He is coming back to take with him those who believe in His deity which I'm proudly one of them. It isn't by force to accept this aforementioned fact. He told us that many people will reject Him even among His own people. It's not surprising that people kick against the Gospel. In fact the so called scholars (the Pharisees, the Sadducee, the Sanhedrin...) could not fathom the mystery of the power of the Gospel. They unwittingly plotted for his death that actually accomplished His mission on earth. That is why the Bible says that the wisdom of man is foolishness before God. But the true wisdom comes from Him; if you lack it He will give it to u because He generous and in Him there is neither variableness nor shadow of turning. My point really is that you should tread with caution so as not to bite the finger that feeds you. It is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hand of the Living God. As much as He is gracious, loving and merciful, He is equally a consuming fire. Wale I want you to know that we are talking about who created you. It is only a fool, the Bible says, that says there is no God. ?

Tunde Oloye: @ Christian, my heart bleeds so much because most of the friends I had in secondary school have turned to agnostics after scholastic exposures, Mankind inclusive, but like I said earlier, it is not easy for a man to compromise his convictions; it is only God that can change people. God is an experience; He cannot be fathomed by the ken of human intelligence. You must experience Him to really know him. I pray for my friends to experience God! ?

JD Otit: You are free when you can question; you allow mind slavery when religion takes away this inherent right. Are you stupid to reason or question? Religion has become the escape route of cowards, (especially Nigerians) Christianity or Islam.

Seye Olanrewaju: I think that for you to establish a case against someone, even in a court of competent juridiction, you MUST prove beyond every reasonable doubt the veracity of your claim and the authenticity of your evidence(s). @Mankind, what evidence do you have to convince us that these men of GOD you mentioned here had stolen anything from you since you don't even believe in what they stand for? Or do you have any proof to establish your case/claim of theft against these men of GOD?. While I am not portraying these men of GOD as Saints, I strongly feel that it may be blasphemous to keep propagating what you have not substantiated or exemplified. YOU MAY NEED TO READ THE WORKS OF William Congreve (an English Poet & Playwright who lived between 1670 and 1729) IN 'Love for Love' WHERE HE READILY ASSERTED THAT: ''He that first cries out STOP THIEF, is often he that has stolen the treasure.'' See More. @Jd; You shouldn't have been sick just because we believe. It shows still a shallow mindedness and inability to cope with the realities around you. The same ideology or belief you said to be insane spells out the basic principles of a harmonious society, sound economical practices and equitable socio-political statues, upon which these your so called civilized cultures you alluded to (that are now jumping ship, according to you) built their foundations. The real freedom is the knowledge of who you really are; why you are living (the purpose why you're in existence) and where you are going after you closed your eyes to death. If you can answer these questions satisfactory to yourself then you will be free indeed. Of course, we all know that atheists don't have any answer, in the slightest bit, to these questions. If you claim you do, then WHO TOLD YOU; or HOW DO YOU COME TO KNOW? I don't know your country of origin (not of residence). But suppose you ain't a Nigerian, but referring to Nigerians as being cowards just because we're religious is neither here nor there. It doesn't add up as most citizen of every other countries equally practice one form of religion or the other be it Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, etc. It's important you get your facts right!

Tunde Olaoye: If there isn’t something extra-ordinary about Christ, there wouldn’t be this vehement antagonism. These men that Mankind mentioned have excelled in their own sphere. Even the FG and states cannot manage Universities, go and look at the Universities being managed by these men, You can’t hide excellence, u can only beef it. Let us all try to make a mark instead of sitting in a corner to criticize others. ?

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: @Oluyi Isaac and Tunde Olaoye: Nice interventions, my fine friends! I, as a Samaformist, am an ardent advocate of faith tolerance. I have advocated this in my poetry and prose, in whatever outlet of expression possible to creative upholders of the wonder of words. I do not intend to shift tent from this noble intent. And in my argument, I neither attacked Christianity or Islam, nor Hinduism or Confucianism--all mortals are at liberty to cherish whatever experience that makes their hearts joyously jump and connects the heavens; this realization, and the conscientious granting of its inalienable provisions are the marks of man's civilization. And you will agree with me that faith tolerance is not being preached for its empty sake; that for the prosperity and peace of humanity all Faiths ought to work. For true Christians, Jesus Christ is the standard. And the mentioned men above are very far from being committed to his beautiful principles. Or did Jesus, in the careful course of his advantageous sojourn financially benefit from the several teachings he offered the world? Did he own houses in blue cheap locations of his days while millions sleep in decorated gutters? Did he own camels and horses--the available cars of his era--while his people perish as hopeless pedestrians? Did Jesus own places of learning the sons and daughters of the poor could not afford to attend like these bunch of irate pirates that masquerade as pastors built Universities whose attendance has remained forbidden for the downtrodden? Did Jesus sexually and materially exploit his congregants as a trusted spiritual voice of his time as these Neanderthals do? I was fulfilled to read of how Jesus scattered with righteous indignation, the commodities of rogues filling the Temple with immoral triviality in the Bible. Jesus did not support the evil of the leaders of his time with silence and passive action. These men are. Of course generalization will be an affront on the credence of the issue at hand. Pastors like Tunde Bakare, publicized or unpublicized, have added glitter to the lusterless face of Christianity here. Much as I believe everyone is free to believe what he will, I add that no one ought to be given the unquestionable freedom to wreck the collective interest with his or her waspishly unfettered practices. ?

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: @Seye Olanrewaju: Debating along with you, against other Secondary School at Fatima College is remembered even as I write. Those deep intellectual traits that made our team dreadful to opponents are retained in you still; and I value you so much, my brother and friend. Let me commence the debunking of your submission in a quotably re-commenting style:

"I think that for you to establish a case against someone, even in a court of competent jurisdiction, you MUST prove beyond every reasonable doubt the veracity of your claim and the authenticity of your evidence(s). @Mankind, what evidence do you have to convince us that these men of GOD you mentioned here had stolen anything from you since you don't even believe in what they stand for? Or do you have any proof to establish your case/claim of theft against these men of GOD?. While I am not portraying these men of GOD as Saints, I strongly feel that it may be blasphemous to keep propagating what you have not substantiated or exemplified. YOU MAY NEED TO READ THE WORKS OF William Congreve (an English Poet & Playwright who lived between 1670 and 1729) IN 'Love for Love' WHERE HE READILY ASSERTED THAT: ''He that first cries out STOP THIEF, is often he that has stolen the treasure.”

If indeed you are not presenting these men as saints, then they must be devils. The terrible effects of their inaction--if they are adept enough to dress their satanic actions in the garb of inaction-- on the nation is an eloquent proof of their complicity as the representatives of the Church. Or does the fact that IBB or Obasanjo is yet to be legally pinned down takes away the fact that he is a thief and a betrayer of our national goals? Will it be susceptible of corroboration that once a suspected rogue is not yet tried, then he has no possibility of being a rogue? And the proofs of their roguish status are contained in the spiritual companies they register as Churches, through which they heartlessly milk unsuspecting people to their own financial glories. They gathered funds from their different congregations to build Universities which the children of these congregants may never have the resources to attend. They use the good-will the loyalty of the people built for them over the years to connect high places and apply for loans and later claim selfish dominion over the profits of this people-made good will. They, these mentioned men especially, sacrifice nothing (as Christ would prefer) to upgrade the standard of our people's existence. Even capitalism-inspired companies invest a bit in social responsibility. These pastors are looters of a special class. They are disguised haters with no heart for real love. They ought to be the people's last hope. The monumental disillusionments from the Nigerian government ought to find assuaging in their own Christ-like commitment. They only passionately preach to make money, never to recreate the misanthropic establishment that makes sins possible. These crimes against humanity and God, can no logic or jurisprudential theoretical analysis wipe off with ease. They are written with glaring clarity on the sands and seas of time. Mystical beings with neither fear of any fear, nor plan to be counted among the population that will unjustifiably travel to heaven while they set our planet ablaze with their moral horror will always see and kick against these, let the heaven fall! And as for the quoted Congrave in LOVE FOR LOVE, you missed the point. The statement in that fantastic work is a protesting culmination of deeds and misdeeds of character-represented critics whose ways impeach their words. ?

Christian: @Jd; I have read many of such articles but they didn't change my perception about whom I believed. They have not even made any sense to me not to talk of questioning my faith! Now be attentive here. The power of God is really least manifest...ed in physical miracles. Where the power of God is supreme is in the transformation of lives. Changing once a bandit to a community helper/preacher or a condemned murder and prostitute into decent people once again. I think these are the people that you need to hear their testimonies. I believe in physical miracles but that isn't my yardstick in measuring the DEITY of Jesus Christ. After all, it came to a point in Apostle Paul's life that he besought the Lord 3 times that his infirmities might depart from him but God told him bluntly: "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Cor 12: 7-10).This my sound foolish to you but then, that is exactly what it meant to be to a carnally minded person. God chose not to take away Moses's stammering deficiency while sending him to Egypt, rather gave Aaron as his mouth piece. God says He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. Whether you like it or not He is the Almighty God! And we that believe in Him have no apologies as regards this FACT. If the only reason why Jesus was to come was to perform miracles, then I can assure you He wouldn't had. Why do you think he didn't save himself when he was nailed to the cross; even when the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked Him and said: "He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him" (Mat 27:41-42).Jesus ignored them knowing fully well that they absolutely lack the insight of God's plan for the salvation of man. If you juxtapose your understanding of what miracle is; your expectations as what you would like to see, with that of the chief priests and scribes I mentioned above, you will simply see like-minds. These are the set of people Jesus called "the adulterous generation that seeketh after sign; and there shall be no sign given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jona." If I were you I will seek the salvation of my soul rather looking out for the 'miracles of amputation'. Blessed are those who believe before they see. I just remembered that you haven't answered my questions in my previous post; please do I beg thee! Wale, blasphemy actually consists of speaking against a deity you don't believe in. If you believe in Jesus, you wouldn't despicable statements about His person. Again, God is just. You will be justly punished if you intentionally walked into His fury. ?

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: @Christian: Your variety of belief, which you have the right to practise and apply to people of your sort, is not for me. I too, am a son of God; no son requires the goodwill of another son to benefit from a just father. In my own world, I will not believe anything for fear of any punishment. And if your God is set to punish me as you alert, I await the punishment. I have grown beyond the fear of any punishment my true opinions may ensure.

Christian: I beg you my friend, Wale not to be angry. I didn't say that my God will punish you. I am only telling you that a just and merciful God can also punish an intentional offender. Even as earthly farther, won't you chastise you son if he continuously go against your instructions. This thing is a common sense. As for benefiting from God through Jesus, it's an added advantage for those who believe in Jesus. It's not a must. After all don't you receive rain, sunshine, even your daily bread even without asking God for it not to talk of doing it through Jesus. The bottom line is that of the existence after death, then, the fact is that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to God except through Him.

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: [email protected]: The instructions of God to humanity through any religion/prophet find fulfillment in my Samaformist approach. The God you defend has a wider range for His JUDGEMENT than the narrow path-way of any religion. Says Ralph Waldo Emerson of America:

"And now, my brothers, you will ask, what in these desponding days can be done by us? The remedy is already declared in the ground of our complaint of the Church. We have contrasted the Church with the Soul. In the soul, then, let the redemption be sought. Wherever a man comes, there comes revolution. The old is for slaves. When a man comes, all books are legible, all things transparent, all religions are forms. He is religious. Man is the wonderworker. He is seen amid miracles. All men bless and curse. He saith yea and nay, only. The stationariness of religion; the assumption that the age of inspiration is past, that the Bible is closed; the fear of degrading the character of Jesus by representing him as a man; indicate with sufficient clearness the falsehood of our theology. It is the office of a true teacher to show us that God is, not was; that He speaketh, not spake. The true Christianity, — a faith like Christ's in the infinitude of man, — is lost. None believeth in the soul of man, but only in some man or person old and departed. Ah me! no man goeth alone. All men go in flocks to this saint or that poet, avoiding the God who seeth in secret. They cannot see in secret; they love to be blind in public. They think society wiser than their soul, and know not that one soul, and their soul, is wiser than the whole world. See how nations and races flit by on the sea of time, and leave no ripple to tell where they floated or sunk, and one good soul shall make the name of Moses, or of Zeno, or of Zoroaster, reverend forever. None assayeth the stern ambition to be the Self of the nation, and of nature, but each would be an easy secondary to some Christian scheme, or sectarian connection, or some eminent man. Once leave your own knowledge of God, your own sentiment, and take secondary knowledge, as St. Paul's, or George Fox's, or Swedenborg's, and you get wide from God with every year this secondary form lasts, and if, as now, for centuries, — the chasm yawns to that breadth, that men can scarcely be convinced there is in them anything divine.

Let me admonish you, first of all, to go alone; to refuse the good models, even those which are sacred in the imagination of men, and dare to love God without mediator or veil. Friends enough you shall find who will hold up to your emulation Wesleys and Oberlins, Saints and Prophets. Thank God for these good men, but say, `I also am a man.' Imitation cannot go above its model. The imitator dooms himself to hopeless mediocrity. The inventor did it, because it was natural to him, and so in him it has a charm. In the imitator, something else is natural, and he bereaves himself of his own beauty, to come short of another man's.

Yourself a newborn bard of the Holy Ghost, — cast behind you all conformity, and acquaint men at first hand with Deity. Look to it first and only, that fashion, custom, authority, pleasure, and money, are nothing to you, — are not bandages over your eyes, that you cannot see, — but live with the privilege of the immeasurable mind. Not too anxious to visit periodically all families and each family in your parish connection, — when you meet one of these men or women, be to them a divine man; be to them thought and virtue; let their timid aspirations find in you a friend; let their trampled instincts be genially tempted out in your atmosphere; let their doubts know that you have doubted, and their wonder feel that you have wondered. By trusting your own heart, you shall gain more confidence in other men. For all our penny-wisdom, for all our soul-destroying slavery to habit, it is not to be doubted, that all men have sublime thoughts; that all men value the few real hours of life; they love to be heard; they love to be caught up into the vision of principles. We mark with light in the memory the few interviews we have had, in the dreary years of routine and of sin, with souls that made our souls wiser; that spoke what we thought; that told us what we knew; that gave us leave to be what we inly were. Discharge to men the priestly office, and, present or absent, you shall be followed with their love as by an angel."

Tunde Olaoye: [email protected] Christian, some of your points are just too deep for JD, I pray for him and others who say there is no God! @ All, let us ask ourselves if these pastors are the ones responsible for the woes of Nigeria, or don’t they have the right to good ...things of life? Most importantly they are men like us, it is the unction that separates them a little. Every human loves to fly first class, eat good food, live in a comfortable environment. Anyone that says he doesn’t want prosperity is a liar. as long as u have this without robbing people or stealing public fund, u shouldn’t be disrespected!

[email protected] Olaoye: Good one, again from you! I know a Christian has no point that a JD cannot fathom. I do not however, know if JD needs your prayers, Mankind does not. The truth! And while it is correct that all mortals covet good living, none who occupies the public domain ought to parasitically survive on the poverty of the people. Yes, these pastors have contributed bricks and labour to the gigantic misfortune of our country. Along with the Nigerian politicians, these pastors have standardized the tenet of the-richest-grasp-it-all in our history. They claim to be men of, and from God with no single Godly sacrifice to authenticate their being so. They fence vast areas of land for principle-devoid prayers that center on individual, rather than collective success. In their preaching, the nation is well provided their congregants survive. And these preaching, very unrealistic in its fortification, magnetize no realization for as long as these people buy from, and sell at the same markets with other Nigerians. They constitute a partial fulfillment to the criminal creed of capitalism. They consume without producing anything; they occupy without sincerely serving those whose wealth and sweats produce the pillars of their halls. They partake in human rituals and break the spirit of shocked loyalists with serial murder. They exploit and lie against God. They say they see the future without doing anything to avert its inherent dangers. These men womanize. These men have body-guards, even escorts! They are as ordinary as any ordinary congregant of their spiritually hopeless fold, over whom they claim spirituality when doing so favours their agenda and not the congregation’s. Mighty prophets always suffer, and not fly in private jets when millions boast the status of paupers. Tunde, ideal priesthood has more responsibilities too profound to be reduced to the trifles of daily bread and butter; he who feels called to the altar of God on behalf of man must be ready to neglect the spoils and pleasures of ordinary life to advance the cause of God in the well-being of His Universe. Abundant disrespect is the unalterable destiny of mortals who take sacred callings with the hope of possessing desecrating facilities of uninspiring, hollow pleasures!

Tunde Olaoye: Mankind, a sick doctor cannot heal a sick patient, if a pastor is impoverished, he needs time to pray for himself before he can pray for pple.2.1 billion people consisting of erudite scholars, astute business men and women, adept craftsmen, going to church all over the world cannot be silly enough to fall for the con of these pastors. if you think it is all hoodwinking, then these men should be saluted for their impressive artistry, bringing presidents and professors under their spell. The truth is that Christ gives us an inner peace that surpasses all understanding even in this chaotic world. There is no way I would leave peace for crises. He has given me stuffs I don’t deserve; these are why I am sold out to Him!

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: Tunde, until the sick spiritual doctor has achieved health for himself, he cannot claim to be spiritually worthy to physio-anatomically lord it over these so-called billions in great need of salvation. And, what is the big deal about these occupational professionals but hollow billions with no mystical astuteness to distinguish between farce and fineness in the context of religiosity as a result of fear? Was the world population not in billions when Jesus Christ arrived to unilaterally question it? We too are free, (are we not?) to place significant questions at the call-point of pastors who pretend to being holly without sincerity. What inner peace is at pall with the filthy dirt of immoral deals and fraud? Definitely, this was not given by Christ; it was supplied by the eerie realness of exploitative spirits in love with moral complacency and theft. When they have prayed and are spiritually certified healthy by their conscience for this great calling, let them return and earn no contempt from those of us who respect no barrier to call a spade a spade. For now, they remain interlopers and gangsters, most of the Nigerian pastors!

Olaomitito: This is really a brave talk from wale and the fact of the matter is that we are all guilty if we cannot say the truth here. The increasing numbers of churches and mosques in Nigeria have not helped our situations at all with the vast majority of the followers belong to either of these religious groups are the ones ruling our public and private offices with no respect to tenets of their beliefs but instead poverty, hunger, prostitute, ritual killings, sins of all kinds are spreading like wild-fire in our dear nation. Please let change our thinking and change our society for the goods of [email protected] please I beg of you let respect other religions belief for them and not insulting other people's GOD because we need peace to live together. @commentators, please don’t speak for others you can only speak for yourself. Many of our pastors and imams are corrupt only but a few are God fearing. Materialism has replaced good virtues which is unfold everywhere for us to see. Let us reason together.

Seye Olanrewaju: [email protected], your compliment actually humbles me and I must commend you for this. However, I strongly feel that you must be tending towards saturating this sphere with the heresies you believe in and preach. You first statement in your response... to my previous post on this issue clearly exposes your personal vendetta against these men of GOD (which is the intent of your heart towards them). Or how on earth does the fact that a man is not a saint (and is not presented as such) makes him a devil? I don't believe you are a saint yourself but does that make you a devil? If you answer YES to this, then your propaganda can be taken as being true. You may have to take note of the following:

  1. The fact that a suspected rogue, yet to be tried, has the tendency of being a rogue DOES NOT, IN ANY WAY, MAKE HIM A ROGUE.

  2. CHURCHES (the body of GOD's people), in the true sense of this word, are NEVER human enterprises; And the owner of the Church, the LORD JESUS CHRIST (NOT THE PASTORS YOU MENTIONED) HIMSELF, is too powerful to be taken for a ride. He does not need your human intervention to prevent all these gates of hell (you mentioned while commenting), even if they exist, to prevail against HIS church. You claim to be the father of Samaformism and I believe you can give your life for this belief; THE OMNIPOTENT FATHER IS EVEN MORE COMMITTED TO PRESERVING WHAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON FOR.

  3. Your claim of being better in reasoning that millions of people of different climes and races all over the world who are ardent followers of these men of GOD actually leaves much more to be desired. Do you imply that you are the wise man who can identify your so-called evils that all these Christian faithfuls (majority of whom are far ahead of you in every aspect of life) cannot see? As you have chosen to be a samaformist with some followers and no one criticises you because it is your choice, why will you not leave respected Christian leaders and their followers to practise their faith upon which their fate is built? I suggest that you include tolerance as one of the core values of samaformism as I believe that SAMAFORMISM, at the moment, is even more alien than CHRISTIANITY.

  4. Even if you do not respect Christian leaders, millions of respectable men and women do. It will, therefore, be over-assuming to think that you can compel them to jettison what and whom they believe in. IF YOU ARE NOT RELIGIOUS AND OTHERS ARE, LEARN TO RESPECT THEIR BELIEFS IF YOU DESIRE RESPECT.

  5. As you do not contribute in the funds you claim these men of GOD gather, don't you think that it is inappropriate for you to feel like dictating how the funds will be utilised? Or how far have you gone in determining how the tax you pay is being utilised by the government leaders out there?

  6. Do you really believe that CHRIST would prefer sacrifice? And is sacrifice not a form of service? You may, therefore, be contradicting yourself in many words. You do not believe that we serve GOD yet you believe that we can sacrifice unto GOD and for GOD. What then is the purpose of such sacrifice you want these men of GOD to give if not that it is a form of service? HE WHO SERVES HUMANITY ALONE WITHOUT A PROPORTIONATE SERVICE/SACRIFICE TO HIS MAKER IS ONLY LABOURING IN VAIN AS OUR SERVICE TO HUMANITY IS TEMPORARY (with fruits that may last for eternity) BUT OUR SERVICE/SACRIFICE TO OUR MAKER SPEAKS FOREVER EVEN AFTER NOW. So both must be combined and NOT ONE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OTHER.

  7. If you criticize a system without providing another that can compete favourably well with it, then you are visionless. Tell me, Mankind, what alternative do you have for the movements these men of GOD spearhead? May be your so-called SAMAFORMISM. You may need to wait a little longer to sell this your self-styled opinion (that these Christian leaders are thieves) to us here till when you are sure that SAMAFORMISM is in charge of something proportional to what the ministries pastored by these men of GOD have and yet you do not do what you claim they are doing wrong. Get your own Samaformist movement making global impacts (just all their ministries) and prove to whole the whole wide world that you are a better leader than these achievers in the cassocks of priests. Get and run your own school(S) the way a saint in you should and you may not need to speak big grammar before we will see the thieves you want us to see in these men of GOD. I challenge you this day to set noticeable standards with which to measure all-round SUCCESS instead of resulting to insinuations and spurious use of abusive words; Be more practical, put your thoughts into actions instead of words since action, they say, speaks louder than voice; Get your own SAMAFORMIST tabernacle where your followers will gather for the overall satisfaction of their needs just as it it is happening in FAITH TERBANACLE, Otta; Let SAMAFORMISM and its congregation grow to half the size of what the RCCG of today is; I know that our world will prefer a SAMAFORMIST movement that can boast of the famous influence of DLBC, the Heroic feat of pastor Oyakhilome's teachings and the doctrinal principles of Okotie's church, to this name-calling on FB. UNTIL THEN, YOU MUST KNOW THAT YOU'VE GOT NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON WITH/CRITICISM OF THESE MEN OF GOD.

  8. Finally, honest words are painful (and may elicit reactions) but WHAT DOES CRITICISM WITHOUT BASIS OR STANDARD AMOUNT TO?-Only a tool in the hand of the ignorant to achieve vain popularity in a calculated attempt to pull down others and that is why nobody in the history of humanity has ever built any monument in honour of any destructive critic. CRITICISM MAY BE A FORM OF CHEAP BLACKMAIL AND BECAUSE IT IS CHEAP, ITS VALUE IS QUITE SMALL COMPARED TO WORTHWHILE CONTRIBUTIONS IN FORM OF SERVICE TO GOD & HUMANITY WHICH SETS PRECEDENCE OF UNPRECEDENTED ACHIEVEMENTS THAT CAN SET ONE APART FROM OTHERS. If W. Congreve could see it then in LOVE FOR LOVE that it is your way of life and not you words or long speech (or even you look) that determines whether you a thief or not, it may be preposterous to conclude unequivocally that someone who has a bag of treasure is a thief simply because you erroneously perceive that the content of his bag is stolen, MOST ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR OWN BAG OF TREASURE HAS NOT BEEN PRESENTED FOR SCRUTINY, as we may not have any basis to determine who is better of in stealing.

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: [email protected] Olanrewaju: "The fact that a suspected rogue, yet to be tried, has the tendency of being a rogue DOES NOT, IN ANY WAY, MAKE HIM A ROGUE", your words, are the varied form of the interpretation I offered your first submission that a rogue is not yet a rogue untill ascertained that he is so by a competent court of law. This was my comment: "If indeed you are not presenting these men as saints, then they must be devils. The terrible effects of their inaction--if they are adept enough to dress their satanic actions in the garb of inaction-- on the nation is an eloquent proof of their complicity as the representatives of the Church. Or does the fact that IBB or Obasanjo is yet to be legally pinned down take away the fact that he is a thief and a betrayer of our national goals? Will it be susceptible of corroboration that once a suspected rogue is not yet tried, then he has no possibility of being a rogue?" The problem here is that each of us has chosen to lean on an interpretation that favours our stand. This cannot be bad for our varied principles.

"CHURCHES (the body of GOD's people), in the true sense of this word, are NEVER human enterprises; And the owner of the Church, the LORD JESUS CHRIST (NOT THE PASTORS YOU MENTIONED) HIMSELF, is too powerful to be taken for a ride. He does not need your human intervention to prevent all these gates of hell (you mentioned while commenting), even if they exist, to prevail against HIS church. You claim to be the father of Samaformism and I believe you can give your life for this belief; THE OMNIPOTENT FATHER IS EVEN MORE COMMITTED TO PRESERVING WHAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON FOR."

This is an unpeacable piece of spiritual mysticism fought ardently against by quixotic Spartans whose all brought us democracy. What do you mean by this disjointed mantra? These churches are being registered as human enterprises, are you aware? Even if you say that Jesus is the owner of these Churches--and I can't possibly stoop so low to be sold to such fallacy--,all we see, the names on the certificates of incorporations are the pastors'. You said Jesus is God; every human being is! We are all the divine extension of God's vision on earth. SAMAFORMISM, ISLAM, BUDDHISM,

HINDUISM, CHRISTIANITY, are the different faces of one eternal element that stirs the soul of man. God is pleased, provided each messenger-perceiver spares no beautiful sphere in acting as His agent of beauty. Your claim, in the context of this argument, requires me to believe what you believe to agree on this. This is for you, and for those with whom you share similar belief, not for me. However you are deserve the liberty to live by it, not use it as a basis upon which fundamental agreement can be made. But no matter the direction from which we choose to feel piety, certain proofs are basic. The divine man ought to be kind. These pastors are not kind. Their Universities are the most expensive in the country. For this reason, I have chosen to champion the crusade of building five hundred universities all over the world where people can be educated free of charge. Put UNIVERSITY FIVE HUNDRED /UNIVERSITY 500 on any search engine. Oh I even remember that you equally agreed to support this vision. In Ethiopia, a friend-writer of mine got us a large area of land for the project. Thousands of copies of my EARTHBUILDERS paper were distributed to embassies, media houses and individuals to spread this dream. I am not a critic with no willingness to do whatever I preach.

"Your claim of being better in reasoning that millions of people of different climes and races all over the world who are ardent followers of these men of GOD actually leaves much more to be desired. Do you imply that you are the wise man who can identify your so-called evils that all these Christian faithfuls (majority of whom are far ahead of you in every aspect of life) cannot see? As you have chosen to be a Samaformist with some followers and no one criticizes you because it is your choice, why will you not leave respected Christian leaders and their followers to practise their faith upon which their fate is built? I suggest that you include tolerance as one of the core values of Samaformism as I believe that SAMAFORMISM, at the moment, is even more alien than CHRISTIANITY.”

I see where you are headed here. I have not advanced myself as the best. And if my stone-courage at saying what I see, regardless of whose horse is gored is any form of intellectual arrogance, so be it! I owe neither you, nor any human or spirit being an explanation on the course-path I take. My hopes are mine; and as Norman Cousin would put it, "Hope is independent of the apparatus of logic." The word SAMAFORMISM may be alien in man's joint dictionary, but not its imports which are contained in higher poetry and prose, and in the drama and essays and paintings of mystical hearts whose dreams and hopes of a greater humanity constitute the air in the sac of our breath.

"Even if you do not respect Christian leaders, millions of respectable men and women do. It will, therefore, be over-assuming to think that you can compel them to jettison what and whom they believe in. IF YOU ARE NOT RELIGIOUS AND OTHERS ARE, LEARN TO RESPECTTHEIR BELIEFS IF YOU DESIRE RESPECT."

I wonder if you read what you wrote before sending it to me. How does my disrespecting anyone constitute any compulsion for you or anybody,

to dance to the tune of my ideological music? As I told Oluyi Isaac and Tunde Olaoye on the question of faith tolerance:

"I, as a Samaformist, am an ardent advocate of faith tolerance. I have advocated this in my poetry and prose, in whatever outlet of expression possible to creative upholders of the wonder of words. I do not intend to shift tent from this noble intent. And in my argument, I neither attacked Christianity or Islam, nor Hinduism or Confucianism--all mortals are at liberty to cherish whatever experience that makes their hearts joyously jump and connects the heavens; this realization, and the conscientious granting of its inalienable provisions are the marks of man's civilization. And you will agree with me that faith tolerance is not being preached for its empty sake; that for the prosperity and peace of humanity all Faiths ought to work. For true Christians, Jesus Christ is the standard. And the mentioned men above are very far from being committed to his beautiful principles. Or did Jesus, in the careful course of his advantageous sojourn financially benefit from the several teachings he offered the world? Did he own houses in blue cheap locations of his days while millions sleep in decorated gutters? Did he own camels and horses--the available cars of his era--while his people perish as hopeless pedestrians? Did Jesus own places of learning the sons and daughters of the poor could not afford to attend like these bunch of irate pirates that masquerade as pastors built Universities whose attendance has remained forbidden for the downtrodden? Did Jesus sexually and materially exploit his congregants as a trusted spiritual voice of his time as these Neanderthals do? I was fulfilled to read of how Jesus scattered with righteous indignation, the commodities of rogues filling the Temple with immoral triviality in the Bible. Jesus did not support the evil of the leaders of his time with silence and passive action. These men do. Of course generalization will be an affront on the credence of the issue at hand. Pastors like Tunde Bakare, publicized or unpublicized, have added glitter to the lusterless face of Christianity here. Much as I believe everyone is free to believe what he will, I add that no one ought to be given the unquestionable freedom to wreck the collective interest with his/her waspishly unfettered practice." ?

“As you do not contribute in the funds you claim these men of GOD gather, don't you think that it is inappropriate for you to feel like dictating how the funds will be utilised? Or how far have you gone in determining how the tax you pay is being utilised by the government leaders out there?"

Does the fact that a man did not sexually participate in the 'bedmatic' exercises that led to the reproduction of an abducted child--another man's child--preclude him from showing interest in how to search for, capture and then bring its abductors and adulteresses to book? AS a Nigerian and a scholar, I will be a beast with no deep mind if I show no interest in how my nation's resources are being expended simply because modes of expending do not affect my career, family and hope. Put the following essays by me on any search engine to read the unsparing depth of my anger against the Nigerian leaders: THE NIGERIAN POLITICIAN, A GIFT TO NIGERIA AT FIFTY, LETTER TO PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO, THE AFRICAN REFORMER, SOSOLISO, OUR CHRSTMAS SORROW, NIGERIA'S WICKEDEST WEEKEND OF DEATH, FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF RUIN, etc.

"Do you really believe that CHRIST would prefer sacrifice? And is sacrifice not a form of service? You may, therefore, be contradicting yourself in many words. You do not believe that we serve GOD yet you believe that we can sacrifice unto GOD and for GOD. What then is the purpose of such sacrifice you want these men of GOD to give if not that it is a form of service? HE WHO SERVES HUMANITY ALONE WITHOUT A PROPORTIONATE SERVICE/SACRIFICE TO HIS MAKER IS ONLY LABOURING IN VAIN AS OUR SERVICE TO HUMANITY IS TEMPORARY (with fruits that may last for eternity) BUT OUR SERVICE/SACRIFICE TO OUR MAKER SPEAKS FOREVER EVEN AFTER NOW. So both must be combined and NOT ONE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OTHER."

Again I will explain: While all sacrifices are services, not all services qualify as sacrifices. A thief who has served his master for years is engaged in some kind of service--criminal one though. A church where young ladies are being abused and general funds are embezzled too prides itself in the rendering of service. A teacher whose invigilating at examination is corruption-inclined cannot convince you of sacrificing anything for the good of the students. As a student of Christian Theology, I am aware of a particular portion in the bible that sneezes at empty spiritual liturgies. It is better to be good and kind than to preside over a congregational mass; that is the point: Whatever mode of spiritual beauty you choose, follow it to the peak, there definitely dwells the Eternal Fountain from where all useful sprinkles have emanated. My purpose is to push these men to the real top, beyond the fake apogee where the gill-less multitude have seen nothing wrong in deifying the sincerely swindling tendencies of our Christo-spiritual majesties.

"If you criticize a system without providing another that can compete favourably well with it, then you are visionless. Tell me, Mankind, what alternative do you have for the movements these men of GOD spearhead? May be your so-called SAMAFORMISM. You may need to wait a little longer to sell this your self-styled opinion (that these Christian leaders are thieves) to us here till when you are sure that SAMAFORMISM is in charge of something proportional to what the ministries pastored by these men of GOD have and yet you do not do what you claim they are doing wrong. Get your own Samaformist movement making global impacts (just all their ministries) and prove to whole the whole wide world that you are a better leader than these achievers in the cassocks of priests. Get and run your own school(S) the way a saint in you should and you may not need to speak big grammar before we will see the thieves you want us to see in these men of GOD. I challenge you this day to set noticeable standards with which to measure all-round SUCCESS instead of resulting to insinuations and spurious use of abusive words; Be more practical, put your thoughts into actions instead of words since action, they say, speaks louder than voice; Get your own SAMAFORMIST tabernacle where your followers will gather for the overall satisfaction of their needs just as it it is happening in FAITH TABERNACLE,Otta; Let SAMAFORMISM and its congregation grow to half the size of what the RCCG of today is; I know that our world will prefer a SAMAFORMIST movement that can boast of the famous influence of DLBC, the Heroic feat of pastor Oyakhilome's teachings and the doctrinal principles of Okotie's church, to this name-calling on FB. UNTIL THEN, YOU MUST KNOW THAT YOU'VE GOT NO BASIS FOR COMPARISON WITH/CRITICISM OF THESE MEN OF GOD. "

Everything in life begins in the mind of one person. Islam from Mohammed's, Buddhism from Buddha's, Christianity from Jesus', Confucianism from Confucius, etc. So the idea of daubing SAMAFORMISM a self-styled belief is too pedestrian as an object of unfit concern for philosophical analysis. I don't just talk, I am a practical

person. I am the mind behind the mask of UNIVERSITY FIVE HUNDRED.

I am the founder of Humanity Day. These two aspects of humanitarian thinking have emanated from my Samaformist convictions that the world ought to be left better than we have met it. And, fans abound, and are growing every moment, whose all are given to these noble dreams.

"Finally, honest words are painful (and may elicit reactions) but WHAT DOES CRITICISM WITHOUT BASIS OR STANDARD AMOUNT TO?-Only a tool in the hand of the ignorant to achieve vain popularity in a calculated attempt to pull down others and that is why nobody in the history of humanity has ever built any monument in honour of any destructive critic. CRITICISM MAY BE A FORM OF CHEAP BLACKMAIL AND BECAUSE IT IS CHEAP, ITS VALUE IS QUITE SMALL COMPARED TO WORTHWHILE CONTRIBUTIONS IN FORM OF SERVICE TO GOD & HUMANITY WHICH SETS PRECEDENCE OF UNPRECEDENTED ACHIEVEMENTS THAT CAN SET ONE APART FROM OTHERS. If W. Congreve could see it then in LOVE FOR LOVE that it is your way of life and not you words or long speech (or even you look) that determines whether you a thief or not, it may be preposterous to conclude unequivocally that someone who has a bag of treasure is a thief simply because you erroneously perceive that the content of his bag is stolen, MOST ESPECIALLY WHEN YOUR OWN BAG OF TREASURE HAS NOT BEEN PRESENTED FOR SCRUTINY, as we may not have any basis to determine who is better of in stealing."

In the Samaformist way, funds are not required to be gathered and kept by a single individual. We see a given sphere of human need and then inspire people to attend to it. From this nothing is gained beyond the nobility felt in our minds that our actions do improve, or have the possibility of improving people's existence. AS response to your rubbishing insinuation of ignorance and criticism, type MAN THE SCHOLAR by Mankind Olawale Oyewumi on any search engine and see the exceptions to the rules you expunged above.

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: @Seye Olanrewaju, in all, the essence of what we now do here is to improve the human race better that we have all met her. Christains, Muslims, Buddhists, Samaformists, Black, White, Yoruba, Hausa, Asians, Australians, pastors, Imams, scholars, critics, teachers, artistes, lawyers, scientists, engineers---we are all human beings. Let our thinking mode be towards the advancement of the eternal purpose for which man is man. Let us not choose similar ways of thinking and acting as mortals; but let us never fail to sincerely explore the beauty-instincts in all the doctrines and cultures, tenets and ideologies we variously hold as truths. It is not what we hold, or those we respect that break the yokes of human perdition on earth; it is the use we put all of these that determine our joint station as a race. May the world be better, may God be more disposed, because we all are here. Have a nice holiday, my brother.

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: EVERYONE, in all, the essence of what we now do here is to improve the human race better that we have all met her. Christains, Muslims, Buddhists, Samaformists, Black, White, Yoruba, Hausa, Asians, Australians, pastors, Imams, scholars, critics, teachers, artistes, lawyers, scientists, engineers---we are all human beings. Let our thinking mode be towards the advancement of the eternal purpose for which man is man. Let us not choose similar ways of thinking and acting as mortals; but let us never fail to sincerely explore the beauty-instincts in all the doctrines and cultures, tenets and ideologies we variously hold as truths. It is not what we hold, or those we respect that break the yokes of human perdition on earth; it is the use we put all of these that determine our joint station as a race. May the world be better, may God be more disposed, because we all are here. Have a nice holiday, my brothers and sisters! See More

Isaac Oluyi: Wale ( Mankind Olawale Oyewumi), thanks for appreciating my intervention. Please permit me to take a step further. I wish to confess openly that I have enjoyed thoroughly this intellectual discourse. It is an indication that our generation is actually a thinking one, whether sound or crooked. It further gladdens my heart that my expectation of people like you to become great thinkers is playing out to be true. Please let us keep the flag flying. Meanwhile, I want to passionately appeal to all and sundry that it will do no one any good if we continue to dissipate our energy on people who do not know whether we exist or not. So, can we all strive to become a shinning light in our respective corners? By doing this, I believe, we will be able to influence one person or the other. This is because we are all role models of some sorts. I understand how we all feel about the state of things in Nigeria. But feelings, emotions or sentiments will not solve the problem. It is up to us if the country will reclaim its lost glory. It is high time we put on our thinking caps and see how we can help out. After all, it is little drops that make a mighty ocean. The best criticism we can offer at this point is to let our belief system shapes the nation positively. It is not what others are doing that matters, it is what we are doing.

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi: @Isaac Oluyi: Thanks for writing, ebullient Isaac. I am humbly elevated by this kind compliment of yours. I hardly deserved it, but you were so kind. I understand your point, and will say nothing further on this subject as advised. That ageless expression rung in the sharp but burgeoning minds of the early Harvard's graduates by Ralph Waldo Emerson can as well rescue us here, "Be Lord of a day through wisdom and justice, and you can put up your history books". Have a nice Christmas and New Year, discerning Isaac.

Tunde Olaoye: @All: I took time to read all through this thread again despite my very busy schedule. It will be very interesting for publication. Even though we have rested on the subject matter. I just want all the great minds that have contributed to this thread to know that, when your vision is big, people will critisize you, misunderstand you, and call you names. People who are not insiders in your dream will misconstrue, and some insiders will betray you. Spike Lee's 1992 film 'Malcom X' best expresses this.

Tunde Olaoye: @ Mankind, father of Samaformism, in the nearest future when your dreams begin to come into reality, get ready for some cannonballs, some people will say you built the universities with drug money, others will see you as a demagogue in cassock. That is what the great men of today are facing. Our intellectual line of reasoning is all to make our world a better place, may we achieve greatly!”

Through a robustly philosophical section of his The Preacher, Ralph Waldo Emerson again, supplies some clues for balance, “Be not betrayed into undervaluing the churches which annoy you by their bigoted claims. They too were real churches. They answered to their times the same need as your rejection of them does to ours. The Catholic Church has been immensely rich in men and influences. Augustine, a Kempis, Fenelon, breathe the very spirit which now fires you. So with Cudworth, More, Runyan. I agree with them more than I disagree. I agree with their heart and motive ; my discontent is with their limitations and surface and language. Their statement is grown as fabulous as Dante's Inferno. Their purpose is as real as Dante's sentiment and hatred of vice. Always put the best interpretation on a tenet. Why not on Christianity, wholesome, sweet and poetic? It is the record of a pure and holy soul, humble, absolutely disinterested, a truth-speaker and bent on serving, teaching and uplifting men. Christianity taught the capacity, the element, to love the All-perfect without a stingy bargain for personal happiness. It taught that to love him was happiness, - to love him in other's virtues.

An era in human history is the life of Jesus; and the immense influence for good leaves all the per-version and superstition almost harmless. Mankind has been subdued to the acceptance of his doctrine, and cannot spare the benefit of so pure a servant of truth and love. Of course a hero so attractive to the hearts of millions drew the hypocrite and the ambitious into his train, and they used his name to falsify his history and undo his work. I fear that what is called religion, but is perhaps pew-holding, not obeys but conceals the moral sentiment. I put it to this simple test: Is a rich rogue made to feel his roguery among divines or literary men? No? Then’t is rogue again under the cassock. What sort of respect can these preachers or newspapers inspire by their weekly praises of texts and saints, when we know that they would say just the same things if Beelzebub had written the chapter, provided it stood where it does in the public opinion?

Anything but unbelief, anything but losing hold of the moral intuitions, as betrayed in the clinging to a form of devotion or a theological dogma ; as if it was the liturgy, or the chapel, that was sacred, and not justice and humility and the loving heart and serving hand.

But besides the passion and interest which pervert, is the shallowness which impoverishes. The opinions of men lose all worth to him who perceives that they are accurately predictable from the ground of their sect. Nothing is more rare, in any man, than an act of his own. The clergy are as like as peas. I cannot tell them apart. It was said: They have bronchitis because they read from their papers sermons with a near voice, and then, looking at the congregation, they try to speak with their far voice, and the shock is noxious. I think they do this, or the converse of this, with their thought. They look into Plato, or into the mind, and then try to make parish mince-meat of the amplitudes and eternities, and the shock is noxious. It is the old story again: once we had wooden chalices and golden priests, now we have golden chalices and wooden priests.

The clergy are always in danger of becoming wards and pensioners of the so-called producing classes. Their first duty is self-possession founded on knowledge. The man of practice or worldly force requires of the preacher a talent, a force, like his own ; the same as his own, but wholly applied to the priest's things. e does not forgive an application in the preacher to the merchant's things. He wishes him to be such a one as he himself should have been, had he been priest. e is sincere and ardent in his vocation, and plunged in it. Let priest or poet be as good in theirs.

The simple fact that the pulpit exists, that all over this country the people are waiting to hear a sermon on Sunday, assures that opportunity which is inestimable to young men, students of theology, for those large liberties. The existence of the Sunday, and the pulpit waiting for a weekly sermon, gives him the very conditions, the pouorw he wants. That must be filled, and he is armed to fill it. Let him value his talent as a door into Nature. Let him see his performances only as limitations. Then, over all, let him value the sensibility that receives, that loves, that dares, that affirms.

There are always plenty of young, ignorant people, - though some of them are seven, and some of them seventy years old, - wanting peremptorily instruction ; but, in the usual averages of parishes, only one person that is qualified to give it. It is only that person who concerns me, - him only that I see. The others are very amiable and promising, but they are only neuter.. in the hive, - every one a possible royal bee, but not now significant. It does not signify what they say or think to-day ; 't is the cry and the babble of the nursery, and their only virtue, docility. Buckminster, (Channing. Dr. Lowell, Edward Taylor, Parker, Bushnell, Chapin, - it is they who have been necessary, and the opinions of the floating crowd of no importance whatever.

I do not love sensation preaching, - the personalities for spite, and the hurrah for our side, the review of our appearances and what others say of us! That you may read in the gazette. We come to church properly for self-examination, for approach to principles to see how it stands with us, with the deep and dear facts of right and love. At the same time it is impossible to pay no regard to the day's events, to the public opinion of the times, to the stirring shouts of parties, to the calamities and prosperities of our town and country ; to war and peace, new events, great personages, to good harvests, new resources, to bankruptcies, famines and desolations. We are not stocks or stones, we are not thinking machines, but allied to men around us, as really though not quite so visibly as the Siamese brothers. And it were inhuman to affect ignorance or indifference on Sundays to what makes our blood beat and our countenance dejected Saturday or Monday. No, these are fair tests to try our doctrines by, and see if they are worth any-thing in life. The value of a principle is the number of things it will explain; and there is no good theory of disease which does not at once suggest a cure.

Man proposes, but God disposes. We shall not very long have any part or lot in this earth, in whose affairs we so hotly mix, and where we feel and speak so energetically of our country and our cause. It is a comfort to reflect that the gigantic evils which seem to us so mischievous and so in-curable will at last end themselves and rid the world of their presence, as all crime sooner or later must. But be that event for us soon or late, we are not excused from playing our short part in the best manner we can, no matter how insignificant our aid may be. Our children will be here, if we are not; and their children's history will be colored by our action. But if we have no children, or if the events in which we have taken our part shall not see their solution until a distant future, there is yet a deeper fact ; that as much justice as we can see and practise is useful to men, and imperative, whether we can see it to be useful or not.

The essential ground of a new book or a new sermon is a new spirit. The author has a new thought, sees the sweep of a more comprehensive tendency than others are aware of; falters never, but takes the victorious tone. For power is not so much shown in talent as in tone. And if I had to counsel a young preacher, I should say: When there is any difference felt between the foot-board of the pulpit and the floor of the parlor, you have not yet said that which you should say.

Inspiration will have advance, affirmation, the forward foot, the ascending state; it will be an opener of doors; it will invent its own methods: the new wine will make the bottles new. Spirit is motive and ascending. Only let there be a deep observer, and he will make light of new shop and new circumstance that afflict you; new shop, or old cathedral, it is all one to him. He will find the circumstance not altered, as deep a cloud of mystery on the cause, as dazzling a glory on the invincible law. Given the insight, and he will find as many beauties and heroes and strokes of genius close by him as Dante or Shakspeare beheld. A vivid thought brings the power to paint it ; and in proportion to the depth of its source is the force of its projection. We are happy and enriched; we go away invigorated, assisted each in our own work, however different, and shall not forget to come again for new impulses.

The supposed embarrassments to young clergy-men exist only to feeble wills. They need not consider them. The differences of opinion, the strength of old sects or timorous literalists, since it is not armed with prisons or fagots as in ruder times or countries, is not worth considering except as furnishing a needed stimulus. That gray deacon or respectable matron with Calvinistic antecedents, you can readily see, could not have presented any obstacle to the march of St. Bernard or of George Fox, of Luther or of Theodore Parker. And though I observe the deafness to counsel among men, yet the power of sympathy is always great; and affirmative discourse, presuming assent, will often obtain it when argument would fail. Such, too, is the active power of good temperament. Great sweetness of temper neutralizes such vast amounts of acid! As for position, the position is always the same,- insulting the timid, and not taken by storm, but flanked, I may say, by the resolute, simply by minding their own affair. Speak the affirmative ; emphasize your choice by utter ignoring of all that you reject ; seeing that opinions are temporary, but convictions uniform and eternal, - seeing that a sentiment never loses its pathos or its persuasion, but is youthful after a thousand years.

The inevitable course of remark for us, when we meet each other for meditation on life and duty, is not so much the enjoining of this or that cure or burning out of our errors of practice, as simply the celebration of the power and beneficence amid which and by which we live, not critical, but affirmative.

All civil mankind have agreed in leaving one day for contemplation against six for practice. I hope that day will keep its honor and its use. A wise man advises that we should see to it that we read and speak two or three reasonable words, every day, amid the crowd of affairs and the noise of trifles. I should say boldly that we should astonish every day by a beam out of eternity ; retire a moment to the grand secret we carry in our bosom, of inspiration from heaven. But certainly on this seventh let us be the children of liberty, of reason, of hope; refresh the sentiment; think as spirits think, who belong to the universe, whilst our feet walk in the streets of a little town and our Lands work in a small knot of affairs. We shall find one result, I am sure, - a certain originality and a certain haughty liberty proceeding out of our retirement and self-communion, which streets can never give, infinitely removed from all vaporing and bravado, and which yet is more than a match for any physical resistance. It is true that which they say of our New England oestrum, which will never let us stand or sit, but drives us like mad through the world. The calmest and most protected life can-not save us. We want some intercalated days, to bethink us and to derive order to our life from the heart. That should be the use of the Sabbath, - to check this headlong racing and put us in possession of ourselves once more, for love or for shame.

The Sabbath changes its forms from age to age, but the substantial benefit endures. We no longer recite the old creeds of Athanasius or Arius, of Calvin or Hopkins. The forms are flexible, but the uses not less real. The old heart remains as ever with its old human duties. The old intellect still lives, to pierce the shows to the core. Truth is simple, and will not be antique; is ever present, and insists on being of this age and of this moment. Here is thought and love and truth and duty, new as on the first day of Adam and of angels.

"There are two pairs of eyes in man; and it is requisite that the pair which are beneath should be closed when the pair that are above them perceive; and that when the pair above are closed, those which are beneath are opened." The lower eyes see only surfaces and effects, the upper eyes behold causes and the connection of things. And when we go alone, or cone into the house of thought and worship, we come with purpose to be disabused of appearances, to see realities, the great lines of our destiny, to see that life has no caprice or fortune, is no hopping squib, but a growth after immutable laws under beneficent influences the most immense. The Church is open to great and small in all nations; and how rare and lofty, how unattainable, arc the aims it labors to set before men! We come to educate, come to isolate, to be abstractionists; in fine, to open bravely the upper eyes to the deep mystery of cause and effect, to know that though ministers of justice and power fail, Justice and Power fail never. The open secret of the world is the art of subliming a private soul with inspirations from the great and public and divine Soul front which we live.”

Nigerians continue to require pastors who release their spirits from the imposed balkanization of existence that efficiently wrecks and fills their inner void with eternal security; but the man or woman who passes as the Nigerian pastor must know beyond the common knowing of the generality he or she is being invited by fate to oversee. His knowledge of the Bible must be deeper than depth; he must not only know the biblical facts, he must be intrinsically adept at interpreting, applying them to the day-to-day encounters of his expectant congregants. He must know that the essence of any religion is progress and peace, and that where certain bigoted but popular interpretation or perception jeopardizes the balance of morality, progress and peace, he reserves the rightful duty to follow the road charted into the infallible terminus of his soul. Nature abhors discrimination, prejudice, hate fraud, imposition, let the Nigerian pastor be informed. So whatever portion of his doctrine that favours any of these is a mis-interpreted sentence from the Nature-filled book from which all preachers must preach.

The structural arrangements of the world are exploitative, extortionate and spiritually sickening. Our planet is made a totally strange venue to the fine anticipations of the principled. In Lord of a Day, one of my novels under creative construction, I put these words in the mouth of one of my cherished characters, “Your world is not conducive for the dwelling of my higher tears and noble hopes as a Samaformist. Your world is too conventional, too conditional, too selfish, too uncaring, too immoral, too materialistic, too restricted, too distant, too stale and elusive for beauty and inner joy. I cannot continue in such world. Life, love and liberty are celestially possible in my envisaged world. Goodbye to your fake world, therefore!” This is the state of the mind of every ethical and altruistic mortal with no eyes on existential expedients. Let the Nigerian pastor feel this way. But let him or her not chicken out of life’s stage like a coward with no informed clues on the curious complexities of man’s survival and happiness through suicide. Let him/her know that the prosperity he/she preaches, if not sourced from the distributive vault of collectivism, obscures our hope as a fraudulent rays from the light of ruins. Do these congregants work and get paid under the mar-fraught economy the bastard-leaders organize, impose and sustain at the detriment of his/her congregation’s well-being? Do they not, as Nigerians, buy, sell and serve fellow Nigerians under our common economic malady? Where then does this prosperity come from if not from immorality, selfishness, exploitations, frauds and compromises packaged and blackmailed as heaven’s intervention in the financial life of his/her congregants? Let the Nigerian pastor preach prosperity; however not to a handful few that pay tithes and donate handsomely to his/her church’s vault—that is not the essence of true prosperity. Let soul-purification through his/her insistence on moral living and righteousness-permutation

in facts and figures applicable to the necessary policies of popular survival be the central spirit of his/her sermons. The Nigerian resources are vast and potent enough, not only to go round, but also to qualitatively satisfy the modest yearnings of Nigerians if the Nigerian pastor will hammer more on leaders’ and citizens’ righteousness than on short-sited sermons of individual wealth accumulation and ingratiation. We lead our souls astray and limit the hope of the world, whenever we elect material wealth as the overriding essence of piety. It is blemish before the heavens; it is crime before the Maker, to so fill the human spirit with destroyable vanities that challenge the throne of the soul in man. All blemishes and crimes and insincerities by religious leaders and followers eclipse the growing space of beauty and love. And far better it is, to have a world filled with beauty and love in the absence of religion than have some vacuously boring religiosity with lusterless deeds in ceaseless moral doom compete with man’s hope. The prosperity he ought to preach, this human spiritual entity tagged the Nigerian pastor is the divine management of the inevitable scarcity that will come with Nigeria’s future resolve to help citizens of poor nations in health and education, in electric power supply and military strength, without economically ripping their nations off in any way. We will require the heavens’ help when the generously deposited resources and wisdom of God have been maximally utilized by man without results.

The prosperity preached by an average Nigerian pastor is a smart excusing of himself/herself from the burning fire of national poverty. The Nigerian pastor knows the devoted extent of the Nigerian leaders at splashing the acidic tide of pauperism at every Nigerian house-hold, and so much understands Nigerians’ psychological disposition towards the question of financial inferiority that he/she regularly announces the willingness of heaven to make even their economic odds. He/she assures Nigerians of survival and wealth if they tow after his often extortion-intended lead.

He/ she invites them to selfish prayers and official hunger strike daubed fasting. The congregants are told to sow seeds of cash abundance that the heavens may be moved to assist their plight. The unsuspecting, nay comprehensively foolish church members believe the fraud-tailored antics of the Nigerian pastor because hope exists not on other horizons of the Nigerian life. Nigerians must eat, clothe their families and live in houses that only money can buy or build. Their government is insensitive and cruel; the churches to which they run capitalize on their helplessness to milk them near-death. Few feeble victims who see the fraud cannot speak out because of the enslaving fallacy that the heavens will strike should any man of the devil masquerading as a man of God be spoken against. But the promises made to these milked mass of burgesses never come to pass. They are poorer than the poverty that pursues them to the church. They are more despondent and sorrowed than the miserable tears that influenced their journey to this or that man of God. And when they see any change at all, it is a disastrous transformation that trades conscience for the scientific crumps of life. They are connected to fraud and filth, and to individuals and companies whose modus vivendi and modus operandi are worse than the instincts of the devil.

Thus we have spiritual brigands overseeing terrible tabernacles who are multi-millionaires and multi-billionaires from the exploited subservience of their gullible sheep. They drive the best cars and own private jets. They invest in international shares and build big companies, the profits of which are theirs. These pastors found schools (primary, secondary and higher places of learning) with the tithes, offerings and special donations, promises, and special will of their congregations without allowing their sons and daughters the privilege of affordable attendance. Their establishments are being patronized by the descendants of the social, economic and political beasts their sermons and conducts ought to attack or enlighten. How moral is the Nigerian who does not question the source of the mega tithe paid by an unemployed or under-employed congregant? Is the Nigerian pastor still Godly, who occasionally, even frequently accepts alarming donations (often millions of Naira!) from congregants who earn less than a hundred thousand Naira monthly at work? Observing the ethical order of the soul, the Nigerian pastor ought to speak and pray, protest and trade, only for the survival of the Nigerian citizens and other mortals from addresses alien to his/her native Nigeria.

It is quite befuddling that when the Nigerian pastor launches a construction project, or publicly presents a book, he/she does not discriminate between the filth and ethics of wealth accumulation. No. The moral credibility and mode of their wealth accumulation of those the utterly empty, thoughtlessly materialistic Nigerian pastor invites matter not to these spiritual money mongers in this situation. His/her God is a God of preposterous posterity reigning in absolute ethical pandemonium. Riches must be indiscriminately acquired. He/she extends invitations to substantive criminals and rogues, and offers celebrated welcome to thieves because of the money these can give, and sounds friendly to their evils in his/her sermons at the altar that these money-bags might remain his sponsors. The Nigerian pastor is too shallow to remain wealthy without the unmusical client-ship with this and that gangster. He/ she is the reason why hypocrisy rises above man’s all. He/she is the reason why immoral behaviour and unconstitutional acts accompany our commerce and fill our politics. He/she does not deter the bag-snatching touts. These social urchins and corporate marauders pay their tithes and offer the church their smelly offertories and seek spiritual defence as confirmed inept in the metaphysics of decent Christianity. To him, Obasanjo was Nigeria’s Elijah! He saw nothing satanic in the way this man-monster rule-ruined general expectations and hope. To her, Yar’Aradua was fit to lead Nigerians, despite his immoral modes of ascension the world had openly condemned. He welcomed Jonathan and Daniel; he applauds bipetalous Buhari and the ethically rigmaroling Ribadu; he will welcome worse Nigerian baboons tomorrow the moment these are brave enough to clear bobtailing and tackling lives, principles and governing rules on the path to power here. The more perfidious-than-foolish pastors rank influence from unprincipled dealings, faith-murderers, wealth and piety, neglecting the accruable peace and holiness from events collective developments measured from the angles of righteousness and truth, the worse the Christian religion turns in Nigeria. The Nigerian pastor is unprincipled and indecisive, highly ethically fake and a spiritual farce!

I felt insulted on holy behalf of Christianity when in the 90’s, I heard how William Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Church had told his teeming congregants of the shocking ungodliness associated with the idea of watching the television. He said it was a devil’s box that Christians ought to avoid. This man had won for himself, an unthreatened patent of folly by this silly submission. He was too wrong to be believed! He ought to have explained to his gullible religious group, the mixed importance of this electro-magnifiable box. He should have told them to habitually switch on to stations with morality-oriented programmes rather than denouncing the usefulness of the television on the premise that it corrupts the soul and exposes Christians to vices. The news, sports activities, political debates, specified programmes and veritable sermons of true pastors, etc., are these devilish? Should we blindly forfeit the merits in thoughtless avoidance of the demerits? All scientific and technological inventions such as the microphone, the speaker, the piano, electricity, the video magnifier, etc., which Christians use, are these too property of the devil because their busy inventors had no time for platitudinous church idleness, and so boycotted Christianity? I am however happy he changed his views and later apologized on this.

“I go to church to watch breasts and pants”, the words of a frank Christian youth had since rung in my bewildered memory for years. Youths, especially young ladies, are being encouraged to dress as sexily as possible to attract more worshippers to most Pentecostal churches. They dress on Sundays—and this is quite disheartening (!)— as if going for programmes of patchy ethical imports. Breast almost exposed, thighs as rebellious against skirts as possible, lips painted in horror combination of disagreeable colours, hair as emphatically weaved as demons’ curves, body entombed in dresses of alarming nudeness and costs, enforcing an impression of spiritual hollowness and hypocrisy on the parts of the ministering monsters tagged pastors who watch with suspicious glee, the unperturbed congregation whose deactivated souls hold nothing holy, and so cannot profoundly behold the heavenly hope. The pastor, in his unspiritual conjectures is engulfed by the corrupting charm of skirts and piously ugly chests, and not by the soul-fostering spirit of God. Members of choirs and other youth groups in the church hang around after service to parcel overtures at faces that magnetize their lust. At churches where morals and decency ought to rule, pastors and elders and youth leaders sleep with married women and young ladies at will. The liturgy is empty. The emptiness is deep, leaving Christians more attackable by the oppugnants of those ancient virtues they so immorally ensure. They desecrate Christ’s consecration before and after services because they are spiritually arid. The spiritually trusted pastors lie that the Holy Spirit has appointed the most beautiful (and often the materially richest!) young ladies and women as their wives, duping these flexible and impressionable minds of the marital choices they ought to naturally make. These pastors are rogues!

But the above eye brows raised against the indecent dress codes at most of our churches must not be seen as being rigid and final since the fashion instincts of Christians all over Nigeria too deserve to be satisfied. Fashion is not nude appearances however; it is beauty shown in the dignifying attires individuals desire at any point in time. Fashion is also convenience I know; but the convenience is disaster, which invites the concentration of others to hostile temptations in the church of God. The Christian who dresses without endangering the manifestation-possibility of the spiritual beauty in him/ her is more Christian than the awfully decorated beast clinching to the personality of Jesus whether on Sundays or Saturdays with no deep affiliation with his spiritual values and depth. Bretheren’s natural state is preferred in the Church of God. The lady who modestly blends her pulchritude with the charming artificiality of fashion without becoming prostituting does a great job in the mirror of ideal reasoning. The church is a place of moral engineering, re-engineering and balancing, let the congregants be the model the first comer encrypts. In man and woman relationship, let us do it with much dignity required for the spirit of beauty and of love. Let no pastor sexually exploit any lady or woman because he is the general overseer of the fold. Let no seductress-pastor wield an undue influence on the handsome churchman because she is in dire need of a husband or more. With morality, discipline and principle that elevate the joint soul of the fold, let relationships be forged in the Church of God.

As a Nigerian pastor, his/her name ought not to be identified with contemptible fraud at all. He/she does not collect gate fee from desperate congregants who go to God because of what they can instantly get. Does Chris Oyakhilome still think himself a worthy heavenly delegate among Nigerians, who charged congregants a sum of one thousand Naira for his end of the year national spiritual programme (the night of December 31st, 201o)? Why did he not get a bigger venue for the Christian faithful if, as his spokesman argued, the charge was to deliberately reduce the number of those who attended that spiritual event? When has it become a religious rule to regulate the number of believers who come to the presence of God? When has it become sensible to prevent faithful worshippers from freely coming to the presence of God? And if that programme was meant to be nationally viewed on popular television stations, why the open invitation of Nigerians to a specified venue of extortionate exploitation in the first place? I await answers to these questions from the dapper dressed deluder called a man of God.

Do not be duped by the lie that insists you have no right to judge the fraud of any man; for as long as their conducts destroy yours or others well-being, it is your destiny to question and to judge. So why should Adeboye constantly entertain leaders whose moral files and flesh are filled with undiluted bile without principled insistence that these leading citizens change for the better? Did Jesus Christ pray for Zacheus and Thomas without sternly enjoining them to forfeit their materialistic orientations and ways? Can Adeboye openly swear that he has never accepted cash gift from leaders (Babangida, Abacha, Obasanjo, Yar’ Adua, Jonathan, Tinubu, Gbenga Daniel, etc.) whose words and ways evidently destroy Nigeria? Who is this morally unenviable Adeboye to decide who to be voted by conscious and critical Nigerians who already know that though he appears harmless, Adeboye is one of the most harmful creature-pastors in the history of Nigeria? What does he and other acquisition-mad, affluenza-stricken pastors need personal jets for amidst the tears and plights of barracks filled with citizen-mendicants with no access to food, water, electricity, education, and hope? Did Jesus Christ abandon the hunger of the four thousand and five thousand crowds to selfishly serve himself with bread and fish? Did he not hammer more on soul-purification? Did Jesus own anything at the expense of his soul and conscience? Only that Nigerian pastor is true, who serves and elevates his congregants with all that he acquires from the heavens and from them!

The Nigerian pastor does not perform miracles at every service; he/she ought to develop Nigerians to the level of spiritually becoming miracles for theirs and others’ survival and joy. It is now the trend, unfortunate for Christianity, in Nigeria to connect high-class occultic forces, in place of God, through the name of Jesus Christ, to fascinate the hoodwinkable lots into believing in, applying for miracles that are not without financial returns to the impugned piety of the Nigerian pastor. But who are these bunch of spiritually violent personalities with thread-needles in dark temples who jejunically mesmerize their churches with power congregants cannot acquire?

Miracles go beyond what the capitalist Nigerian pastor displays. Miracle is the mystical circle of inner oracle calculated by the indices of universal justice to free and to bind at necessitated will. Miracle is the survival of night wonders by mortals who see the following morning. Miracle is the ambitious rise of the ocean lame through waves. Miracle is the cooling effects of temperate breeze and hostile snows. Miracle is the cacophonous whistling of wintry days. Miracle is the surviving instincts of hunted animals in the man-mastered jungles in the forest. Miracle is the secret of mountains and valleys. Miracle is the complex system of all seemingly simple plant and animals. Miracle is the breath and depth of man in his season of noble contemplations. Miracle is the conversion of valid observations into useful conjectures. Miracle is the concretization of upright thoughts into profitable concepts. Miracle is the creation and innovation of, and simplification of invaluable innovations used and applied as spiritual organization. Miracle is the common, yet, unique appearance of highly sapient Homo sapiens. Miracle is the abstinent power to do without. Miracle is the enviable nerve to endure what cannot be changed. Miracle is the grand bravery to recreate and to question the mechanisms of socio-political change of societies. Miracle is the discipline to stay moral amidst a piling filth of immoral options. Miracle is the ultimate sacrifice of dying in redemption of multitude’s lots. Miracle? It is the inner clarity that leads when purely pontificated platitudes wrecks the ship of the world. And all of these are beautiful, deep and good in holy proportion of a man’s readiness to adopt and honour their all. That which they seem not to bring will definitely come as dividends of depth and faith which only tribute to selfless ethics will always ensure. Jesus Christ was profound and was not a failure of the laws and governing principles of piety; and for the Nigerian pastor to be the bank of miracles that he/she constantly claims before Nigerians, must know and behave in accordance to the infinitely charming elements eternally enumerated as miracles. This essential awareness is the fulcrum of the teachings the Nigerian pastor must always preach and teach. From these holy elements flow the hope the blind and the lame need. Without them, curses and poverty remain with men and women of congregations and citizens of nations. See how these principles intrude the monopoly of polio and resurrect life and good times in the humans and fine moments societies cannot do without. Do not present yourself to any man or woman for any miracle! You are the miracle you seek from the desecrated holiness of men. Within you dwells the higher power your moral hell and astounding unbelief in the God-finished and magnanimously deposited magic in you do effectively subdue. Jesus Christ asked if the man whose son was dead believed his dead son could rise from death. Who, tell me, can really pray for, or achieve any meaningful miracle in the life of any mortal with no faith in the said prayer or conducted process that get prayers actualized?

The soul is the sub-injection station of powerful spiritualism from where the heavens illuminate man’s goals and hope with outstanding understanding and projections. It is in you, the grand power to say and unsay whatever you will. You boast it in full, the magic to decide the fate of any disease and undesirable circumstance that you bewail. Glue your heart, conscience and soul to the wholeness of personal ethical purgation wedded to confidence in the lasting words and deeds that promise beyond your own selfish good. Make humanity and the whole universe of God your dependants, and you will be amazed how the stars, the moon, rivers, mountains, valleys and others turn into messengers of your noble proclamations and biddings. God is the Source and Father all miracles; but man is the only worker trusted with the clues of miracle permits, procedures, and keys if he will apply and issue these with dignified nobility the heavens love.

In politics, the Nigerian pastor is the great teacher that develops the distorted, backward minds of young Nigerians. He cannot afford to lie, corrupt, or be corrupted at all. The Nigerian pastor does not oppress or sleep with his male congregants’ wives. For the Nigerian pastor, nothing should be hidden; every truth he has and knows must be publicized for the better understanding of his congregation. Virtues are the greatest God-fathers! The Nigerian pastor cannot therefore be at the mercy of any occultist-God-fathers to the detriment of his Christian virtues. I am baffled by the ordinariness of priests whose affiliation with different powers regulates their sermons and deeds. They cannot be wholly truthful for fear of being scolded and punished in their realms. Their lives are as layered-by-dependence and by fear. Let such pastors and priest expose themselves for moral cleansing and renewed courage from their souls, whose nightmares in this regard sprinkle odd reliance upon the waiting confidence of their folds. Let the Nigerian pastor not violate the creeds of Christliness and the trusting submissions of his brethren.

Expansion is not the calling of the church; it is soul-purification and salvation, always remember. I hate a smell of smokes with no traces of fire. Far nobler it is to have a small church with its few congregants spiritually gay and hearty, than proliferate the earth with hellish outlets comprising worshippers who are daily made satanic by dividends of filth! And should the expansion commensurate with the proportion of salvation, Christianity is dignified still. But forbid it dear lord that buildings multiply as worship temples, which wane the mind-quality and soul-spirituality of Nigerians and earthlings at despicable will. This swarm of citizen-professionals whose goal is profit at all cost attends our churches, unrebuked. This league of lying leaders who steal and steal and steal to banish our redeemable country to an unsafe region of world map claim to be Christians at our Churches, and pastors, are unhurt. Our people’s conditions, under the crude maltreatments and impositions of the Nigerian pastor are base and contemptible, we can see. The Nigerian pastor is the last hope Nigerians look up to for refreshed and refreshing moral and spiritual experiences. And these holiness-requiring, righteousness-determining functions cannot be performed, or will be badly performed if the Nigerian pastor gives himself/herself off to discernment-deficiency, moral hollowness and material vanity. Like Jesus Christ, let the Nigerian pastor cater to Nigerians’ well-being by all moral means; let him/her be regulated by temporal power that he/she is ordained to question and to sermonize for general good. Let the Nigerian pastor be imprisoned and suffer the consequences of moral treason when the society becomes irresponsible and unworthy of his/her depth. Let him/her plead to, and make his/her spirit holy for the arrival of the supreme power all forms of metaphysical victimizations may bring as he/she rescues our hopelessness with zealous zest. Jesus Christ did not support the upholding of the custom or law that honoured unethical trading in God’s temple; let the man or woman we call the Nigerian pastor respect but never submit, repeat never submit, to unprincipled and wicked authorities!

That is the Nigerian pastor, the man or woman whose spirit captures the well-being of the world, starting from our shores; whose brilliance masters the complexities of existence, knowing the words to use and the projects to put up conquering its ills; whose intelligence is ardent enough to see between the temporal and the spiritual lines as he/she strives for the reign of righteousness amidst the complacent tradition of acrimoniousness and filth; whose morality is our visible reverence of the invisible Christ on the altar; whose spirituality is the fixed, undeflowerable virginity of Mother nature before the most potent penis of defilement. His/her goals are joint progress and peace; let the Nigerian pastor never sail murky waters of rubbishing orientations and transactions, and associations. He/she represents God in our midst; his/her church is the embassy of the influential force that authorizes the journey of souls to truth and love, to collective salvation and freedom, and to private ends with no negative implications for the eternal essence of doctrines’ faith. We can tolerate no excuse for the pastor’s willful, and so, scornful failures; let the Nigerian pastor be spiritually whole in all that he/she says and does. He/she cannot spare any rogue-pastor whose anointing is prodigally deployed for the accomplishment of ends despised by the heavens, and by the soul.

If you are pastor, your position is beautiful; make it more charming with commitment and justice. Let posterity, not just your family, be saved by the impacting impingements of your ministry. Boycott connections that glorify mindless profits from the assignment of the soul as you preach and bless the race of man. Divorce individuals whose remorseless ways nail piety to the cross of resurrection-prevented death. Be trendy without being satanic; be to these hoping souls, an unimpeachable hope justifiable in God’s essence of creation. Your nature is that of compassion and kindness as our nation’s pastor; build factories of collective relief in your sermons and deeds. Whatever mighty good you may wish to do, sacrifice your sweat and resources to achieve for the whole family of man. Whatever controversial man you quote, or maverick book you write, or unpopular song you sing, or odd hurdles you cross, use Jesus Christ as the standard and guide. Do not fight for, or influence your promotion; never bribe any spiritual beast to affect your transfer in consideration of rewards and wealth. For obvious thieves, do not be too willing to pray; demand righteousness from personalities who merely penetrate the masses for deceived or deceiving connivance. Be available while avoiding the accruable crimes and insults of unrequired availableness. In the presence of your fold, show that fear is real, and that everyone can be affected by it, and that it is the foundation of courage, if rightly our spirits we fix. Tell them how intrinsically great their potentials to crush curses, poverty, oppression, personal challenges, and tyranny are; remind them they can do anything in Christ who strengthens their all. Do not be too distant and inaccessible in your cryptic Christian talks. Simplify Christianity without rendering this fine faith into a simplistic holy form, I plead. Charm the joint soul of your congregation; connect man’s finite humanity to heavens’ boundless divinity; make Christianity work for humanity. Nigerian pastors remember your heavenly responsibility to always bail Nigerians and other earthlings out of the heartless detention of vanity, hate, shallowness, materialism, arrogance, selfishness, discrimination, prostitution, greed, slavery, self and collective oppression. It is by doing all of these (with perceivable degree of fixed sincerity) that you can be called, and respected by man and God as pastor. When you are true to the challenges of this holy calling, Nigeria and Nigerians will be exempted from the list of nations destroyable by the ever working devil ages have talked about!

Mankind Olawale Oyewumi is a philosopher, teacher (of language and literature) and writer of substance from Africa. He has two fantastic books to his intellectual credibility--SONGS OF THE LAW, a poetry anthology and IMMORTAL INSTRUCTIONS, a compendium of his deep thoughts on life's different spheres .He is also the planner and editor of A GIFT TO NIGERIA AT FIFTY, a fine book that stars the opinions of prominent writers, scholars and journalists in Nigeria. He is the father of SAMAFORMISM and the founder of Humanity Day. The Nigerian Pastor is a part of SERMONS FOR MY PLANET, his third book under creative construction.

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