Tuesday, January 28, 2020
Abuja, Nigeria

nly recently, following the bold step to launch Operation Amotekun and, to point theobviously confused National Security Council to a more robust means of tacklingthe insecurity menace currently threatening to sack the Nigerian Republic, bythe six state governors of the good people of southwest Nigeria; reactions hascontinued to pour in from relevant stakeholders, with the latest voice comingfrom no other than firebrand Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Church. But,let us refresh our minds first.

Although the federal overnment had applauded the initiative from the beginning, it suddenly decided– a few days later – to pitch itself against the collective endeavor bydeclaring that Operation Amotekun is illegal and unconstitutional. In fact, the Attorney-General Mr. Abubakar Malami later clarified the government’s stand bysaying that the illegality of the outfit dwelled on the fact of its being aregional instead of a state security network and, by implication it posed athreat to Nigeria’s sovereignty.

As narrow-minded asthat claim was it further exposed a decrepit leadership who knew full well thatthey’d lost touch with reality but nevertheless still pretended they are incontrol of the affairs of state. If Operation Amotekun is regional in its take-off;so what? Is it illegal for a geopolitical zone to key in to a common cause? Wasit about if it will take away the shine from the federal security apparatus orabout fulfilling the constitutional responsibility of government to protectlives and properties of its citizens?

When their antics of whipping up ethno-religious sentiments against a laudable stride – when it was not Hisbah or Sharia or from northern Nigeria – failed, they quickly called fora roundtable discussion with the chairman of the august meeting being no other than Prof. Yemi Osinbajo. But it should be noted that the sudden U-turn by FG to recognize Operation Amotekun under the template that it should synchronize with community policing; was ploy to get an excuse when the north floats its own version.

It becomes pertinentto ask: Are we really a federal republic or a competitive republic where each constituentstrove against the other’s interest? Everyone knows that it was time thefederal government thinks up a synergy with the grassroots if it was determinedto crush the monster of insecurity. Surprisingly, it is easy to see that the oppositionagainst Operation Amotekun is subtly orchestrated by those who have turned thisunfortunate predicament of insecurity into a money-spinning business.

Back to PastorBakare. Just last Sunday 26th January, 2020; the respected Pastor broughtanother twist to the matter when he reasoned that it was the failure of thosewho were once in charge of but greedily stashed the commonwealth of thefederation for personal use that created the problem of insecurity. Accordingto him, instead of creating jobs, they looted. He concluded that in the lightof these failures, Operation Amotekun – although laudable – amounted to puttingthe cart before the horse.

While his assertionsare a true reflection of the situation today, it is necessary to question thebasis of his moral standing for accusing the political class. This is becausehe who comes to equity must come with clean hands. As pastor, Mr. Bakare cannotclaim ignorance of the fact that organized religion does not believe it was adecent responsibility to pay tax. Now, they claim to represent Jesus andcollect every collectibles from their members in the name of God yet Jesus paidtax to the Romans!

Organized religionin Nigeria claim to walk by faith but they are actually walking by sight. If theydo not, how can a man who benefits from Nigeria’s economy not be willing to paytax? It does not show that they believed in the reward to come after this life butthen, one dared not talk about the ‘church’ paying tax to the governmentwithout proponents of this movement I termed Organized Religion resorting tosentiments. They tell you; does the mosque pay tax?

The mosques do notactually; but are the mosque the light of the world or the church? What if themosques decide to pay tax to the government, will the church follow suit?Pastor Bakare has always talked from the Holier-than-thou side of reality tothe point that it was time to make him understand certain roles the churchought to play in nation building. For instance, how has the church contributedto government’s effort to cheapen education and make it accessible to all? Arechurch schools any cheaper?

How has the churchcontributed to complementing government’s effort to provide standard, organizedand affordable healthcare? How many dams has the church constructed sinceindependence to make portable water get to places like Koma Hills? What is thechurch’s contribution to ICT? What is the church contributing to accessibleroads? These are areas the government has been working tirelessly only for thechurch to use them for free and then turn around to criticize.

Recently, a storywas all over the social media about a certain prominent pastor who sacked somemembers of his congregation from the church for the crime of stealing from theTithe purse. His actions had stirred a very hot and divisive debate online. Butit is indeed a shame that the church is no longer looking unto the lord JesusChrist as model. We all know what Jesus did to Judas Iscariot who stole fromthe treasury. Or is this pastor showing that he is more Godly than He who didnot condemn Iscariot?

Pastor Bakare’swords should henceforth be scripted to show his own efforts to add value tosociety beyond just preaching and, why the government should emulate him. Afterall, Jesus preached and also did works that put smiles on people’s faces! IfOperation Amotekun amounted to putting the cart before the horse; maybe it wastime he showed us his efforts so far in curbing the problem of insecurity –from his sphere of influence – beyond the use of CCTV cameras around his churchbuilding and residence.