Critical Conversations

Johnson Suleman: A Manner of Apostle

In time past, popular pastors were known for salvation, healing, signs and wonders. The invitation was for the public to come and see the lame walk and the blind see. It was total war against the kingdom of darkness. Those were the days of old.

These days some men of God are more involved in the “miracle” of pulling down skirts than of making the blind see and the lame walk. With the nefarious activities of people like Onyeze Jesus, one can only wonder who can really be ascribed as a true man of God. The same type of amazement is conjured when one thinks of the General Overseer of Omega Fire Ministries, Apostle Suleman, and the avalanche of scandals that have continued to trail his ministry.

No man of God has had more controversies and scandals surrounding him in recent times, than Apostle Johnson Suleman. Only recently, a fellow man of God accused Apostle Johnson Suleman of sleeping with his wife, Faith Edeko.

The pastor identified as Mike Davids, who previously worked for Johnson Suleman alleged that the apostle and his wife first had sex at a hotel where he had lodged her. Davids said he forgave his wife when she confessed her first sexual encounter with the apostle out of guilt, but that she still continued the affair thereafter.

Pastor Davids revealed that he left the church in 2019 after his relationship with Suleman turned sour. He alleged that he started receiving threats from the apostle, and that his wife subsequently left him, taking their three children with her to Abuja, where she now heads a branch of Suleman’s church in Utako, an outskirt of Abuja.

Pastor Davids laments: “Apostle Johnson Suleman has damaged my life. I have not seen my wife and children for two years and Apostle Johnson Suleman says if I ever go near them, he will have me taken out. I have a video where he said he will make me disappear. I don’t want to lose my life.”

Many men of God have become more preoccupied with the things of men than the things of God. The myriad of stories flying, of pastors and priests neck deep in activities opposed to what they preach and the faith they uphold, raise a lot of eyebrows. Such misdeeds as adultery, which should be alien to the Christian faith, as well as rape, infidelity, lies and threats have now become commonplace among men of God.

These allegations do not only shake the foundation upon which Christianity stands, they send shivers down the spine of every believer.

General Overseer of the Commonwealth of Zion Assembly (COZA), Biodun Fatoyinbo, made a statement during one of his church services. According to the pastor, “in the midst of repeated allegations, the truth is established”. This follows the saying, repeat a lie and it becomes the truth. The very words he preached were used against him in his controversial case with Timi Dakolo’s wife, Busola Dakolo, over allegations of rape.

If one were to go by this statement from the COZA pastor, Apostle Suleman might be found wanting. This is because controversies trail him on a regular basis. Apart from this recent one, the three scandals associated with the apostle have the names of ladies like Stephanie Otobo, Danielle Okeke and Queen Esther.

In 2017, Apostle Suleman was at the center of a roiling sex scandal involving him and Stephanie Otobo, a Canada-based night club stripper and dancer.

Otobo, otherwise known as Kimora, released on the internet a set of damaging lurid Snapchat shots allegedly of herself and the pastor whom she claimed impregnated and dumped her. She said she lost the pregnancy after she was given a concoction to drink by Suleman.

Otobo who said they were both involved in a relationship since 2015, accused him of lying that he had divorced his wife and would marry her instead. She added that the man of God invited her to Europe, where he severally slept with her, even after church programmes. Although Suleman denied the charge, accusing Otobo of blackmail and being a tool of political persecution, more damning revelations by the Canadian stripper further raised questions, eliciting answers as to the definition of the exact relationship between them.

With his alleged compromising nude pictures, which went viral on the web, the Canada-based stripper not only exposed the pastor but also stripped him virtually of all public respectability and reverence he had.

As for Daniella Okeke, the 32-year old actress, rarely known to be a controversial figure, instantly became one after she was romantically linked to the sex-scandal of the Apostle and Stephanie Otobo.

Daniella was accused of having benefited from the cleric’s benevolence, for whom she got pregnant. The news was that Mr Suleman acquired a N160 million duplex located in Mende Maryland, Lagos and a $76, 000 brand new Mercedes Benz 450 GL for her.

Barely a week after the allegations by Stephanie Otobo made the rounds, a lady who identified herself as Queen Esther, came out to say she was in a relationship with the General Overseer between August 2013 to April 2014:

“I was an usher in his branch church, but I had a sexual relationship with him as he lured me into it in order to solve my spiritual problem and limitations to success in career and marriage, but after the sex he didn’t solve the problems for me, instead he started making proposal for us to marry.

“I dated Apostle Suleman while I was a member in his church, he was my pastor, spiritual director and mentor, aside from being a boyfriend, from August 2013 to 2014 April,” Esther added.

She said she decided to end the relationship after Suleman’s wife, Lizzy, found out about the illicit affair. According to Esther, “Many ladies are victims of Johnson Suleman but they are afraid to come out publicly because they fear the consequences attached to their public stand against him, which is a possible spiritual attack and destruction on their life and destiny,” she said.

Reports also have it that “a top official of the Kaduna State government confirmed that they received a request for protection from Ms. Esther, but added that the government does not want to be involved in the matter.”

Esther claimed that the videos, phone calls and text messages they exchanged during the relationship mysteriously disappeared from her phone immediately after the relationship ended.

“But if police can retrieve my text messages and phone calls from MTN service providers between the month of August 2013 and 2015 May, that will be enough to prove him guilty of oppression and threat to life,” she added.

The previous scandals which are not different from the current one with allegations of things as threat to life appear to place Apostle Suleman in a very tight situation.

However it is proper to have a balanced perception that for some genuine men of God, there are bound to be evil conspiracies to bring them down. Such men of God, probably including Apostle Suleman, are not immune to the devices of the devil to bring down their ministry and the entire Christian faith to disrepute.

Many conspiracy theorists have labelled the series of scandals associated with the Omega Fire Ministries pastor as a witch-hunt. This perhaps explains why Suleman has been vindicated in many of the allegations. Stephanie Otobor eventually came out to say that she was paid to defame the pastor. Danielle Okeke debunked allegations of having to do anything with the pastor.

Even so, Pastor Faith Edeko of the Omega Fire Ministries has denied and equally debunked claims of alleged infidelity, threat to life and obstruction of access to children, levelled by her ex husband, Pastor Mike Davids, against Apostle Johnson Suleman.

Pastor Faith described the allegations as pure falsehood and cheap blackmail to tarnish the image of the Apostle.

While denying the accusations, Pastor Faith said she had never slept nor would she ever contemplate sleeping with Apostle Suleman whom she said was like her biological father.

In his reaction to the accusations, Apostle Johnson Suleman also debunked the allegations and wondered why the pastor could fabricate “such wicked lies and falsehood” just to tarnish his image.

Similarly, Pastor of Fresh Oil Ministry, Sam Okpe, came to the defence of Suleman in a video which gained traction on social media. In the words of Okpe,

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“Let the whole world know that Apostle Suleman is innocent of the allegations from Mike Davids and his family. Mike, you and I know that we have a long WhatsApp conversation. The evidence is there.”

But whether these are false accusations or not, it becomes worrisome and raises eyebrows when they are too consistent. According to the English proverb, there can never be smoke without fire. People, however, will have to learn how to separate the man and his God: after all, the man of God, at best, is still a man.

Andy Charles

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