Pastor Enoch Adeboye is known to manage his assertions when it comes to Nigeria’s governance and political space. He is different from other men of God who would boldly inform their parishioners of the ills of the government or the stories that implicate government officials in the misapplication of resources. Although he had come under some flaks for annionting President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, and have been rumoured to have met with President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo during the elections in 2015.
From the era of the military intrusion into government, Adeboye had courted prayers and navigated the metaphors of the bible without ruffling any feathers. He has dwelt more on holiness and conscious living in his sermons than to direct their members to the possibility of living a paradisal life on earth. The purview for Pastor-cum-critic has been left to Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly for a long time, while Pastor Adefarasin has conceived The Platform to engage a robust conversation on National Discourse, perhaps hoping that with openness and direction from the public, government can do better. However, recent social and political tensions in Nigeria have shown that government especially the government of Muhammed Buhari has lived below expectations and the bias of appointments of the President has also led to ethnic tensions. One cannot but be fair to assert that some of the issues that this government grapples with, such as the spate of kidnappings and the Boko Haram insurgency are largely beyond the powers of the government.
Pastor Adeboye is at the moment not left out in an attempt to salvage the country and encourage a turnaround for the country. He had to call the government out when the government increased the fuel price and electricity tariff. He noted that Government has not been considerate of the people who have not earned a dime in the months that people obeyed the COVID19 lockdown order. His recent visit of the President and the celebration of Nigeria’s Diamond Jubilee has not made him quiet in informing the government that the people expect tangible dividends of democracy for a government massively voted into power for ‘change’ and ‘next level’.
While the government largely failed to acknowledge the bad state of the economy, the almost lifeless state of affairs that have kept the Nigerian people in the abyss of poverty, inter-ethnic strife, crime and insurgency. Adeboye, a former mathematics lecturer could see the equation that balances marginalisation, inequity with the resultant effect.
Pastor Adeboye’s thanksgiving sermon showed that he was not only disappointed in the way President Buhari had managed the county, he was also troubled by the fact that many Nigerian roads do not ‘exist’. Adeboye statement approaches two issues. The fact that Nigeria isn’t where it is meant to be where it ought to be in terms of governance, and the fact that the country is in a terrible state of infrastructural malaise. This two-fold subject implies that Nigeria is not where it ought to be sixty-odd years after our heroes have fought and won our right to govern ourselves.
The third issue raised by Adeboye is the illusion of amassing wealth in the name of creating infrastructure. He warned the government by telling them that not all the countries who claim to be Nigeria’s friend and have come bearing gifts have come in peace. He warned the government of its loan culture and foreshadowed a situation where the country would be given to the whims and caprices of other nations because of the unpaid debts incurred. One can only be careful not to link this message to Nigeria’s indebtedness to China and Rotimi Ameachi’s justification that due to the shortfall of profits from Nigeria’s crude oil, the government had no choice but to incur long-term debts for short term gains. These unspoken implications have come to the fore despite the fact that Rotimi Ameachi, the current minister of transportation has constantly shielded the public and the House of Representatives the alarm bells.
Adeboye may not morph into a revolutionary preacher like his ‘son’, Pastor David Oyedepo, but what is clear is that the Buhari Government is increasingly beginning to become tyrannical. The recent statements by Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina, spokespersons of the President, revealed that the government expect everyone to sheepishly praise the president. These spokespersons have called critics and great Nigerians all sorts of unpardonable names because they choose to tell the government that the people are unhappy, hungry, disappointed, depressed, suffering and further diminished by the policies of the Federal Government. Perhaps, Garba Shehu and Femi Adesina have lost touch with the real existence of Nigerians and have become clouded with the opulence and power in Aso Rock. They have become puppets of the state, who can indecorously defend the most absurd and insult Nigerians who have proven track records of patriotism and investments in Nigerian lives.
It is time for Nigerians to begin to have a rethink, with this clear assertion from respectable individuals, it is time for Nigerians to collectively demand from the government a new lease of life. People should begin to make all leaders, from local government to state and the federal government accountable. They should begin to cooperate with social activists to wrest freedom from oppressors through legal means and should never be afraid to assert themselves even if President Buhari’s ‘bulldogs’ would emerge to hound them.
Adeboye has led by example but more is expected of him and other leading pastors in the country. Pastors should take on the burden of enlightening their ‘children’ towards the forthcoming elections to avoid a repeat of this deceit of a government.