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The truth benders

“I don’t trust politicians; politicians are liars.”  I have waited for some two weeks to see if Pastor Enoch Adeboye, general overseer, Redeemed Christian Church…

“I don’t trust politicians; politicians are liars.” 

I have waited for some two weeks to see if Pastor Enoch Adeboye, general overseer, Redeemed Christian Church of God, would deny the above quoted statement credited to him at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife. He has not. I take it that this was not the handwork of a mischievous reporter who wanted to put unholy words in the mouth of the revered holy man of God. 

Adeboye is arguably the most respected man of God in the country today. He carries himself with the humility and the dignity of a man who refuses to take the name of the Lord in vain. He has planted more churches in the country than anyone else. You will find a branch or two of his church on every street in our towns and cities and in all the nooks and crannies of our country. It is always good to know that salvation is a short distance between your house and an RCCG church.  

I thought I should let the pastor know, however, that the presence of his church everywhere makes landlords happy but it makes others sad, very sad indeed. The church can afford whatever rent is charged on a property. Not so the average Okoro.  

I am not competent to advise the man of God on how best to handle this rather delicate matter but I am sure if he puts his mind to it, God will tell him how to strike a fair balance. I think Adeboye plants these churches because he is determined that no Nigerian spends eternity in hell. Nigerians taking over heaven? The prospects must be pretty unsettling for nationals of other countries. Their wahala. 

Any way, I am sure you too must have been shocked to hear Adeboye call politicians liars, unworthy of his trust. I admire his courage to tell politicians, all of who troop to him, what he thinks of them. Adeboye said nothing new, of course. Our little children know that too. What is new is that he said it and perhaps served notice of a possible frosty relationship between pastors and politicians. I have just said to God: May they fall apart. 

It is becoming generally difficult to separate lying politicians from honest pastors. Truth be told: They are all truth benders. The politicians are not even afraid of admitting it. Any lingering doubts about that evaporated the instant the governor of Niger State, Dr. Babangida Aliyu, confirmed that lying was their stock in trade. He was honest enough to advise those who are not willing to lie to get out of politics. On the other hand, it would be impossible to find a pastor who would openly admit that pastors are liars. That makes politicians more honest, right?  

Politics and Pentecostalism are the two major industries in our country today. The two industries have one thing in common – they thrive on lies, dirty lies and false promises. Each of the two industries guarantees quick and healthy returns on little or no investment. A Pentecostal preacher needs only a huge copy of the bible, a few plastic chairs and either the shade of a tree or a disused canopy to be in the business of hunting for and corralling the lost sheep into the Lord’s pen. In the mighty name of Jesus and the miracle working God, the thieving low life in your neighbourhood is soon transformed into daddy, his wife becomes mummy and both live well off the sweat of those they cheat and deceive and manipulate. The instant morphing of the thief or the drug addict into a man of God is the best evidence that our God loves the born again. 

The politician begins from the shop floor as a thug and quickly ascends the ladder of political importance. Tomorrow he is your governor, minister, legislator or local government chairman. No surprise. His prophetic pastor gives him a helping hand up the greasy pole. 

Politicians and pastors are bedmates, feeding on our forlorn hopes and fears. I accept that Adeboye’s statement heralds a cascade of truth among our men and women of God. Time to tell truth to them. Pastors are partners with politicians in the dirty business of lying to and stealing from the people. Pastors bless and anoint crooked politicians. Pastors prophesy electoral victories for politicians they know have consistently lied to, deceived and cheated the people.  

Adeboye said politicians do not “fulfill most of their promises.” I wish he had said something about their poor leadership too. Politicians market unrealistic hope with promises of their capacity to change our lives in the time it takes to say, politician. An unrealistic promise is sugar-coated rubbish. The more fantastic the promise, the more we believe the lying politicians. The politician who promises to build a road to heaven gets our votes because he raises our hope. We cannot drive to heaven to complain to God about our disappointing public officers. Politicians do not break promises. They mouth airy nothings. It is the game.  

Pastors market hope and assure us of a better life in heaven. They want all of us to go to heaven provided we shun worldly riches and possessions. Or better still, we pass them to the pastors. It is the luck of pastors to enjoy on earth and in heaven. The opulent and lavish life style of Pentecostal pastors says it all. I suspect God has a different take on worldly possessions now. The Christian heaven was originally conceived as God’s poverty as a prime virtue and the key to heaven’s gates. Not any more. The rich have captured heaven. It is the way the religious cookies now crumble. 

To whom do we turn for truth and moral guidance? Not our public officers. They lie, steal and cheat. Not our pastors. They lie, steal, cheat and deceive. Babalawo? My choice. The lure of the good life this side of heaven has destroyed the moral authority of our pastors. They serve Mammon, not God. Politicians pay them handsomely to obtain their so-called blessings. No politician visits a church or his pastor without shaking body. The commercialization of Christianity among the Pentecostal pastors rankles. I don’t think it unduly worries God. But watch out. The election season is the lucrative season for truth benders. 

(From my archives. First published in Verbatim magazine, January, 2015)

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