Pastor Ibiyeomie Vs Kemi Olunloyo: Why the Holy Bible Might Be Losing Its Relevance
Review of the unwarranted detention of a Nigerian blogger, Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo over allegations of defamation of character and felony against a prominent cleric.
I grew up with the Christian belief that a pastor is like an ‘earthly god’ and challenging him would be tantamount to blowing particles of dust in the apple of God’s eye.
While our political leaders have a fixed term of immunity that covers them during their tenures in office, that of our clerics run till the date they leave the earth surface with a retirement plan of mansions in heaven. The administration of Churches by the men of God reminds me of the success of the Indirect Rule system in the northern part of the country as introduced by the British colonial masters from 1899 to 1906.
As people shy away from the scathing scandals ravaging the men of God due to the illusion of a divine wrath that might befall them, the golden words of a South African icon, Archbishop Desmond Tutu have spurred me into writing technically against my will.
He once said; “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”
This simply means that sitting on the fence in the face of injustice is injustice itself. Let it be noted that I am a Christian with an undaunting passion to protect the dignity and sanctity of the Church as a place of refuge for the people when the political class eventually lead us astray.
The current predicament of a former governor of Oyo State’s daughter and blogger, Kemi Omololu Olunloyo who has been in detention for publishing an apparent malicious report about an established Port Harcourt pastor, David Ibiyeomie of the Salvation Ministries has again raised questions about our level of compliance with the tenets of the Holy Bible which is the heavenly constitution guiding the conducts of Christians all over the world.
Her over two weeks incarceration at the Port Harcourt prison in a demeaning green custom prison gown with her right of bail clandestinely manipulated by powerful hands, leads us to a major rhetorical question about Christianity.
How well do our pastors or religious leaders practice what they preach?
Yes, Kemi Omololu Olunloyo popularly called Madam KOO might have erred by accusing Pastor Ibiyeomie of adultery and embezzlement of the Church’s commonwealth surreptitiously diverted into the accounts of a Yoruba actress and movie producer, Iyabo Ojo.
Madam KOO also provoked ‘the world’ as she has made a colourful career out of defaming public figures in Nigeria under the guise of investigative journalism. The list of prominent Nigerians painfully whipped by Madam KOO on social media including her biological father might exceed the contents of a concise dictionary without sounding hyperbolic here. To add salt to fresh injury, Madam KOO is unapologetic about her nefarious actions.
But is it appropriate for us to nab a robbery suspect and then lynch him like its being done in some parts of Nigeria by bitter people because we are exasperated and want to satisfy our emotions? How do we justify the superiority of jungle justice over our orderly written 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
This also applies to the lives of us Christians which by implication means we should live Christ-like and exemplary lives like our Saviour while on earth. The Holy Bible remains our social code of behaviour and any action against its provisions is deemed a sin. In as much as much Pastor Ibiyeomie whose Church empire was rumoured to be worth N10 billion as at 2014 reserves the right to vexation; but should he allow it to linger to the extent of influencing the law, and disregarding the word of God to seek vengeance against an inconsequential accuser cowardly hiding behind the Smartphone keypads?
Madam KOO was whisked away on the 14th of March, 2017 from Ibadan – her home-city and taken to Port Harcourt, Rivers State where the law seemed advantageous for the petitioner. She was charged with defamation of character and felony to the best of my knowledge and under the Nigerian constitution fall under civil offences that are highly bailable unlike criminal offences whose chances could be limited by law.
In the case of Madam KOO, the impartial hand of the law was bent slightly to deny Madam KOO bail at the Magistrate Court in the Southern part of the country.
At another court hearing exactly two weeks later, the same court granted her bail alongside her accomplice, Samuel Walson – a publisher in Port Harcourt who also propagated her story via his medium. Charges against him have since been dropped while Madam KOO is left in the eye of the storm.
A lacuna in the law was swiftly latched onto by the legal representatives of Pastor Ibiyeomie as a seeming Kangaroo court injunction was secured at the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt to overrule the bail issued by the lower court.
This coupled with the available prison pictures of an emaciated Madam KOO available on social media have triggered a massive outpour of emotions and support for Madam KOO. The present treatment of Madam KOO is outrightly wrong, unacceptable, unwarranted and evil considering the democratic system of government being practiced in Nigeria as well as the religious posture of the country.
Someone is angry here and one can’t rule out the possibility that the person might be hiding something filthy; the person is seeking vengeance using the magnitude of economic resources at his disposal to dictate the law to agents of the judiciary who need extra money to augment their legal earnings. Does this comply with the provisions of the Christian Constitution?
The answer is a blatant NO considering the biblical references seen below:
Ephesians 4:26- 21 and 31
26: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,
27: and do not give the devil a foothold.
31: Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
19: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,
20: because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
11: Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.
20: because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.
11: A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
9: Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.
The same biblical advocacy against anger runs through the other verses below:
Proverbs 15:1, Proverbs 15:18, Colossians 3:8, James 4:1-2, Proverbs 16:32, Proverbs 22:24, Matthew 5:22, Psalm 37:8-9, Psalm 7:11, 2 Kings 11:9-10, 2 Kings 17:18, Proverbs 14:29
As for the act of vengeance, here are some references in the Holy Bible to discourage the act.
Read them below:
1 Peter 3:9
9: Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.
1 Thessalonians 5:15
15: Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
2 Corinthians 13:11
11: Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Thessalonians 1:8
8: He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
40: And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.
41: If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
42: Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’
44: But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45: that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
20: Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21: If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22: In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
17: Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
18: If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
19: Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
20: On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Proverbs 25:20-22, 1 Peter 2:21-23, Ephesians 4:31-32, Luke 6:27-28, Matthew 5:38-39, Psalm 94:1-2, Matthew 18:21-22, Romans 13:4, Romans 12:19, Proverbs 24:29, Proverbs 20:22, Proverbs 10:12, Mark 11:25, Leviticus 19:18, Hebrews 10:30
One wonders why the custodians of the Christian values are only paying lip-service to the doctrines of the Holy Bible which they swore to protect and abide by. In fact, the dirty games of politics have crept into the Church courtesy of members with obnoxious ambitions of being stupendously opulent by enslaving people with religion.
Being a pastor has become so easy. In case, you don’t hear the call of God, call yourself and start a ministry. The beginning might seem so turbulent but you will get there especially in a country like Nigeria where people try to be hypocritically more religious than the Pope.All you need to do is to get some befitting suits that will give you that gentleman look. Read the Holy Bible and be able to interpret verses in a way that will motivate the low-spirited people to pursue inexplicable wealth in their imaginations and dreams.
Tell them that they can be mysteriously bigger than Bill Gate overnight. Make sure your spoken English is impressive and be ready to spur them into success with some fake prophecies. You can even predict the death of prominent politicians, outbreak of diseases, accidents in the scale of plane crashes, environmental hazards and others to instil fear in the people. Tell the Church to pray against its occurrence as the only condition to avert the looming disaster.
Never mind if it doesn’t happen as nobody will go back to cross-check out of fear of indirectly questioning God.
Make sure you encourage giving so that your weekly offerings, tithes, developmental levies, first fruits, prophet offerings and other channels of religious funding could be assured. Always advocate on evangelism; this will afford you a clear avenue to steal the members of other Churches. Note that the bigger the congregation, the fatter your pocket becomes.
In case things seem not working at all, relocate to major cities like Port Harcourt, Abuja, Lagos where there is ‘oil’ to establish your Church and gather quality members with impressive jobs.
The truth must be told regardless of whose ox is gored as it’s only the truth that can liberate the society from darkness and the shackles of the selfish. It’s easy to preach but it’s harder to practice what you preach. It’s a disservice to advocate against anger and vengeance on the Church pulpit and fail to live by example in a minor test.
Reflecting on the life of the late Pope John Paul II when he was shot by a man named Mehmet Ali Ağca on Wednesday, 13 May 1981, in St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City. He pleaded with the authorities to set the man free amid the scathing agony of his injury. He paid a courtesy visit to the man in prison, forgave him and went as far as praying for him. This stellar example can win the hearts of millions of unbelievers in the world from now and years to come.
How many pastors will forgive their ushers if they discover that the Church offerings/tithes were secretly tampered with?
Religious leaders are not different from our unscrupulous politicians they mingle with for high-profile connections. Nobody leads by actions anymore in Nigeria; what is in vogue is leadership by empty words of mouth and unfounded ‘prophetic utterances’ painstakingly rehearsed to thrill the general public.
Forgiveness has become an aberration to Christian life. Clemency has been ostensibly struck out of the Bible by some ‘gods of men’ sorry I mean ‘men of God’.
A vivid celebrated example is the chilling s*x scandal involving the firebrand founder of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide – Apostle Johnson Suleman and his alleged lover, Stephanie Otobo whose family was mesmerized publicly during a Church service at the Omega Ministries headquarters in Auchi, Edo State of recent. The fiery cleric yielding to the pleadings of Stephanie’s elder sister and poor mother, Mama Tope forgave her openly but in less than 48 hours, he slammed her and Sahara Reporters, the online news platform that broke the news of the s*xual impropriety with a N1 billion law suit.
Real men of God don’t eat their words; they stand by them. Double-speaking is a sign of falsehood in Christendom.
Look around you today; there is massive proliferation of mushroom Churches that have strayed away from preaching about holiness, evangelism and making heaven but phantom prosperity messages. How has those messages reduced the about 67.1% poverty rate (112 million Nigerians, National Bureau of Statistics, October, 2016 report) in Nigeria? Why are the pastors getting richer and becoming successful entrepreneurs owing businesses that members can’t patronize? Why is corruption and other crimes in Nigeria still this high despite the teachings of these Churches?
The fact that jumping into the Third Mainland Bridge in Lagos has become attractive to Nigerians is an indictment on the Church where the despondent people mostly seek solace. Prosperity has been attached to religion but why are Saudi Arabia (Islam), Dubai (Islam), and China (Buddhism) exceptions to success? Is religion truly the opium of the masses according to Karl Max?
Logical reasoning has been sacrificed on the altar of religion to benefit the interests of a few who are like motivational speakers on the altar. The Church has been taken over by religious entrepreneurs manipulating people with provisions of the Bible to squeeze money out of their slim pockets. If the financial operations of the Church are banned by the law, I can bet my life that some well known pastors will succinctly reject the call of God for the gospel proclamation journey.
Back to the travails of Madam KOO, if a popular man of God can valorously persecute a 52-year old woman in this manner for publishing a controversial report about him without making a U-turn in over two weeks, then we should gather influential clerics and the leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria to strike out the provisions of forgiveness in the great book.
What is being told in essence is that the Bible which is one of the oldest books in the world could have outlived its relevance with the tenets unable to cope with current realities.
It is an anomaly that the Nigerian celebrities we tag as ‘unbelievers’ are now the one preaching forgiveness to one of the religious leaders in the country. I smell the Armageddon!