The Dunami incident is revealing enough. Some pastors are state agents, moles and instruments in the hands of Nigerian state for mass herding and brainwashing of the people. The same with some Imams. I also believe that if you open your eyes, you should find them too in the ranks of believers of the Ancient Ways.
Five young Nigerians attended a church service, wearing a T-shirt, which a political statement was inscribed on. The church found that sacrilegious. The church authorities worked itself to the Pinnacle of frenzy when the young men, reportedly, started taking selfies in church premises.
We are supposed to get angry that the boys wore ‘Buhari Must Go’ T-shirt to a church service; the church must have believed we must necessarily get mad. A God loving country that Nigeria is, with God fearing church leaders and statesmen; we must feel affronted by young boys taking selfies before the God the nation’s Bigmen worship.
What baffling hypocrisy would that be, if the people were to believe that. And the people didn’t believe that. The people have thought the response of Pastor Eneche excessive and suspicious. Why would anyone defend the honour of a discredited government that hasn’t been honorable enough to keep its vows before God and Nigerian people to “secure the country”, build the economy, and “fight corruption”? Why? If not for the subtle collaboration that has existed between the church and the state from the beginning of human history.
The boys that took their political passion before God are not different from the pastors that speak freely from the altar about their political beliefs. Nigeria has its fair share of activist-pastors, even when it is a matter of great confusion to make sense of the huge difference between the words and actions of these clerics. We in fact have clerics that frolic with killers, and some clerics who die at the hands of killer-bandits. And we the people are liberal about it, we don’t send hire-killers after them; why then should a Pastor send the alphabetised government’s thugs after poor people that are doing even something lesser.
Are we to assume then that political expression in churches or religious houses is a privilege only a cleric can exercise; are we to say some constitutional rights to freedoms of thoughts, expression and political association end at the doorsteps of religious organisations?
Governors, politicians, the exact people that create the majority of problems that take Nigerians to churches, also take their supplications to God. So far, God has been answering the prayers of these politicians, which are also our scariest nightmares. Should it then be unjust to take the prayers of the oppressed, the victims of the evil that sits in the front pews, to God? Should their cries for liberation be shielded from God? What if the oppressed want an oppressive government gone, should they be shielded by some priest who has not the slightest understanding of poverty and deprivation?
It is the sons of an orange tree that make men strike the mother-tree. I would have kept some of my observations about the faith to myself, if this assault against the freedom of others has not taken place, if this rank hypocrisy has not occured. This same church has its members painting Instagram with vidoes of their members “Skabashing”, fighting the devil in spiritual tongues, while the real devil in Agbada occupies a front pews in their auditoriums. Why should a selfie during “first-timer” call be a taboo then; why should it merit requesting government-thugs to go after the Congregation?
Dunami Church has no point to make. It only made itself available, (I know, not cheaply), to the Buhari government to repress citizens. What was the church thinking by bringing the DSS to arrest suspected protesters? Was Pastor Eneche unaware of the brutish, anti-protest credentials of a Presidency that mowed down EndSARS protesters at Lekki? Pastor Enenche took his sychophancy to earthly Powers too far this time by calling on “Government-murderers” to pick up “Anti-government” protesters?
Meanwhile such paranoia made Buhari to deploy a killer-squad against EndSARS protesters in October 20, 2020, whom he claimed wanted to remove him. Is the pastor even aware that he has thrown passionate young men, whose only offense was their desire for a country that works, to the claws of an insatiable Tiger? They are denied all their democratic rights to access their lawyers in detention, and no one can ascertain their wellbeing, including of a visually-challenged person among the Dunami-5. Pastor Enenche is responsible! Over what? Because young men came to pray, ashes in their head, mourning as the Prophets of yore did, begging the spiritworld to commit an oppressive government to the dust. They have every right to do so. And they should be freed now!
Wole Engels writes from Lagos, Nigeria. He can be contacted via: firstname.lastname@example.org