This must be the most unprofessional piece I will ever write but then who knows I might even try to trump my own game tomorrow. I decided to do this for those who have no choice of notion, who are finding it hard to pitch their tent with any sides of the fence, those who wish there would be a media publication somewhere debunking some rumors or half-truth as some journo now put it.
At some point in this article, you may find me being biased, well its only expected for a well cultured person not to bite the finger that feeds him and having lived closely to some of the people in the article, I wont be making wide conjectures but painting the words of my scripts without compromising any surety.
Recently, the air has been unclear about the issue of men of God having a lot in their possession and it has become unknown to so many people what might actually be going on and please before you shut me out, this is only my opinion with some facts to garnish it. I have no doubt in my heart that people are very concerned about the state of the church and its leadership in this 21st century and I think that’s the right position to be, where you can question your believe and where you spend your time and other effects.
The only reason you will have fake naira notes is because the genuine legal tender exists but its not expected that the phony should outnumber the genuine ones, because then that will be catastrophic.Let me start with the question “what is wrong with having a private jet?. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. If you can afford and maintain it and your schedule demands it. Therefore basically, the problem is not buying or owning a private jet anymore if you can afford or your schedule demands it. So narrowing down, the issue here is that a particular calling or profession (men of God) are those having one is the issue at the moment.
I am a favorite of Yele Sowore of Sahara Reporters but a few years ago, this picture came up on SR saying this man of God got a jet and he was lounging about. At that point, I wondered what “lounging about ” actually means. There were no descriptions whatsoever of how he lounged about, just a man sitting in a small fine carrier. If I m not mistaken, lounging is Ludacris opening the doors of a ship full of women in Area code, lounging is somebody popping champagne to nothing with his friends with some ‘pretty fine’ females around him, Lounging is being on a cigarette boat and doing whatsoever fits into the pages of a glossy magazine or in the musical videos. A man who hasn’t slept properly in 3 days hopping on a jet to catch a Sunday service he was going to preach with big tear-ducts all over his eyes and still cheery face is no sign of lounging to me. I will never step into this man’s shoe for a day. I am using him as an instance of a genuine currency note in this case because as a student of Covenant University some years ago, I had the awesome privilege of living in the same compound for a while with this man and I tell you being under his tutelage is not a cakewalk. Two different occasions he drove by my window around 2am while I was studying and I could see him inspecting the construction works on the sites. You will never see this man without huge water bags on his eyes and you can’t even put a fixed number of the projects being worked upon at every point in time both within and outside the compound/state.
The reason many people have issues with some of these men of God is the fact that many have bestowed things expected of a functioning government to the church. So many things expected of the government are not put in place so the most beneficial heart is usually being turned to by people for a bail out,in this case the church and I cannot blame anyone for this opinion.
Living in the lowest quadrant of Marslow’s hierarchy has been an issue in this part of the world where a lot of people keep trying to jump from the survival stage to the middle class but are being bounced back below the line every other month due to certain conditions that are not helpful for economic growth.
During the last POTUS election, I must confess that Obama actually used his oratory skill to dodge some vital questions. I later found out that some of those questions were avoided on national Tv for security reasons knowing very well not every country watching is an ally. But he did mention something, the growth of any economy usually starts with a focus on the middle class. The middle class plays a huge role in the development of your economy and that is what Bishop Oyedepo has been doing . A lot of people out there say things like “they have a school that church members cannot afford”. Are you supposed to compromise certain standards so every peasant can go to school? No. if you want to maintain good standard, you will have to pay for it, if you want to look good, you will have to buy Brazilian hair. The government pays well over N700,000 on every student each year in a federal university and yet look at the graduates we churn out every year. Most of these private schools are even built with bigger standards nowadays and yet they don’t even pay up to 700 grand and all you can say is these schools are too expensive???
There is a clear dichotomy on what is expected of the church and what is expected of the government. Keeping the line stealth is a huge mistake made by many. Covenant University was built with the Yale University model in mind and they have almost achieved that without demanding up to a quarter of what Yale demands from you. This kind of poor mentality is what is drawing us back. So the church is expected to compromise standard and build rubbish of schools so that the poorest can attend? You are probably saying the missionaries achieved this. Oh yes, they were funded by their home churches and supported by their governments. Or you think those fantastic structures/ edifice or many hectares of land just appeared there without anyone paying for them? I think some should go and start their own businesses and start underselling. I used the word business because even God expects us to treat our affairs as businesses. “How many of you will start a building without counting the cost?”. Even Jesus in the parable of talents expressed that the master was very angry at the guy that could not produce any return on what he was given. You need diligent hands to be very productive.
I think what would have made some happy is the church handing out some bags of rice and clothing and other charitable gigs but what the masses don’t understand is that besides the fact that churches do this on weekly basis and not publicize, there is the need to empower the middle class, grow the economy and then the poor can have SMEs of their own and get their goods on good road to destinations and across the borders.
About the man of God that got his own as a gift, I believe before giving a gift, an expensive one at that, there must have been a need. If the people around you think you need a car to move around and they being your friends decide to donate money and get you a good one, that’s a thoughtful thing to do. For the past 30 years that this man has been useful to the poor, no one recalls such memo. The thing is, in the words of Jesus “you will always have the poor among you.” It doesn’t matter whether America or Europe. Poor people are everywhere.
I am going to take this biblical again and I ‘m not using the triumphant entry and brand-new colt riding as an instance. Instead, I want to take you back to the issue of the woman with the alabaster box. I don’t know what an alabaster box precisely is but the reaction from the disciples is exactly what everyone is expressing right now. They felt like Master, why is this woman wasting all of that, that expensive box of perfume, we can as well sell this and make more money to give to the poor. Jesus replied them “The poor you will always have around you”. This is not an argument, just my own view from a less cynic perspective this time. Why did Jesus allow it?
Back to the bishop, now this man stopped collecting salary from the church back in 1995. There were 3 people from my class alone that were under the scholarship of the Bishop. I dont know how many of such students there are all over the world but I often run into them . A friend of mine who is an auditor with one of the International firms had done sessions on the churches account before with one of the banks. He even told me certain things back then on this man that I am not even allowed to disclose here but that tells me that for him to even allow auditors into the management tells me of how much standard he maintains.
About those expecting the church to build schools and roads and hospitals, the fact that there is no political notion attached to them doesn’t mean they don’t exist, they just don’t flaunt them in your faces on the TV for propaganda to score political points. The day I knew a lot was wrong was when I found out the reason it took the Sango Otta bridge almost 6 years to complete when a similar structure at Rumuola in Rivers had taken less than a year. You see this bridge is between two states: Lagos and Ogun hence a federal project. Now, the FG had been funding certain parties but they had refused to finish up for continuous supply to come in. The church, having it’s own construction firm stepped in and proposed to finish it up but this team of people will not allow that as a wealth stream is going to be blocked. Same issue with light rail projects here and there, Lagos state applied for 6 of these light-rail project s from FG and only one was approved. Why and for what reasons were the rest not approved? This same church has applied for this rail projects from way back
“If you don’t understand certain thought or principle, don’t just debunk or dumb it down, but put it on the shelf, you can always visit it later” – Jesse Duplantis. That is a quote I try to live by every day. Wole Talabi said that “the fact that you don’t understand the purpose of something or what it stands for doesn’t mean a reason for such does not exist”
The church is doing many more projects that I can’t even list here for space, Ethiopia and some other countries came around to the church and asked for a carbon copy of Covenant University in their country, issuing them license to come help out for free (that cost well over N200m in Nigeria for license) just because somebody is maintaining a standard. Other schools were there, they dint go there. Covenant University alone has produced more than 7 engineering graduates with CCIE, no other university in Nigeria can boast of that and you expect such standards to come cheap? I would rather see 10 more of such schools that will produce graduates and middle class people that are ready to infuse the system with ideas that will drive economic ideas that can help SMEs, agricultural mechanization, entrepreneurial development & job creation and not just some half-baked graduates that have little or no skills.
Trust me, if you go through the annals of this church, the jet project is the least of the things you want to be worried about. There are way more things that will startle you, I mean like blow your mind because that is what many of us even need. An expanded mind!
When former Governor Alamieysigha of Bayelsa state was charged for N80b missing fund, that was about the worth of 14 Covenant Universities. Now look how many people that man would have denied employment, education, health et al..all in one lifting, we have no idea how many of such he probably lifted.
In conclusion, because I can go on and on about this for a week, there was a particular occurrence during my interview in my place of work. You see, I had applied to this place before I was even through with school and I was having the final interview with the CEO of one of the national carriers and also one of the richest men in Nigeria. After asking me 2 technical questions out of about 5-7 I was expecting, he suddenly paused and ask, “did you say you attended that school owned by the Bishop?” to which I replied “Yes sir”. He just said “you can go”. Initially I had thought that was it, he’s got beef for this man too but I dint get home before I was called up for my offer letter. I asked a few questions around and from my conclusion, between this two men (the Bishop and the CEO), there are about twenty thousand jobs being created in the country. From the reaction that day, I want to believe there must be some points of convergence, similar traits or characteristics among this set of people that is strictly esoteric to people who hold their kinds of position. A few things might be wrong here and there, but certain rules remain constant for people who are skilled, diligent and ready to serve people