Spokesman of former President Mohammadu Buhari ,Mr. Femi Adesina has recounted his experience with many Nigerian pastors while working with the former president of Nigeria.
Adesina gave the account in his book, Working with Buhari; which was launched on January 16 in Abuja.
Many dignitaries including former President Buhari, former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, President Bola Tinubu and a host of others were at the launch.
The book has since enjoyed a lot of reviews in the media.
In chapter six of the book, titled, Buhari and a part of the Church, Adesina gave a chronicle of what he described as a misrepresentation of the former president by some Nigerian pastors. He also took space in the book to appreciate many pastors who went out of their way to intercede for the government.
According to him, the hatred for Buhari by some of the church leaders predated his election in 2015.
Making reference to scriptures that enjoined Christians to pray for those in authority, Adesina said these pastors, “led and indoctrinated a large part of their congregations to harbour bile and animosity against”the former president.
Adesina noted that Bishop Oyedepo of Living Faith Worldwide, popularly known as Winners Chapel, “had arrayed himself against Buhari before the election. Indeed, he was on tape as instructing members to kill any Fulani they saw near the church.”
He also revealed in the book the fallout of a meeting convened by Pastor Adeboye with some church leaders before the 2015 elections.
He wrote, “On good authority I was informed of a meeting convened of top Christian leaders by Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye at Redeemed Christian Church of God Campground, off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. It was shortly before the 2015 presidential poll.
“A renowned pastor at the meeting told me that Pastor Adeboye asked the preachers if any of them had a word from God on the forthcoming election. Bishop Oyedepo was said to have stood up, and pontifically declared that God told him President Jonathan would win.
“The then President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor of Word of Life Bible Church, was also said to have indicated support for the incumbent President, as government was going to do bid rounds for oil blocs soon, and he needed one for works of the kingdom. Fine.”
Adesina noted that since the outcome of the election did not favour their predictions,” The pro-Jonathan pastors never forgave Buhari and the APC.”
Oyedepo and Atiku
He lamented how Bishop Oyedepo reportedly cursed the President and his government. “In fact, there was a time in the first term that he declared Buhari’s time as over, that God had rejected him.”
Adesina also wondered by Bishop Oyedepo fraternised with former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the People Democratic Party in the 2019 election. “He forgot that Atiku was also Fulani, the breed he had asked his members to lynch, if they saw any near the church.”
Adesina recounted many other alleged infractions by the cleric wondering at the level of hate he had for the former president.
Also read: Adesina’s book on Buhari, a wise and proactive step-Yemi Osinbajo: https://churchtimesnigeria.net/adesinas-book-on-buhari-a-wise-and-proactive-step-prof-osinbajo/
He recalled how Bishop Oyedepo allegedly “proclaimed 7 days fasting and prayers for the fall of Buhari, in which he had been joined by two of his acolytes, Paul Enenche of Dunamis church, and David Ibieyomie of Salvation Ministries”
He noted in the chapter how in December 2018, “Bishop Oyedepo deeply embarrassed himself, when he said the Buhari that returned to the country after the health challenge of 2017 was a clone. He didn’t understand satire, and was gleefully reading a piece done by Dr Olatunji Dare in The Nation Newspaper. He didn’t know that the piece was a caricature of those who had sold the story of Jubril of Sudan, as the man occupying Aso Rock Villa.”
But the one that touched home for Adesina was pastor of his church, Babajide Olowodola. He recalled what led to his exit from the church while also noting that he had since reconciled with the pastor.
He wrote, Olowodola is a good preacher and pastor. But at a stage, he began to exhibit some messianic tendencies, in which he believed he would pull down President Buhari singlehandedly.
“Week after week, I heard snide remarks he made against the President from the pulpit. He would threateningly ask people to get their PVCs (Permanent Voters Cards) against 2019, and vote out the incompetent government. I didn’t let it bother me initially.
“Matters however came to a head in 2018, when Boko Haram abducted the Dapchi girls. I was in church on Sunday, and there was no name the pastor didn’t call the President. He even went into the fallacy of saying more people had been killed in the country since 2015, than what we lost during the Civil War. Recall that Nigeria lost between two and three million souls during that fratricidal war. He went on and on that Sunday, but I kept my peace.
“As it turned out, the Dapchi girls were recovered within the week, save for Leah Sharibu, and few others. So, the next Sunday, I went to church, waiting to hear what Rev Olowodola would say.
“Not a word! Not even by accident. He didn’t mention the positive development, thus showing him as unfair and prejudiced. After the service, I picked my Bible, went home, and never returned to the church.”
I left the church
While declaring that he is still a member of Foursquare Gospel Church he said, “I couldn’t imagine myself sitting to listen to a prejudiced preacher.I left the church in February 2018, Rev Olowodola, who we were on regular talking terms almost weekly on phone didn’t ask after me. Neither did I reach out to him. Till one day in January 2021, the son of Moji Makanjuola of Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) was getting married, and I was at the reception.I was already seated, and an usher shepherded another person to the table. Lo and behold, it was Rev. Olowodola. I rose to greet him, and he said: “Brother Femi, how did a trailer pass in between us, and I didn’t see you again?
“I told him my grouse, and he reflected for moments. Then said: “But you should have come to meet me, and you should have said, ‘you foolish pastor, why are you preaching like this?’
“We both laughed, and he proceeded to apologize for hurting my feelings, saying he should have been more mindful of the fact that I served the President, and was a member of the church.No more war. He had retired from pastoring, and we left the ceremony on amicable terms.”
Primate Elijah Ayodele
Adesina in the treatise recalled Primate Elijah Ayodele’s many anti-Buhari prophecies that never came to pass, Pastor Paul Adefarasin of House on the Rock who asked Nigerians to have a Plan B of fleeing the country, “whether an Okada to Cameroon, or flying boat to Seme border,” because of security challenges in the land.
On Pastor Tunde Bakare, Serving Overseer of the Citadel Community Church, Adesina wrote, “He came around in the last two weeks of the administration, met with the President, and went to say that he was very discouraged after that visit, “that I need time to encourage myself in the Lord my God.” But one thing you can’t deny: Pastor Bakare truly loved the President, but also loved to play to the gallery, hence his inconsistencies.”
Adesina describes Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, of the Sokoto Catholic Archdiocese as a specialist in hate speech against the former President.
He wrote, “Every festive season, he would release homilies in which his pastime was to take potshots at the President” He recalled how he called out Father Kukah in a piece titled; Kukah, don’t cook me nonsense”
Adesina posits in the book that despite the hate and malicious postures of some of the pastors, “Buhari has no enemy. As I wrote recently, he has no malicious bone in his body, and will always cheerfully welcome Kukah.”
He recalled how the then leadership of CAN also went overboard in its opposition to the President. He wrote,“When its Adamawa Chairman, Rev Lawan Andimi, was kidnapped and gruesomely beheaded by terrorists, that sad development was described as a collusion between the Federal Government and terrorists “to exterminate Christians in Nigeria.” How ridiculous! Who does not know that the terrorists did not discriminate between Christians and Muslims. They just killed anyone they could lay their hands on”
Buhari not anti-Christian
He took exception to the spirited attempt being made to position Muhammadu Buhari as anti-Christian faith.
He wrote: “That was why as much as some church leaders tried to dress Buhari in borrowed robes in 2015 and 2019, millions of Christians went ahead to vote for him. The inexorable truth is that in Nigeria, Muslims can’t wish Christians away, and vice-versa. We shall all stay here, and salvage it together.”
In the rather long chapter, Adesina chronicled many instances former President Buhari indulged his pro Christian requests and how he welcomed and celebrated many Christians known to him.
Pastors who loved Buhari
He also took ample space in the book to pay homage to some pastors who took time to pray for him and the government
He wrote: “There are remnants of pastors who stayed true to their callings, not joining the mob. One of such is Rev. Chris Okotie of Household of God Church and Pastor William Folorunsho Kumuyi, General Superintendent of the Deeper Life Bible Church.
Very remarkable is a phone call that I received from Rev Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church. It was at a particularly turbulent time for government, and this was what he told me: “Brother Femi (that’s how he usually calls me) “I’m calling to encourage you at a time like this. Please stay loyal to the President. He needs you at a time like this. If everybody betrays him, you must not. You are serving a government you chose to serve, so stay steadfast. Don’t mind the nonsense that some people are saying. We live in a very complex country.”
On Pastor Kumuyi, he wrote, “Kumuyi is a rare, balanced preacher, who uses the Holy Bible as his guide in all things. There was a day in 2018, that he even visited President Buhari along with his wife, Esther. The President said the visit was a morale booster.
“My morale is raised by your visit. I very much appreciate it,’’ he said, noting that “God did not make a mistake when he created over 250 different ethnic groups and decided to put them in a place called Nigeria.
“He, therefore, urged Nigerians to appreciate God for bringing everyone together.
Buhari said he was “excited a great deal’’ at the cleric’s acceptance of government’s invitation to preach during the country’s 58th independence anniversary.
“Please remain focused and courageous and do what is right. Not everyone will support you publicly, but we are praying for you so that your tenure will be one of progress and prosperity for the country,” Kumuyi said.
Adesina also documented the exchange between Pastor Kumuyi and Professor Dapo Asaju of the Anglican Communion. He documented what Pastor Kumuyi wrote about the church and the challenges of the nation in the media in response to Asaju’s called that both that himself and Pastor Adejare Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, should speak up in the face of the pall of insecurity overlooking our dear country, Nigeria, and threatening us all with a pin-down.
Kumuyi had replied, “in Deeper Life, we teach that if you’re a genuine believer in Christ, you wouldn’t hate your neighbour. Nor would you disdain those in power because they appear not to be delivering on electoral pledges”Adesina lamented in the book that believers in government during the tenure of Buhari were “demonized, ostracized and considered enemies of the faith”
The former spokesman of Buhari also took good space in the book to talk about Apostle Johnson Suleman, the Senior Pastor of Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide.
He wrote: “After the beheading of Rev Andimi and the exchange of press statements between CAN and myself, he (Apostle Johnson Suleman) went on Twitter to describe me with words that I believe should never come from a Christian, not to talk of a preacher of the gospel. Very unsavoury.
“What did I do? Without mentioning Apostle Suleman’s name, I just picked two of his prominent prophecies, which failed to come to pass, and I did a Tweet, wondering if such person was a true man of God. But no one was in doubt about who I was talking of.
“Some days later, Apostle Suleman, filled with godly compunction, came with an open letter, apologizing to me for the noxious words he had used against me. I was astounded when I saw the letter. I had to call him on phone, asking if he truly wrote the letter. He confirmed it, and apologized to me again.
Now, that is what Christianity is all about. We are all human, fallible, prone to wrong judgments, whether clergy or laity. Despite being an Apostle, the highest of all the Christian offices, Apostle Suleman didn’t think an apology was beneath him. I thank him.”
Appreciation to supportive pastors
The chapter closed with profuse appreciation to pastors who stood by him and indeed by the government of Mohammadu Buhari.
Adesina wrote: “We thank Pastors who showed understanding; the Kumuyis, Okoties, Enoch Adejare Adeboye, who visited President Buhari in both London and at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, Bishop Mike Okonkwo, who once called me up to seek explanation about certain things happening in the polity, Rev Felix Omobude, Rev Felix Meduoye, then General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church, his successor, Rev Sam Aboyeji, local pastors of my branch over the years, Rev Richard Oloidi, Pastor Dayo Adewumi, and Rev Ayomide Abraham.
“There was also Pastor Olaitan Aromolaran of Ikorodu, Lagos, based Joy Cometh Ministries, who loved President Buhari passionately, and never stopped praying for us. So also Rev Austin Epunam of Sweet Home Africa Foundation, and Gideons International, especially Ikeja Camp, where I’ve been a member for over two decades.
“Post-humous salute to Pastor Taiwo Odukoya of Fountain of Life Church, Ilupeju, Lagos. Many times, he would raise prayer requests for those of us who were Christians in government, and one Sunday, his focus was on me particularly. When the news got to me after the service, I had to call him up to say thank you. He has now gone to his reward, as we will all do. May God rest his kind soul.
“There are many other preachers and pastors that one cannot mention by name. They sustained our faith in the Christian religion, and demonstrated to us that there’s always a remnant, “all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and all whose mouths have not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18). We thank them”