Obasanjo's Church

Today in Abeokuta, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will donate a new building to Christian worshippers: a church.

The building, which is reported to be in the premises of the Obasanjo Presidential Library, is "in fulfillment of a pact he made with God in the late 1990s when he was in Abacha's prisoner," a spokesman said last week.

I congratulate Obasanjo for remembering God. I write this article in the hope that he and the leaders of the church will reflect on the paradox of a situation where God is being presented with a questionable offering.

Nobody has dominated the affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in our first 50 years as much as Obasanjo has. In that sense, it is not difficult to see why he may sometimes see himself not as the worshipper, but as the worshipped. If you have encountered him, you know he almost expects to be worshipped.

In any event, in the years since his famous return from jail, he has either ruled Nigeria or determined who did. In many respects, he has determined, directly or indirectly, who feasted and who starved; who became a king and who became a pauper.

In short, he has determined the philosophy of this era. Not surprisingly, he has emerged as one of the principal beneficiaries.

Think about it: his party, the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) virtually owns Nigeria, and Obasanjo completely mirrors its unscrupulousness. Following our return to a so-called democracy, Obasanjo served a total of eight years, courtesy of two massively rigged elections. Before the entire world in 2006, he even tried to rig himself to stay on.

Failing to achieve that, he continued the rigging within the party by handpicking a candidate and outside it by ensuring his man won that election. He never saw the irony that the man was his personal candidate and not democracy's. And he has hung around as party baron in order to ensure it is his script that continues to be used.

It was Obasanjo who infused the PDP with the "snatch this and snatch that" spirit, seeking to win every electoral contest, every contract, every oil well. It is he who has propagated the nonsense about the PDP ruling this nation for 60 or 100 years. It is he who nurtured the impunity that best describes our era, and the arrogance and indifference that best defines PDP governments.

And so the PDP made sure it has won elections, but they are victories, top to bottom, that the courts continue to expose as colossal scams. In Obasanjo's eight years, the PDP did not produce one state which excelled in service or development; on the contrary, they have characteristically been looted back to the 20th century.

And Obasanjo has not been beyond corruption scandals. A few of them: Halliburton, the Petroleum Trust Development Fund, the 2003 election campaign funds, Transcorp, the Andy Uba presidential jet bribe, the third term, the nationwide rigging machinery and the Presidential Library, the soil in which he chose to build his church.

These - not a shiny new church purchased with funds that should have been used to give food and water and education and electricity to the ordinary Nigerian - are the things that really define Obasanjo's image, character and legacy. If the key to heaven is what Obasanjo seeks, he would do well to remember the many citizens of Nigeria who depended on him to keep them from hell on earth, which is what Nigeria is.

Hopefully, the authorities of Obasanjo's church will equally be prayerful and reflective. Announcing today's event, Mr. Victor Durodola, who leads the Board of Trustees of the building, declared that it would be open to interdenominational worship. "It has no restrictions, and is open to all Christians irrespective of their affiliation," he said.

That, I suppose, is Obasanjo preaching to himself. The truth is that as leader, Obasanjo discriminated routinely against the ordinary Nigerian. It is symbolic that it is the crooked, not the honest or hardworking, who flourished in his time. It is therefore truly strange when Mr. Durodola offered the following propaganda of the big church last week, "Its vision and mission is to save humanity by promoting the kingdom of God on earth through the belief in, and acceptance of Jesus Christ, the glorious King, as the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind."

Pure theory, of course, and one can only hope that Mr. Durodola and other religious leaders nationwide will pause to ask themselves whether they are using power to define faith, or faith to define power.

In Abeokuta today, such faith leaders should remind themselves of whom we speak: Obasanjo. This is a former Nigerian ruler who not used and abused his position, and promoted and honoured the crooked. I do not mean he did not pronounce big things or even make a contribution here and there, but his philosophy inexorably led to the betrayal of the many in the service of self and the few.

As a result, Obasanjo may teach Sunday School sermons to Abeokuta children, as Mr. Durodola said, but he is not a hero of any of those children, he is not admired by their parents, and sadly, he cannot walk their streets without as a respected former leader.

Obasanjo will be remembered for some of the edifices he established while in office, but he will be regretted even more for the evils he used them to perpetrate, and the prospects and dreams he suppressed.

This is the problem with Obasanjo's church. It is not an honest gesture. It is not a testament to truth because while Obasanjo may be a soothsayer, he is not a truth-sayer. He is a man who never stood by or sought the truth unless it served his purpose, which is why there are many trees dead he should have chopped down, and many glorious trees that have fallen, some of them by his hand.

This is why I think our religious leaders must be careful. A significant part of our crisis in Nigeria is the collusion between church and state, attributable to religious leaders who identify with the rich and the powerful at the expense of their faith.

What they ought to have told Obasanjo is that faith is free, and that he is free to come to their church and pray. On the contrary, they seem to have assured him they would bring Christ to him in a shiny palace built on the foundation of questionable wealth and the political betrayal of the Nigerian people.

The truth is that it is kings and queens who rise and go looking for Christ. On his own Chris gets up and goes looking for the poor, the abandoned, the betrayed, the sick, the cheated, the dispirited, the dispossessed.

Those are the very same people that Obasanjo, having denied and ignored when he had a chance to help them, now hopes will troop through his shiny gates to help him find God.

Someone in Abeokuta should climb a chair today and bravely tell Obasanjo his calculus is wrong. First, he must return the people's wealth to them, with humility and profound apologies, a.k.a prayer.



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Re: Obasanjo's Church
Igiligii posted on 10-31-2010, 03:23:49 AM

Today in Abeokuta, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo will donate a new building to Christian worshippers: a church.

The building, which is reported to be in the premises of the Obasanjo Presidential Library, is "in fulfillment of a pact he made with God in the late 1990s when he was in Abacha's prisoner," a spokesman said last week.

I congratulate Obasanjo for remembering God. I write this article in the hope that he and the leaders of the church will reflect on the paradox of a situation where God is being presented with a questionable offering.

Nobody has dominated the affairs of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in our first 50 years as much as Obasanjo has. In that sense, it is not difficult to see why he may sometimes see himself not as the worshipper, but as the worshipped. If you have encountered him, you know he almost expects to be worshipped.

In any event, in the years since his famous return from jail, he has either ruled Nigeria or determined who did. In many respects, he has determined, directly or indirectly, who feasted and who starved; who became a king and who became a pauper.

In short, he has determined the philosophy of this era. Not surprisingly, he has emerged as one of the principal beneficiaries.

Think about it: his party, the Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) virtually owns Nigeria, and Obasanjo completely mirrors its unscrupulousness. Following our return to a so-called democracy, Obasanjo served a total of eight years, courtesy of two massively rigged elections. Before the entire world in 2006, he even tried to rig himself to stay on.

Failing to achieve that, he continued the rigging within the party by handpicking a candidate and outside it by ensuring his man won that election. He never saw the irony that the man was his personal candidate and not democracy's. And he has hung around as party baron in order to ensure it is his script that continues to be used.

It was Obasanjo who infused the PDP with the "snatch this and snatch that" spirit, seeking to win every electoral contest, every contract, every oil well. It is he who has propagated the nonsense about the PDP ruling this nation for 60 or 100 years. It is he who nurtured the impunity that best describes our era, and the arrogance and indifference that best defines PDP governments.

And so the PDP made sure it has won elections, but they are victories, top to bottom, that the courts continue to expose as colossal scams. In Obasanjo's eight years, the PDP did not produce one state which excelled in service or development; on the contrary, they have characteristically been looted back to the 20th century.

And Obasanjo has not been beyond corruption scandals. A few of them: Halliburton, the Petroleum Trust Development Fund, the 2003 election campaign funds, Transcorp, the Andy Uba presidential jet bribe, the third term, the nationwide rigging machinery and the Presidential Library, the soil in which he chose to build his church.

These - not a shiny new church purchased with funds that should have been used to give food and water and education and electricity to the ordinary Nigerian - are the things that really define Obasanjo's image, character and legacy. If the key to heaven is what Obasanjo seeks, he would do well to remember the many citizens of Nigeria who depended on him to keep them from hell on earth, which is what Nigeria is.

Hopefully, the authorities of Obasanjo's church will equally be prayerful and reflective. Announcing today's event, Mr. Victor Durodola, who leads the Board of Trustees of the building, declared that it would be open to interdenominational worship. "It has no restrictions, and is open to all Christians irrespective of their affiliation," he said.

That, I suppose, is Obasanjo preaching to himself. The truth is that as leader, Obasanjo discriminated routinely against the ordinary Nigerian. It is symbolic that it is the crooked, not the honest or hardworking, who flourished in his time. It is therefore truly strange when Mr. Durodola offered the following propaganda of the big church last week, "Its vision and mission is to save humanity by promoting the kingdom of God on earth through the belief in, and acceptance of Jesus Christ, the glorious King, as the Saviour and Redeemer of mankind."

Pure theory, of course, and one can only hope that Mr. Durodola and other religious leaders nationwide will pause to ask themselves whether they are using power to define faith, or faith to define power.

In Abeokuta today, such faith leaders should remind themselves of whom we speak: Obasanjo. This is a former Nigerian ruler who not used and abused his position, and promoted and honoured the crooked. I do not mean he did not pronounce big things or even make a contribution here and there, but his philosophy inexorably led to the betrayal of the many in the service of self and the few.

As a result, Obasanjo may teach Sunday School sermons to Abeokuta children, as Mr. Durodola said, but he is not a hero of any of those children, he is not admired by their parents, and sadly, he cannot walk their streets without as a respected former leader.

Obasanjo will be remembered for some of the edifices he established while in office, but he will be regretted even more for the evils he used them to perpetrate, and the prospects and dreams he suppressed.

This is the problem with Obasanjo's church. It is not an honest gesture. It is not a testament to truth because while Obasanjo may be a soothsayer, he is not a truth-sayer. He is a man who never stood by or sought the truth unless it served his purpose, which is why there are many trees dead he should have chopped down, and many glorious trees that have fallen, some of them by his hand.

This is why I think our religious leaders must be careful. A significant part of our crisis in Nigeria is the collusion between church and state, attributable to religious leaders who identify with the rich and the powerful at the expense of their faith.

What they ought to have told Obasanjo is that faith is free, and that he is free to come to their church and pray. On the contrary, they seem to have assured him they would bring Christ to him in a shiny palace built on the foundation of questionable wealth and the political betrayal of the Nigerian people.

The truth is that it is kings and queens who rise and go looking for Christ. On his own Chris gets up and goes looking for the poor, the abandoned, the betrayed, the sick, the cheated, the dispirited, the dispossessed.

Those are the very same people that Obasanjo, having denied and ignored when he had a chance to help them, now hopes will troop through his shiny gates to help him find God.

Someone in Abeokuta should climb a chair today and bravely tell Obasanjo his calculus is wrong. First, he must return the people's wealth to them, with humility and profound apologies, a.k.a prayer.



..Read the full article
Re: Obasanjo's Church
Dove posted on 10-31-2010, 04:34:09 AM
Thanks, Sonala, for putting the mind of one hundred and fifty million Nigerians, except for one person; into writing.

Wait until aKarapak who never sees anything bad about this monster called OBJ reads this.

Keep up the good work.

.............................................................................
Give me one reason why I should vote for GEJ.
Re: Obasanjo's Church
Tanibaba posted on 10-31-2010, 04:53:53 AM
Nice and well written English even though some errors were encountered in the piece.

My problem with some people is that they play God.

This article is about passing judgement without proof of wrong doing and without a balanced presentation of facts.

If it is about PDP, the party is one of the parties in Nigeria and the modus operandi in all of them are basically the same. So if one of them is smarter than the rest why should we cry foul. It was not only PDP that gave us consesus candidates, other parties did.

If it is about the wealth of OBJ, I have no idea where he got his money from but I will not accuse him and pass judgement on him because somebody thinks he stole the money.

I have my grouse with OBJ too. He should have allowed the SNC to hold during his tenure. With that he would have given Nigerians the opportunity to address serious structural issues that still affect the country negatively. Like a soldier he muscled his way by declaring "no go areas".

Anyway no one should play God by passing judgement on others. That is a bigger sin in the sight of God.

Let OBJ donate his church and let the worshippers go there and worship. The fact that the church is sited on the Library's land does not make it less holy. You said in your piece that it is in fulfillment of the pact he had with God , so what is wrong with his fulfilling his promise to God.
Why do you have to come between God and one of his creations in respect of this matter?

What makes you think that you are wiser than God?

I will advise you to consider looking at this issue from a spiritual angle and you may discover that you are worse than OBJ.

Man's wisdom is like filthy rags in the sight of God and the bible warns us "do not judge but test all,,,,,,,""

Spiritual matters are very difficult to delve into

And if we must go physical , then provide evidence of stolen monies that are traceable to OBJ.

If it is about how PDP is run, leave politics to politicians

taslim
Re: Obasanjo's Church
Patcho posted on 10-31-2010, 05:28:36 AM
"Why do you begrudge my generousity?"
"Judge not that you may not be judged."
"Those who are not guilty, let them cast the first stone."
And todays sermon in the Catholic Church, to Zachaeus, Christ came to his house seeing him on a tree, "for Christ came for the sinners,...the sick...."
Lastly, "the foolishness of God is wiser than men."
Re: Obasanjo's Church
Norris posted on 10-31-2010, 07:32:18 AM
Thanks for the wonderful piece, needless to say more. For quite a long time now I have found it hard to read in full most of the articles being churned out. But I am happy yours has broken that five months jinx for myself.
My only hope is that self destructing dregs like Sunday Njokede can read through yours and at least to the barest minumum educate his shallow mind.
Weldone Sonola, I dedicate my 100th comment to you.
Regards.
Re: Obasanjo's Church
KaparaK posted on 10-31-2010, 11:52:46 AM
@Dove: Wow! I am so flattered with your observation that Sonala went to the length of writing this "Obasanjo's Church" just to spite a mere mortal like KaparaK versus 150 million hapless Nigerians.

Geez! KaparaK must be so important to Sonala and Dove that KaparaK and his hero, OBJ, must be so lashed with lanyard that even Empowered NewsWire wrote its own uncorroborated piece: "Obasanjo Moves Against Jonathan At UN Over UNPFA Top Job" in a desperate attempt to pit former Pres OBJ against the incumbent Pres JONA. OMG! Now, I am blushing!

This self importance has gone to my head that I will be tickled pink if Gerd-rude-ol'man of the mountain and his tontos - IlnToo, Okey Ndibe among other runts, start posting their own fictitious innuendoes as well just to spite KaparaK, his heroes, OBJ, and all the President's Men so much so that within a blink of an eye, we will be reading about Deep Throat, Water Gate at the Potomac of Aso Rock.

KaparaK must be so important to the miserable lives of jeun-jeun Journalists & ghost Writers, they have to go to the length that little prick, Kperogi has gone in questioning the tone of Nigerian commentators in his lame "What Virtual Nigeria Says About Real Nigeria."

Am I reading these 10/30/10 columns right? They must be a Halloween Eve's Costume Conspiracy. It used to be the Police & Journalist chasing the Thieves & Demonic Politicians, now the table has turned wherein compromised Journalists & ghostly Writers fronting for demonic Politicians-cum-Robbers are now chasing the Police and the Public. That is the Real Nigeria.

Only in Nigeria must it be OK for Nigerian Leaders to steal so brazenly and for Journalist/Writers to report lies, innuendoes, and fictitious doggerels as facts to miss-educate the public in their desperate attempt to cover up the crimes, expecting observant public commentators to be mute, sidon, and keep looking in a trance like Zombies.

They forget the ubiquitous Latin phrase: Vox Populi, Vox Dei. In case you know not what it means, let us spell it for ya - the Voice of the Public is the Voice of God. Better yet, we the Public are gods (tin, may be, to be humble), and you: fictitious writers, jeun-jeun journalists, and lootocrat-politicians are runts. Got it? These bogeymen/women are coming after y'all. Boo-ha-ha!!! The conspiracy is over.

Of course, please keep your doggerels coming and discernible people like us will continue to bust up the upside of your frigging heads with our kondos. You ain't seen nothing yet.
Re: Obasanjo's Church
ILN TOO posted on 10-31-2010, 12:40:01 PM
@sonala,

Thank you very much for this enlightening article. you're a star. whenever i read your articles, i am filled with hope for the future. as long as we have good people like you that continue to tell the truth, there is every reason to be hopeful. thank you sir, and God bless you.

May God also bless everyone on NVS.
Re: Obasanjo's Church
KaparaK posted on 10-31-2010, 13:33:34 PM
Iln Too says "May God bless everyone on NVS" for Sonala's hatred of OBJ he brought his hate to the pulpit so as to breach one of the Ten Commandments - thou shall not lie, nor kill with your evil eyes, tongues, writings, and blasphemy by calling his name in vain.

God must be so forgiving he will still bless us all anyway. Oh, well, may God bless OBJ including Kaparak too for turning the other cheek. Thank you so kindly, IlnToo. We forgive ya.
Re: Obasanjo's Church
Patcho posted on 10-31-2010, 15:29:32 PM
Iln too:
May God bless you too; bless you so much that you do not rejoice in the frailities of fellow humans.
Re: Obasanjo's Church
ILN TOO posted on 10-31-2010, 16:08:48 PM
@Patcho,

God bless you. how does thanking sonala fo his brilliant article (as usual) equate to rejoicing in the frailties of fellow humans? i am waiting for your answer. meanwhile, may God bless you too.
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