Few days ago, David Cameron called us a fantastically corrupt nation and our president agreed with him. I’m very sorry to disappoint you: I also agree with him. We’re a fantastically corrupt nation indeed. Everywhere you turn in the country, there’s corruption. To do the simplest of things in a government office, you need to bribe one person or the other. Nigerian politicians are some of the most notorious money launderers the world over. Fuel crisis, infrastructural decay, poor health sector, terrible security situation, economic crisis, every negative thing in this country, just name it, can be traced to corruption. And you’re still saying we’re not a fantastically corrupt nation?
But the corruption is happening in the public offices not in church. Why am I bringing the church in? ‘Peter, must you criticize Christianity (and religion as a whole)’, you ask? Well, I like to be focused. Every battle must be strategic or else it will fail. But where does corruption start from? It starts from the mind. And what forms the mind? For most Nigerians, it’s religion. Most people claim to get their morals from their places of worship. So once corruption is established in the places of worship, you can be sure that it’s spreading throughout the whole country. So we can’t but look at these places for causes of the corrupt minds in Nigerians. In a subsequent article, I’ll be looking in details at the link between religion and corruption.
But let me go straight to the agenda of the day. Everybody agrees that our politics is filled with corrupt souls but that the churches are filled with saints. Well, churches aren’t filled with saints. The pastors and their church members are corrupt. These pastors who have been monumental failures to the nation are being helped by their gullible church members to contribute to the ideology of corruption that has pervaded our society. Ten fantastically corrupt pastors and their church members. More like five fantastically corrupt pastors and five fantastically corrupt church members. The pastors first, then the church members later.
Fantastically Corrupt Pastor #1
This is the pastor that asks for donations from church members for gigantic projects. He looks at the faces of those poor people, most of them still finding it difficult to have two meals per day, and he asks them to still give towards some stupendous church projects. He tells them that their poor statuses shouldn’t discourage them from giving to
God him. He’s a very corrupt fraudster (double negative) as he’s Iiving large at the expense of his impoverished church members. Isn’t that corruption?
They’ve even made themselves into a cabal now. And this cabal has taken over Lagos and it’s environs, all of them competing with one another as to who will erect the biggest auditorium. Their churches are registered as non-profits. So they’re not being taxed. However the pastors spend the money on themselves.
Fantastically Corrupt Pastor #2
This one directly or indirectly encourages his church members to become sudden, overnight successes. All the prayer points he leads his church members in are geared towards ‘sharp sharp’ success. He gives ‘words’ like ‘Before this week runs out, you will receive a phone call of destiny’. There’s even one that calls himself ‘Lẹ́sẹ̀kẹsẹ̀’, meaning ‘instantly’. These are the ones that push their church members to steal money from the public coffers so that these prayer points can be actualized instantly. When you listen to their messages, everything is about money. They’ve turned their pulpits to an MBA class. In fact, if you’re in an MBA program, you don’t need to attend lectures. Just listen to their messages and go for your MBA exams.
Fantastically Corrupt Pastor #3
This one uses fake promises to cajole his church members to give. The church members are tantalized with too-good-to-be-true promises of abundant blessings, overwhelming joy, embarrassing success, divine favour, instant miracles, etc. One of them even said that people should give during an economic hardship and that they will withdraw from God later. How convenient! You give to physical men but withdraw from your unseen account with an unseen God. Please, this account is domiciled in what bank? Of course, the fool and his money part ways very easily.
Sometimes if that doesn’t work, he uses threats. Devourers of all kinds — children’s sicknesses, sudden debts, business collapse, terrible calamities, etc — are invoked upon the church members. Of course, the church members don’t want God’s wrath upon their heads. They give everything they have and even borrow to give more.
This kind of pastor is a proper yahoo yahoo boy. This is how 419 email scams go. Cajole your victim with tantalizing promises or threaten them with scary stuff. Once again, church members go back to their offices and see how they can help themselves to some quick wealth to latch on to the fake promises or escape the fake threats.
The church members are always under pressure. Low and middle class workers donate the whole of their salaries under different labels to their pastors. Some of these pastors write books but since they know that the rest of the public won’t readily buy the empty, worthless books, they cajole (or scare) their members to use their own money to buy in bulk and then donate copies freely to the otherwise uninterested public. By so doing, they’re assured of a steady stream of book sales.
One curious thing about these churches is that they never directly say that giving is compulsory. But using subtle cajoling and/or threatening gimmicks, the church members are practically left with no choice but to comply. So the church members have a false sense of being in control when in reality, it’s their pastors that are in control. This is a Ponzi scheme. Plain and simple. If you do this outside (i.e., obtaining money under false pretense), EFCC would be all over you but if you do it in church, you will be hailed as a man of God and church members themselves will be screaming ‘Touch not mine anointed’ to silence any criticism. (See below). And you’re still doubting if we’re a fantastically corrupt nation?
Fantastically Corrupt Pastor #4
This one is invited for the dedication of a posh mansion owned by a level 8 officer. And he goes there straight without asking questions. And he gets there, delivers a powerful dedication service grinning widely. Another newly promoted level 9 officer invites him for car dedication. He sees a brand new 2016 Touareg and prays over the car and walks away without asking any questions. In fact, he tells the church media unit to include these miracles in the next church bulletin. Of course, this will convince people that God is working in that church and it will attract more people.
One even asked for donations towards the building of his 3 km × 3 km auditorium and received ₦2 million each from a few people without asking where they got the money from. Many years ago, Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy received a donation in cash and kind up to the tune of ₦39 million from one Lawrence Agada and blessed him with the following words, ‘May God, who gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater, multiply your seeds in Jesus name’. Of course, Agada was blessed by a police visit when it was discovered that he had stolen those funds from Sheraton Hotel and Towers where he had been an official. And you’re asking for why our politicians are corrupt?
Fantastically Corrupt Pastor #5
This one here is one of the most influential people in the world. Whenever he visits any town or city in the country, the crowd is so large that traffic practically freezes to a standstill. Even the president of the country doesn’t pull a crowd so large. Millions of Nigerians wake up every morning to either read his book or listen to his voice. Millions of others either use his voice as their ringtone or caller’s tune. Yet they won’t do more than give cheap permutations called prophecies every New Year Day. They will never speak against corruption. A large section of these politicians attend their churches or programs but they will never rebuke anyone for the mismanagement of our commonwealth. In fact, politicians that are supposed to be pelted with stones occupy the front row seats in these pastors’ auditoriums.
Of course, there’s a mutual understanding between them. They also get favour from them. They spoil them with gifts of cars, houses, and large sums of money. One of them even benefited from the corruption in government by receiving import waivers to the tune of billions of Naira for so many years. These politicians embezzle our money and they pay the tithes in these churches.
Fantastically Corrupt Church Member #1
This one is a low cadre officer that climbs the pulpit to give a testimony of God’s goodness in his life concerning a ₦20 million federal government contract he just received. Is he a contractor? Behind that testimony is a poorly executed (if executed at all) project whose quotation was terribly overblown. This is a corrupt citizen that should be celebrating with handcuffs behind bars instead of on a church podium with a microphone.
Fantastically Corrupt Church Member #2
This one is a devoted church member. He loves his general overseer so much that he can break bottles on your head if you dare criticize his father in the Lord. Talk about how his pastor has just acquired a property in Panama or a private jet and he screams ‘Touch not mine anointed’. Try to criticize his idol and you have him screaming ‘Judge not’. (Don’t worry. Just watch out in the comments section. They will soon be here attacking this post). They forget to scream ‘Judge not’ when we’re talking about Buhari and Saraki. He can divorce his wife or even commit suicide instead of agreeing that his pastor is at fault. Even if the World Bank releases his pastor’s name on a corruption list, he will still defend him. This one is a very serious accomplice to a monumental, perennial crime.
Fantastically Corrupt Church Member #3
This is the church member that has never used his brain to detect the fraud going on in his church. He heartily claps for Jesus after fraudulent testimonies. He even uses those testimonies as a point of contact to his own blessings too — he’s desperately, eagerly waiting for an opportunity to climb the podium too. He’s not interested in knowing what the pastor uses the donations for. He has decided to leave the pastor for God to judge. How corrupt!
Or he’s one of the people in charge of money and the pastor has been spending freely from it but he’s not even ready to complain anywhere. In fact, he’s an accomplice to a very serious crime.
Fantastically Corrupt Church Member #4
This is the church member that drops his last penny in church expecting miracle money to show up in his bank account the following morning. This is the one that doesn’t have anything and doesn’t have any hope that he will get any money soon but pledges towards a church project with the thinking that this will ginger God to bless him with magic money as an emergency. Some of them drop stolen monies to remain in the pastor’s good books or get elevated to lofty positions in the church. If you’re this kind of church member, you’re a thief! You’re the kind of public servant that will see an opportunity to steal some public funds as the opportunity to be rewarded by God. The story of Lawrence Agada narrated above also comes here.
Fantastically Corrupt Church Member #5
This one doesn’t pay taxes. Never. He just knows how to evade them. He doesn’t pay his electricity bills. He has connected his home circuit directly to the supply such that his true consumption is not showing up on the metre. He knows how to bloat government contracts. He’s part of the syndicate that are fueling corruption in government. But in church, he’s a different person entirely. He doesn’t miss his tithes. He evades taxes but pays tithes regularly. He arranges the disappearance of a few zeros in the bank account of his place of work but he’s the church account and every penny is well accounted for in the church. He’s a contributor to the present state of the nation. He should be doing a jail term as we speak.
- Look for yourself or your pastor/general overseer on this list and tell yourself where you belong. This is some form of a mirror for self-reflection.
- Islam is not exonerated in this matter but because Nigerian Islamic clerics aren’t on Forbes list and because Islamic worship centers are yet to take over the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, I’m deemphasizing Islam in this write-up. However if Christians and their pastors had been upright, their numerical strength and sociopolitical influence would’ve been enough to change this country positively.
Thank you for reading.
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