By Michael West, Lagos Nigeria.
Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye’s pastoral visit to Ekiti State had drawn the ire of the Ekiti chapter of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC. The party’s scathing remarks about the statement credited to the respected clergy was occasioned by the glowing tributes Adeboye paid to the State Governor, Peter Ayodele Fayose.
According to reports, Adeboye commended Fayose’s courage and his people-supporting actions to protect their interests. He was quoted to have said: “We thank God for your courage, for your boldness. We thank God for your being willing to take risks so that your people can be protected. You have been a governor who knows when to say enough is enough in defence of his people. And I am sure you know what I am talking about and I am sure the world knows.
I don’t want to say more than that but be assured that we are praying for you and you will succeed in Jesus name. We wish all other governors who stand for their people, defend their people and know when to say enough is enough and we thank God for their lives.”
These statements were the ‘crimes’ committed by Adeboye that earned him invectives and aspersion from the angry Ekiti APC. They believe that for such tribute to come from a revered man like Adeboye, ostensibly Fayose is being endorsed as a ‘patriot’ as against a ‘rebel or ‘anarchist’ the APC believes he is. Reading between the lines of the party’s tirade, it was obvious that it wished Adeboye had criticized or rebuked Fayose for perennially attacking President Mohammadu Buhari and his government; after all, Adeboye’s spiritual son, Professor Yemi Osibajo, is the Vice President of the APC-led Federal Government. This insinuation indirectly called to question the ‘loyalty’ of Adeboye in the scheme of things. APC’s statement further betrayed its expectation that Adeboye should naturally be a ‘loyal party patron’ considering his relationship with many of its chieftains.
I think the abhorrent part of the party’s reaction was the bribery allegation which it claimed may have motivated Adeboye to endorse “a man like Fayose.” The party in a statement in Ado Ekiti on Christmas day, December 25 through its state chairman, Jide Awe, alleged that Fayose could have bribed Pastor Adeboye with huge amount of money to get such endorsement. The APC described Fayose as a “man that can bribe even an angel of God to endorse the devil.” I think this insinuation is rather very provocative, insulting and demeaning to the integrity of Pastor Adeboye. Must APC went this far in its reaction to Adeboye’s statement? Must Jide Awe led-party leadership issued such an antagonistic, bitter and derogatory statement to express its view on the so-called “endorsement”? This is very appalling and uncharitable!
The question I want to ask is that supposed Adeboye had criticized Fayose perhaps for being ‘boisterous’ or a ‘rabble-rouser’ in criticizing Buhari administration at every available opportunity, will the party allege bribery or hail the visiting clergy? I think it won’t. Then, it makes me feel like: must they soil every image or rubbish nobility because of politics? So, nobody, no matter how highly placed is spared of being tainted in the murky water of politics especially in Ekiti? That’s too bad! I keep wondering what manner of politics is being played in Nigeria in which everything, I mean everything is viewed or weighed on the scale of politics.
Pastor Enoch Adeboye, the Redeemed Christian Church of God’s General Overseer is currently on his annual pastoral visits to all his church regions nationwide including Ekiti. I’m not persuaded that the party was actually speaking the mind of its members in this matter as it is rather a norm for august visitors to speak peace, love and harmony wherever they visit be it community or nation. For insinuating bribery in a pastoral visit during which Adeboye didn’t step into the State Government House or had a closed door meeting with the governor, left much to be desired.
Another issue of concern is that Ekiti APC is fast assuming an all-negative state opposition in Nigeria. When in October 2, 2016 Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola honoured Fayose’s invitation to celebrate 20 years of Ekiti State creation, Aregbesola was hugely lambasted for not only coming but also for describing his host (Fayose) as “Omoluabi” and a hardworking governor who had turned around the fortunes of Ekiti State in terms of infrastructure. Social media reports also quoted Aregbesola as saying that “Fayose is a reliable person” and that in spite of political differences, he and Fayose shared many things in common, adding that “sooner than later, there will be realignment of forces.”
In a statement signed by its spokesman, Taiwo Olatubosun, Ekiti APC did not spare Aregbesola of the most scathing remarks as it said Aregbesola’s visit to Fayose praising him as ‘omoluabi’ was not only embarrassing but also awful. It went further to say “It is shocking that Aregbesola as a governor and one of the leading lights in APC in the South West and indeed the nation would be visiting Ekiti State without putting the leaders into confidence, more so on a visit to a man who once wished the President dead and had done unbelievable things both in Nigeria and abroad to bring Buhari’s government down. Worse still, Aregbesola was praising the man who will stop at nothing to bring APC-led Federal Government down after several years of failed attempts by the progressives to win the presidency of Nigeria.”
From this statement, it is obvious that Ekiti APC is ever combative and irritable as it dislikes anything positive mentioned about the state governor. I’m sure the day Ekiti APC gets to know that President Buhari himself admires Fayose for the same reasons Adeboye eulogized him I shudder to think what its reaction would be. In fact, beyond the political game of verbal assaults as an opposition leader, Mr. President acknowledges Fayose as an astute politician and electoral asset. Don’t crucify me over this statement yet or ask for proof, wait till when the President will visit Ekiti.
I’m still surprised that Ekiti APC is yet to give its usual hard knocks on the Sultan for his December 21, 2016 visit to the Governor. Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar IV, has visited the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose after leaving South East in what he called a “Bridge Building” tour. Has it dawned on the Ekiti APC that Fayose is already a force to reckon with in the political equilibrium in the country today? Do they ever imagine that Fayose is a potential game changer in 2019 general election? Time will tell.
If a man of Adeboye’s caliber could be cheaply taken to the cleaners for appreciating a governor, then, we have a big problem on our hands. This same Adeboye is the reason we have Vice President Osibajo whose joint-ticket with Buhari immensely contributed to the electoral victory of the APC in 2015 general election.
“I need the consent of just two people to determine my acceptance or otherwise of the Vice Presidential slot offered to me. The two are my father in the Lord, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and my wife. If one of them disagrees, I won’t accept the offer. Both of them have to agree independently as the only conviction I need to tag along with General Mohammadu Buhari as his running mate.” This was the solemn standpoint of Vice President Yemi Osibajo before he accepted the offer. Independently, both Daddy G.O (as Adeboye is fondly called) and Mrs Osibajo endorsed the erudite lawyer to run with Buhari.
I remember when a petition was sent to Adeboye against a well-circulated message on the perceived outright Islamisation agenda of Nigeria in which the then newly formed APC party was portrayed as an Islamic Brotherhood, Adeboye acted promptly to pacify the party; a development Lai Mohammed, then APC spokesman, openly acknowledged as commendable of a father. However, some section of the Christian community didn’t agree with Adeboye’s action and it almost tore his associates and followers apart. Should this apolitical man of God receive such a disdainful hard knocks from Ekiti APC? Does it mean Fayose has never done anything worth appreciating in office as a governor? Hmmmm. I’m just pondering…
• Michael West is a Lagos-based media consultant