By Akinwande Soji-Ojo
The Publisher of Ovation Magazine, Dele Momodu, has said the Redeemed Christian Church of God(RCCG) might face moral crisis if it supports presidential ambition of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Recall that RCCG has recently created the Office of Directorate of Politics and Governance to engage members willing to be involved in politics and “mobilise support for them when required.”
The announcement led to speculations that the Church is gearing to mobilise support for the alleged presidential bid of Osinbajo who is one of its pastors.
Reacting to the speculations, RCCG Head of Media and Public Relations, Pastor Olaitan Olubiyi, who spoke to Saturday PUNCH, said the newly created directorate has nothing to do with the Vice President or any person who may have political ambition in 2023.
He said the Office was to sensitise members towards active politics as Christians cannot continue to stay off politics.
But Momodu, in an opinion, titled, ‘My Kobo Advice To The Redeemed Christian Church Of God(RCCG),’ warned leaders of the Church, saying the easiest way to create trouble in Nigeria today is to attempt to mix religion with politics.
He said: “Naturally, I feel that I owe it a duty to tell our Church leaders, and our Church in general, the Gospel truth and nothing but the absolute truth. In the light of my relationship with the RCCG, this duty is even more imperative and compelling. I believe the leaders of the RCCG have laboured so hard to build one of the most formidable churches in the world. Nothing must be done to inadvertently cause a cataclysmic storm in the House of God. And the easiest way to create trouble in Nigeria today is any attempt to mix religion with politics. It goes beyond lighting the blue touch paper. It is like combining some highly combustible ingredients together in a chemical laboratory. It is not just that the effect may not be too pleasant, it is that the result and consequences will be catastrophic. God forbid.
“As soon as I read the memo establishing a political arm of our Church, I realised this was nothing but an invitation to Armageddon, if true. For that reason, at first, I assumed the memo was a joke, a fake document that was merely meant to stir the hornets’ nest, so I did not pay too much attention to it. However, when it started flying in from every direction to my phones, I knew someone had touched the tiger by the tail. I started working the phones to speak to a few contacts who should know about it and be able to confirm the veracity or otherwise of the document. The outcome was a resounding yes, the document had emanated from the Church and was acquiesced to by the upper echelons.
“I asked for what the motive(s) could have been, and the general conspiracy theory was that our church was setting up an extensive network for the obvious Presidential ambition of the current Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, although couched in terms which ostensibly suggested that the Church wished to support all of its congregation who wished to contest the next general elections and made their aspirations known to the newly formed Church department. Personally, that theory didn’t jell with me. To the best of my knowledge, Professor Osinbajo is not the only member of the church contesting the Presidential election. And it was not the church that nominated him as running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari. He got the job primarily because of his closeness to his former Principal, then Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and also because of his admirable credentials, ability and capacity. His religion was necessarily a factor because a Northern Moslem must perforce pick a Southern Christian as his running mate in the current Nigerian clime. That was the only reason religion came into it, I believe. It had nothing to do with the fact that he is a senior pastor of the RCCG.
“Even if the Vice President has now decided to bear his own father’s name by dropping that of his avuncular godfather, the church will still face a moral crisis if it wishes to jump on the bandwagon by drumming up support for Professor Osinbajo on religious grounds alone for many reasons, some of which I will now highlight.”
Momodu reminded the RCCG that Osinbajo is not the only member of the Church who might have presidential ambition.
According to him, he’s also a member of the RCCG with his 2023 presidential ambition already in public.
He also pointed out that Senator Remi Tinubu is a member of the Church who is married to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, a Muslim that has declared his ambition for the 2023 Presidency.
“Although Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a Muslim, his dear beloved wife, Senator Oluremi Tinubu is a staunch member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God and one of the leading lights of the Church. Asiwaju, her husband, is a frontline Presidential aspirant on the platform of APC, just like his godson, the Vice President. Even if the RCCG has a preference in Professor Osinbajo, mainly because of his status in the Church and his current position in Government, I expect the RCCG to “pretend” a little and behave as if it is not so. Not to do that would be tantamount to picking a child out of one’s children and say, “this is my favourite!” It is simply not right or proper for the RCCG to demonstrate such blatant and flagrant partisanship.
“As if that is not a tough cookie to handle, there is the fact that that there is a third contender, yours truly, Dele Momodu, who’s also a member of the RCCG and the youngest of the contending Church aspirants so far. I’m also the only member of the RCCG aspiring on the platform of PDP, as far as I know. Would the Church then ask its congregation to vote for one party over the other merely because it has decided to support one candidate in preference to the other regardless of the strong points one may have over the other? What a conundrum and crisis this portends for the Church and its unity and peace.
“The church cannot even afford to ostracise any aspirant on the basis of religious persuasion or denomination. It is the job of the church to seek out and promote the best candidates and then pray for them and galvanise support for them perhaps clandestinely.
“I also imagine that there is some degree of unconstitutionality to this attempt by the RCCG to descend into the political arena. Nigeria is a secular state as the constitution provides. To suggest that one candidate is the preferred candidate of a particular church or religious group and is being effectively sponsored by that church will breach not just the morality and ethos of the Church but also the deeply enshrined principles and ground norm of our constitution, which are embedded and engraved for good reason.
“Furthermore, there are no guarantees that being a church Pastor or otherwise would make you a competent and truthfully honest leader. The church is too massive and extremely influential to reduce itself to such a level of myopia. Since what most Nigerians desire today is good and accountable leadership, our Churches should smartly work towards identifying the best materials in different political parties and support us spiritually and materially from the humongous resources it has pleased God to bless them with.
“Specifically, it is my belief that our churches should avoid anything that could further escalate the huge religious and socio-political conflagration already ravaging our long-suffering nation. Just imagine what would happen if other church denominations or other religions decide to support their own members only. It would be palpable anarchy in the making. Nigeria will then end up with a Babel of voices and a cacophony of noises which would not augur well for the wellbeing of us all, but only cause misery and upheaval.
“I sincerely hope and pray that our Church, the RCCG, will douse this unnecessary fire and recant and retrace its steps before it is too late,” he added.