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Christmas, MFM and the “Where is it in the Bible?” Christians

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Jude Ndukwe

I have just read the position of the General Overseer of Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries, Dr Daniel Olukoya, on Christmas, followed by an official statement from the church’s Public Relations Officer, one Mr Collins Edomaruse, strengthening that position, and wish to state that it is sad, painful and unfortunate that such a man held in otherwise high esteem among his followers as a “preacher” could exhibit such level of ignorance and hypocrisy.

But before I continue, let me reproduce the response of another Christian leader, Fada Chinenye Oluoma, concerning the issue as posted on his Facebook page:

“I wanted to pretend I didn’t read about the G. O who said ‘Christmas’ is not in the Bible and so shouldn’t be celebrated. It’s the same funny mentality of those who confuse terminology with theology. Easter as a term is not in the Bible but we celebrate Easter because it’s an event and a mystery recorded in Scripture. (It is the) same with Christmas, it’s not the term or calendar date we celebrate but the event and mystery. One day, someone will wake up tipsy on ‘anointing’ and tell me to tell him why I call myself a Catholic since that term doesn’t exist in the Bible. (The) same folly can be extended to all churches because no church has a name that’s used for a group of church members in the Bible. A Pentecostal church that says it doesn’t celebrate Christmas because the term doesn’t exist in the Bible but calls itself a Pentecostal church is just a comic contradiction. Pentecost means 50th day, it was an agricultural feast that had nothing to do with the Holy Spirit until that particular year that the Holy Spirit fell on the Apostles in Acts 2. Even after that there is no record in Scripture that the Holy Spirit fell on other people on Pentecost Day. If I wanted to be ‘an anointed idiot’ I would have been going round condemning Christians who identify (themselves) as Pentecostals, quizzing them to show me where it’s in the Bible that a group of believers were referred to as Pentecostals or to prove to me where any group of Christians celebrated Pentecost in the Bible. Yet, common sense dictates that it’s neither terminology nor semantics we identify as Pentecostal but the reality and mystery of the Holy Spirit.

“Whoever adjectivised SENSE with COMMON hasn’t experienced this generation of WHERE IS IT IN THE BIBLE intoxicated Christians. Common sense is very rare. The Bible is not a dictionary or history book, it’s more of a theology than terminology. When you want to use the Bible to validate or invalidate any religious practice, you look for the biblical theology about it, not the terminology. Mothers’ Day, Fathers’ Day, Children’s Day, etc are not in the Bible, but the Bible doesn’t have anything against their celebration. It’s only a religious ignoramus that will condemn those celebrations and get pious zombies to follow suit. If you care to know, there are many things we do in life that are not in the Bible and God isn’t angry (about them) at all. Traditional marriage, village meetings, Cross Over vigils (these ‘Show Me Where It’s In The Bible’ folks who are addicted to 31st December Cross over vigil don’t even know ‘it’s not in the Bible’ in their sense), birthday parties, wedding anniversaries etc are not in the Bible.
Finally, someone needs to tell Dr Olukoya that MFM has a football club, I’ve been searching for it in the Bible and couldn’t find it, abi no be MFM get that football club? Some nonsense must stop this 2019 o, let me come and be going”, he concluded in pidgin.

Need I add more?

But for the purpose of emphasis, and to break every heart of stone standing against the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ because they cannot find it in the Bible “in their own sense” as Fada Oluoma puts it, Dr Daniel Olukoya made that statement against the celebration of Christmas during his weekly “Manna Water” service. Excuse me Sir, where is it in the Bible that we should hold a weekly “Manna Water” service, whatever that means? O, so, Dr Olukoya finds it convenient to attempt to replace the celebration of Christmas with his Manna Water service or with whatever programme he chose just to prevent his members from partaking in what he termed “idolatory” celebration (Christmas) whose origin he traced to ancient Rome but sees no sense in replacing the same idolatory festival with Christmas so as to diminish that festival and make the lessons of Jesus’ birth more popular thereby spreading the Gospel through that means?

Does Dr Daniel Olukoya reckon that but for the celebration of Christmas on the symbolic date of 25th of December, that idolatory festival he said Christmas was replaced with could probably have been as popular as Christmas itself today, thereby restricting the knowledge about Jesus Christ compared to what it is now? The fact is that, if the Olukoyas or the MFMs are not trying to be clever by half, or even crusading against evangelization, they would have known that there is no other event in world history that has helped to spread the awareness about Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth like Christmas. From Communist China to Saudi Arabia, from North Korea to India, from Iran to Russia, from United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Pakistan, nearly everyone in the world has come to know one thing or the other about Jesus because of Christmas Day. No matter how Antichrist a nation is, it can never do business with the USA, for example, on Christmas Day, because such a nation would be told in no uncertain terms about the holidays declared to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is the same with other nations where Christmas holidays are declared, and that is a plus for Christianity worldwide. But the Olukoyas are futilely attempting to diminish that mileage!

Lastly, where is it in the Bible that Jesus Christ asked us to pray that our enemies should die? Nowhere! But that is a cardinal prayer point of Olukoya’s MFM.

Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!

­—jrndukwe@yahoo.co.uk; Twitter: @StJudeNdukwe

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COLUMNISTS

ABEOKUTA AND ITS PERENNIAL FLOODING: GOV. ABIODUN TO THE RESCUE

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By Elijah Udofia

Saturday, July 4, 2020, is a day the people of Abeokuta, particularly those living very close to the city’s waterways, would not forget in a hurry. Like in the days of Noah, the floodgates were opened and the showers came down heavily, causing floods of havoc that ravaged portions of the city. For somebody who was in the capital city of the Gateway State for the first time, the sight of flooded roads, with water subterranean enough to swim, floating household possessions, evacuated trees, washed way bridges and people congregating on high rise buildings, waiting for the water to recede, is something he or she will live to remember for a long time.

On that day, the heavens opened and brought with it sorrows, but thankfully, without blood. The torrential rain which started at about three in the morning did not stop until six in the evening, thereby thrashing hard on the ancient city for 16 good hours, non-stop. It is instructive to note that July of every year, has always been a period when the city experiences great flooding, occasion by torrential rain. Apart from the destruction of critical public infrastructures, mostly roads and bridges, it is always a time when those living close to the canals, have their hearts in their mouths. Hardly a year passes without these areas experiencing flooding which lead to loss of properties and in some cases, life or lives as the case may be.

The recent one affected mostly areas are; Isale-Oja, Kuto, Ago-Ijesha, Ijeun-Titun, Ijeja-Igbore road, Gbangba, Elite-Lantoro road and Oba Adeleye’s recreational park. One is however happy that areas like Ijaye and Isale-Igbein, which used to experience serious flooding had been taken care of, by the construction of Lafenwa, Sapon, Idi-Aba, Ajebo road and Onikolobo, Omida and Sapon road. It should be noted here that the issue of flooding in Abeokuta is not new, as previous governments, including military administrations, had course to contend with this menace. The presence of the Vice President, who came to inspect the extent of damage caused by flooding two years ago, is an indication that the issue is not a child’s play. What is disturbing however is that the damages caused are becoming more devastating, which calls for concern by all and sundry?

Being the head of a government that came to power on the popular mandate, the State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, immediately the rain ceased on Sunday morning, ordered a team of government officials, led by the Environment Commissioner, Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun took a tour of the areas affected by the flood and came up with a report to enable the government to respond accordingly.

As if that was not enough, the Governor, the following day, personally went round the affected areas to see things for himself. Prince Abiodun who was shocked due to the extent of damage caused not only to public assets, but to the property of the people, there and then, promised that his administration would assist them in mitigating the effect of their loss.

“I am here to look at the damage caused by the rain that fell on Saturday. Though I have sent my Commissioners and other government officials to inspect the damages, I decided to also come and see things for myself. I am happy that no life was lost, though you lost properties.

“I want to assure all of you who lost property to the flood that we will support you. In a few days’ time, government officials will come to see you to take down your names and properties affected, so that we can look at how to compensate you”.

On what the government intends to do to settle the matter once and for all, Prince Dapo Abiodun said the dredging of the canal that crisscrosses the State capital was on-going, while clearing of refuse in the gutters, was also carried out. He then informed the people that the government has assessed the damage caused to the roads and bridges with a view to carry out a comprehensive and proper channelization of the waterways.

“I want to assure you that we will repair the damaged roads, expand the gutters and bridges so that when rain falls, the gutters and the bridges would be able to accommodate the large volume of water. With this, the problem of erosion would be a thing of the past”, he promised

Governor Abiodun attributed flooding in the State capital to rapid development, besought the people to desist from dumping refuse or building structures on the waterways as these also contributed to the flooding. Collaborating the position of the Governor on the ways to find permanent solution to the menace of flooding in the State, the Commissioner for Environment, Hon. Abiodun Abudu-Balogun, noted that regular dredging of the waterways, converting some old culverts to bridges as well as delisting drainages to allow free flow of water will be done by the government.

The Commissioner disclosed that dredging is currently going on at Isale-Oja to Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library up to Orange Valley View Estate, adding that the government is not only looking at Abeokuta alone, as dredging is also ongoing in 16 places across the State. Though the government ultimate goal is to find a permanent solution to the problem, in the meantime, a temporary arrangement according to the Commissioner, was going on at the sites, as allowing the affected areas to remain unattended to, will adversely affect the socio-economic well-being of people and adds to their suffering. The Commissioner appealed to residents of the State to properly dispose of their refuse and desist from dumping them on waterways, to minimize the effects of flooding.

For Alhaji Bello Mohammed, Secretary, Isale-Oja, Kuto, Community Development Association, his community has been experiencing flooding on a yearly basis in the last 10 years. He opined that proper channelization of the canal with an adequate drainage system, would bring an end to the flooding. Also, Mrs. Abike Awosanya and Abideen Musibau, residents of Ago-Ijesha, in Abeokuta South Local Government, said that they want the government to urgently find lasting solution to the flood problem, as it has affected their means of livelihood and make life unbearable for them.

Also bearing his mind, Mr. Raphael Anthony, a motorcyclist, who plied Ijaye-Kuto route, appealed to the State government to regularly dredge the waterways and expand the drainages system as the existing ones can no longer accommodate large volumes of water, during heavy rain. More so, Mrs. Florence Adegbite, an apprentice hairstylist at Ijeun Titun, opined that, “from what I am seeing, I think the State government would need help, particularly from the Federal government to permanently address this problem, a huge amount of money will be involved.

Though Government has a big role to play in bringing an end to the flooding issue, l observed with pain that the actions and inactions of the people are not helping in this regard. A walk through the State capital, one will see the non-challant attitude of the people as they dump refuse even at places where they are not supposed to.

Some simple questions I would like to ask are, what is refuse doing on road medians? Why do people turn gutters, drainages which are supposed to carry water to the canal, to refuse dumpsites? Why do people find it difficult to clear gutters, even those in front of their houses? And most importantly, why do people build structures on waterways that were invented/constructed to serve as drains to the river. All these questions need urgent answers, if the problem of flooding in Abeokuta, is to be addressed.

Now that Governor Dapo Abiodun’s government is showing commitment by putting in place measures that will permanently solve the problem of perennial flooding in the capital city, it is imperative for citizens to also play their parts, because as the African saying goes, “one cannot clap with one hand”.

Udofia, Head of the Governor’s Press Crew, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

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COLUMNISTS

AREGBESOLA COMES TO JUDGMENT

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By: Femi Adesina
Wednesday June 10, 2020, was ‘judgment day’ for Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola.
Incidentally, the day had broken with stories of denials of rift between him and his political mentor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, former two-term Governor of Lagos State, and National Leader of All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC had outlawed all party sub-groups in Lagos, where Aregbesola had his political foundations, and still maintains a stranglehold, despite having been a two-term Governor in Osun State.
The buzz was that the Minister was possibly eyeing the Presidency in 2023, a diadem also reportedly coveted by his mentor, so the rug had to be pulled off under his feet early enough. Frost followed. Cold War, said the rumor mills.
Strident denials came from the Tinubu and Aregbesola camps. And it was mere distraction for the Minister, as he had a huge assignment ahead of him on that same Wednesday. It was his turn to brief the Federal Executive Council, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, on his stewardship, since assuming office in August last year.
Called Ministerial Performance Report, it was something instituted last year to receive regular feedbacks from Ministers, to judge whether they were complying with the spirit and letters of the mandates handed over to them when they were sworn in 10 months ago. It is something like a peer review session, in which the President, the Vice President, and all members of the Federal cabinet would listen, dissect, interrogate, applaud or bash the Minister reporting, depending on performance.
It is usually like judgment day, in which a man gives account of his works, and he either hears, “well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Master,” or he is told; “depart from me, you worker of iniquity.”
The Ministry of Interior exists to foster and ensure the maintenance of internal security, public safety and citizenship integrity, for the promotion of good governance of the nation.
There are four main agencies and a Board under the supervision of the Ministry. They are: Nigerian Correctional Service (formerly Prisons Service), Nigeria Immigration Service, Federal Fire Service, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, and Civil Defence, Correctional, Fire and Immigration Services Board.
Now, it is very easy for citizens to live their lives, and not be mindful of these agencies. They just take them for granted, reckoning that they must just be there. But after listening to the performance report of the Minister, one comes to grasp with the reality that they do make a lot of difference in the lives of the citizenry. Without them being efficiently there, lives would be a lot worse. Nasty, brutish and short.
Do you know that the Ministry of Interior is vested with ensuring timely processing of permits for those coming to the country to establish businesses? Possibly not. Do you also know that the Ministry processes expatriate quota in line with the Executive Order on Ease of Doing Business? It equally is vested with easing of tourist visa, biometric visa at all entry points into the country, and many others.
So, how well has the Ministry fared in 10 months? The Cabinet listened, as Aregbesola reeled out the achievements, agency after agency.
When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Which was why the Minister took the key officers of all the agencies to a resort in Ilesa, Osun State, early in the year. The purpose was a Strategy Retreat aimed at aligning mandate delivery.
Within five months last year, the Federal Fire Service responded to 2,615 fire calls, saved 724 lives and assets worth N1.629 trillion across the country. We take things like this for granted, don’t we? May we never see the fury of fire, as it ravenously devours everything in sight with its furious tongues.
At least 3,000 Custodial Centers are under construction and in various stages of completion in the six geo-political zones of the country. It would assuage the problem of congestion to a large extent.
Custodial Farm Centers have been reactivated round the country for large scale agricultural production in piggery, fishing, cattle rearing and poultry. Tractors and harvesters have been procured to facilitate the work, and contribute to food security in the country. Trust President Buhari, any opportunity to feed Nigerians, he utilizes.
There’s rehabilitation program, aimed at reducing the rate of recidivism (that’s big vocabulary, which means going to jail again and again) by engaging inmates in both vocational and entrepreneurial initiatives.
About 1,000 inmates were enrolled for the 2020 WAEC/NECO examinations, while the number of study centers of the National Open University of Nigeria have been increased to 10 across Custodial Centers.
The Border Management Strategy (BMS) has begun, and is being implemented at all international airports in the country. Management Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) is now deployed at all air borders. Very easy to fish out anyone with criminal records from anywhere in the world, attempting to enter the country.
Nigerian passports can now be applied for online, while there’s also Visa-On-Arrival with biometric features at all air borders.
At the social end, the statutory marriage process has been automated to make things easier. Young people must marry, mustn’t they?
The Federal Fire Service is now present in all states of the country, with 28 newly procured fire engines deployed.
Six new fire service training schools have been established across the geo-political zones to cater for human capital development needs.
Over 5,000 officers of the Civil Defence have been deployed to protect IDP camps, and re-occupy liberated towns and villages in the North-East.
The Ministry has trained and deployed over 1,500 personnel as Agro-Rangers in Yobe and Adamawa states, to protect farmers and their farms. This will eventually go round the country as required.
And many more.
Minister Aregbesola took questions, made explanations, gave clarifications, and it was obvious that council members were satisfied.
No wonder when the meeting was over, his well starched white Agbada billowed in the wind, as he left the Presidential Villa.
*Adesina is Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Buhari
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COLUMNISTS

BOTH RAPISTS AND POLITICAL RAPISTS ON RAMPAGE IN NIGERIA

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By: Ademola Orunbon

There is no doubt that rapists are really on rampage in Nigeria. More worrisome is the frequent news of children and teenagers being raped almost in every nook and cranny of the country almost on a daily basis, with most of the cases going unreported. The situation is so bad that the notorious rapists are no longer strangers to their victims as they could even be members of the family or trusted neighbours and even domestic servants.

Despite the fact that human rights activists are quite unrelenting in their efforts at exposing the dangers our teenagers are being exposed to daily in the hands of these rampaging rapists and their collaborators, the situation has not really been brought under control. Enlightenment programmes on sexual education and the rights of the child against all forms of abuse should be stepped up and extended to even the schools, churches and mosques

The most worrisome of the current trend is child sexual abuse which is really on the ascendancy in the country.  According to The Cece Yara Foundation, an international non-governmental organization, child sexual abuse has become more prevalent than most people even realize. The organization maintained that the menace is likely the most prevalent health problem children face with the most serious array of consequences.

According to the Foundation, one in every four girls experienced sexual violence in the country while one in 10 boys experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. The Foundation also disclosed that one in eight girls experienced unwanted sexual touching just as one in 10 boys experienced sexual violence before the age of 18. Aside Lagos State which really has a law against child sexual abuse and molestation, only a few States are really doing much to tackle this ugly trend. Many reasons have been adduced for the rising cases of rape in the country, especially those involving children and teenagers. One of the reasons is the rising cases of unemployment and moral decadence in the society.

The increasing intake of hard drugs by our youngsters is another contributing to the rising cases of rape in the country. We really want to join other partners across the country, especially rights advocates and non-governmental organizations which have taken the matter up to the public space with condemnation and advocacy. While condemning the rising cases of rape in the country, we implore our government to take the fight against the ugly trend beyond the level of mere rhetorics to real action.

Enlightenment programmes on sexual education and the rights of the child against all forms of abuse should be stepped up and extended to even the schools, churches and mosques. The campaign should start from the individual family with our young girls properly tutored on the need to know everything about their rights and how to protect themselves from being abused. The Point is however happy that recent cases are generating an unprecedented global wake-up call to the increasing rate of child sexual abuse in the country and the world at large. We only hope that the tempo will be sustained for the message to sink in foe all concerned to know the right thing to do as we join millions of other advocates against child sexual abuse and rape in the country.

We also call for prompt trial and prosecution of all cases of violations and abuse of our young girls as deterrent to others. Also, we implore all other States in the country to borrow a leaf from Lagos State where a law is currently in place to take care of issues relating to child sexual abuse and rape.

Also, other rapists that wrecking the country is political rapists, the way politics has been reduced to a trade shorn of every modicum of morality and respectability by some Nigerian politicians leaves much to be desired. Without a stretch of decency, our politicians appear to be travelling on the road to infamy. If their penchant to display hubris and character flaws is anything to go by, and the knack to approbate and reprobate or speak from both sides of the mouth is of major worry, the APC politicians have succeeded in sweeping baloney in their political space with their brooms.

It is a pity that those who found themselves in the commanding heights of leadership in Nigeria automatically transform themselves to semi-gods the moment they get power and position. Nigeria political office holders are in the main arrogant, pompous, and irritatingly proud and disrespectful until death, the ultimate reaper, levels them. Let me hasten to say that there are few exceptions, the reason I qualify the declaration with the phrase ‘in the main’. And so, the average Nigerian politicians have raped and still continue to rape not only their pauperized followers but the entire citizenry on all fronts. To be precise, our contemporary experience under the APC-led federal government appears to be very worrisome.

No man born of woman is so important that the world cannot do without his mortal presence. When politics is reduced to the level of deification of an individual whose credo is: “But for me, the world would collapse”, it needs to be expressly made clear that, that is the biggest lie ever told. History is replete with carcasses of warriors, geniuses, inventors and charismatic statesmen and women after whose demise the world moved on to even greater achievements. It reminds me of the truism in the wise saying of an anonymous bard: “In life nobody is indispensable or irreplaceable, including you. And your replacement will always be better than you. For every Queen Vashti there is an Esther waiting to take your place. For every Saul there is a David ready to take your place. For every Eli there is a prophet Samuel ready to take your place. Many people due to their position, their talent or their beauty think they are irreplaceable – how wrong you are!.”

It is time for us to begin discourage men (and women) without a second address or known source of income in politics! There are those who pride themselves as professional politicians. There are those who have been in one appointive position or the other since time immemorial. There are those who have contested for one political office severally but failed and have amassed stupendous wealth from selling out to the opposition. Please let them go and rest! They have contested in every imaginably election; give us a break please, or go home and find something to do. Our tragedy in Nigeria today is that Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (rtd) tarred longer than necessary in seeking public office. Had he retired earlier – or, better still, had he been allowed to retire earlier – we would not have seen today’s misfortunes!

On the flip side, it looks to me as if there is a cycle of rejuvenated evil residing in humanity in our present world. These days, we are faced with a serious challenge of how to manage our sanity in the midst of a flurry of bestialities that keep erupting from left, right and centre. The orgy of violence perpetrated across all ages manifests the baloney of insipid malfeasance that is capable of infecting the left-over values we hold onto with spider web. The incidence of rape has overshadowed political discourses.  It has displaced politics, economy and international affairs from our chats and local gossips. This is a rare development in our country. In most cases, in Africa and around the world, these are the three dominant topics people find engaging because of their predominant impact on their lives. The two possible exceptions to this fact are South Africa and India where rape cases are cyclical routine.

What has been responsible for rape ascendancy in our national gossip are the tragic and incredible patterns of the reported incidents. When a 75 year-old man is invading the undeveloped vagina of a 10 year-old girl with gerontocratic vitality, obviously this becomes a national news highlight. When a son (no matter his age) is desecrating the collapsing pudenda of his mother’s senior or age mate by exploiting the woman’s debilitating physicality to have a taste of “his route to the world”, of course, it is of national interest. When a brother decides to forcefully expand the unripe vagina of his 5 year-old sister by pounding and jerking her to death, of course, this ghastly scenario is of national significance. When five Yahoo-Yahoo boys, possibly excited by the number of unfortunate idiots they have scammed in one day, organized a rape circus for a flirting teenager, of course. When Hussippupi, an internet fraudster having over two million followers on Instagram, even much more than what Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola had, in fact, this takes precedence in national debates.

When a girlfriend plotted to have some of her friends raped by a monstrous gang of six – just to profane their virgin territories, which also is a serious case of national importance. And the list is endless. The lesson of homily in all of these sadistic sexual extravaganzas is that if the world is not coming to an end, then the end is coming to the world. The degree of sexual debasement, sexual harassment, sexual defilement, sexual perversion has attained an alarming crescendo to make GOD to extend the timeline of Covid-19 or to even upgrade it to “Covid Finale” so that we can all sing “Home, Here We Come” chorus.

Orunbon, a journalist and political analyst, wrote in from Federal Housing Estate, Olomore, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

Can be reached via; orunbonibrahimademola@gmail.com, or 08034493944 and 08029301122.

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