The General Overseer, the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, has come under fire for reportedly describing the Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello as a man of faith.
Adeboye said Bello’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic was an inspiring indication of stoic faith, a rare demonstration from a political leader.
Applauding the governor for his approach to governance, especially as it relates to the issue of religious plurality, Pastor Adeboye described the governor as having tolerance to the extent that the first-ever chapel in Kogi State Government House was built by the governor.
“We have heard and seen your show of faith in God, particularly in dealing with the coronavirus. It takes the man of faith to have acted the way you did and we are very very pleased with you. We have also heard the news of how you’ve been relating to people of every faith to the extent that you built the first chapel in the government house, Lokoja, we are delighted, Sir.
“I want to assure you that we will keep on praying for you, we will keep on praying for the people of your state and I believe that the Almighty God will answer our prayers for you. Thank you for granting us audience,” Adeboye said.
However, Nigerians on social media have condemned the statement made by the cleric, saying Bello’s administration is notorious for human rights violations, depriving workers of their salaries, and lack of developmental projects.
There have also been violence and killings during elections, which have been linked to the governor, amongst other failures.
Recently, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, Usman Okai, alleged that Bello treats workers of the state like slaves.
He also alleged that local government workers, secondary school teachers, and other workers in the employ of the state government are paid stipends by the state and local governments without any explanation.
The PDP chieftain said officers on salary Grade Level 13 in the state are paid between N26, 000 and N30, 000 per month and that many categories of workers are still owed salaries and other allowances.
He said top state government officials have to practically beg to get some stipends to run the affairs of their offices.
Also, Bello’s administration and the state police command violated the rights of two President Muhammadu Buhari-Must-Go protesters, Larry Emmanuel and Victor Udoka, by assaulting, arresting and arraigning the peaceful protesters in court, without giving them access to their lawyers.
The two Buhari-Must-Go protesters were mobbed by hoodlums sponsored by the state government and thereafter taken to the police command.
The police in their desperation to harass the peaceful protesters also ensured that they were remanded at the Kabba Prison – without the knowledge of their lawyers or family members.
Adeboye’s comment, as a revered cleric, has attracted the outrage of many Nigerians who noted the failures of the governor.
Many have opined that Adeboye was simply soiling his image, as they interpreted his comment to mean he was endorsing Bello’s presidential ambition.
A tweep, @AREMO_OLUSHOLA said, “That was how he prayed for Buhari to become President. Why does Baba always dabble into the world of politics to soil his image?”
Another Twitter user, @LAQuadri1 wrote, “RCCG overseer is entitled to his opinion. But for the sake of his reputation, he should distance himself from politicians. The worst he can be at this age of his is a spin doctor. He can pray for a damaged soul, but he shouldn’t endorse a damaged soul.”
@julietezenwonu said, “Pastors are one of the root causes of Nigeria’s problems! Evil pastors deceiving their followers! I just pity the gullible members who still listen to them!”
Another user, @omimi110 tweeted, “The narrative here is to sell Yahaya Bello into the consciousness of the people so the North can make him president with the guise that the presidency has come to the South again but Yeye Bello is worse than Buhari.”
@A3Adewunmi wrote, “So, Pastor Adeboye can visit Yahaya Bello (not Yahaya Bello visiting Adeboye). Will the pastor say he doesn’t know what is happening in Kogi State & (who) our tyrannical Bello is? While we can separate politics from religion, Christian’s should not be fooled for the second time. #freekogi2.”
@Oluomoofderby said, “So ashamed of Pastor Adeboye. Religion, Politics and Tribalism; these are the three things I believe will finish this country. How on earth can he salute Yahaya Bello for the way he handled Covid-19? Religion will be the end of Nigeria.”
@Oliverolisah tweeted, “Nothing to see here, just 2 hypocrites who somehow found a way to manipulate the ignorance of those who lack discernment and the basic common sense that’s required to navigate their way out of manipulation tendencies.”
@mamlakah01 stated, “I am a follower of Christ and I will only emulate any man of God if he’s a follower of Christ too. @OfficialGYBKogi is nothing but a sinning risk-taker. @PastorEAAdeboye, @OfficialGYBKogi is not a man of faith but he can be!
“Of recent same @OfficialGYBKogi that cannot govern a state came on the air that he will not disappoint Nigerian youths asking him to vie for the office of president of Nigeria, meanwhile he has been unjustly detaining two Kogi youths #FreeKogi2 Liar @OfficialGYBKogi.”
@GbolahanObadime opined, “People like this make many of us doubt if really we worship the same God. My own God told me not to be yoked with some people. Flee from them. Like prophet Ezekiel etc.”
@JosephMonehin wrote, “Why is Pastor Adeboye doing this? First (Kaduna State Governor, Nasir) El-Rufai. Now Yahaya Bello. Anyone who always grovels in the presence of horrible men in the corridors of power is nothing but an opportunist.”