By Tunde Odesola
It’s the peak of perfidy. A whore is missing, a drunk goes in search of her; the degenerate seeks the reprobate. This is how best I can translate the following Yoruba proverb into English without snapping the elastic cord that interweaves meaning and beauty into language: Asewo sonu, omuti nwa; eni ofo nwa eni adanu! Life loves symmetry. The Prophet of Anambra and the Emperor of Rivers, two honorable men radiating symmetric nobility.
For the Igbo, proverb is the palm oil with which words are eaten. Today, I’ll play the agidigbo, a Yoruba drumbeat danced by the wise, understood by the intelligent. But I won’t lose sight of the exactitude of language and the bluntness of truth.
Between 2003 and 2013, I was the Osun State correspondent of PUNCH newspapers. On Saturday, January 23, 2010, I received a phone call from the Alayemore of Ido Osun, His Royal Highness, Oba Aderemi Adeen Adedapo. “I have a potential exclusive for you and I want to serve it to you hot. I know PUNCH loves exclusives. Can you, please, come over, Otunba?” the monarch asked. The kabiyesi jocularly calls me his Otunba, a chief.
Bi ise o ba p’eni, enikan kii p’ese goes a Yoruba proverb that teaches industry. The journey between Osogbo and Ido Osun is the distance between the nose and the mouth.
In a jiffy, I was in Ido Osun. I prostrated. The US-trained architect turned king said, “There’s something brewing at the Osun aerodrome. That’s why I called you. I’ve sent my security officers there on reconnaissance.”
The security men arrived while the king was holding court with his real chiefs. I’m not a fake chief, either. They conferred with the king, who rose, took me inside an inner room and disclosed to me that some people had built some shacks at the aerodrome where they carry out suspected sinister activities nightly. Because it was already afternoon, the king suggested we visit the aerodrome the next morning. But I convinced him that we should storm the aerodrome right away. Within me, I knew leaving the story till the next day was a huge threat to my exclusive hold.
So, an armed five-vehicle convoy of the king drove in front while I drove behind en route to the aerodrome that was used for airlifting West African soldiers to the Second World War.
‘Rua ba su yami banza’ is a Hausa proverb that says ‘water doesn’t get bitter without a cause’. At the aerodrome, we came to a dense vegetation demarcated by palm fronds and a strip of red cloth. Everybody disembarked. There were three shacks within the demarcation. Two guards and I cut the palm fronds and red cloth leading to the biggest shack. We broke the door and stepped into a lightless worship centre that was draped in red cloth. We ransacked everywhere. On the altar was a confin that was also draped in red cloth. A guard and I opened the coffin.
The evil-smelling skeleton of a decomposed corpse stared back at us with millions of maggots swarming it.
At this juncture, word had reached worshippers in Osogbo that some invaders were rampaging their temple. Led by a woman, the worshippers rushed in and met us at work. The presence of the king, however, neutralised them. Nonetheless, they challenged us for disturbing their leader sleeping in his bed.
It got dark. The news filtered into town. I sent my story, pictures and a feature at the scene. My story led SUNDAY PUNCH the following day. The worshippers’ church headquarters in the Akindeko area of Osogbo was burnt by a mob while the police arrested leaders of the church.
Religion and politics, two human endeavors that should catalyse peace, progress and development, are, unfortunately, the Achilles heels of Nigeria’s accursed fate. Like the whore and the drunk, it’s the degenerates and the reprobates that have found themselves on the pulpit and in government houses across the land.
More than ever before in the history of Nigeria, shylocks in cassocks have taken over the pulpits, indoctrinating the masses wrongly by turning the Holy Bible upside down while the Christian Association of Nigeria watches. Nobody, not even the government, is ready to protect the citizenry from mammon pastors who smash their members against walls and chairs in the name of miracles. These merchandising pastors are everywhere; there’s a bearded one in the Egbe area of Lagos, who killed over 110 persons in one day but walks a free man today.
The charlatans aren’t in Christendom alone. Islam also has its share of merchants clerics who chain and shave people in the guise of healing and teaching. Sadly, tricksters of the two faiths capitalise on the ignorance, fears and desperation of the masses to control and exploit them.
The holy Prophet of Anambra, whose intelligence outweighs a grain of millet, has moved spirituality to high heavens. The light-skinned ex-commoner calls himself a lion who is greater than his father, Jesus Claist. Probably, the prophet didn’t attend primary school to learn how to pronounce the letter ‘r’.
I watched many videos of the wrestling prophet. But two bled my heart. In the first video, the ‘Lion Itself’ raised a dead woman. In the second video, the Liquid Metal physically outpunched a self-confessed disciple of Satan. In raising the dead, the Indabosky lay on the female ‘corpse’. And his intelligent congregation shouted halleluyah!
As it was with the worshippers at the Osun aerodrome, who were manipulated, the Anambra priest, who boastfully calls himself various undecipherable names, beats, slaps, punches, headbutts and slams worshippers in absurd miracles.
A couple of sorcerers have called Pawoseh a fake and challenged him to an open contest. Responding to one of his challengers, the lion of Anambra said two corpses should be provided for him and his challenger, and he who raises his own dead is the powerful one.
If he truly possesses the power to raise the dead, Indabosky should visit isolation centres across the country and heal coronavirus patients, he shouldn’t waste his anointing on raising the dead.
Indabosky has brought enough shame to the body of Christ such that CAN can’t continue to keep silent. It should worry CAN that someone who calls himself a Christian prophet is mostly seen spraying money, preaching war and violence. Validating the prophetic circus, a university awarded Liquid Metal an honorary doctorate degree to complete the cycle.
On the same edifying frequency with the Anambra prophet is the emperor of rivers. A few days ago, the wicked emperor became the law, the gavel and hangman.
A citizen had allegedly breached the law of social distancing by opening up his space to merriment. Instead of allowing the law to take its course, the emperor, whose name is the short form of ‘wicked’, threw out the citizen with the bathwater and demolished the gourd. Ridiculously, the emperor proclaims himself as an apostle of the law. But his action glorifies wickedness in law.
Not too long ago, the grunting emperor publicly abused a traditional ruler, calling him unprintable names during a meeting with traditional rulers in his kingdom. Calling the traditional ruler a boy and a sycophant, who ran errands some years back, the emperor threatened to sack any traditional ruler caught not clutching his sceptre at meetings.
Just like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission incurred N10m fine against the Federal Government in the SIM card saga involving President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hanan, the guttural emperor will incur a fine against his kingdom over his latest ruthlessness – at the fullness of time.
Sadly, however, the responsibility of paying the fines incurred by the EFCC and the emperor will be borne by the masses. That’s the tragedy of a people eternally abused by priests and politicians.
Written by Tunde Odesola and first published in The PUNCH on Monday, May 25, 2020. Email: email@example.com