Pastors and Private Jets: Is There an Airport in Heaven? – Mike Akhariale

Published:25 Nov, 2012

Pastors and Private Jets: Is There an Airport in Heaven? – Mike Akhariale

The recent remarks by the Catholic Bishop of  Sokoto Diocese, Most Rev Matthew Kukah, which seeks to question the moral and spiritual validity of the practice in which men of God are now fighting for space in the glittering world of opulence and razzmatazz with modern day traders and money changers, and the flak it drew from the body that ought to know better, Christians Association of Nigeria, through its spokesperson, Elder Sunday Oibe, has exposed the obvious contradictions that have emerged between what the Church was originally set up to achieve amongst humanity on behalf of God and what we are witnessing today.

The apostasy is such that church leaders are shamelessly trading places with CEOs of Fortune 500 businesses. The old picture of Christ as the simple and humble man from Galilee has been replaced by that of the rich and arrogant man with swagger, who has no need for God’s help because all that makes the material life meaningful are already with him. The picture of heaven that we were given as kids at catechism and Sunday school classes was that it is a place of bliss and endless peace, as against this present world of suffering and sacrifices.

The new recklessly opulent lifestyle of those who call themselves “men of God” seems to ask the question: Why wait to die before you have a taste of heaven when you can financially acquire it right now? Of course, the natural exclamation you will hear when you peep into the luxurious cabin of a typical private aircraft is “This is heaven!”

What Kukah said and which was largely similar to what another man of God, Tunde Bakare, and other piously minded people are saying, is that Christianity is being unwittingly misrepresented by the unbridled materialism that has taken hold of the church, which has the potential for perverting the central message of Christianity which is holiness and reverence, publicly and privately.

The position of Rev Kukah that “the stories of corrupt men and women being given recognition by their churches or mosques as gallant sons and daughters and the embarrassing stories of pastors displaying conspicuous wealth as we hear from the purchases of private jets and so on, clearly diminish our moral voice” is actually the sad story of the worldly and corrupt Nigeria of today.

As a Christian, I am surprised — in fact, disappointed — by the ecumenical filibustering that was offered by CAN to the challenge that was being rightly posed. In the words of Oibe, Kukah should not be taken seriously because “If there is any clergy man in the country whose constituency is government, it is Bishop Kukah, who served every government in power in the last decade. He thinks people have forgotten in a hurry how he served in Obasanjo’s government and turned round to attack the former president…” I wanted to hear Oibe list the number of executive jets that are now in Kukah’s fleet as a result of his association with those men of power.

Was this really an intelligent response to the strong moral charge being leveled, namely, that there is something not quite right in men of God wanting to outdo men of the world in material pursuits?

Pastor Ayo Oristejafor is the latest of the long list of men of God that are flying across the globe with private jets while the faithful church members are struggling to make ends meet after paying their burdensome church tax which they call tithes.

With respect to the advice that church leaders should be careful in their interaction with political leaders, I think the Church should have taken it to heart with all the seriousness that it deserves, rather than seeking to deflect the accusation by pointing accusing fingers at those who are raising the issue.

I am not too bothered about the incidents of church leaders fleecing their members to support a lifestyle fit only for earthly principalities and powers because my kobo will never stray into their till willfully; but I am worried about the looming political and constitutional danger present in a situation in which the church and the state are in active collusion to undermine the wellbeing of the masses.

It is going to be difficult for a man of God who is hobnobbing with temporal men of power now to be able to face them like the prophets of old and tell them of their sins that have constituted a reproach to the nation for which we are presently suffering.

That was the point that Kukah was driving at when he counseled fellow clergymen that “Unless we distance ourselves, we cannot speak the truth to power. We cannot hear the wails of the poor and the weak. We should not be seen as playing the praying wing of the party in power.”

More importantly, I think they diminish God before His creations whenever they see his “preachers” in the company of their tormentors, flying in the same jets and lodging in the same champagne-filled five-star hotels where anything evil is possible. It creates a huge ethical problem for those wise few who can see the contradictions therein. The sad fact is that the majority of the church faithful will never see it that way. As far as they are concerned, “it is the will of God;” and that is why it remains the unassailable truth that religion is the opium of the masses.

Why would anyone bother himself with the heavy sacrifice of a holy life on earth so that he can make heaven when, indeed, he is actually living his heaven on earth? I get the feeling that these gluttonous men of God think they can actually fly their way skyward into heaven while the rest of us would still be waiting for the illusive rapture or the certain last day.

I still think that Jesus Christ was right when he gave the parable of the eye of a needle and the camel as far as making heaven is for the materially affluent. The reality of God is made a little more doubtful by a lifestyle that God Himself had advised against. They say their God is “not a poor God” as we now hear every service day; but that assertion does not resonate as the central theme of the life that Jesus bequeathed to His disciples.

My hope is that someday, the people will begin to see the differences between the will of God and that of man.

 

Mike Akhariale

  • Adefarati

    Thanks so so so much for your thoughtful write-up.I just hope Nigerians would wake up from their slumber and take their fate in their own hands.The Nigerian society continues to dig deep into depravity as each day goes by and that explains why there’s so much corruption in the polity……….Now pastors have happily joined the frenzy!so so sad.

  • ayodeji

    Mike, I’ve read this article over and over again and all I keep wondering was if you had any access to my inner-mind! Very good piece brother, GOD SAVE NIGERIA!!!

  • http://omojuwa.com/?p=14568&wpmp_tp=1 Adeshola

    I said it before and say it again, the actions and inactions of so many Christians in high and low places is helping populate hell fire. The devil is doing very little to achieve his goals these days because Christianity has been traded for frivolities. Thanks for this conscience awakening piece my brother.

  • http://miu-miu-bags-118.webs.com Miu Miu Bags

    I’m in love along with the Miu Miu Bags and are not able to wait to provide them ! I really have complaints.

Related Posts

Recent Posts

‘Your Sufferings Will Soon Be Over’, UN Assures IDPs

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms Fatma Samoura, has assured the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) by the Boko Haram insurgency that their sufferings would soon become a thing of the past. Samoura told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the UN was doing everything possible to ensure that the IDPs resumed their normal lives. Samoura, who is also the UN Humanitarian Coordinator and Resident Representative of UN Development Programme, urged the Boko Haram insurgency victims not to...

Buhari Orders Security Agencies To Deal Decisively With Rampaging Herdsmen

President Muhammadu Buhari has restated his administration's resolve to deal decisively and expeditiously with reported cases of continued attacks on communities across the country by armed herdsmen. The president was speaking on Monday night at a meeting with members of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) held in the Presidential Villa, Abuja. A statement issued on Tuesday by the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, said that President Buhari confirmed that heads of national security agencies...

Military To Wipe Out Boko Haram Remnants Soon – CDS

Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) said on Monday that the military will wipe out the remnants of Boko Haram terrorists from Nigeria in a short while. Olonisakin stated this while speaking with newsmen during a visit to Maiduguri, Borno. Olonisakin said that his visit was aimed at getting first class information on the anti-terrorism war. ``I want Nigerians to know that we are determined to wipe out the terrorists from our land. ``And from the Sambisa axis, we are...

Kano APC Petitions INEC, Party Headquarters Over Cancellation Of Bye Election

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kano state has petitioned the National headquarters of the party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) over the cancellation of the bye-election of Minjibir, State Assembly constituency on Saturday.   The state acting Chairman of the party, Alhaji Abdullahi Abbas disclosed this while speaking with newsmen in Kano on Monday. Abbas, who, described the action of INEC as unjust and complicit, said the reason given for cancelling the election was flimsy. "That is why we are...

Police Recruitment: 843,008 Applications Received

The Police Service Commission (PSC) said it received 843,008 applications as at 1.00p.m May 2 from applicants seeking enlistment into the Nigeria Police Force. This is contained in an update issued by Mr Ikechukwu Ani, Head, Press and Public Relations of the commission in Abuja on Monday. He said that 243,327 applications were received for Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) cadre. Ani added that 197,990 and 401,691 applicants applied for the Inspector and Police Constable (PC) cadres respectively. The commission recently said in...

El-Rufai Vows To Uncover District Head’s Killers

Gov. Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Monday vowed to ensure the arrest and prosecution of those behind the death of the District Head of Fadan Karshi, Mr Bala Madaki. The district head and his 18-year-old nephew, Emmanuel Tanko, were killed by unknown assailants at his residence in Fadan Karshi on Sunday night. El-Ruf'i in a statement by his media aide, Samuel Aruwan urged residents of Sanga Local Government to remain calm and cooperate with the security agents to arrest the...

Umahi Approves Promotion Of Retiring, Retired Civil Servants In Ebonyi

Gov. David Umahi of Ebonyi has approved the promotion of all retiring and some retired civil servants in the state. The State’s Head of Service, Dr Chamberlain Nwele, made this known at a joint news conference he addressed with members of the organised labour in Abakaliki on Monday. Nwele said the governor “graciously approved the promotion in the workers’ interest.” He said that by the decision, the government would commence processing of the entitlement of concerned workers’ retirement. “The governor has given a...

FG Currently Subsidising Petrol, Says PPPRA

The Federal Government on Monday said it was currently subsidising Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) otherwise known as petrol at N12.62 per litre. It said that the subsidy figure was for petrol imported directly by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and dispensed at its retail outlets, while the rate was N12.88 per litre for other oil marketers. This is contained in the latest Petroleum Product Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) Template released in Abuja. It said that although provision was not made for...

Eko Disco To Ration Electricity Supply To Lekki, Ikoyi, VI

The management of Eko Electricity Distribution Company (EKEDC) on Monday announced that beginning from May 3, there will be power rationing in Lekki, Ikoyi, Victoria Island and some parts of Ajah. This is contained in a statement by the General Manager, Corporate Communications Unit of EKEDC, Mr Godwin Idemudia, a copy of which was made available to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos. According to the statement, this is to enable the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to upgrade both...

President Of Cameroon To Begin Two-Day Visit To Nigeria Today

President Paul Biya of Cameroon, will at the invitation of President Muhammadu Buhari, begin a two-day state visit to Nigeria on Tuesday. This information is contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari. According to the statement, President Biya, who will be accompanied by his wife, Chantal and senior Cameroonian government officials, will be received at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, by President Buhari. It stated that...

FG Targets 7000MW In 18 Months To Boost Electricity – Osinbajo

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo said on Monday that the Federal Government was planning to generate 7, 000 megawatts of electricity for the nation within the next 18months. The vice president stated this at the presentation of a book "Nigeria: The Challenges of Growth and Development, an In-Depth Analysis by Experts," held at the Trenchard Hall, University of Ibadan, Ibadan. Osinbajo stated that power remains a major challenge the Federal Government had been facing, and which the government was determined to solve. He said...

NMA Demands Highway Ambulances

Following the death of its six members and a driver in Ekiti State, the Nigerian Medical Association has demanded from the federal and state governments the immediate provision of well-equipped functional ambulances along the major highways across the country for the purpose of immediate conveyance of injured victims of vehicular accidents to nearby hospitals. The association has raised a N20m Educational Endowment Fund for the immediate support of the families of its members in Ekiti State who died in an...

Kogi Sues National Assembly, AGF Over Assembly Takeover

The Kogi State Government has sued the National Assembly and the Attorney General of the Federation at the Supreme Court, asking for an order nullifying the House of Representatives resolution to take over the legislative functions of the state’s House of Assembly. The House of Representatives had, on March 9, 2016, passed a resolution to take over the legislative functions of the Kogi State House of Assembly. The House passed the resolution following the crisis that broke out as a result...

Panama Papers: $2.6m Penthouses Traced To Ex-Minister

  A former Minister for National Planning, Rasheed Gbadamosi, bought two luxury penthouses worth $2.6m in Panama in 2008 while serving as the Chairman of the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, according to leaked data from Panamanian law firm, Mossack Fonseca. According to a documents sighted by Nigerian online newspaper, Premium Times, Gbadamosi who was recently appointed co-chairman of the Lagos at 50...

FG Condemns Calls For Herdsmen To Leave South East

The Federal Government has condemned calls by some individuals and groups in the south-east geo political zone for herdsmen to leave the region. Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, made the condemnation on Sunday at Uburu, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi. He was addressing newsmen on the outcome of the All Progressives Congress (APC) South-East stakeholders meeting. According to him, the call is uncalled for, as President Muhammadu Buhari has directed relevant agencies to take appropriate actions in halting...

Army Begins Massive Operation In Sambisa Forests

The Nigerian Army said on Sunday that it had commenced large scale operations to smoke out Boko Haram terrorists from their Sambisa forest hideout in Borno.   Maj.-Gen. Lucky Irabor, the Theater Commander Operation Lafiya Dole said this while briefing newsmen in Maiduguri. ``I want to inform you that troops of the Operation Lafiya Dole are conducting operations in the heart of Sambisa as we speak. ``The troops are deep into the forest to smoke out Boko Haram terrorists,'' Irabor said. He said that...

Gulak Denies Hijacking Adamawa PDP Congress Materials

A PDP chieftain, Mr Ahmed Gulak, has denied allegations that he hijacked the party congress materials for meant for Adamawa state. The PDP Chairman in Adamawa, Chief Joel Madaki, had accused Gulak of illegally collecting the materials. Madaki alleged that when he went to collect the materials from PDP National Headquarters at Wadata Plaza in Abuja, he was told that Gulak had already collected them. Reacting to the allegation in an interview with newsmen on Sunday in Yola, Gulak said that what...

Improved Workers’ Welfare Critical To Change Agenda – Dogara

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, on Sunday assured Nigerian workers of the commitment of the House to improving workers’ welfare. A statement issued in Abuja on the occasion of the Workers' Day by Mr Turaki Hassan, the Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs to the Speaker, quoted Dogara as saying that improvement in the condition of workers was critical to the change agenda of the current administration. "The International Workers' Day was borne out of...

Walin Sokoto To Be Buried Today

The late Walin Sokoto, Amb. Hamzat Ahmad, will be buried on Monday, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.   The funeral prayer for the deceased will be performed on Monday morning at 10.00 a.m. at the Sultan's Palace in Sokoto according to Islamic rites. Ahmad, an accomplished diplomat and technocrat, died at a private hospital in Lagos, aged 92. The deceased served as Personal Secretary to two Nigerian military leaders-- General Aguiyi Ironsi and General Yakubu Gowon. He had served as Nigeria's Ambassador...

NASS Restates Opposition To Grazing Reserves

The Deputy Senate President, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, says the National Assembly will not support the creation of grazing reserves anywhere in the country. Addressing newsmen on Sunday after a meeting of the South East governors and stakeholders in Enugu, Ekweremadu said that there was no bill on the creation of grazing reserves before the National Assembly. He, therefore, said that the purported bill for the creation of grazing reserves was a ``hoax’’, adding that the press should strive to stop such...

Oshiomhole Increases Workers’ Minimum Wage From N18,000 to N25,000

Gov. Adams Oshiomhole of Edo on Sunday announced the increment of the National Minimum Wage from N18,000 to N25, 000 with immediate effect, for employees in the State Public Service.   He also promised prompt payment of outstanding arrears of salary to the staff of Local Government Councils in the state.   Oshiomhole who made the announcement on Sunday at the grand finale of activities to mark the 2016 Workers Day, said that plans had also been concluded to pay staff of...