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 The old picture of Christ as the simple and humble man from Galilee has been replaced by that of the rich and arrogant man with swagger, who has no need for God’s help because all that makes the material life meaningful are already with him.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!!!

  • 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.

  • 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

Okorocha Reads Riot Act To Opposition Over Relocation Of Owerri Main Market

The Imo State government, yesterday read riot act to indigenes of Owerri Municipal council opposed to the proposed relocation of the Owerri main market popularly known as Eke-Ukwu Owere, stressing that there is no going back on the exercise.   Governor Rochas Okorocha who stated this in a chart with journalists highlighted that the relocation which would soon be effected would entail total demolition of all structures in the market in line with his urban renewal and Imo my pride programme,...

Dear Single Ladies! Try This 30-Day Challenge

Day 1: Follow a hot friend of a friend on Instagram. Day 2: Write down everything you want in a future partner. Day 3: Write down everything you don't want in a future partner. Day 4: Get glammed up for a bangin' shameless selfie. Day 5: Go out for drinks at a place you've never been to before; don't leave without meeting a...

IPOB Splinter Group Names New Leader, List Eminent Persons To Negotiate With FG

The leadership of the new pro Biafra group, the Reformed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has named a new leader for the organization and listed eminent personalities who are expected to dialogue with the Nigerian government over the agitation for an independent state of Biafra. In a statement signed by its National Director of Publicity, Ikemba Biafra, RE-IPOB described the new leader,Jonathan Kurubo from hails from Bayelsa state as a true son of Biafra who believes...

Calls For Buhari’s Resignation Is Condemnable – Group Tells BBOG

The Global Excellence Foundation has berated the #BringBackOurGirls (BBOG) campaigners over call that President Muhammadu Buhari should resign from office if he cannot rescue the Chibok Girls from the dreaded Boko haram insurgents.   Country Representative of the foundation, Prof Yemi Ola, while briefing journalists in Abuja said it is on record that securing the release of the girls from captivity has been a major priority of the President Buhari administration.   He said, “We understand that there is some measure of frustration...

Pastor Rapes 13 Year Old Boy To Cure Homosexuality

A pastor with the Jesus Miracle Ministries, Awka, Anambra State, Ekene Adaoji, has fled after allegedly raping a 13-year-old boy.  It was gathered that the pastor was told by a traditionalist that his homosexual habit would be cured if he slept with a male teenager. The victim, who hails from Ebonyi State, said the suspect tricked him by asking him to stay behind after a vigil. He said, “The pastor...

We’ll Make Lagos Uncomfortable For Criminals – Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday commissioned the newly rehabilitated fuel dump for the State Police Command, just as he reiterated his unwavering commitment to keep Lagos safe, secured and uncomfortable for criminal elements and their collaborators.   The facility, which has 33,000 litres capacity for both diesel and premium motor spirit (petrol), was rehabilitated by the State Government for the purpose of dispensing fuel to vehicles used for patrol and surveillance activities by the Police in the State.   Speaking...

Nigerian Army Ends ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ Exercise In Niger Delta

The Commander, “Operation Crocodile Smile’’ of the Nigerian Army, Brig-Gen. Benbella Raji, has reassured residents in the Niger Delta assurance of their safety. Raji gave the assurance during a training to enhance the operations of the military. The Commander, who is from the 4 Brigade, Nigerian Army in Edo, also said that the training would help to improve the security situation in the Niger Delta. “This exercise was launched by the Chief of Army Staff a few days ago. “Today, we move round...

Dubai Ruler Makes Surprise Visit To Government Offices – And Finds Nobody At Work

This is the awkward moment the ruler of Dubai walks into civil service offices for an unannounced spot check - and finds nobody doing any work.  Sheik Mohammed visited several government departments on Sunday morning - a normal working day in United Arab Emirates - and found several unoccupied desks that should have been populated by senior officers. Video 

Pastor In Court For Allegedly Marrying Mother, Daughter

A pastor, Timothy Ngwu, was on Monday docked at an Enugu North Magistrates’ Court for allegedly marrying another man’s wife, daughter as well as another woman. The pastor’s wife, Veronica Ngwu, was said to have petitioned the court over the development. The victims whom Mr. Ngwu converted to his “wives” were said to be members of his church: Gods’ Favour Ministry, Nsukka. One of the victims, Calista Omeye, however, told the court that her...

Fayose Signs Bill To Try Herdsmen For Terrorism

Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose yesterday signed a bill to regulate grazing, into law, with a warning that any herdsman caught with arms will face charges of terrorism. The governor said the law would curtail activities of suspected herdsmen, who move about with firearms, unleashing terror on citizens. According to the new law, any offender arrested and convicted is liable to six months’ imprisonment without any option of fine. Grazing activities in designated places...

Ex-militants Call For Probe Of Amnesty Office

The Association of Third Phase Ex- Militants have called for an immediate probe of the operations of the Amnesty Office, over alleged breach of disarmament agreement by the federal government through the Amnesty office. National Chairman of the Association, Comrade Wisdom Rufus made the call on Saturday in Abuja, while briefing Newsmen on the challenges faced by the Group as a result of the breach. The Chairman said “ with the...

Soldiers Kill 20 Cattle Rustlers In Zamfara

At least 20 cattle rustlers were killed at the weekend in a military operation in Zamfara State.  The soldiers also recovered 200, 10 AK 47 rifles ammunition. The Commanding Officer, 223 Light Tank Battalion, Lt-Col Aliyu Adamu who disclosed that the rustlers’ den was also destroyed in Dansadau forest “We have succeeded in our battle with cattle rustlers, 20 of them were gunned down. We are also able to recover live ammunition, 10 AK 47 and 1 AK 49...

Reported Probe Of Sanusi, Soludo Untrue– Presidency

The Presidency has refuted social media reports that the tenures of Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II and Prof. Charles Soludo, as Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governors, would soon be probed by the Federal Government. The reports alleged that the Federal Government had concluded arrangements to probe the tenures of the two former CBN governors over their views on the state of the economy. Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant on...

Boko Haram Stalls Prisoner Swap With Abducted Chibok Girls

Fresh facts have emerged on why President Muhammadu Buhari has remained steadfast on his position that the federal government would only negotiate for the release of the abducted Chibok girls with those who are directly holding them. It has emerged that two recent attempts in recent weeks by the Federal Government for prisoners swap with the so called representative of the terror group may have reached a dead end as each time security officials arrive at...

Mobile Police Stray Bullet Kills Father Of Five In Lagos

Drivers of mass transit buses yesterday boycotted Okoko / CMS route to protest the alleged killing of their colleague Sunday evening by a Mobile policeman. The deceased, identified simply as Fatai was said to have been hit by a stray bullet from a Mobile policeman , at Doyin bus-stop in Orile area of Lagos. The policeman with an undisclosed identity, who was said to be escorting a jeep, reportedly fired some shots into the air apparently...

Ondo Governorship Primaries: I Have No Anointed Candidate – Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has reiterated that he has no preferred candidate among the 24 governorship aspirants of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Ondo State. Buhari said this through the Secretary to theGovernment of the Federation, SGF, Babachir David Lawal, during a meeting with all the aspirants in Abuja. The APC will on Saturday conduct its primary election to pick its candidate ahead of the governorship election in the state. Addressing reporters after the meeting, Lawal said: “The government of President Muhammadu...

Nigerians Are Hungry, Okogie Writes Buhari

Nigerians are hungry and they urgently need succour from President Muhammadu Buhari. They want him to fulfill his campaign promises by providing good leadership that will check hunger and poverty in the land. This was the message contained in a letter that Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, Cardinal Anthony Okogie, wrote to Buhari. Reminding the president that his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) promised to change the country for the better but has not done...

Kuje Prison Riot: Boko Haram Prisoner Caught With 25 Phones

Sporadic gunfire caused pandemonium at Kuje Prison, Abuja, on Monday, following a riot by some inmates, who resisted the attempt by prison officials to search their cells for banned items. It was gathered that security operatives fired gunshots and tear gas canisters to restore law and order and control the rioters. This happened 11 days after a similar incident in Abakaliki Prison, Ebonyi State, that led to the death of six inmates and injuries to...

Real Reason We Charged Man Who Named Dog Buhari- Police

The police on Monday decried public comments linking President Muhammadu Buhari with the ongoing saga over a dog named “Buhari” in Ogun State. A 40-year old trader, Joe Chinakwe, was recently arrested and arraigned in court for allegedly naming his dog “Buhari.” He has since been granted bail. Some members of the public have however associated the president with the matter. The Ogun State Police Command and Zone 2 Police Command, in separate statements,...

Court Orders Evacuation Of Petroleum Products From Seized Tank Farm

Acquiescing to the prayers of an indigenous oil firm, Zone 4 Energy Limited, a Federal High Court, Lagos has ordered First Bank’s receiver manager, Emmanuel Oyebanji, to allow an oil marketing company, Chukelad Nigeria Limited, to evacuate its 2,804,735 litres of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 1,927,727 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) stored in a tank farm belonging to Zone 4. The tank farm, which is within the Calabar Free Trade Zone (CFTZ), is under...

Army Has No Right To Declare Civilians Wanted – Falana

Human rights lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has said that the Nigerian Army has no right to declare civilians wanted. According to him, such action is usurpation of the statutory powers of both the police and the State Security Services (SSS). The Army had in the aftermath of the released video showing some of the abducted Chibok girls on Sunday, August 14, 2016 by the proscribed Boko Haram terrorist sect, declared three persons wanted over alleged...