When Christian clerics engage in acts deemed to be exploitative of their flock or they are found wanting in ways that do not conform to their calling, the response from their followers and sympathizers is usually to throw Psalms 105: 15 at perceived detractors. The verse is “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!” (ESV). It is a veritable blackmail that has made near impossible to hold anyone that goes by the title of “man of God” to account, even in face of glaring shortcomings.
Unlike the man of God who dined with King Jeroboam in 1 Kings 13 and got mauled by a lion, the clergy in Nigeria are getting away with worse. The prophet in 1 Kings 13 still performed his duty of speaking out against the excesses of King Jeroboam but contemporary clergy have become inured to the point of being incapable of self-correction neither do they possess the capacity to call erring colleagues, fellow clergymen, to order.
The fallen clerics are however attractive to the national coordinator of Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, self-styled comrade, Emmanuel Onwubiko, who made the wrong call of cursing God’s true prophet in the person of Pastor Williams F. Kumuyi, who is the General Overseer of the Deeper Life Bible Church. Pastor Kumuyi’s crime in the eyes of Onwubiko was that he dared advise Nigerians against attacking President Muhammadu Buhari.
Interestingly, Pastor Kumuyi does not need defending from Onwubiko or for those who sent him on a self-destructive errand. It is up to God to decide if an urchin should escape divine punishment for cursing his prophet, whose only crime is guiding Nigerians from sin consistent with the injunction in 1 Timothy 2:2 that enjoined us to pray for our leaders.
There are at least nine citations in the Bible that caution against curses and as many as ten that advise civil disposition towards and praying for leaders. So the wise counsel from Pastor Kumuyi, which appears aimed at saving some Nigerians from calling down divine curses upon themselves because of their bitterness against President Buhari, is not misplaced.
What is misplaced is Onwubiko’s sense of appropriateness, which leaves one worrying if the divine curse is not already visiting him. His outbursts in matters concerning President Buhari have become alarming to a point that he may soon be frothing at the mouth whenever the President’s name is mentioned. His loved ones would have to act fast to ensure matters do not get to the point where he would have to be committed. At this stage, therapy may still be useful for him.
Shortly before he launched his attack on the clergyman, he had made so much noise about the President attending the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Saudi Arabia. His grouse, like others uninformed persons that criticised the development, was that attending the OIC meeting was the same as Islamizing Nigeria.
This is stretching the imagination beyond what is tenable considering that the immediate past President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan attended the same meeting in his time when Onwubiko was possibly too deeply asleep to be aware that a Christian president had been Islamized. He had nothing against this same Jonathan practically allowing the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) run the country at the time, to an extent that he even went to cry at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Israel.
The statement Onwubiko issued to insult the man of God exposed his troubled state of mind and removed all doubts about his penchant for double standards. He admitted as much that he is not just a wannabe religious fanatic but also an incurable bigot, who is apparently beyond redemption. He is shallow to the point where he wants the clergyman to abandon his calling to become adviser to Mr President on ethnic relations and security matters.
Still on his penchant for double standards, rather than situate his argument on whether the pastor erred in the application of the scripture he resorted to quoting the constitution. Quoting the constitution is not bad except that Onwubiko does not believe in Nigeria’s grand norm. He is a known vocal supporter of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), a designated terrorist group, which does not recognize Nigeria and its constitution. So what constitution is Onwubiko citing? His support for IPOB is echoed in the statement he issued since some of his lines were taken straight out of IPOB’s a seeming propaganda handbook.
Digging down into his double standard, the same man alleging killer herdsmen and other inanities like Islamization agenda happens to be a strong supporter of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria, another outlawed group with a history of tactically imposing its street marches on others as a way of creating the impression that not belonging to their sect is futile. Extremists of this sect have been known to attack, injure and some instances kill the security personnel drafted to keep their provocative activities under control. Because they are his clients, there is nothing wrong in the crimes of IMN.
It should naturally leave one wondering how a man that is this conflicted has the gut to judge others to the point of telling someone, whose achievements he can never best, to cover his face in shame. Those who know Onwubiko up close understand that his outburst was not driven by conviction but by anger and that anger has nothing to do with a sense of right or wrong. It has everything to do with Onwubiko’s transactional tendencies, except for his ethnic bigotry, nothing about his activism comes free. He must be shown the money before he converts his poison into press statements or broadcast media appearances. Even some of the people in his circuit have had cause to fall out with him in instances when sharing formulas were not mutually agreeable.
He must have therefore projected his own behaviour onto others to conclude that anyone asking people not to attack President Buhari must have received a nine digit payoff. What he then did was to switch to the automatic mode when he thinks he has been cut out of a deal, whereby he launched his attack in the belief that he would be invited to share in the loot or be offered an engagement to become a talking head for the Buhari administration. That strategy was dead on arrival. Having previously worked in the Jonathan years when Onwubiko got endless speaking engagements on behalf of that government at broadcast stations in Abuja, it appears he does not possess intellectual capacity that can communicate the complex achievements of the incumbent government.
The HURIWA chieftain will do well to note that his tantrums over his depleted reserves from the Jonathan years will evolve into full blown psychotic episodes in the additional four years that President Buhari has to pilot the affairs of Nigeria. He is thus advised to seek other productive means of livelihood as opposed to selling himself out as a quote-for-hire hitman. The unspeakable penury that could be his portion in the course of the next four years may just be his deserved punishment for cursing God’s anointed. That is when he will know shame.
Ibekwe is a public affairs analyst and wrote from Enugu.