Open letter to General Gowon and Pastor Oritsejafor By Adeolu Ademoyo

Dear venerable ones,

You will please permit my making this letter to you public.  kindly permit, also, the length for this is a serious matter. We need to say everything that bothers our souls and hearts. I am writing to you based on the public nature of your Christian ministry. Nothing, after all, is private before our God. Everything is open. And nakedness as the mode of our arrival on this earth and as the mode of our eternal departure from mother earth remains a necessary and universal truth. None of these words shall be taken away.

Taking my cue from you General Gowon, you will kindly recall the immediate aftermath of the civil war and the way we used the nobility of your name as one of the markers of our national consciousness.   You will kindly recall that we Nigerians turned the letters of your name around in 1967 in order for it to represent our collective national aspirations –GO ON WITH ONE NIGERIA-GOWON.

Sir, I am a member of that generation that witnessed and participated patriotically in the deconstruction and appropriation of your name to symbolize our nationalistic aspirations as we emerged from the unfortunate civil war we are currently failing to learn from. Hence, my generation is inclined to think Nigeria, walk Nigeria, sleep Nigeria and wake Nigeria. Absolute belief and faith in Nigeria is a critical theology for us. It will remain so.

Recently, you and Pastor Oritsejafor visited President Goodluck Jonathan to conduct a prayer session. As one of the holiest seasons in the Christian faith, I understand the Easter period as the ultimate triumph of the ethics of eternal life and light over moral darkness. Hence, one can understand your Easter prayer session at the presidency though we need to pray and watch; walk ethics rather than talk ethics.

Venerable ones, I do not know  what you and Pastor Oritsejafor saw during the prayer session at the presidency, which makes the Pastor say that President Jonathan, has a “transformation agenda which is one of the greatest thing that happened to Nigeria…” In view of the fact that there could be regressive or progressive transformation, I do not know which one Pastor Oritsejafor meant or whether he was speaking with a tongue in the cheek. But brute facts allow us to look at reality beyond our own interpretations.

Here are some chilling revelations t starts this piece. Recently, the House of Representative Committee on Foreign Affairs was worried about the negative attacks on Nigerians by other African countries. In other words we are under stress even in African countries. Another fact is that of 1.5 million students who took the recent 2012 UTME examination by JAMB ONLY THREE STUDENTS got above 300, and only 72,243 out of 1.5 million students got above 250 marks. And this number includes students in Nigerian private schools where our ruling elites ferried their children to after they wrecked the public schools and turned then to symbols of illiteracy for the poor children of Nigerian working people. The fact is that no Nigerian university is highly rated anymore in the global rating of universities. I do not want to increase our moral pain by pointing to power, water supply etc.

So, Pastor Oritsejafor where is the transformation you are talking about in the lives of the working people and their children? Yet you are a man of God. I say this with a lot of pain and regret because our Christian parents brought us up in the old school tradition to always say the truth for this is the way of Christian faith. Pastor Oritsejafor, in view of this you need to point to the truth in your assertion about the transformation in President Jonathan’s agenda otherwise you would have turned the Christian faith to a piece of merchandise to be hawked and negotiated for profit. And that is unacceptable.

Venerable ones, in the presidential homily which Pastor Oritsejafor called “The Power of The Altar” Pastor Oritsejafor he quoted Judges 6: 25-26 which says: That same night the Lord said to him, ‘Take the seven –year old spare bullock and destroy your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the sacred pole that is by it. You shall build instead the proper kind of altar to the Lord, your God on top of this stronghold. Then take the spare bullock and offer it as a holocaust on the wood from the sacred pole you have cut down…”

Sirs, my question to you is: how do you “build the proper kind of altar to the Lord our God on top of this stronghold” if Mr. Jonathan’s presidency reels in, reeks in, seethes and breathes corruption? Sirs you said this and want to walk away, but we will not allow you because this matter is too urgent. This is our life, this is our children’s life. This is the lives of Nigerian children who my colleague, Mr. Muhammad Jameel Yushau, recently informed  are being asked to beg on the streets of  Jeddah Saudi Arabia.

Sirs, have you read John 15: 9-17 where Jesus says, “As the father loves me, so I love you. Remain in my love…”? Do you think the Nigerian political class and the presidency where you conducted the Easter prayer love these Nigerian children (as Jesus loves us) who are being condemned to live as beggars in foreign lands? Do you think these child beggars remain in the president’s love? General Gowon and Pastor Oritsejafor those Nigerian child beggars in Saudi Arabia are my children, they are your children, they are the children of any Nigerian parents. We must do something about this and more before our eternal departure form this world.

So did you tell President Jonathan about these Nigerian children who beg in foreign lands? Can you now see why I said this matter is urgent and we will not allow you talk prayer and just leave?  We Nigerian parents will not allow Pastors and Imams who are becoming complicit of the moral and economic crimes being committed by Nigerian political class against Nigerian working people and their children to just talk and walk away anymore. You must respond to this both in your prayers and in your deeds at the presidency.

So sirs, since you talked about destroying and building altars in Judges 6: 25-26, I wish to ask if have you read John 2: 13-16.  It is called the “Cleansing of The Temple” by our Lord Jesus Christ. And sirs, this is the full text as documented by John “Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as money-changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money –changers and over turned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said, “Take these out of here and stop making my Father’s house a market place.” Here Our Lord Jesus Christ with prayer and whip stood proudly tall against filth, greed and privatizing and turning the peoples’ common estate into personal and private estates. Sirs as gentlemen Christians and Pastor you can do the same?

In the 21st century can you see how –Nigeria and the presidency -have been turned to a market place by   the ruining elites and politicians who are ruling and ruining Nigeria daily? Those who Jesus drove out of our Father’s house  are those you conduct prayer sessions for. They are right there in the presidency. They are the politicians who bring bagged blood money to the mosques and churches and the Pastors and Imams who receive the money, bless the money in the name of God and pocket the money.

Sirs have you forgotten the Otuoke Church gift in Mr. President’s village? That contractor Gitto Construzioni Generali and his presidency clients are good examples of the biblical tax collectors and moneychangers who need Jesus Christ’s cleansing measures. Sirs, did you ask Mr. Jonathan about this gift as a metaphor of corruption? If you did what did he say and tell you? If you did not why did you not ask  after praying for him? Are you comfortable with such immoral gifts? Are you comfortable with Jesus’ biblical tax collectors and money changers in modern times? Pastor Oritsejafor will your church be comfortable with immoral gifts? Would you have asked the president  to ask one of his contractors to renovate your church too?

Sirs, our appropriation of General Gowon’s name in late 1960s(GOWON-GO ON WITH ONE NIGERIA) to chart a true path of national consciousness for Nigeria still rings  bell in me. But it seems to me that mere words can no longer do this. As Christian prayer warriors I think this is only possible if we walk the Christian ethics, which is a complete negation of the moral corruption, which the presidency sits on. Sirs, as Christians, did you tell Mr. President this when you visited? And the claim that you are not politicians is unhelpful. Since you have brought the bible to the market place and to symbols of corruption, and since you have not said that you did this for the purpose of healing and redemption, you have exposed the church to public scrutiny.

Therefore, General Gowon and Pastor Oritsejafor, as Christians are you ready to walk, work and pray with   Nigerian working people so that we follow Jesus’ example and paradigm, to cleanse this Augean stable, drive away Nigeria’s biblical tax collectors, money changers and build a new altar free of corruption, stench and filthy money as Jesus enjoins us to do? Will you? Can you?

Sirs, General Gowon Pastor Oritsejafor may God endow and empower both of you with courage to be able to speak truth to power like our Lord Jesus Christ did.

Next week I will let us see how a view of Faith and Politics is destroying our great country. As a country and people, time is no longer on our side.

Good morning and Thank you sirs for your attention.

Adeolu Ademoyo is of the Africana Studies Department, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.





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  • Otopsyn

    Adeolu, i promised myself not to bother myself reading your articles because the first time i read one you referred to as an open letter to Pastor E. A. Adeboye,you only succeded in displaying your enormous ignorance about issues.I’m happy that each time i mistakinly motion to this page,there are only few or no persons grazing it.This shows that you are not an acceptable element.Please learn to analyse current happenings and be logical in your presentation,perhaps you could get more readers on your side.Thank you sir.

    • Emeka2003

      I think Characters like you have been put on the spot. Check this.Out of 117 million Nigerians, 112 million are living in abject poverty-the data were released by the federal Bureau of statistics. Adeolu did not release these data. The data were released by a government body-Federal Bureau of statistics -. So question is: So if Pastor Oritsejagfor said Mr. Jonathan has a transformative agenda-what is transformative in 112 million Nigerians who are living in abject poverty? If this is transformative for you and you call yourself a christian, then that is really tragic. If 112 million Nigerians live in abject poverty is tranformative for you, it cannot be transformative for those who are living in poverty and are forced to run to African countries only to be humuliated. Think Otopsyn.

      • Ijeamaka2000

        Why are you taking a person like Otopsyn serious? Some people have come to the conclusion that this is the way Nigeria should be because it works for them and their children through the fraud that goes on.
        I think we should ignore otoppsyn and focus on Adeolu’s good work.
        Thanks Adeolu

    • Jadesola10

      Now listen. These are the current happenings. Pastor Oritsejafor said President Jonathan has a transformative agenda. Did Mr. Pastor president of CAN say that or not? See Mr . Otopsyn, the word is TRANSFORMATIVE-okay? Now let us take two examples-Have Nigerians been sent packing from other African countries or not-something these African countires would not do years back? Now take this-unfortunately Adeolu did not mention this in his brilliant article-out of about 170million Nigerians, 112 million live in abject poverty-now what is transformative in that? This is information from the federal government Federal Bureau of statistics. So when Pastor Oritsejafor talked about a transformative agenda-what is transformative in 112 million living in abject poverty? I think we need to check the meaning of TRANSFORMATIVE in the dictionary. Otopsyn, you are either one of these Pastors that deceive in the name of God or you are a politician that is eating Nigeria dry.

    • Chukwuma

      You dey chop inside dis thing too? Otopsyn, you are more of a spokesperson of these looters-period. Point to one thing that is false in that essay. You are annoyed because your tricks and tactics have been exposed.
      Thank you sir Adeolu. Go on in the name of God.

    • Otito3

      From the tone of your letter , I think you are uncomfortable with simple truth.

    • Princewill450

      Dear Otopsyn,
      I am persuaded that you benefit from the evil and corrupt Nigerian system. And that is sickening. That is all I have to say.

  • Ojo

    dear otopsyn,
    I have the following questions for you.
    1. Is it true or not that Pastor Oritsejafor called President Jonathan’s agenda transformative?
    2. If it is true that the Pastor said this, how do we verify-do we verify by facts or interpretation?
    3. Since Adeolu insists that we should use facts to confirm or deny Pastor Orisejafor’s assertion, Adeolu calls our attention to some facts. What you should then do is check the facts and come toi a conclusion about Pastor Oritsejafor’s view. So now follow me in this logical trail Otopsyn.
    4. Now is it true or not that even African countries are deporting Nigerians in a shameless manner? say yes or No.
    5. is it true or false that out of 1.5million Nigerian students who wrote the last JAMB only three got 300 and above? Say yes or no.
    6. Is it true or false that no single Nigerian university has any global recknoning anymore? say yes or no.
    7. Is it true or false that a common Italian building contractor that would not have had the temerity to come near the Italian Prime Minister’s house was built a church in President Jonathan’s village at the behest of Mr. Jonathan? Say yes or no.
    8. Now this is it Otopsyn, Adeolu is saying given 2-7, a Pastor who is presumably a man of God says President Jonathan has a transformative agenda? Ah ah ah, cant you see? Does it mean you no longer have a moral shock? Does it mean that standards are so low , you cannot see and demand for higher standards?
    Look when men of God turn the church and mosques to tools with which they negotiate with power, then this is what we get. The problem with Nigerian elites like you Otopsyn is that things are so bad, you have reconciled yourself with low standards. It may also be that you are part of this system, perhaps , you are benefiacry-who knows. Thus you feel pained that ALL of you are being exposed with the power of logic. If you are not a beneficiary I do not see why you shoudl feel this pained by these exposures.
    Thank you so much Adeolu. We expect more from you. God Bless you plenty. More grease to your elbow.

  • Akin

    Did Jesus drive the tax collectors and the money changers from the temple or not? That is the question. Now answer otopsyn. It seems to me you are a beneficiary of this evil system.
    Carry on brother Adeolu. Thank you Adeolu. With Good Nigerians like Adeolu, there is some hope. but definitely there is no hope with people like otopsyn.
    Thanks Adeolu

  • Segun234

    You either one of those so-called men of God who have traded our faith or you are a Govt contractor or a politician who Adeolu has correctly put on trial. No doubt Adeolu’s style of writing is biting and sarcastic. Adeolu a should Cary on. We need more of Adeolus in our Naija.
    God in his infinite mercy will bless you and your family Adeolu.
    With character like Otopsyn , hm hm hm God save Nigeria.
    Adeolu. O se oooooo Thanks.

  • Kunle1290

    To Otopsyn
    My own thinking is that characters like Otopsyn have been put on the spot by the brilliant and sharp critique of patriots like Adeolu. This Otopsyn person talked about someone being ignorant of issues!!! can you beat that. Actually, I think Adeolu is being mild and gentlemanly in his essay. Anyway that is the usual cool characteristic of academic writing-cool and non-abusive. But you see our problem has gone beyond Adeolu’s correct but gentlemanly analysis. Does this Otopsyn person know the data from the Federal Bureau of statistics about four months ago? The data say that 112 million Nigerians out of 170 million Nigerians live in abject poverty. Now sit these data on top of Adeolu’s reference of the information that of 1.5 million Nigerian students who took the last JAMB ONLY THREE students got above 300.!!! Yet we have so-called private schools which our stupid elites took their children to. So the children of our fraudulent elites in so-called private schools could not get above 300. How can they? have they not taken after their lazy elite parents who are stealing right , left and center? That is a shame on our education system. So you elites cannot even produce children form your stupid private schools who can score more than 300 in JAMB. God don catch una. This is why Otopsyn is annoyed.
    I salute your courage Adeolu. God bless you and your family. With people like you, I think Nigeria still has hope. May our Lord Jesus crown brilliant efforts with success.

  • Jenkinsomotayo606

    Akin, Otopsyn does not know what he is saying. perhaps he is living in space. Is the Otuoke church gift which the President asked that a contractor give to his village’s church a fiction? if only 3 students out of 1.5million got above 300 in Jamb, is that not a shame on Nigerian elites who now send their children to Ghana and even Republic of Benin for their schooling? Perhaps Otopsyn is a Pastor in training.
    Adeolu has the guts to say what many of us are afraid to say. We whistle about these things in private but the truth shall set us free.

  • Segunadedegba

    e be like say otopsyn dey chop well well inside the stench for Abuja presidency. Adeolu’s article got them so sharply, bobo otopsyn is annoyed that they have been exposed. Obviously otopsyn the truth is oppressing you because some of you have done something wrong.-Transformative President Jonathan’s agena my foot.

  • Thosesecrets

    To face the reality, what is this man’s problem? If he has any issues or complaints, I recommend he goes direct to Aso Rock or call the Federal Ministry of Information instead of posting foolish letters here. Perhaps he is interested in political post, he should go through a due process instead wasting his time here. Ash hole.

    • Hassantukur2005

      You are right Thosesecrets. This fellow may be a job seeker. I am just woindering why somebody feels that an agenda where by 112 million people out of 117 million are living in abject poverty is transformative. Is this Otopsyn person real? If he is one of those that live in abject poverty, will he say that kind of agenda is transformative?
      Thank you Mr. Adeolu for putting everyone on his/her toes. It seems we have slept for too long. We need the kind of wake up call Adeolu is making.
      Thanks and God bless your family Adeolu

  • Durojaiye2003

    I just read this. May God Bless you Adeolu. I did not know that we still have people with this depth, clarity, sincerity and guts in Nigeria. Your generation can still do something for Nigeria. Please do not go away.
    God bless you.

  • hicup

    I think Adeolu is extremely jobless and he needs some attention: a fool who doesn’t realize he is a fool remains in foolishness!

  • Oladimeji Olaposi

    I like this write-ups! And i like the writer’s intellectual approach, too. But, my fear is, ‘will the Imams, Pastors, Clerics, and the politicians cum our leaders read this? If they do, what will they do? and will the writer and his family be left alone?

  • Oladimeji Olaposi

    Let me quickly add that Nigerians are waking up. Looking at the total number of the contributors, the supporters of the ‘operation-do-good’ surpass those of ‘operation-continue-doing-bad’, and by this i think there still exist some hope in getting ourselves back on-track..