BY OMOTOLU ADEBAYO ONABOLU
One of the most controversial things placed before Nigerians during the run up to the just concluded presidential elections was the recording of a sermon delivered by one Bosun Emmanuel. According to the speaker, he was mandated by GOD to return to Nigeria to give the Church in Nigeria urgent information. From the contents of the sermon, the urgent information is about the impending plan by the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) to Islamise Nigeria.
What was worrying was that the sermon was characterised by misinformation, the use of false figures, inciting statements and obvious attempts at manipulating Christian voters to cast their votes for Goodluck Jonathan. More worrying was the timing of the sudden increase in publicity given to the sermon via social media as the elections approached. How come there are no other sermons by Bosun circulating on social media? The fact that Bosun is a very close associate of Ayo Oritsejafor, the flamboyant National Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria did not help matters either. Could this be a case of the voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau? One thing that stands out in the sermon is the subtle blend of falsehood into historical stories to make the message look authentic. Coincidentally, this is very similar to the infamous and dishonest propaganda video issued by the PDP media campaign office and which was aired by a number of television stations.
According to Bosun, God aked him to return to Nigeria because “the Church in Nigeria lacks information”. Meaning that over 80 million Christians in Nigeria together with the various “Men of God” are unable to hear from GOD therefore GOD has chosen to speak only to Bosun. This looks like a typical case of a “messianic complex” which is a condition associated with unstable historical figures like Hitler, Gaddafi, Chavez etc. Bearing this in mind, it is not surprising that Bosun said that “this is not a hate speech. I don’t hate Muslims and I don’t want you to hate Muslims, but I’m going to tell you a lot of things the Muslims are doing that may get you angry”. This is obviously a dishonest and deceptive statement as it is certainly hate speech against Muslims because he openly blamed all Muslims for the atrocities committed by a handful of evil men and women in the Boko Haram terrorist group. It is like blaming all Yoruba people in Nigeria for the comments and conduct of Ayo Fayose and Femi Fani Kayode. The statement is also an obvious attempt to incite Christians against Muslims in the run up to the election.
In an even more bizarre move, Bosun tried to create a subliminal impression in the mind of his audience that the economic decline of the mining industry in Plateau State was caused by Islamisation. According to him, “In the whole of Plateau State, people were mining bauxite, aluminium all over the place. This is Nigeria today. Nothing is going on”. It is common knowledge that the mining industry in the Jos Plateau was destroyed because, many decades ago, the foreign buyers decided to get their requirements from more efficient and cheaper sources. Furthermore, he also laid the blame for the country’s dilapidated infrastructure on the activities of Boko Haram. According to him “How sick is Nigeria? Look at Nigeria’s bowel. There used to be infrastructure. There is no infrastructure working in this Nation anymore. The bomb is already ticking. There is a young rascal that has grabbed hold of Nigeria around the Northeast zone and that young man is already tilting Nigeria. They call his name Boko Haram.” How anyone can make such a ludicrous assertion is truly baffling. In his usual subtle and very deceptive manner, Bosun blamed Nigeria’s dilapidating infrastructure on the activities of Boko Haram instead of the ineptitude, acute corruption and gross mismanagement of the economy by the present administration (his benefactors). In civilised parts of the world, roads and other infrastructures are maintained through sound fiscal management and good governance not religious sentiments.
Bosun then took his antics to an outrageous level when he claimed that at the “Islam in Africa” conference held in Abuja in 1989, a declaration was issued as follows: To eradicate in all its forms and ramifications, all non-Muslim religions in member nations….. To ensure only Muslims are elected to all political positions of member nations. To ensure the appointment of only Muslims into strategic national and international posts of member nations. To ensure the ultimate replacement of western forms of legal and judicial systems with the Sharia.
To give his claims an air of authenticity, he recommended that they search online for the words “Abuja Declaration”. The search results revealed numerous links to websites and blogs all quoting and referring to the same Wikipedia page titled Abuja Declaration (1989). (please see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abuja_Declaration_(1989).
Sadly, this Wikipedia page did not quote or publish the alleged communiqué. Worse still, at no point did it quote any of the allegations made. However, a commentary on the page by one Raphael O Duru (Project Director, Voice Your Vote Nigeria, Nigeria) alleged that two objectives in the communique were omitted from the Islam in Africa Organisation website. Raphael O. Duru referenced the East African Center for Law and Justice as the source of this information. (http://eaclj.org/religion/13-religion-feature-articles/15-the-abuja-declaration.html). In a shocking twist, the Centre claimed that even though these two alleged objectives were not written in the said communiqué, it only “deduced” them from comments made by various Islamic figures.
Another comment on the Wikipedia page stated that another communiqué allegedly issued in 1990 which stated that “only Muslims should be appointed to strategic posts, non-Muslim religions should be eradicated, Nigeria should become a Federal Islamic Sultanate, and western law should be replaced with sharia” was declared as a forgery by Frans Wijsen (Professor of World Christianity and Interreligious Relations at Radboud University, Nijmegen) in his book titled, Seeds of conflict in a haven of peace, because it does not correspond with declarations made at the conference.
Is it not mysterious that even though Nigeria’s membership of the OIC in 1986 has been a very controversial discourse over the years, the mention of the Abuja Declaration did not appear on any Nigerian blog or website before 2014 when campaigns for the 2015 presidential elections took-off?
In an ingenious move, Bosun then roped Nigeria’s own “evil genius” into the plot of his allegations knowing that this would stir up angry emotions in the Nigerian masses. According to him, “Then, to make sure that this strategy works; because it’s going to require money, Babangida, as the self-appointed president of Nigeria, put his hand into the treasury of Nigeria, took $ 21 billion dollars out and gave it to OIC- to the Islamic development fund of OIC and said, “Take this money, for the total…” I’m quoting, “…for the total Islamization of Nigeria in particular and Africa in general.”
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s records, during the tenure of Ibrahim Babangida (1985 to 1993), the highest month end balance of Nigeria’s foreign reserves was US$9.5 billion in March 1993. Nigeria was absolutely incapable of paying US$21 billion during that era because the average month end balance of Nigeria’s foreign reserves during the period was a miserable US$3.9 billion.
Even though he claimed that the sermon was not aimed at inciting Christians against Muslims, Bosun also tried to create the impression that only Muslims were capable of committing gruesome atrocities by asking his audience “You don’t know Islam, you do not know the spirit that is behind Islam…Could you imagine that somebody would take a cutlass and split the head of a child? When you were coming to Church this morning,…Could you imagine that somebody would burn another human being simply because he doesn’t believe in what he believes in? The truth is that very evil atrocities are committed nearly every day in different parts of Nigeria. A very sad example is the horrific murder of four innocent university boys in Aluu a surburb of Port Harcourt for no reason. People are lynched (murdered) all over Nigeria in very brutal ways for unjustifiable reasons such as robbery suspicion, accusations of homosexuality or even stealing pepper. Deadly attacks, by young cult boys and girls against rivals have become an epidemic in Nigeria. Such attacks include gruesome beheadings. These evil acts all over Nigeria are committed by people of the different faiths and convictions; Christians, Muslims and Traditionalists.
Then using a very bogus figure, Bosun played the guilt trip card on his audience by claiming that “The Nigerian Church combined gets an annual revenue in excess of N3 trillion. How much does the Nigerian Church contribute to run its umbrella (CAN)?” The fact is that most Mosques and Churches in Nigeria do not prepare any financial report and there is none of them that submits financial reports to any central supervisory agency. Therefore it is impossible to determine the annual revenues of the Nigerian Church. Furthermore, Nigeria’s budget in 2014 was only N4.6 trillion. It is therefore unrealistic that the revenue of churches in Nigeria could be N3 trillion.
In a veiled attempt to campaign against the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bosun went on to claim that the party was a local version of the Brotherhood of Islam in Nigeria. He said “APC is a party to watch carefully…..to hand over power to a party that resembles, in all intent and purpose, the Islamic brotherhood” He later misinformed the audience that all the leaders of the party were Muslims. It is therefore ironic that during the election campaign, the Vice President of Nigeria, Namani Sambo warned northern voters against voting for the APC because it is a “Christian Party” who’s Vice Presidential candidate has over 5000 churches.
To further support his allegation that Nigeria is being Islamised, he informed the audience that “Sharia is mentioned in your constitution 73 times, Islam 28 times, grand kardi 53 times, Muslim 10 times – in the Nigerian 1999 constitution. There is no single mention of Christ… Christian… Christianity… Church in the Nigerian Constitution.” He however failed to also inform them that the Nigerian Constitution recognises three types of law practiced in Nigeria. For personal matters like marriage, divorce, custody of children and inheritance, it recognises the Customary Law to accommodate native or traditional practices. For a similar reason the Constitution recognises the Sharia Law to accommodate Islamic practices as relating to the same personal matters only. More importantly, he failed to inform them that the Constitution also recognises the Civil law not just on personal matters but on all matters and that its roots and origins are deeply entrenched in Christianity. The word Customary is actually mentioned 81 times in the constitution and the word Sharia is truly mentioned 78 times in the constitution. However, the word Civil is also mentioned 90 times in the constitution. In fact the Constitution of the United States of America, from which the Nigerian constitution was adapted, was first written by men who were strongly influenced by their Christian faith. Similarly, the Magna Carta which formed the base of English Law, from which the Nigerian Civil Law was adapted, was drafted by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1215. Going by Bosun’s strange logic, if the number of times a religion is mentioned in the constitution determines the religion of a nation, then we can safely say that Nigeria is a Christian state. Bosun claimed further that the problem with the constitution (“Nigeria”) is “dual ideology” and not corruption. It is obvious that this was an attempt to divert the attention of Nigerian Christians away from the fact that the incumbent Government (i.e the benefactor of his boss) is probably the most corrupt government Nigeria has ever had. Even the dead know that corruption is the biggest problem facing Nigeria today.
He then embarked on an unashamed and open campaign for Christians to vote only for President Goodluck Jonathan. He stated that “We now need to start creating political awareness among Christians because Christians don’t vote. We must change it and use our votes to quickly restructure the political imbalance in Nigeria” If Christians don’t vote, how did one candidate win 100 percent of the votes in the Christian South East during the 2011 presidential elections? This is obviously an attempt to deceive Nigerian Christians into voting only for a Christian president in the 2015 elections. This move was confirmed when he said that Christian voters should only vote for a Christian that is not a member of the APC.
Bosun undoubtedly has a penchant for using bogus figures to support his strange claims. He later claimed that the OIC had put in place a strategy to turn the whole of Africa into an Islamic continent, because Africa is the continent that has the largest population of Muslims in the world. Unsurprisingly, this statement is also not true. There are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and 1 (one) billion of them live in Asia not Africa. Furthermore, to support his allegation that there is an unholy agenda to Islamise all parts of Africa, he gave his audience the false impression that there was a connection between Boko Haram in Nigeria and Al Shabab in Kenya. “Once they islamise Nigeria, then there is no problem of Islamising Kenya. So when you hear of terrorist attacks in Kenya; that they attacked the mall in Kenya, it is not isolated from what Boko Haram is doing in Nigeria. It’s the same. Get the connection?” There is no known connection between the two organizations and their origins are completely different. Al shabab is a terror group operating in Somalia but it also launches attacks on Kenya and Uganda because the armies of these two nations are part of the African Union forces fighting against Al Shabab in Somalia. Boko Haram is merely a creation of Nigerian politicians for the purpose of expanding their political influence. It started as a religious sect of marabouts patronized by politicians. Other groups like the OPC was also started in the south west by politicians.
To justify the obvious failure of Goodluck Jonathan, as a leader, in the minds of his audience, Bosun tried to brainwash them by planting the heretic notion that the bad governance perpetrated by Goodluck Jonathan was the will of GOD for Nigerians. “You are the ones complaining that Jonathan is slow, Jonathan is not performing. Eeeh! You are using your mouth to say what God doesn’t want to hear. Jonathan is 100% successful. Intercessors asked, “Lord why did you give us this man? He doesn’t seem to know what he is doing.” And God says, “He’s not there to give you employment, he’s not there to restore your economy; the job – the destiny of Goodluck – is to rebuild the foundation of Nigeria” and Jonathan is 100% successful. The Bible states clearly in Proverbs 29:2 that….. but when the wicked rule the people mourn. The Lack of jobs and destruction of the economy are manifestations of wicked ruler. It can never be the will of GOD for the people of Nigeria because GOD does not do evil.
Bosun did into spare the South East either. He made an attempt at dragging the South East into his Islamisation conspiracy story by telling the following lies. “today, half of Abakaliki has converted to Islam. As of today, the largest Islamic study centre in Nigeria is in Ibo land, in Ebonyi State.” These statements are obviously not true because the number of Muslims (mostly rice traders) in Abakaliki is absolutely negligible. Abakaliki like most towns in the South East remains overwhelmingly a Christian town dominated by Catholics and Anglicans. Furthermore, the Islamic Study Centre at Afikpo in Ebonyi state is a primary and secondary school established by an Igbo man who converted to Islam while living in Senegal about six decades ago. With only 400 students today, it is certainly not a major Islamic centre nor one of the largest Islamic centres in Nigeria and it could never have been a part of any 1989 OIC Islamisation agenda because it was actually established in 1965.
While concluding, Bosun claimed that though Muslims will never allow their daughters to marry a Christian, they will come after the daughters of Christians. This statement is also very dishonest because there many Christian men that are married to women from the Muslim faith. An example are the parents of General Ike Nwachukwu, Nigeria’s former foreign affairs minister. His father was an Igbo man while his mother was the Fulani daughter of the late Emir of Katsina and older sister of General Hassan Katsina. Bear in mind that General Nwachukwu was born in 1941.
Without a doubt, this is certainly a demonic sermon but it is not surprising because the Bible foretold that the end times would be characterised by a spirit of deception aimed at drawing the people away from the Truth of GOD. The end times are here.
*Onabolu lives in Abuja