MY REPORT FROM THE REDEMPTION CAMP.
I visited the Redemption Camp during the last Holy Ghost Convention...the programme lasted 6 whole days. People, in their millions passed the nights on benches confronting the biting harmattan cold in the vast open Auditorium! They queued to urinate, to defaecate and bathe. They hold Pastor Adeboye in uncommon reverence and awe. But my consternation commenced with the undisguised commercialization of the event. I was not enraged by the fact that attendees had to pay to piss, to shit and to bathe....N10 for pissing, N20 for shitting and N20 for bathing. I rationalized that as revenue to maintain the facilities....ignoring the arithmetical summation of monies accruable from that venture alone. 3 baths, 10 pisses, and 5 shits per person on the average would come to N260 per head during the course of this crusade. Let's call that N250 for easy calculation. Aggregately, the programme was attended by at least 10 million people. 250x10=2500...i.e. N2.5 Billion revenue from toilet and bathroom use!. A lot was equally made from offerings and pledges. I must not forget the rents accruable from the stalls and the shops....N50,000 per shop or stall per week. And there were hundreds...if not thousands of shops. I reasoned that the church would have raked in at least N5 Billion in total...excluding special donations! The shopkeepers were too eager to pass on the inflated rents to the poor congregants! Prices of goods were infltated to recoup investments! So, you would appreciate my anger when I saw an Environmental Task Force bearing semblance in both crudity and brutishness to govt ones....swoop on traders to raid them....depriving them of both capital and expected profits! You see, my grouse with our churches had been the absence of any attempt to allow their huge resources to trickle down to their church members....even if the latter are not spoon-fed....e.g. set up agric plantations to provide employment. There are other examples. But this! So, the church would rather ask the squalidly-poor to squeeze themselves tighter and donate more to God! One Pastor even mandated any attendee that had no money to donate "to ask the fellow beside him, and if such other person refused or was unable to help, he should go on to beg the next person.....and then the next....and the next....until someone acceded to his pleas! You see the church is well positioned to influence the politicians positively and achieve a redistribution of the nation's wealth but Olusesan Ekisola's words are crystal clear on their minset as he addresses Pastors Adeboye and Kumuyi : "I'm troubled by your deafening silence and inaction to the subjugation, repression, oppression, exploitation, injustice, and impoverishment of the poor by the greedy and corrupt ruling class. I realize that siding with the poor against your friends in government may not be most politically correct thing for you to do. But your inaction is coming at the cost of our God-given freedom and the pursuit of happiness". To say The Redeemed Christian Church of God is monstrous in size is an understatement....with Parishes in almost all cities and towns and villages and hamlets accross the globe! The resources under its control are no less humongus! Jesus Christ, then later his Apostles did not neglect or ignore the politics of his....or their times. Neither did the early churches. It was in the news that Obasanjo wrote off N20 Billion customs duty charged on the steel beams et al used in constructing the huge Auditorium on the Camp Grounds. The church leadership must not fail to speak up and call our corrupt leaders to order for the sakes of such favours....thus neglecting the financial wellbeing of their members! The members are determined to stay sinless....but as sure as day.....the stiffling economic situation would compel them to return to status quo. They would continue to cheat....to steal....to extort....to bear false witness....to tell lies!
Mr Ekisola might as well have been putting his cherished saliva to waste for not less than 50 Nigerian Pastors fall within the billionnaire bracket....with most owning luxury private jets....bought with the hard-earned pennies of their hapless flock! And with 5 of these inglorious pastors validly counted among the world's 10 richest, our pastors are really taking their congregants for a ride!
The Inglorious 5:
1. David Oyedepo.
2. Enoch Adeboye.
3. Chris Oyakhilome.
4. T.B. Joshua.
5. Matthew Ashimolowo.
Dr Tosin Akindele is a Lagos-based Medical Practitioner, a former Secretary of AGPMPN Ikorodu zone, a former Secretary of the Quackery Committee of AGPMPN Lagos State Branch, founder of Analytical Minds, a good health advocate and social critic.