A new book on former President Muhammadu Buhari reveals how renowned pastors zealously campaigned and prayed for him to lose the 2015 election, then moved on to pray against him and his government after he won the election and took office as Nigeria’s president.
The book, published by Buhari’s former Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, exposes the hordes of venomous rhetoric and hate campaigns planned by men of God against Buhari and his government from the moment he expressed an interest in winning the election.
The book describes how former President Goodluck Jonathan opened the floodgates of church mobilization against Buhari by visiting and speaking in numerous churches ahead of the 2015 election in order to win against Buhari, thereby setting the tone for many pastors to exploit and criticize Buhari.
“Before the 2015 presidential poll, the then President Jonathan went church-hopping. He visited most major congregations, secretly campaigning for votes and generating hatred for the APC candidate. In fact, there is one Pastor Emmanuel who recorded a widely circulated audio tape, describing the APC as a Muslim/Jihadist party, and its candidate a precursor of the anti-Christ. Horrendous!” the writer notes.
“Buhari still won the election, but a disgruntled army had been mobilised against him. Another mass of Armageddon. Prejudiced preachers and congregations with scant knowledge of the word of God. They just follow their leaders unquestioningly, not like the Bereans Christians as mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles in Chapter 17.
“A good number of preachers displayed blatant hostility against the Buhari government. Even when they went prophetic, and hit the crossbar, they still continued to parade themselves as somebody, instead of suiting in sackcloth and ashes.
“Bishop… had arrayed himself against Buhari before the election. Indeed, he was on tape as instructing members to kill any Fulani they saw near the church. Jesus sure wouldn’t say that, would He?
“There is a story, on good authority, of a meeting convened of top Christian leaders by Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye at the Redeemed Christian Church of God Campground, off Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. It was shortly before the 2015 presidential poll.
“A renowned pastor at the meeting told me that Pastor Adeboye asked the preachers if any of them had a word from God on the forthcoming election. Bishop O… was said to have stood up, and pontifically declared that God told him President Goodluck Jonathan would win. Another pastor was said to have indicated support for the then President Jonathan, as government was going to do bid rounds for oil blocs soon, and he needed one for works of the kingdom. Fine. The election held, and you know the rest of the story. The pro-Jonathan pastors never forgave Buhari and the APC.
“Many times, one of the most prominent pastors reportedly cursed President Buhari and his government. In fact, there was a time in the first term that he declared Buhari’s time as over, that God had rejected him.
“The President not only won re-election in 2019, he also completed his second term. So much was the top pastor’s antipathy toward Buhari, that he publicly identified with former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the PDP in the 2019 election. He forgot that Atiku was also Fulani, the breed he had asked his members to lynch, if they saw any near the church. Of course, Buhari trounced them all together.
“In June 2022, he declared the Buhari government as the most wicked and corrupt in the history of the country. Without any shred of evidence. In the process, he mixed up his facts. Months earlier, he had proclaimed seven days of fasting and prayers for the fall of Buhari, in which had been joined by two of his acolytes of Dunamis Church and Salvation Ministries. They failed because God was not in the enterprise.
“In August 2020 Bishop O had publicly rained curses on the president of his own country. He said judgment was closer than ever. None of malediction came to pass. In December 2018 Bishop O deeply embarrassed himself, when he said the Buhari that returned to the country after the health challenge of 2017 was a clone. He didn’t understand satire, and was gleefully reading a piece done by Dr. Olatunji Dare in The Nation Newspaper.
“He did not know that the piece was a caricature of those who had sold the story of Jubril of Sudan, as the man occupying Aso Rock Villa. In April 2018, he said God was angry with Buhari, and that his days were numbered. But the Almighty smiled at the man till he handed over power on May 29, 2023”.
Adesina, who is a member of the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria, also recalls how he temporarily left the church when the Abuja Pastor of the church started using the pulpit to attempt to denigrate Buhari and his administration.
The former presidential spokesman said: “I am a member of the Foursquare Church in Nigeria, and I have been since I got converted in 1988. When I went to work in Abuja in 2015, I began to worship at the Asokoro branch of the church, pastored by Rev. Babajide Olowodola. A retired very senior civil servant, Olowodola is a good preacher and pastor. But at a stage, he began to exhibit some messianic tendencies, in which he believed he would pull down President Buhari single-handedly.
“Week after week, I heard snide remarks he made against the president from the pulpit. He would threateningly ask people to get their permanent voter cards against 2019, and vote out the incompetent government. I did not let it bother me initially.
“Matters however came to a head in 2018, when Boko Haram abducted the Dapchi girls. I was in church on Sunday, and there was no name the pastor did not call the president. He even went into the fallacy of saying more people had been killed in the country since 2015, than what we lost during the Civil War. Recall that Nigeria lost between two and three million souls during that fratricidal war. He went on and, on that Sunday, but I kept my peace.
“As it turned out, the Dapchi girls were recovered within the week, save for Leah Sharibu, and a few others. So, the next Sunday, I went to church, waiting to hear what Rev. Olowodola would say. Not a word! Not even by accident! He did not mention the positive development, thus showing him as unfair and prejudiced. After the service, I picked my Bible, went home and never returned to the church.
“Some elements in the church made the going very tough for President Buhari in eight years. There are remnants of pastors who stayed true to their callings, not joining the mob. One of such is Rev. Chris Okotie of the Household of God Church and Pastor Williamson Folorunsho Kumuyi, General Overseer of the Deeper Life Bible Church”.
Adesina further wrote in Chapter Six of the 488-page-book that is bound to throw up many controversies and challenges from those named in various facets of the Buhari government: “Those of us who were Christians in the Buhari administration were demonized, ostracized and considered enemies of the faith, simply because we were working with a Muslim Fulani. But they miss it. In Nigeria, there is no way Christians would wish Muslims away and vice versa”.