Nigerians have severely criticised the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, for comparing President Goodluck Jonathan with Jesus Christ.
Speaking during a live breakfast show on Channels Television on Monday, the presidential aide said Jonathan had borne the nation’s problems and woes on his shoulders in the same way that Jesus Christ had always carried the burden of Christians all over the world.
Gesticulating widely during the programme, Okupe stated that, with regard to the Nigerian situation, Jonathan could best be likened to Jesus Christ.
Noting that Nigerians had failed to understand the troubles the President had gone through for the sake of “everybody” in the country, he said, “There are political issues. People do not understand the burden this particular President is bearing. He is like Jesus Christ. He (Jonathan) is bearing the burden of everybody.”
In view of Jonathan’s “untold burden” for the nation, Okupe said, it would be impossible for his principal to lose re-election in 2015.
The presidential aide boasted that though certain politicians had been allegedly sabotaging the Federal Government’s reforms, especially in the power sector, victory was still certain for his principal.
“Today, the Nigerian Army is in total and perfect control of the North East. I can’t see Jonathan losing this (2015) election. It’s not possible,” he added.
Reacting to his comments, many Nigerians lambasted Okupe for comparing Jonathan to Jesus Christ and asked him to withdraw the statement.
Online activists who took a swipe at Okupe urged Jonathan to publicly reject the title of “Nigeria’s Jesus Christ” which they said Okupe erroneously bestowed on him.
An angry online activist, Tayo Moore, accused Okupe of insulting Jesus Christ by comparing Him with his boss.
Noting that the development was sacrilegious, Moore advised Okupe not to hold the belief that he could “insult” Jesus Christ and go scot free.
“Okupe has just confirmed that he doesn’t know or have Christ. It is only a matter of time before he (Okupe) begins to compare Prophet Mohammed and Jonathan in the same breath.
“That will be his final undoing. I am wondering what the Christian Association of Nigeria has to say on Okupe’s sacrilege, given its current ‘leadership’ or should I say lack thereof?” Moore argued via his Twitter handle.
A Kano-based respondent, Nazir Galadanchi, cautioned the medical doctor-turned politician against uttering what he described as a blasphemous statement.
Galandanchi argued that Okupe’s latest analogy was not surprising as he had recently compared his boss with the late anti-Apartheid leader, Nelson Mandela, with a view to selling the President’s candidature to Nigerians.
“That’s blasphemy. Okupe should please seek for forgiveness,” he added in a message on Twitter.
Political blogger, Japheth Omojuwa, described Okupe’s latest comparison as the height of “desperation” of the Jonathan-led Presidency.
“Doyin Okupe just called Goodluck Jonathan Nigeria’s Jesus Christ. We have finally reached the peak of their desperation. How can you trust a bad marketer to sell a bad product? Okupe trying to sell Jonathan is the journey of a blind man leading another,” he tweeted.
Social commentator, Temitope Atiba, stated that it amounted to an oddity for Okupe to preoccupy himself with drawing semblances between the President and the central figure of Christianity.
“You can see the stark irony of life when Doyin Okupe begins to compare Goodluck Jonathan to our Lord Jesus Christ. Then again Goodluck Jonathan and Jesus Christ have little else in common apart from flesh and blood,” Atiba argued.
Describing Okupe’s comparison as strange, another respondent, Aisha Yesufu, said it was the “height of madness.”
“Is nothing sacred to these people? Is there nothing that one does not dabble in with these people? This is the height of madness,” she added.
She also cautioned Okupe against blaming Jonathan’s failures on activities of saboteurs, stating that “excuses are meant for weaklings.”
“There is not bad weather only bad clothing. Excuses are for weaklings. A government easily sabotaged should give way. We are sick of the excuses. They (excuses) are way out for weak leaders and sign of incapacity.
“All it (the Presidency) does is to complain. This government blames all but itself. As long as this govt blames others the solution can never be with it but with those it blames.
“Since this government cannot fight all those sabotaging it, then why is it a government? Probably, the saboteurs will keep sabotaging him (Jonathan) and we will keep paying for it,” she said.