Oritsejafor and the spirit of Judas

In an interview with the Vanguard newspaper, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor spoke mournfully of the spirit of Judas as a factor in church destabilisation and division. That spirit, which he reiterates does not die, predisposes its host to betrayal and suicide, and is clearly evident in the church in Nigeria. He also groaned about the contempt Christians have for one another in these parts, especially for their leaders in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), and for him in particular. If an advertisement excoriating the Sultan of Sokoto were sent out to newspapers, he hypothesized, they would decline to publish it. Conversely, sneered Pastor Oritsejafor, if an advertisement lampooning the CAN leader were given to newspapers, most of which are owned by Christians, they would enthusiastically oblige publication on prominent pages. “We betray each other; we compete with one another; we will do anything to destroy each other; we are so individualistic in our thinking,” he wailed.

To illustrate very vividly how badly division among Christians has retarded church growth, Pastor Oritsejafor drew upon the lessons of history to justify his sweeping conclusions. Virtually the entire North Africa was at one time Christian, he reminded everyone. And Turkey, which is now essentially Muslim, was so Christian before Ottoman rule that the seven churches to which Jesus Christ addressed his seven letters were located in that geographic space. And Tarsus, famously Pauline, was also located in Turkey, not to talk of one of, if not the most, adorable and magnificent architectural pieces of those times built in Constantinople. Pastor Oritsejafor amply proved his point. Church division is doubtless a factor in the slowing of church expansion and growth, and few can question the CAN leader’s bona fides, nor his absolute commitment to the work of Christ.

The problem, however, is how conveniently he blames others while exculpating himself. He is right to identify division in the church, much of it needless and wasteful; and he is even righter to remark how easily and heedlessly Christians take one another to court, even before non-Christian judges, though the scriptures say they will judge the world. Few can question Pastor Oritsejafor’s exegesis, let alone his breathtaking familiarity with church history. But can the CAN president realistically exonerate himself from the morass that has overtaken the church specifically under his watch? Is it true that the media is needlessly harsher on him than it is on others, including the Sultan of Sokoto? Is the problem just a matter of petty division, acrimony and rivalry?

It does appear, however, that whatever divisions plagued the church were nothing out of the ordinary until the CAN presidency of Pastor Oritsejafor turned them into a spectre. There were divisions in the early church, but these did not bar the spread of the gospel, as the Book of Acts illustrated clearly, and Apostle Paul himself alluded to in some of his epistles. In those days, there were exegetical differences and methodological disagreements. Despite these abutments, the church expanded and flourished until, in particular, the Middle Ages, when complacency, doctrinal corruption, yoking with the state, and other distractions lured Christians into idolatry and bigotry. In like manner, what ails the church in Nigeria today is probably less the matter of division as it is evidently the Christian leaders’ quest for identification with the state and immersion in the pleasures and wealth of the times.

Let Pastor Oritsejafor carry out intense self-examination before he points fingers of guilt at other Christians. It is true division exists in the church, but there is no human organisation, not to talk of the highly subjective and emotive world of religion, where that problem does not fester. The unity the CAN leader craves is utopian. It is not evident among the hosts of heaven, and it will not be evident on earth until the end of days. The division Pastor Oritsejafor observes does not militate against church growth as much as the loss of focus of church leaders obliterates Christian influence in parts of the world, as the CAN leader himself observed of the Maghreb and Turkey. The early church grew despite apostasy, horrifying spectacles of persecution, and extreme deprivation. If the modern church is not growing in Nigeria as Pastor Oritsejafor hopes, he should locate the problem elsewhere. It is certainly not because those he expects to respect him and unite around his leadership instead fear the Sultan of Sokoto.

The CAN leader should ask himself what he did to advance the Christian principles and values he and other leaders like himself inherited from the early church. He should ask himself whether his closeness to the former president, Goodluck Jonathan, helped to preserve and advance the cause of the gospel both of them claim to be enamoured of, or whether that closeness did in fact constitute a hindrance and a drawback to promoting Christ in Nigeria. He must ask himself whether the controversies that swirled around him, including the commercialisation of his private/missionary jet, portrayed him and the gospel well. Reading the interview closely, it seemed more the remonstrances of a pastor needled by guilt, of a pastor unwilling to admit he should have done things differently, of a pastor who though brilliant and committed to the gospel nonetheless can’t bring himself to admit he did any wrong. His exculpation will, however, not be complete until he admits that his relationship with the former president went beyond the finest ideals enunciated by the early church.






1. APC Raises 15 Questions For Jonathan Over Seized $9.3m Cash For Arms Purchase

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to come clean on the circumstances surrounding the 9.3 million US dollars that was impounded in South Africa, which has become the latest in a series of global ridicule to which the scandal-prone Jonathan administration has subjected Nigeria and her people.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party also called on the National Assembly to launch an urgent investigation into the issue, saying the silence of the peoples’ representatives on the issue is deafening, unfathomable and unacceptable.

It said there is no doubt that the President is at the centre of the whole issue, considering the presidential treatment given to the plane and its cargo, since the plane departed from the Presidential wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja, away from the reach of the Nigerian Customs Service which could not therefore have cleared the plane and its passengers.

”It is absolutely urgent for President Jonathan to clear the air on this alleged off-the-shelf equipment or arms purchase, which runs against all known protocol for such purchases anywhere in the world. Military equipment and weapons are not bean cakes to be purchased by the road side. There are globally-acceptable protocols for such purchases by governments, otherwise what differentiates a government from an insurgent group that is shopping for arms?

Questions for the President:

”Is the Jonathan Administration not aware that the UN General Assembly on April 2nd 2013 adopted a landmark Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) precisely to regulate the international trade in conventional weapons by avoiding the kind of road-side purchase that the Nigerian government is said to have been involved in? Though the ATT has not come into effect, the fact that Nigeria is among the few countries to have signed and ratified the treaty shows that the country is concerned by unregulated arms trade,’’ the APC said.

The party said the resort to ”procedural error” to explain away the whole issue cannot work, because Nigerian authorities cannot pretend not to be aware that currency brought into or taken from South Africa is monitored by law, and that anyone bringing into that country more than R25,000 in South African currency or U$10,000 or the equivalent thereof in foreign currency must declared such.

It said that in any case, those who are using ”procedural error” as an alibi are being too clever by half. This is because if entering or leaving a country with undeclared $9.3 million is mere ”procedural error”, why was Sule Lamido’s son convicted for not declaring a mere $50,000 dollars at the Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport?

The APC said in the spirit of fairness, it has however decided to give President Jonathan and the government he heads the opportunity to make urgently-needed clarifications by answering a number of questions relating to the $9.3 million scandal.

“Is the money indeed meant to purchase a helicopter as has been reported?
“To which arm of the government or security force does the money belong?
“Who appropriated it and for what purpose?
“Why was the money being ferried in cash by the same government that has been spending huge time and money to promote a cashless policy? Is the resort to cash to avoid a paper trail for the transaction, in which case it is illegal?
”Mr. President, we are aware that each arm of security has an account with the CBN for the purpose of arms purchase and such transactions are properly documented, so why was this not the case in this instance?
“Mr. President, why did it take your government all of 10 days to admit its involvement in this scandal, considering that the embarrassing incident happened since Sept. 5th and was not known until Sept. 15th?
9. “Does this saga not give credence to the widely held view that you are indeed benefitting from the the Boko Haram insurgency and that you have deliberately allowed it to escalate to this level?
”Mr. President, has this saga not confirmed the suspicion that your 2015 reelection bid has been factored into your handling of the Boko Haram insurgency?
11. “Has this saga not given more credence to revelations that the sponsors of Boko Haram are those closest to the President?
12. Has this saga not finally confirmed that the President knows more than he is telling the nation about the sudden escalation of the Boko Haram insurgency, especially in the run up to the 2015 elections?
”Mr. President, has this saga not confirmed that powerful forces in your administration are all working in concert to use the Boko Haram insurgency to secure tenure extension for President Jonathan?
14. “Is not clear now why the Senate President infamously declared two days ago that election is not on the table since the country is in a state of war?
15. “Have we not been proven right in our declaration at the panel discussion in the British House of Commons on Sept. 8th 2014 that the Jonathan administration will attempt to cash in on the Boko Haram insurgency to postpone elections?”

jonaThe party said the answers to the questions raised would go a long way in showing Nigerians that their government is not clandestinely buying equipment and weapons to fuel the Boko Haram insurgency and then profit from its own act of perfidy.

It said while the President is compiling his answers to the posers, he should ask his spokespersons to stop adding insult to injury by saying the CIA, FBI, Mossad etc also travel abroad with undeclared cash, in clear violation of the laws of their destination countries, to buy arms.

”Mr President only gangsters and terrorists conduct their businesses in this manner. Therefore, please call your spokespersons to order, while you are preparing to come clean to Nigerians on this latest scandal,” APC said.


Read more: http://newsrescue.com/apc-raises-15-questions-jonathan-seized-9-3m-cash-arms-purchase/#ixzz3DiJK3Og9

 2.Racket: The Cock-And-Bull Story Of The FG Over The Smuggled $9.3million Cash – Festus Keyamo

Where is your credibility?

I have just read, with some amusement, the position of the Federal Government regarding the cash totaling $9.3million that was seized by the South African authorities as an attempt was made to smuggle it into that country. From my little understanding, the Federal Government’s position can be summarised as follows:

1. That it is aware of the movement of such large sum of money by cash out of the country.
2. That the cash is meant for the purchase of arms to fight insurgency.
3. That the transaction was done by cash to ensure the speed of the transaction.
4. That it resorted to buy from South Africa because of procedural bottlenecks in the purchase of such items from western countries.

The above position of the Federal Government is not only ludicrous, it is laughable, untenable and a story only fit to be told to the marines. The following rhetoric posers are germane to
this issue:

1. Is it really faster and safer to do an international transaction of such magnitude by ferrying cash across the continent or by a simple wire transfer that can go through in a matter of few minutes or few hours?

2. If, indeed, the matter involves security issues like the purchase of arms by a foreign government like Nigeria, why was the South African Government not brought into the picture beforehand? How could the South African Government be sure that the arms were purchased legitimately by the Nigerian government and not by insurgents if they were not officially informed beforehand?

3. If indeed the manufacturer(s) of such equipment was/were expecting such large amount by cash, why did they not make adequate arrangements with the authorities in South Africa to declare and clear the cash on arrival?

4. Why was money belonging to the Federal Government and meant for purchase of equipment for the Federal Government moved by a private jet and by private individuals and why were they not accompanied by the officials of the Department of State Services or the office of the National Security Adviser in official capacities?

5. Why would a government that is at the peak of promoting the cashless policy in our economy be the chief breaker of that policy by moving such a large amount by cash?

6. If, indeed, it was a legitimate transaction of the Federal Government, why were the officials of our embassy in South Africa not on hand to make the entry easier and smoother?

7. Since the South African Government has said the amount is above the limit of cash allowed into that country, why would a whole government like Nigeria not know the simple immigration laws of a sister and friendly country before allowing that type of amount of cash to be taken to that country?

8. Why would the Nigerian government seek to smuggle cash into a country without disclosure if it was, indeed, for a legitimate transaction?

9. From where did the Federal Government source that amount in Nigeria? Was it from the Central Bank of Nigeria or from the black market? Nigerians demand answers to this with proof.

10. Is it just a wicked coincidence that it is the aircraft belonging to a personal friend and unapologetic ally of the President in the person of Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor (my big brother in Warri), that was used to smuggle the cash?

11. If, contrary to the above posers, the transaction was contracted out to a private company in Nigeria, does it not amount to the offence of Money Laundering under our laws for the Federal
Government to have allowed that company to attempt to pay for the equipment by cash to the tune of that amount without passing through a financial institution?

12. NewsRescue- Why did Nigeria employ an Israeli to make purchases in South Africa? Why could Nigerian agents or businessmen not handle this simple purchase from South Africa, not Israel, if legitimate?]

The truth is, any transaction the world over that is done by cash, in a huge volume like this and
in this manner can only point to one thing: It is an illegal transaction or a transaction for an illegal purpose that is meant to be untraceable. This was a covert, illegal operation that went horribly wrong. The position of the Federal Government is a cock-and-bull story meant to be shoved down the throat of Nigerians, but some of us are not fools.

The hard fact we must all accept now is that billions of our hard-earned monies are being smuggled out of the country on a regular basis under the guise of security matters and with the
active connivance of security agencies. Little wonder, then, that the insurgency, rather than waning, is gathering momentum because certain persons, somewhere, are feeding fat on the situation whilst innocent lives and limbs are being wasted.

May God help us all.

Thank you.


Read more: http://newsrescue.com/cock-bull-story-fg-smuggled-9-3million-cash-festus-keyamo/#ixzz3DiHqkPM3

 3.Oritsejafor And Company: Tainted And Jittery – Nasir El-rufai

When light unexpectedly shines on murkiness, those exposed by the stinging rays often berate the light rather than regret the muck. That is the plight of Ayo Oritsejafor whose private jet was identified as the vessel impounded by the South African authorities for ferrying $9.3m cash into their country. A statement from Eagle Air admitted Oritsejafor’s interests in the aircraft, but said it leased the plane to Green Coast which in turn acknowledged hiring the plane out for the trip to South Africa.

Unable to shake off his connection to the plane, Oritsejafor has resorted to abuse and vilification. Were he more reflective, he would be pondering how, of all the private jets available in Nigeria, it was his that came to be involved in a covert arms purchase scandal. Would he have managed any objectivity if the plane involved happened to belong to a prominent person of another faith or political persuasion?

Since abuse is not argument and is incapable of displacing fact, Oritsejafor may care to answer if the jet involved in the scandal is the same one that was “donated” to him in 2012? Did he register it as a commercial aircraft or is the plane illegally moonlighting as one? Has he ever reflected on the impropriety of mixing his religious role with politics? Having strayed into politics, and an irresponsible variant at that, can he expect the veneration enjoyed by his predecessors such as Cardinals Olubunmi Okogie and John Onaiyekan? Why is he the first CAN leader to provoke pitiful mirth and amusement when he is not being derided as a tragedy, a sort of Ichabod, desperate to separate glory from a revered body? Amidst his jitters, Oritsejafor must look beyond the bling to ask himself if it was any of the individuals he abused yesterday that asked him to make his aircraft available for monkey business, or get himself involved in the politics of division.

It is pertinent that we invite the Federal Government to reflect on its role in this episode. Our country needs to bolster its military and security forces with the material resources they need to defeat insurgency and restore security to every inch of its territory. This would require arms imports. But should Nigeria violate the arms export regulations of other countries in this endeavour? Should the FG recklessly impair and jeopardise diplomatic relations by conducting covert arms purchases in friendly countries without the consent of their governments? Such conduct invariably leads to suspicions that such covert arms procurement may not be for purposes of national security.

This instance of arms procurement outside official channels amidst an escalating insurgency must concern every patriot. In his House of Commons statement last week, Mallam El Rufai had alluded to the clear implications of the likely link between governmental murkiness and the escalation in the insurgency. The government has long tried to explain away its incompetence in upholding security by blaming insurgency on the major opposition party. But it is becoming increasingly clear to many that this insurgency is benefitting the ruling party and the incumbent president by providing them a pretext to postpone elections and, at the minimum, disenfranchise large swathes of the population that have never supported the PDP or voted for Jonathan.

Mallam Nasir El Rufai urges every Nigerian to be vigilant in these troubled times. The tragedy of mindless terror should not be allowed to become an endless catastrophe because of narrow political calculations.