Condemn no one for asserting that some Nigerian pastors are nothing short of comedians and entertainers who will never fail to amuse. Among a whole lot of them who lay claim to God’s calling; it is only the Almighty who knows who He truly called. The handsome pastor and founder of Christ Embassy, Chris Oyakhilome is one man of God I cherish and respect so much. Those occupying his kind of position, we are admonished by the Holy Book to respect. I had in my spare time paused to watch, listen and read stories related to him, his ministry and the swag he applies in the propagation of the gospel. Christ Embassy strives to stand out among the gathering of churches. The man of God was among the first to deploy Bible-app-installed tablet for teaching and preaching the word. In some of his teachings I had watched, he left no one in doubt of his world and class as he brandishes the device while making his references and driving home his points. He has maintained his world of sophistication in the pulpit more than anyone I could think of.
People have areas of speciality in whatever calling or venture they undertake. When they speak, one beholds experience, tact and professionalism at play. However, the man of God had deliberately delved into a matter and discipline he could best be described as a novice or worse still an ignoramus. The issue of coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world is a very serious global threat. In one of his Sunday services trending online, the pastor gleefully attributed 5G Network to the global pandemic and named it Antichrist.
What is 5G? According to pulse.ng, ”5G, or Fifth Generation, is the latest wireless mobile phone technology, first widely deployed in 2019. 5G is expected to increase performance and a wide range of new applications, including strengthening e-Health (telemedicine, remote surveillance, telesurgery). It is an improvement on today’s 4GLTE technology, with enhanced capabilities. Mobile technology has essentially gone from 1G (voice calls) to 2.5G (when we began experimenting with data services), to 3G (the internet as we know it today grew from here), 3.5G (the birth of apps and all of that), to 4G (Cool and fast internet experience) and then 4GLTE (double data speed). With 5G, we are talking multiple times our current data speed. That will mean harnessing all the benefits of the three major radio frequency spectrums–low, mid and high–into one smooth spectrum. With 5G, your internet experience will be a lot faster and of course, the bandwidth is a lot more. Think of 5G as the kind of internet experience that will make you set up an office in Kano from Hawaii and monitor in real-time what staff are on about. Or consider 5G the kind of technology that will make you enjoy a game of football like you were live in the stadium. 5G will positively impact the world’s economies and change the way we live, do business and play.”
One has paused to ask where he got his facts and drew his inspiration from? Apart from conspiracy theory staple, the unverified claim by Dino Melaye of a warning call to him from Illuminati to perish the idea of demonising 5G and the epistles of Femi Fani Kayode dotting the online space linking COVID-19 blaming Satan and Illuminati too, there was no other world acceptable position backing such claim other than the fact that it is a disease. We are not living in the isolation of the world, therefore, our words and actions should be in harmony with the thinking of the world not at variance. The world needs practical solutions, not unhelpful hyperboles.
Experts have refuted claims linking 5G Network to the disease. So did the minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Isah Pantami. According to pulse.ng, Dr. Simon Clarke who is an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading, says claims that 5G can suppress one’s immune system and make them susceptible to the virus are untrue. He also says the idea that the virus can somehow be transmitted through 5G technology is “complete rubbish.” A medical issue novel to Nigeria and one which has brought the world down to its knees should not pass for headline-grabbing. A matter that has overwhelmed America, China and Europe is not one carved for semantics and idle talk. They have what it takes to contain the virus but are still unable to decipher the underlining causes. China in the wake of the pandemic built hospitals in ten days. A feat Nigeria cannot achieve in two years or more to be modest. They are yet to ascribe the disease to 5G Network. They are in world-class laboratories seeking answers to the scourge while the public is fed with cock and bull stories from the pulpit in Nigeria.
TB Joshua was also said to have prophesied the end of the disease on March 27. Contrary to his insinuation, the number of cases has dramatically increased. Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyin has joined the fray claiming the scourge will decline from April, 28 and disappear the way it came. These prophets and others like them could not warn of an imminent pandemic but have seen the end of it already. Most Nigerian pastors are avid attention, news headline seekers and grabbers. Logic requires a corresponding and valid premise to arrive at a valid conclusion.
The only solution at the disposal of the Nigeria state was the enforcement of lockdown which has been extended for two weeks in some states by the president. The early morning dose of SMS from Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) warning us to take responsibility, the much mouthed twenty thousand naira shared to non-existent one million vulnerable citizens, the ongoing sensitisation campaigns in the media and the ridiculous palliative measures handed down in form of packets of noodles to families confined at home for more than three weeks in some states. With over $55.7 million in a donation by the federal government, individuals and corporate bodies to combat COVID – 19, does it mean that we cannot distribute 200 million bags of rice, beans, oil, noodles, spaghetti etc each and jointly to every Nigerians as palliatives? Cant we do better and be ranked exceptional for once?
The church is a house built on a hill. Pastors should concentrate on identifying the least of Christ’s brothers in their churches and provide enough for them to eat and drink. That was the admonition. They should be purveyors of the messages of hope. They should be good shepherds; build faith and confidence not create fear. Engage in visible humanitarian action. Giving back to the society and those members who over the years have been ‘tithers’ and seed sowers.
The church has been deliberately exposed to public odium by some greedy pastors who shamelessly direct members to pay for their tithes online at this critical period. This is nothing short of greed and avarice. With the high number of churches dotting every nook and crannies of Nigeria, one had expected her to take the lead of being at least their members and community keepers. Only a few have risen to this challenge compared to the number. What stops the churches in Nigeria from distributing foods like tracks and programme handbills? What stops churches from investing in world-class health care facilities?
The emergence of this affliction of our time whether it is natural or man-made is a global lesson for all nations. First, to African leaders: it is a shame to have failed over the years to develop the critical sectors of the economy especially the health sector to the extent that begging for medical assistance has become the norm. Two, Chinese diplomatic lies and pretension is a threat to world order and international relations. Three, being a developed nation or a world power does not give immediate answers to a societal problem. COVID – 19 does not discriminate. It is no respecter of sex, class, creed or nations. Four, the world is united for once in chasing out the enemy as the life of everyone counts, at least for now.
God has been faithful to Nigeria in this moment of global tribulation. Despite the dearth or non-existence of essential drugs and improved basic health facilities, the number of deaths recorded was minimal compared to what was obtainable elsewhere. It is only God who could do this; not government, pastors or even doctors. This one like SARS and Ebola will soon come to pass. Believe in God, adhere strictly to the recommended measures to prevent transmission. Maintain physical distancing, good personal hygiene and staying at home. Stay safe Nigerians!
Sunday Onyemaechi Eze, a media and communication specialist is the publisher: thenewinsightng.blogspot.com. He writes via sunnyeze02 @yahoo.com and could be reached on 08060901201