By Eric Elezuo
Everyone that attended the press conference called by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Tuesday, or even read the reported version, will practically hold their heads in amazement in addition to opening their mouths wide in utter disbelieve. The questions that kept dropping from the unopened lips of news merchants and every one around was ‘is truly a christian body or a branch of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The first salvo of non-comprehensive discourse was released when the Chairman of CAN in Lagos State, Apostle Alexander Bamgbola, announced that the sacking of Taiwo was done by the Governing Council of the chapel which hired him, adding that the council had the power to fire him thereby endorsing the sack of the Venerable Femi Taiwo, the Chaplain of the Chapel of Christ the Light, Alausa, Ikeja.
Apostle Bamgbola absolved the First Lady, the prime actor in the crisis of any misdeed even as the leader of the African Church, Rt. Rev. Michael Adeyemi, had categorically condemned Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, the Lagos State government and the actions against Ven Taiwo in an interview with the Punch. He said:
“In particular is the accusation against our responsible and most revered First Lady, Deaconess Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, as being instrumental in the termination of the chaplain in the course of one anointing service.
“We wish to state clearly that this is far from the truth. Deaconess Mrs. Bolanle Ambode, as far as we know, is a true woman of God, who fears God and lives a godly life and whom it has pleased God to raise to be the First Lady at this time. We must be careful with God in all we do. The Bible says in Matthew 7:1, ‘Judge not, so that you are not judged.’”
His speech got everyone confused.
It will recalled that Mrs. Ambode had stormed out of an anointing service session in anger over ‘disrespect’ from the the Presiding Chaplain, who was said not to have recognised her at the service as a dignitary. The action was followed up with a sack and banishment from official quarters of Femi Taiwo.
In a follow up investigation, the leader of the African Church, Rev. Adeyemi earlier told the Punch in an interview that Mrs. Ambode was culpable and must recall Taiwo as well apologise to the church and CAN, only to make a u-turn to praise the said woman and condemn the Chaplain a few days after.
What must have happened between May 14 and May 30 when the incident occurred and the press briefing granted. Nigerians have held the opinion that a lot of muscling has taken place, not disregarding the fact that cash may also have changed hands.
A catholic worshipper, who gave his name as simply as Kenneth, told the boss that the situation has become laughable, calling it the ‘normal Nigerian government magic’.
“It is a laughable situation. How can a church come down this low. What investigation did they conduct to come out with this disgraceful outcome. Well, I see it as the usual government magic of the more you look the less you see,” he said.
Yet another christian who worships with one of the Pentecostal denominations accused the christian body of complicity, saying it is unfortunate for them to eat the own for political reasons and a few cash.
“I still have refused to believe that our christian could play politics with the affairs of the church. In the first instance, they condemned the act, only to turn around to sing another tune. It’s very unfortunate,” the man who refused to give his name said, adding, “why do you think the Muslims are busy massacring Christians, and nothing is being done?”
When Adeyemi was accused of a u-turn however, he vehemently denied it, saying there was no such thing as u-turn.
“Gentleman, there is nothing like a U-turn in this matter. I have said that everything is already transferred to CAN and we are very much satisfied with the way things are going. We are under CAN and we are subject to them. CAN is saying they are working on it. Why are we in a hurry? So, it is still in a process. Let us wait until the process is completed, even if it will take one year. Let us wait,” Adeyemi defended.
Nigerians, especially Lagos residents and the christian community, are still to come to terms with what is presently becoming a scandal against the church, even as some hinted that this singular act has placed a huge dent on the supposed achievements of the Ambode administration.
One Lagos resident puts it succintly, “Even men of God are humans and fallible. I know a lot of cash has changed hands. God dey sha!”