When Pastor Adeboye took the stage

Sunday June 23 2019

Alan Tacca

Alan Tacca  

By Alan Tacca

Even if you are no smarter than an unwashed sheep following the cows, you will see something called ‘Me First’ about our Pentecostal preachers, which makes their brand of theatre both pathetic and comical.
Watching their power game is sometimes more intriguing than watching the politicians.
For instance, when it was announced that the wealthy Nigerian overseer of the Redeemed Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, would visit Uganda at the invitation of the First Lady, Ms Janet Museveni, and that some prominent local preachers had been (kind of) commandeered to help in the preparations, there was a lot of sulking and grumbling.

Why? Well, because the tenants of State House had never rallied the local pastors for their own good, only to push them around now to glorify a foreigner.
They had a point. And they didn’t.
Since they had been tearing each other apart and behaving in weird ways, the tenants of State House could have used their clout to reconcile them.

But then these men and women are not school-room rogues. Moreover, God talks to them virtually every day, as they claim. If, with God’s guidance, they cannot form a decent working relationship, what magic did the Musevenis have, when they had their own demons to deal with?
Then again, before our pastors got big enough audiences, mastered the art and overcame the embarrassment of bleeding them to pay for their extravagant life-styles, they, too, habitually paraded renowned foreign preachers to boost their gatherings; something many still do.
Also, traditionally, witchdoctors from distant Zanzibar or Tanzania were thought to have more power than the local ones.
But once the Adeboye preparations were underway, jostling for second fiddle had its humorous aspects.

That is, after Adeboye was grudgingly accepted, which local preacher would shine as the most distinguished among the disgruntled?
Adeboye had only performed at Kololo Ceremonial Grounds and at State House. His wife, also a pastor, had met some women at Serena Hotel.

Nigerian overseer of the Redeemed Church of
Nigerian overseer of the Redeemed Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye

But on the last day of his six-day visit, Adeboye did a Sunday morning service in Namuwongo at the Redeemed Christian of God Uganda Church (which you pronounce like you are swallowing a kola nut), a branch of the multinational church he oversees.
That Sunday afternoon, he was at Pastor Patience Rwabogo’s Covenant of Nations Church in Luzira, ending his visit.
It was not that the other Pentecostal churches were a plague, but the chief at Covenant of Nations is President Museveni’s daughter, and it was she who had received Adeboye at the airport. The anointed sometimes dance to earthly protocol.


Being a family man, Mr Museveni also entered Adeboye’s goings-on.
Asked what Nigeria should do about the Boko Haram terrorists, Adeboye replied that only divine intervention, through prayers, was needed, because the terrorists were convinced they were doing the right thing. (New Vision, June 17.)
Museveni’s response was not reported. But if I was the President, undisputed Bush War Sabalwanyi, conqueror of Joseph Kony, statesman and pan-Africanist of anti-al Shabaab fame, I would stare at this ex-mathematician and ex-hydrodynamics expert; I would smile, not argue, knowing that he is unredeemable.

I would just ponder: Pray? You are not a serious man. Is there a nation that has prayed more than Nigeria since Boko Haram surfaced?
Even as a prophet, you bring little respect to your pet name-sake. To the original Elijah, it was not enough to pray and show off his fiery wizardry. Those who preached beliefs contrary to his own had to be physically exterminated.

Mr Tacca is a novelist, socio-political commentator.