Nigeria is a country where religion and superstition rules. One of the most significant phenomenons of the 20th century Nigeria is religion. There are perhaps over 10million churches in Nigeria, meaning that there is a church for at least everyone hundred Nigerian Christians grouped together. However, there are less than one percent of these churches there care about human rights and the economic and social upheavals that face their multitude. I stand to write here that the Synagogue Church of all Nations, (SCOAN) is one of the few churches that deeply care about the plight and misery of the largely poor people that throng our churches every day. I am not a member of the SCOAN, but I think I feel fulfilled, after being part of the team that was set up by the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) when the issue came up on what should be our stand following the collapse of a Guest House owned by SCOAN which also raises many human rights issues. It is on this not that I wish to express appreciation to Naija.Com for the article published by it on Pastor TB Joshua. At least, it gives us in the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC) the opportunity to air our opinion on preconceived prejudices of certain elements. The article was written by Mr Ebenezer Obadare. First, let me make it clear that the NHRC was established in 2003 and has notable allies like the first human rights organisation in Nigeria, the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), the Civil Liberties Organisation, (CLO), and the Nigerian Labour Congress, (NLC) amongst others. Mr Obadare made an unfounded organisation on which basis we should have taken him to court for libel. He claimed that we were set up for pecuniary interests. This is shameful. We thought a journalist should take his time to conduct investigations before making frivolous statements. What ab out the activities of NHRC in 2012 and 2013? For instance we successfully held anti-corruption rallies in Lagos on two occasions. At the National Conference event held in Akure, we mobilised in large numbers to press for restructuring of Nigeria. At the anti-fuel crisis rally held at Ojota in Lagos in 2011, we took the front seat. The organisation has also been invited by the National Assembly of Ekiti and Osun state governments to debates on bills. We have been invited on occasions by the House of Representatives on issues of human rights. In 2014, NHRC through paid advertisements adopted Dr. Kayode Fayemi as its candidates for the governorship elections in Ekiti state. Beginning from 2003, we have participated fully in mobilising the electorate for the elections in both state and federal levels. In the February 8, 2011 edition of The Nation, the organisation alerted the world on the attempt by the federal government to humiliate the judiciary through a full page paid advert. It is on record that this organisation placed a full page advertorial condemning the persecution of the then President of the Appeal Court, Justice Ayo Salami.
These events took place long before our media reports on Pastor T. B. Joshua. For us and we insist, the man Pastor Joshua under attack by Mr. Obadare stands out as one servant of God whose life exemplifies humility and dedication to uplifting the poor, the hopeless and the oppressed. He is so unique in giving succour to the needy; food for the hungry; shelter for the homeless; hope for the downcast and liberation to the oppressed in a society where most widely acclaimed servants of God are indifferent to the plight of their flock and adore primitive acquisition while the people they shepherd die unsung in abject penury. Single-handed, Pastor Joshua rose without prompting and went to Haiti in the wake of the national holocaust to perform the role of state authorities there by providing shelter, feeding, clothing and medical assistance to a bewildered people. He has also provided humanitarian services to countless number of repented armed robbers through comprehensive rehabilitation; assistance to indigent students, widows and widowers; helped several communities and motherless homes. Yet, the only thing people like Obadare can see about T. B. Joshua is “plain murder” as if he wilfully caused the collapse of a building he built with his own sweat; and with an intent to kill!
Obadare’s outburst shows clearly that his research skill is very poor; he is isolated from the history of his own people; he lacks knowledge about the dialectics of the Nigerian human rights movement; he is naïve, opportunistic and uncivilized in his desperate attempt to hang T. B. Joshua at all cost. God forbid a nation ruled by people like Obadare! Obadare seems to be shooting his arrows before thinking about the target.
The support of NHRC for Pastor T. B. Joshua, including other notable civil right groups like the CDHR, the first human rights movement in Nigeria is informed by several historical reasons that are unknown and may never be known by Obadare and his ilk whose possible mission in life is to earn a degree that has no relevance to the lives, travails, misery and triumphs of their people at home.
Mr. Obadare should endeavour to visit SCOAN to see how this gentleman he is working frantically to destroy has been transforming lives; promoting values; dedicating his life to raising the poor (Muslims and Christians) from the dungeon of hopelessness and poverty. He should visit Synagogue to learn about discipline, about values, about organisational skill all propelled by one man who has no secondary education, but is qualified enough to be Obadare’s supervisor in the realms of academics and philosophy. Obadare’s write-up has shown that there is a difference between education and civilisation; a difference between education and knowledge and a difference between an educated man and an ignorant man. Soon and very soon, Obadare’s real intention shall be unearthed.
Ogunsona is the Head of Youth Department of the Nigerian Human Rights Community, (NHRC). He was a member of the Buhari Campaign Information Technology/social media team in the last election
By Peter Ogunsona.