Today, like a few years ago, when I commenced the project of doing that
literary discourse, the motivating factors that drove me to its
completion are still persistent. In fact, they have significantly
The trouble no longer ends with robbers and kidnappers going to Church
every Sunday to pray for God’s guidance and assistance in the
execution of criminal and murderous projects. It does not end
anymore, with criminals paying stupendous amounts as tithes to their
gleefully excited and highly gratified pastors and preachers. No.
The game has gone far beyond.
If I reported authentic instances of unbelievable and mundane pastors in
that work, if I discussed fraudulent pastors and corporate
tricksters in the glittering robe of peace and the bling-bling flash
of splendor, today I can only talk about preachers and pastors, who
have taken the game to the very foundation of the edifice that they
seek to destroy.
To my readers, who expressed appreciation for my efforts in that work and
told me how informative they found the work and enjoyed reading it,
I owe you all a big apology.
I apologize for highlighting the unique position of the Catholic Church
in Africa, which seemed clearly shielded from the racketeering
mischief of new generation Churches that seem to have metamorphosed
from the traditional blend of the Cherubim and Seraphim of old.
Today, actors within the Catholic enclave seem to have long quietly
devised a means of concealing their own version of racketeering
behind the mask of ordinariness and avoidance of fraudulent
sensations in the performance of miracles.
Indeed, I will make bold to say that Africans precisely Nigerians, do
have reasons enough to express gratitude to the self-imposed men of
God, whose stock-in-trade is flamboyance and the public display of
silver and gold and jets and coats. They show us who they are and
save for a few gullible and helpless minds, they are known to
everyone else for their insatiable greed for material wealth and
larceny based on sycophancy. They were not the least, very visible
at the seat of power advancing prophetic and treacherously divine
justification for all ills and evils in the last political
dispensation under the Presidency of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Not just a few observers suspected that many of these
enjoyed gratifications from political sources and saw nothing wrong
in being pampered for the nurturing of political support base at the
expense of the tax payer’s resources and labor. But no one knew for
sure, the prevalent modus
operandi. In all of these, the Catholic Church soared high and
enjoyed a level of respectability that shielded it from public
It all began to change however, when one Reverend Mbaka cried out that
attempts were made to have him launch a money-induced political
campaign laced with spiritual cronyism to garner support for the now
defunct government of Goodluck Jonathan. He mentioned names. He
mentioned locations and even mentioned amounts. None was denied.
We knew then that a lot happened behind the scene that did not meet the
eye and Reverend Mbaka’s pronouncements lent more credence to the
belief in the uniqueness of the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately however, this illusion began to break apart as early as May
2015 shortly after euphoric hopes began to mount on the potential
cleansing impact of a Buhari administration. None other than one
elderly and hitherto highly respected Cardinal Anthony Okogie fired
an initial shot warning Nigerians not to expect much from the then
President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. He hinted at the possibility of a
selective probe. It sounded mundane and absolutely normal at the
time coming from a Catholic Clergy.
Barely a few months into the Presidency of General Buhari in September
2015, however, this same Cardinal Okogie came out again with a call
to stop the public castigation of looters of public funds. In his
view, the solution lies simply in calling such thieves to a national
dialog probably for the purpose of reaching an honorable
understanding for a meritorious award.
Then came another Cardinal Kukah shortly after, decrying what he regarded
as an undue focus on anti-corruption measures to the detriment of
what he considered other
‘important tasks of governance’. Till the present moment, he has
failed however, in credibly explaining to Nigerians, what more
important task of governance former General Buhari has sacrificed to the war
against corruption amid dwindling national revenues.
As if that was not sufficient, a third Catholic Cardinal – a position
that qualifies the Clergy to contest for Papacy – came out to inform
Nigerians that the war against corruption will get nowhere if the
government failed to flirt with religious leaders and secure their
favor (probably like Goodluck Jonathan did).
What is most noticeable in all of these though, is the absence of outrage
at the huge amount of looted public funds that are highlighted in
the daily headlines. The commensurate collapse of public
infrastructure and the glaring destitution of a complete nation with
huge initial potentials do not seem to drive these men mad in the
height of their elevated podium. Yet these voices are the voices of
the moral instance of society – or so we thought – coming from
within a religion that is known for the Mother Theresas of this
world and a serving Pope, who stands out for abjection and humility.
They do not cry out and appeal to the conscience of the looters and
launch an unsolicited campaign for voluntary submission to amnesty.
No. Not a bit of that. They do not apologize on behalf of the
looters, for the lives lost in conquerable insurgency. No. Not one
bit. They lose no thought on instituting an unsolicited moral
campaign to educate the minds towards virtues and fallacies. All
that matters to them is the integrity of the thieves of our
Then it dawns on me to ask if Africa is doomed and condemned to the
shelters of Charlatans even in religion. Do they worship a different
God in Africa than does the Pope in the Vatican? What favor have
these voices hitherto enjoyed that is presently taking its toll on
their standard of living and self-exaltation? For short: Are we
dealing with Pharisees in Cardinal skins?
It then beats my imagination so badly to figure out that a section of our
intelligentsia does not only condone and identify with these
fundamental evils, they also come out in staunch defense of such
elementary folly. This hardly catches me off-guard though, since the
group dynamics that has been driving the concept of Anti-Buhariism
in cyber space, seems to be robbing individuals of the urge to
summon the need for a deeper rethink of shallow positions.
Yes. Any scholar of Social Pedagogics will smirk a bit hearing the
phenomenon of ‘group dynamics’. It is this social phenomenon, which
gives an individual a sense of security and reassurance, when acting
in the company of like-minded individuals. He will do things that he
wouldn’t have done left to himself. The need and urge to rethink
one’s position is often obliterated in the face of empowering
solidarity. I know many individuals, who invest a lot of personal
capital in elevating their intellectual profile. What the
simplistic, skewed and in part, tribal identification with Goodluck
Jonathan has ended up doing to these individuals, however, now looks
like a perpetual damage to their faculty of simple intellectual
They are driven by the sheer number of people on the social media, who
share this lower stratum of intellectual challenges with them and do
not care anymore, to give a proper scrutiny to the positions they
represent for a basic commonsense compatibility. The number of
people, they are able to team up with, gives them the needed
psychological reassurance that they are simply holding a
“different” and not a
position that basic logical reasoning would hitherto, have forced
them to think about. This indeed, has also galvanized a desolate
President Jonathan (who ordinarily, should have retreated into
solitude never to be seen or heard for the time being), into truly
believing that he has a genuine place not only in the good books of
Nigerian History but also in international reality. The weighty
burden of the mess he plunged the nation into does not seem to have
dawned on him quite yet.
And then there is this position trending these days that the President
has morally desecrated the image of Nigeria by admitting in overseas
trips that his priority presently lies in cleansing the
deeply-rooted rot in his own country. Many who hitherto, have spent
their time and energy pondering over serious issues now seem to have
found time to promote the efficacy and sanctity of a worthless state
Hearing this simplistic and superficial postulation, I asked myself if
people truly expected a meaningful and purposeful cleaning of our
own home with the assistance of outside forces that have served as
safe sanctuaries for looting and exploitation if we simply took to
denying the obvious and papering over the filth and stench. Who
doesn’t know how rotten Nigeria is? To whom will that be news for
the love of Mike? Is there anyone in his true senses, who actually
believes that Nigeria can recover from its present disaster without
assistance from outside forces? Not the least, the recovery of loot
is proving this otherwise. Is it now that we fear the collateral
impact of the vociferous vampires in economic and political
superpowers? The same superpowers that housed loot from the Atikus
and Iboris of this world! All these happened before the war on
corruption was declared. The looting and exploitation had desecrated
the image of the country badly enough and everyone knows from Abuja
to Zurich. Who should then be the foolish and hilarious Statesman to
go around the world denying the obvious?
It is precisely at the back of such elementary and pedestrian logic and
reasoning (that no one indeed, should ordinarily, be wasting his/her
energy upon, who is serious about moving forward) that the Pharisees
in Cardinal skins conceal themselves from the glare of reason. They
appeal to the gullible, who are ever ready to swallow anything that
makes shallow sense hook, line and sinker, without in-depth
Going at this rate, however, I’m afraid Nigeria
will be doomed. Yet I have my hopes that the new direction will
fathom a rescue path that will make generations smile even after we
quit the stage.
Follow me on Twitter @friskyLarrimore, Watch out for my new book
"Africa's Diabolical Entrapment"
Frisky Larr is author of the book "Nigeria's Journalistic Militantism" probing into the poor role of Journalism in Nigeria!