August 16, 2022

Reporters’ Diary

Factual Reportage

ICYMI: Acts of Apostle Suleman II

Apostle Johnson Suleman of Omega Fire Ministries was in the eye of a storm created by Ms Stephanie Otobo who alleged that he promised to marry her, took drinks and gifts to her family house to ask for her hand in marriage, reneged after she got pregnant and did something to make her lose the pregnancy.

She added that the Apostle sent money into her bank account and went on a rendezvous with her to Napoli in Italy. Her father denied the marriage proposal and her mother offered a public apology for any embarrassment that her daughter might have caused the Apostle.

Stephanie and an accomplice, Wisdom Godstime, were arraigned at a Magistrate Court on the Lagos Island for unlawful demand of $1 million from Apostle Suleman. The Magistrate withdrew from the case upon request by a Deputy Chief Registrar.

Apostle Suleman filed a suit for defamation against Stephanie at a Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, after which Stephanie reportedly released a video claiming that she was paid to defame Apostle Suleman. Her lawyer, Festus Keyamo, SAN, withdrew from the case after that.

Suleman is making new waves. Pastor Mike Davids, formerly of Omega Fire Ministries, accused him of unedifying relationship with his wife, Pastor Faith Edeki. Pastor Faith dismissed her husband’s allegation, and in turn accused him of deserting his marriage with her.

To reports that the Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Adamu, ordered an investigation into the allegation, Suleman reportedly tweeted as follows: “IGP ordered probe on me? Where, when? Maybe my ghost. Please discard. There is no such thing. Bad press spreads real fast.”

His lawyer, who reportedly added that the IGP is rather seeking the arrest and detention of Pastor Davids, filed a suit on behalf of Suleman, demanding N5 million from Pastor Davids for damages for “conspiracy to blackmail and defamation of character.” Suleman was a journalist.

These days Suleman appears to be concentrating on what has been described as prosperity gospel, a simplistic religious doctrine that teaches that all an individual needs to do is to believe in Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour and Lord and he shall become wealthy.

This gospel has, however, not quite said that you do not have to work, just as it didn’t also say probably non-Christian Jack Ma of China and Muslim Aliko Dangote cannot be rich. Ma is one of China’s richest men while Dangote is the richest Black person in the whole world.

There is a video of Suleman doing the rounds on the Internet. There, he announced to his awestruck congregation that he just bought his third aircraft. He took pains to explain that this feat was wrought in the midst of the currently ravaging COVID-19 pandemic.

In his excitement, he said that he would like this morbid season of the pandemic to continue so that his blessing spree would continue. “I was praying for COVID(19) not to end,” he confessed to his ecstatic congregation.

If this very lucky Apostle does not admit that this was a slip of tongue, those who know how to interpret spiritual matters may suggest that the deaths that COVID-19 wrought amount to ritual killings, done to shed human blood and make some people rich.

A book, written by a Christian author, who is also a medical doctor, claims that satanic medical personnel sometimes deliberately cause the death of their patients to obtain blood for the devil’s blood bank.

Following is the way Suleman boasted about his special relationship with God, the El Shaddai: “In COVID(-19), I bought a jet… The third one. I have three. In COVID(-19)…, when people were complaining, I was resting.”

Then, he paused, to reveal the wonderment of his wife at the generosity of God to him: “My wife said, ‘Can life be this sweet?’” To get the attention of his obviously bewildered congregation, of God’s goodness to him in these evil COVID-19 days, he asked, “Am I talking to somebody here?”

In what he obviously thought was a moment of epiphany, he told his audience, “When you speak in tongue, you are printing money.” This was his audacious response to rumours that he said was whirling on the Internet claiming that he had a machine that printed money.

To finally convince his audience that he was walking in divine prosperity, he employed the opaque language akin to that of Nigeria’s master of grandiloquence, Patrick Obahiagbon, of the “crinkun crankun” fame.

Suleman pronounced, “Immortality (which rhymes with immorality) and divinity in humanity is when God’s extra comes on your ordinary and juxtaposes, superimposes, His super on your natural. That means you are still walking as a terrestrial, yet you are a mobile celestial.” To that, the Igboman would exclaim, “Akuko!” (Meaning, story for the gods!)

To understand what you just read, do not ask Obahiagbon for help. He is not the man to see. He could pile up denser English language registers that will leave you even more confounded than you already are.

Maybe Suleman should mind his language and temper the public display of enthusiasm of the goodness of God in his life. Families of those who died of COVID-19, who may be members of his congregation, may not be too happy with his deathwish.

An obviously unimpressed Apostle Alfred Uyinosa certainly thinks that Suleman’s choice of words in celebrating his good fortune is in bad taste. He chose to speak to him in pidgin English, the language of the streets that speaks straight to the heart.

He started by saying, “(To) tell friend truth no dey spoil friend(ship). What is not good is bad. Apostle Suleman sir, I listened to one of your messages when you tell the whole world say you buy your third private jet, under COVID-19.

“You even dey pray say make the COVID-19 no finish so that you go fit buy more private jets… And you say when you are talking in tongues, you get money. That is not the gospel of Jesus… Why una too dey conscious of money?”

If you translate this to everyday English, it would mean that Uyinosa is telling Suleman that a friend should tell the truth to a friend. He wondered how Apostle Suleman got the nerve to pray for an extension of covid-19 pandemic so that he could buy more aircraft.

Also, he is worried by Apostle Suleman’s claim that all he needed to do to get more money was to speak in tongues, the language of the Holy Spirit. He rejects that as a true gospel of Jesus and wondered why the Apostle is so conscious of money. Apostles are Christian teachers and exemplars.

Human beings generally make supplications to meet existential and sometimes frivolous needs, secure their safety, achieve their ambitions, atone for sins and ask the Supreme Being for eternal residency in Paradise.

Because priorities may differ, you may not be able to blame Suleman for preferring acquisition of more aircraft, whereas other Nigerians, that he might regard as less ambitious, only want access to COVID-19 palliatives locked up by governments during a government-imposed lockdown.

But to have wished for COVID-19 pandemic to continue was an unfortunate slip up. Suleman should apologise for such an egregious act.