Apostle Johnson Suleman, the Overseer of the Omega Fire Ministries Worldwide, is a man in the eye of the storm lately. He first came to national limelight not because he was performing extraordinary miracles a la TB Joshua or buying a private jet for himself like the prosperity-preaching stupendously-rich self-styled Bishops are doing or running a munificent charity organization that gives free food to the hungry, clothes to the naked, job to the jobless, home to the homeless or hope for the hopeless. No, he never did any of the foregoing! He came to national attention when the murderous Fulani herdsmen were busy in Southern Kaduna butchering Christians and committing arson with the government of Nasir el-Rufai doing little or nothing — if not condoning the criminal activities of the roaming armed madmen!
Apostle Suleman had risen in sharp condemnation of the Southern Kaduna killings involving Fulani herdsmen against Christians. He challenged the feisty Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, to produce the ‘criminals’ since he had confessed giving them money as compensation for stopping the killings in his volatile state. The man of God was reported to have told his church members and security staff to kill any Fulani attackers who ventured near his church premises! He also urged Christians in the northern parts of the country to defend themselves by whatever means against any aggression directed towards them by the armed and dangerous herd keepers up north.
Following this public display of anger evidenced in what was described as “inciting sermon” delivered by the Omega Fireman of God the Department of State Security had invited the Apostle to appear before them in Abuja for interrogation, something he did. Suleman was not known to be a fire-spitting pastor or an exuberant radical who courted controversy deliberately or otherwise. But by his anti-Fulani herdsmen declarations, he must have struck the right chord with Christian victims and the wrong chord with both the roaming armed aggressors and/or the government in both Kaduna and Abuja.
The embattled clergyman, weeks back, was accused by a Canada-based Nigerian lady-singer Stephanie Otobo, 23, of illegal procurement of abortion, threat to life, and attempted murder! She alleged that Suleman had taken her to some world capital cities including Napoli in Italy where their extra-marital relationship blossomed! She consequently petitioned the Lagos State police command upon threats to her life. The police, in alleged collusion with the accused, arrested Ms. Otobo, detained her and charged her to court. She was released on bail and the drama has never stopped to elicit national and international interest — as bewildering as it came! The lady has shown evidence of sexual rendezvous in different places brandishing even bank accounts bearing huge funds made available to her by the Omega man.
Going by the narratives of the lady-accuser Apostle Suleman behaved bizarrely when two of them were together; he hardly ate food and was full of tantrums. She painted the picture of a man suffering from some psychological breakdown or disorder, if not dope-related syndrome! A hard look at him on TV portrays a man troubled by an inner turmoil, one overwhelmed by the feeling of guilt of carnal misdeeds. Yet we have no right to pass judgment on him for whatever reason. Only God can judge him at the fullest of time. But that does not stop the inquest for the truth! Suleman is not the first randy preacher ‘caught’ engaged immorally in some extra-conjugal activity. And he will not be the last either.
Apostle Suleman has denied ever having anything to do with Stephanie saying that he was being blackmailed by a paid agent. Or those in government quarters rankled by his bold stance against the marauding Fulani herdsmen. But after Ms Otobo it was discovered that she was not alone in the carnal knowledge depositions. One “Queen Esther” came forward to narrate her own amorous experience with Suleman while still worshipping in his church. “I was an usher in his branch church, but I had a sexual relationship with him as he lured me into it in order to solve my spiritual problem and limitations to success in career and marriage, but after the sex he didn’t solve the problems for me, instead he started making proposal for us to marry” she said.
The fiery cleric has dismissed the allegations portraying them as set-up and even barring his church members from ever discussing or commenting on the scandal online or anywhere. Apostle Suleman and his sexual escapades as narrated by his numerous accusers sounded more like scripts for Nollywood movies. On top of that Saharareporters.com had revealed that the man in the middle of the adultery scandal gave out a $76,000 brand-new Mercedes-Benz 450 GL to Nollywood star Daniella Okeke in 2016. If that is proven then Suleman could be seen as a ‘generous’ man indeed — generous to a fault both materially and sexually!
Suleman may be given the benefit of doubt as regards his involvement or not in any compromising carnal relationship with these ladies but the truth is that linking the allegations with his outburst over the killings in Kaduna may not fly. Playing glorified victim of blackmail in a matter as serious as this could be said to be a cheap way of attracting public sympathy. We believe more in the ladies, nay Jezebels, than the Apostle himself no matter his pretenses to ‘holiness’ or something nearer that. We have seen and read about the sexcapades of prominent men of God at home and abroad. Suleman cannot, therefore, claim perfection or place himself above reproach. The flesh must have failed him as a man that he is even though the spirit might be telling him something else.
In Nigeria church is a big business! You have Pastors bearing big names like Prophet, Apostle, Bishop, Archbishop etc. A nation of miracle-working pastors and priests, there is perhaps nowhere else religion could be better described as the opium of the masses than in Nigeria. That is, nowhere else it has better meaning or definition than in Nigeria! But despite that, we are making little or no progress as a nation. If Japan and China (nations reputed to be populated by majority atheists and animists) could be ranked among the most developed nations of the world then it follows that a pattern of reasoning or school of thought that holds that the issue of divinity has very little or no impact in the developmental index of modern states rings true indeed.
The name ‘Jesus’ is the most-abused name in the world today (especially in Nigeria). I stand to be corrected on this score. While the name remains forever powerful and still saves, delivers and conquers the kingdom of darkness it represents spiritually nothing as it were for idiots and charlatans (merchants of hope et al) looking desperately for economic rehabilitation under the name of the Saviour! You have, in Nigeria, those claiming to be ‘Jesus’ without having ever borne the Cross at Calvary. Or having paid the supreme price at Golgotha. They possess very little of Jesus’ traits yet they lay false claim to His model!
You have ‘Jesus’ of Oyingbo in Lagos; ‘Jesus’ of Ogbunike in Anambra state! And why not ‘Jesus’ of Ihiala, Ihembosi or Mbosi!? You have one Seth Guru Maharajj claiming in Ibadan that “the Creator has manifested” through him! The late Leader Olumba Olumba Obu was called ‘God’ by his followers or was it the “Sole Spiritual Head of the Universe”? You have those seeking satanic powers in dark abodes at home and abroad only to do ‘miracles’ with same in the name of Jesus.
When the President or a Governor or even a Senator takes ill we are all expected, as good citizens, to go down on our knees to pray for their recovery or healing yet it is normal for anyone to fall sick (whether rich or poor, young or old) and normal for doctors to medically remedy whatever is wrong with the body system. When the politicians rig themselves in as Governors or Senators they proceed to churches for thanksgiving and prayer! And when they are challenged politically they remember God and head to the church to seek His face and grace! When they loot the treasury they keep an appointment with pastors and pay tithes! Sometimes the men of God saw visions of greatness or prosperity for them and in order to achieve same blood could be shed and atrocities committed.
Prayer is good! God is good as well! Worshipping Him in truth and indeed is a great thing for anyone to do. We believe in one true God but the obsession of our people with the ‘God’ phenomenon calls for societal re-orientation and sober reflection. If we invest the time and seriousness we daily or weekly devote to other more important things — including nation-building — our nation would not today be struggling economically or producing political crooks and scoundrels. We are a nation of hypocrites easily attracted to fantasy tales of heaven and hell; easily hypnotized and hoodwinked by those brandishing the Bible and wearing smart suits or white flowing robes.
When next a man of God mounts the pulpit and begins to preach about salvation and life hereafter the congregation should ask him in unison if, like Jesus the Christ, he would be ready to sacrifice his life to demonstrate that the paradise we all seek to attain exists beyond the realm of imagination. He should be interrogated about heaven and how we can be rest-assured that we are, indeed, bound for the celestial dwelling place upon our exit from this beautiful garden. And failure to provide satisfactory answer(s) to these posers should be met with public stoning or jungle justice!
For the embattled Apostle Johnson Suleman, the parable of the Beatitudes in the Bible ought to be elongated with the inclusion of ‘blessed are the apostles for they shall enjoy their paradise here on earth’! ‘Blessed are the modern post-Jesus apostles for they shall discover and rediscover Jezebels in flesh and blood and seek to ‘devour’ them’! ‘Blessed are the (new generation) apostles who live in shameful denial of their sex exploits for they shall be rewarded or pardoned at the gate of hell’!