Pastor Olukoya, Awolowo and eternal life

August 3, 2020
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There is a viral audio online in which the General Overseer of the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM), Pastor Daniel Olukoya, suggested that Papa, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, “did not fulfill his destiny” of becoming the president of Nigeria because he “never surrendered his life to Jesus till he died.” I thought the pastor would deny saying so and that the voice wasn’t his. But he hasn’t. Why would a pastor go that way judging another person? Who does that in Christendom? I thought relationship with God is a personal thing. And it is even unChristian, unChrist-like to claim to know another person’s destiny and his relationship with God.

I am a Muslim, but I attended a Catholic primary school. I remember we were taught in songs that we should emulate Christ in good conduct. We were told to love our neighbour as ourselves. We asked questions and got answers. We were taken through several bible stories to answer questions on godliness and eternal life. The Good Samaritan story was a very popular one with us. We even acted it as drama.

“On one occasion, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’”

That question was directed at Jesus Christ and he replied:  “Love the Lord your God…and Love your neighbour as yourself.” The questioner persisted and asked “And who is my neighbour?” Jesus answered this with the popular story:

“A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on him oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

That is the story. And in that story, a priest is the first person who encountered the troubled ‘neighbour’ but ‘the man of God’ failed the test of godliness. So is the Levite who “passed by on the other side.” The person who inherited “eternal life” is the man from Samaria with no claim to priesthood. He is the man who loved his neighbour and therefore a lover of God “with all his soul.”

That is the story that should have taught Pastor Olukoya what to say about Awolowo who was not just a good man to his neighbours but also a very good Christian with Christ-like attributes.

Chief Awolowo was the Good Samaritan who used education to rescue millions of the underprivileged, abandoned, stripped and left half-dead by the robbers of the Nigerian nation. Pastor Olukoya is most likely one of the beneficiaries of Awolowo’s goodness. It was Awo’s destiny to do good to his neighbour and he fulfilled it so well that 33 years after his transition, he has remained the benchmark in public and personal morality.

Yes, Awolowo contested, unsuccessfully, for the leadership of Nigeria three times. The presidency of Nigeria was an ambition for him. I am surprised that Pastor Olukoya did not know the difference between ambition and destiny. A man may seek something and God’s plan for him may be different. Failure is never fatal for the one in God’s good book. Is it no longer in the Bible that for those who love God and are called for His purpose, all things work together for good?

It was Awo’s destiny to be remembered forever for doing good. And he got just that. It wasn’t his destiny to be afflicted with the sin of the Nigerian presidency.

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