Dear Dr David Oyedepo,
The God we serve is a merciful God and full of compassion .He gives His people freedom of Expression and Fair Hearing as contained in s.38 and s.36 respectively of our Nigerian constitution( as amended). When Adam sinned against Him, He gave Adam that inalienable right to Fair Hearing hence Adam was allowed to explain what happened . I see no wrong committed by the critics of the exorbitant fees charged by a supposedly church owned university.
It is believed that such university was built with the funds generated from the tithes,arms and other donations by the members of the church .I see no reason why the children of the poor members of your church cannot be students of the same university that was built from their tithes,arms,donations et cetera if at all the university was inspired by the holy spirit as you claimed.
The problem of Africa today is religion . Our colonial masters having seen how strong our traditional institutions were before their invasion, decided to give us a religion that could pave the way for their administrators/government agents .The missionaries were primed to cite some sections in the holy books that would subjugate us permanently hence the missionaries repeatedly taught us that: Blessed are those who suffer in the lord and who persevere during periods of Oppression and Persecutions because their rewards are in heaven; Blessed are the peace makers for they shall be called the children of God; It is easier for a Carmel to pass through the eye of a needle than the rich to enter the kingdom of God et cetera.
They taught us how to persevere man made oppression and Human Rights abuses hence we could smile while suffering. The missionaries decided to hide the other sections of the holy books that could incite our people against their selfish colonial government, such as the law of ‘An eye for an eye,a tooth for a tooth’ et cetera( Exodus 21:23-25) under the Mosaic Personal Injury Law.
I am not ignorant of the fact that private universities require huge money to survive but what prevents the church from sponsoring the university from the church revenue which I am sure reads in billions if not trillions of naira or better still have some forms of scholarship awards for children /wards of indigent parents ? You went ahead to reveal in your 2016 Pre-Shiloh telecast monitored in Jos,Plateau state that one of such critics was smitten with a strange plague of chronic mouth odour.
You narrated how he sought your forgiveness and pardon before he was restored to dignity. I want to specifically tell you that Halitosis is a medical condition also known as fetor oris or bad breath. It occurs in about 20% of the general population and and there are many causes which include,but not limited,to dental caries,liver failure,oral bacterial infections.
I advise you to tell the former critic you recently ‘restored’ his dignity to seek medical attention immediately as that may be a symptom of underlying liver failure. I will not fail to inform you that about 5-72% of those who claim to have Halitosis will have no genuine Halitosis when professionally examined .
You went ahead to decree that the issue of school fees paid by students of the university was a godly agenda to meet the demands of raising godly children in an environment conducive for learning .I ask what happens to the children of the bricklayers ,carpenters ,fruit sellers,nannies, gatemen et cetera whose annual incomes may be less than N100,000 and who are staunch members of your church? Are their children not supposed to be raised in your school’s conducive environment too or are they meant for unconducive learning environments due to their parents’ sins of being poor ?
If the exhorbitant school fees have God’s approval ,as you claimed, why are children of the indigent parents not captured in the scheme or is our God now the God of the rich? It may interest you to know that in Port Harcourt where I live, Apostle Chinyere Chibuzo of the Omega Power Ministry(OPM) has blazed the trail in making church establishments free to not only the members of his church but also to all indigent citizens. He has a school and an ICT centre that are tuition free.
I don’t want to talk about his free restaurant. There are billboards in conspicuous places in Port Harcourt where he preaches that ‘CHURCH SCHOOLS SHOULD BE FREE.’ It may interest you to know that some of his pastors who tried collecting money from the students in the past were severely punished. In the said school,not only tuition fee is free,as there are free meals for the students and pupils ,free books and every other thing in the school is free.
What other way can the church give back to the society if not helping the indigent and the downtrodden in the society? Preaching to people how to become billionaires without assisting them financially or otherwise is akin to what St Paul,my namesake, called faith without work. I want to remind you that some of our grandparents were so poor that they could not train our parents in school but some ‘gentile’ philanthropists and secular schools gave them scholarship awards that exposed them to the ‘whiteman’s’ education .
Today we have professionals in our families courtesy of the free education offered to them by schools owned by atheists and ‘gentile or secular’ philanthropists. I have said it several times that the holy books handed to us by our colonial masters are like the constitution ,each lawyer cites the parts/sections that support his argument and it is only the judge( in this case,God) that passes the final judgement.I am saying this because you cited Matthew 24:6-8,1 Peter 2:9,Joel 2:2,Mal 4:1 to prove that the current economic meltdown could not be a reason for not paying the tuition fees but my own bible tells me in the book of Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25 that there is a way that appears to be right ,but in the end it leads to death.
In logic we say such argument is specious . It may interest you to know that most of the so-called ‘Asian tigers’ are not christian countries but we depend on some of their products today because they placed common reasoning before spiritual reasoning . A recent survey carried in South Korea shows that 46% of their population has no preference for any religion,23% represents Buddhists while protestants and Catholic are respectively 18% and 11% but with such ‘poor’ religious background ,they are 27th in the World in terms of Nominal GDP per capita ( $27,633).
Comparing that to what we have in Nigeria,a recent survey shows that the Moslems ,the Christians and the animists are respectively 40%,58%,1.4% .It follows that less than 0.6% of the population ( as against South Korean’s 46%) has no preference to any religion in Nigeria .Regrettably , inspite of our ‘high’ religious background ,we are the 122nd position in the world in terms of Nominal GDP per capita ( $2,640). The mind-boggling difference is because the citizens of South Korea placed Common sense before ‘Spiritual’ sense . Do I need a prophet to prophesy to me that if your Covenant University starts giving hopes to these indigent students that in few years time,these indigent students will become medical doctors ,lawyers,engineers,pharmacists and other professionals and each of them will become breadwinners in their respective families?
They will go a long way in training their younger ones and I need not tell you the positive effects such gestures will bring to our society and country in the long run. As Joshua made a declaration in one of our holy books , I will not end this piece without citing my own creed ,which states that ‘I and my family will serve the living God with the knowledge He has given to me and I will never allow any religious ‘colonialist’ in whatever guise to ask me to put any spiritual reasoning( which is full of imagination) before my ‘Common’ reasoning ( which is feasible and foreseeable) ‘.
Dr Paul John Port Harcourt,Rivers state,firstname.lastname@example.org
Okegbemi Olusoji Festus is an Editor/Creative writer at campustori.com, A digital media Executive and a known Social Media Enthusiast.