By Valentine Amanze
On January 4, 2022, Nigerians woke up to a trending anti-Igbo gospel by a controvertial Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo, the senior pastor of Commonwealth of Zion Assembly, popularly known as COZA.
The supposedly man of God chose a time the Igbo and the Yoruba are fogging a common front in Nigeria polity to sow a seed of hatred and tribalism.
He also chose a wrong venue (church) to spread the gospel of disunity.
Think deep, you would acknowledge that the body of Christ is one; and will always remain sacrosanct even outside the church. The church is one of the places where salvation is preached, not a place of making money.
Almighty God does not dwell or depend on our offering, donations and tithes to grow the church. God is too big to be bribed with money.
The early missionaries that brought Christianity to Nigeria never asked to be paid before the spread the God News. They also never depended on the Igbo and their songs to win souls for Christ in Nigeria.
I agree that the harsh economy is biting hard on Nigerians, the church leaders like Fatoyinbo must focus on the Good News than money to be made from parishioners. There are many souls to the won for Jesus Christ; and not money to make for Him.
Imagine the COZA preacher lambasting Ndigbo on the pulpit for not contributing financially enough for his church.
Pastor Fatoyinbo had said in his Abuja church: “The Igbo believe in God. It takes God for an Igbo guy to give. They have a large heart but – they believe you shouldn’t work their mind.
“Igbo are 90 percent Christians but no megachurch. You need to tear backgrounds to enter some testimonies. No Church with a Yoruba pastor takes more Igbo songs than COZA. Hustle is a curse! Are you a hustler?
“Some people find it hard to give because they hustled to get that money. In the name of Jesus, the hustle has ceased in your life”.
With the statement, the COZA crooner has revealed his main identity and mission. He is an investor in the church; and must make profit from his business/ investment.
There are many others in the church business. They reminded me of a song by a Jamaican reggae star, Max Romeo.
In his chart burster of 1975 titled, “Stealing in the name of Jah,” Max Romeo sang: “My father’s house of worship has become a den of thieves; stealing in the name of the Lord.
“They fed our mothers with sour grapes, and set our teeth on edge;
stealing in the name of the Lord.
“Strike the hammer of justice, and set my people free. Strike the hammer of justice, or let my people be. They tell us of a heaven, where milk and honey flow; stealing in the name of the Lord.
“They said this place called heaven; The rich man cannot go; stealing in the name of the Lord.
“Yet the reverend drives a fancy car, buys everything tax-free. The people have to sacrifice to give in charity, stealing in the name of the Lord.”
Ndigbo cannot be intimidated to built a business empire for Fatoyinbo. At the peak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2021, how much did Pastor Fatoyinbo and his likes give to church members?
Igbo people are not the only hustlers and hustling is not a crime in Nigeria. Even if they are, must Fatoyinbo force them to donate money to his chuch – a family business that does not pay tax to the government. Ndigbo prefer to donate their money to chuches where no single individual claims ownership – Catholic Church, Anglican, Methodists and others.
It is wrong to fan the ambers of tribal hatred instead of that of love in the house of God.
Prophet Elijah had tasked God, while challenging the prophets of baals.
He said that if God is God let Him answer by fire; and immediately fire came from above and consumed the wet woods, which marveled the prophets of baal, who had tried and failed.
If Fatoyinbo is a real man of God, let him pray like Elijah to get his financial problems solved and not waiting on the Igbo for his miracles.
Chinese and Japanese, who are not Christians have taken the world economy, while Fatoyinbo and his likes are awaiting for financial miracle from Ndigbo to become billionaires.
Fatoyinbo must be careful about what he preaches in his church. Nigeria cannot afford tribal or religious war now. He may even ban Igbo songs in his church; heaven will not fall.