Re: What I Told Tinubu: Cardinal Okogie, A Man Of God As A Vessel Of Vendetta -By Churchill Okonkwo

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Cardinal Okogie

Cardinal Okogie

 

Open expression of views should not be repressed, for if the repressed view is true, one loses the opportunity of discovering the truth; while if the repressed view is false, discoveries of its falsity strengthens the opposing truth and make the ground of truth evident. Last week, the respected man of God, Cardinal Okogie, strongly made some statements I consider outright false and in others politically suspicious.

Whatever the Cardinal was hoping to achieve in his high profile interview, riddled with omissions and sometimes outright falsehoods, is still a puzzle to me. There are so many shortfalls in Buhari’s administration with the failing economy and subsequent hardships on the top of the list. So, the Cardinal has the right as every other Nigerian to point out where this government is failing Nigerians and to express his disappointment. But to be promoting vendetta and politics of division is not acceptable. This rejoinder is thus a means of ‘inoculating’ gullible Nigerians against such dangerous and false statements from a man of God in the name of freedom of speech so that it is less influential.

On the Chibok girls, Cardinal Okogie said, “Right now, I have not seen any parent or guardian that came out to claim that yes, the girl [Amina] is his or her daughter.” When Jesus heard this, He wept! He then asked, so even you Cardinal? Even Pope Francis was disappointed with him. Pope Francis believed, and twitted years ago, “Let us all join in prayer for the immediate release of the schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria. #BringBackOurGirls”. But for our much respected cardinal, the Chibok girls tragedy is a joke. That statement in the much publicized interview clearly shows that the Cardinal is a vessel of God as an instrument of vendetta. I wonder which Bible version he reads.

It is indeed very pathetic that after all the hype and drama associated with Amina’s rescue, the Cardinal is blind or intentionally ignorant of the fact of her identification by the school principal and her widowed mother. For the Man of God to be still claiming ignorance and dismissive of this national tragedy shows how deep-rooted the Nigerian problem is. I wonder which news channels Cardinal Okogie is tuned to; Radio Biafra?

As a Christian, here is the meat of this rejoinder: I challenge Cardinal Okogie to take a second missionary journey (the most important in his Christian life) to Chibok. The mission is simple; discover and prove the falsity in the missing Chibok girls story. Discovery of this falsity will strengthen his assertions and enable those of us that have championed for the rescue of the Chibok girls (including Pope Francis) to admit that the truth is not in us and repent from our sins.

If, on the other hand, the Cardinal, in the course of his second missionary journey, discovers the truth in the story of the Chibok girls, such discovery will surely save the souls of millions of Christians like himself that have failed to show love to Chibok mourners. I will thus ask Cardinal Okogie these questions I have consistently asked all Christians that regard the Chibok girls tragedy as a cock and bull story: Cardinal Okogie, how evil could you be that your heart is so hardened over your neighbor’s plight? You go to church every Sunday, give and take Holy Communion, yet, your heart is filled with evil and malice?

I therefore challenge Cardinal Okogie to take this ALL important second missionary journey to the house of the mourners at Chibok. That’s what Christ would have done. Did Christ not teach us that blessed are the mourners for they shall be comforted? By dismissing the Chibok Ggrls story is Cardinal Okogie comforting the mourners? Cardinal Okogie should go to Chibok so that he can touch and feel the hands of Amina and her mother. Like Thomas in the Bible, maybe what he needs is the touch before he can believe that the Chibok girls story is not a mirage in the desert sun of Maiduguri. The Nigerian Medical Association should please provide DNA experts to go with him so that this Chibok Girls controversy could be settled once and for all.

My conclusion after reading through the interview that went viral was that apparently, Cardinal Okogie was not being sincere when he told Tinubu before the 2015 Presidential election that, “I do not care if you produce two devils or Muslims provided the two Muslims are patriotic and fear God.’ His present claim that “these people are attempting to Islamize this country” points to his true feelings before and after the election. This claim is another prevailing misrepresentation of facts aimed fear mongering. It will take a stand-alone piece too counter and I will thus reserve my rejoinder on that for another day.

I will however join issue with Cardinal Okogie over the false prophesy he is somehow bragging about; his statement on Buhari that, “was he not that man that did examination three times and failed? He will fail again”. This completely false statement reminds me of the popular sentiment-cum-slogan that was being peddled just before the 2015 presidential election. That statement was false. Buhari won. But in Cardinal Okogie’s imagination, Buhari lost the 2015 election.

Even if his allusion to failure was in reference to what was to come after Buhari must have won the 2015 election (Prophet Okogie?), his statement was and is still false. Buhari has not failed. The economy may have failed but Buhari has succeeded in steadying the ship and rescuing the country from the vultures that were devouring the wealth of the nation with impunity (even though another set of vultures are converging around him). As a matter of fact, the people that have failed are Nigerians (street economic experts like Cardinal Okogie) busy promoting the politics of vendetta and division while expecting the economy to be turned around as quickly as a danfo bus at Oshodi. That leaves the Biafran/Niger Delta Avengers options as a weapon for Cardinal Okogie to prove Buhari’s failure.

For want of space I will briefly touch on Biafra as I conclude this rejoinder. Cardinal Okogie’s expression of happiness that some Catholic Priests have joined the pro-Biafran agitation again, points to the vendetta in his heart. He is simply adding to the shameless antics of those who are irresponsibly inciting violence under the cover of “marginalization” after losing the 2015 election. I wonder where these his priest champions were between 2010 and early 2015. Yes, the Catholic priests and every other Biafran for that matter is free to protest “peacefully”. But what they are not free to do is to cause harm to others (wittingly or unwittingly) in the cause of their “peaceful protest”.

Is the Cardinal not aware that some miscreants are circulating the images of the dead young men (against decorum and Igbo culture) endlessly to give credibility and voice to their struggle? Has Cardinal Okogie and these priests really cared about what the mothers and wives of these young men think? These mothers/wives pass through moments of agonizing sadness and anguish. They are traumatized and sick. Yet, all Cardinal Okogie could offer is heartlessness. Instead of saying never again; all the heartless apologists have continued to promote anger and violence. Don’t they think it may be necessary to constrain their liberty in order to prevent them from doing harm to others (the dead and the living)?

These guys being used as pawns (by Biafrans that hide abroad and in the comfort of their homes) and slaughtered on the streets are lacking direction. It is utterances like this from the Cardinal that keeps these guys on the streets consistently committing suicide. It keeps them frozen in their seats of hopelessness as they wait for their emancipation from imaginary slavery. It is these types of careless takes that are perpetuating violence on the streets of Aba and Onitsha. If Cardinal Okogie cares so much about the Biafran cause, let him encourage his priest friends to step forward and be the moderate face of the struggle, define a realistic and actionable political goal and save our youths. That’s what responsibility calls for.

And boy, did you feel the disdain in Cardinal Okogie’s reaction to the question on Rev Father Mbaka? Jehovah Umu Ogbenye! It sure feels like vendetta squared. If the revered man of God sees his fellow ordained priest Rev Father Mbaka as a small rat that should be squashed, imagine how he feels about nonentities like us that barely go to church.

As I finished writing this, I looked up and saw God smiling. He said well-done but reminded me that I have fetched an ant-infested firewood and should prepare of a visit from the lizards. I responded that He is my refuge and fortress. I am happy that God understood. I said what needed to be said. Now, I await my excommunication from my priest at St. Theresa’s Cathedral Nsukka.

 

You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @churchillnnobi.