“If you know what life is worth, you will look for your rights here on Earth.” - Peter Tosh
“Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die.” - Peter Tosh
Timeline: December 18, 2015, 5:53am. I walked out into a beautiful morning breeze, holding a cup of hot coffee. As I approached my car heading to work, the beautiful breeze blew across my facial construct, buoying me with an invigorating succulence. The bewitching breeze bashed my physiological construct with the brimming comfort that it could avail. I felt energized as I snugly squatted in the driver's seat.
I reached for the tote of my musical collections, trying to bolster the bounteous bounce of the breeze. The Peter Tosh disc caught my attention. It had been a while since I had listened to it. I extricated it from the tote and inserted it into my car's disc player. The first track that came on was titled Get Up, Stand Up that he had co-wrote with the Great Bob Marley. The rhythm rode smoothly into my happy spirit as the lyrics licentiously laced itself into my consciousness. The combination of the rhythm and the lyrics penetrated my thinking right from the first line.
As I continued to listen to this evergreen and eternally relevant music track, my beautiful rusty city of Ilesa came to my mind. Its struggles from the comfort of the past to its present wrestling with modernity, and its desperate effort to hold on to and protect its tradition and uniqueness crept into my mind. The present state of anomie that is pervading my beautiful state of the Living Spring, the Ipinle Omoluabi, my dear Osun State then climbed onto the next pedestal of my mind. My mind did not stop there. It further elevated into thinking about the disaster that my Yoruba Nation, the Nation that Oodua bequeathed, has become.
The satiating joy of the moment engendered by the coagulated rhythm and lyrics of Peter Tosh was disrobed of its delirious drapes of delusion. The agonies of a betrayed Yoruba Nation in search of its old glories were unshakeable. The terrifying thoughts of a promising Yoruba Nation ensconced in the thick cocoon of economic misery, religious enslavement and stultified politically could not be subdued. The awful feeling that such a brave Nation with brave and determined people is in comatose should have been inconceivable. Yet its reality rips you into emotional fragments as you reel and rile in paralyzing pangs.
As I continued to listened to Peter Tosh and continued to wonder about the Nation of Oodua's legion of misfortunes engendered by the political dealers that have hijacked its destiny in the last one and half decades, it became difficult not to think of Nigeria. It was difficult not to think of Nigeria because in my own opinion, Nigeria is the incubus that has incubated the scores of succubus that have encumbered the Nation of Oodua and other nations within its confines. My mind was trying to evaluate the problem from the perspective of Peter Tosh in juxtaposition with and to other players who have command on the minds of our peoples. This is because he who controls the mind controls the man.
Looking across the landscape, it is my contention that the people who are most responsible for the misfortune of Nigeria and the bondage of my people, apart from the politicians, are the representatives of the foreign faiths and or religions in our land. So, to represent this class of foreign religionists who are exploiters and enslavers of our peoples, those who are subjugating the mass of our people through a dubious gospel, I have chosen Pastor Adeboye as an example to make my case.
I have chosen Pastor Adeboye not because I hate or dislike him but because he is one of the most prominent Apostles of anguish, hardship and wretchedness for our people. He is a living example of the legion of heartless proselytizers reinforcing the miseries of our people. He is an example of the genre of unfeeling and cold-hearted Prophets that littered our landscape. In a Church filled with millions of poor and the needy, daily agonizing and scavenging to survive and remain faithful, Pastor Adeboye thought it acceptable to buy a Gulf Stream Jet valued at $65m. Though, they always say that “Jesus is the Head of the Church,” but the physical and administrative head (General Overseer) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) is Pastor Enoch Adeboye.
Pastor Adeboye represents the modern prophets who continuously milk our people into misery while they live in reeking opulence. They preach to my people to seek the kingdom of Heaven why they revel in the perquisites of the kingdom of the world. They create and found schools with the tithes of my people and again, make them pay through their noses to attend such schools. They preside over schools that ought to be free for their members at least but it is not free. Even, if they could not make the school free, they could at least make it affordable for their tithe paying members.
This explains the pertinence of Peter Tosh's philosophy. Peter Tosh ripped my heart with the following words as I compared them with what Pastor Adeboye and his ilk stand for. After the first chorus, the initial lines go thus:
“You preacher man don't tell me Heaven is under the Earth Your are duppy And you don't know What Life is really worth. In Jamaican parlance, a “duppy” is a “dupe.” To “dupe” means to “deceive,” “delude,” or “trick.” As a verb, the word “dupe” has as its synonyms, words like bamboozle, beguile, betray, catch, cheat, chicane, circumvent, con, defraud, hoax, hoodwink, mislead, outwit, swindle, victimize among several other despicable others. It is a dreary picture. For a mind not encumbered by the deceit of the “preacher man”, this situation is ominous. It is perilous. It is apocalyptic.
It is high time that the “sheep” of the Christendom shed their “sheepishness.” It is time they stop dripping with docility and wake up. It is time for them to begin to ask questions. It is time for the brothers and sisters in Christ to not only wake up but to Get up and Stand up to confront the greedy leaders of Christendom in Nigeria. It is time to confront the materialism of these “prophets” at the expense of the comfort of the scavenging poor who constitute the “body of Christ.” If they are able to hold these prophets accountable, such practice would spill in to the politics of the polity and engender genuine liberation on all fronts for the people, especially the poor.
The “sheep” of the Christendom should not be amazed at the reinforcement of the behaviors of the corrupt political class in our polity by their own shepherds. They should not be surprised at the coziness of their General Overseers, Founders, Prophets, Pastors, Reverends with the corrupt leaders of our society because they are also corrupt. The General Overseers and their henchmen encourage the looting of our commonwealth and collect their own shares through egregious tithes. These leaders of foreign religions in our society are the depository of blood monies appropriated from the leeches who are their co-conspirators in the politics of our polity.
Given the moral morass and the grinding poverty in our polity, Liberation Theology should be the sing-song of these General Overseers, Pastors, Founders, Reverends and their henchmen. It is time that the brothers and sisters of Christendom begin to see theology from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed. It is time to adopt the mission of Jesus Christ to “create social unrest” against the General Overseers, Reverends, Pastors, Founders and their henchmen.
According to the Free Encyclopedia, “Some liberation theologians base their social action upon the Bible scriptures describing the mission of Jesus Christ as bringing a sword (social unrest) e.g., Isaiah 61:1, Matthew 10:34, Luke 22:35 – 38 and notas bringing peace (Social order). This Biblical interpretation is a call to actionagainst poverty, and the sin engendering it, to effect Jesus Christ's mission of justice in this world.”
As Gustavo Gutierrez, one of the leading intellectual lights of Liberation Theology once contended, “To know God is to do Justice.” Any church that incubates exploitation is evil and not of God. Any Church that reinforces the suffering of its members while its leaders live in opulence is evil and not of God. Any General Overseer that rides a Gulf Stream Jet could not be of Christ when millions of his followers are stagnated in need, want and poverty. Any Church that found schools that are beyond the reach of its members is evil and not of Jesus Christ.
It is time for the brothers and sisters in the Christendom to realize that “Heaven is not under the Earth.” Heaven is not in the sepulcher. Heaven is not in the grave, under the sand. No, it is not. Heaven is here and now. If Pastor Adeboye and his ilk as well as his henchmen believe what they are preaching, they would not be buying jets worth several millions of dollars. They would not continue to live on obscene opulence. They would not be charging out-of-reach fees for the schools built from the membership tithes.
As I conclude this piece, I leave my brothers and sisters in Christendom, as well as my discerning readers with the full message of Peter Tosh in that musical track as follows:
Get up, Stand up, Stand up for your rights Get up, Stand up Don't give up the fight. You preacher man don't tell me Heaven is under the Earth Your are duppy And you don't know What Life is really worth. It's not all that glitter is gold And half the story Has never been told So, now we see the light We gonna stand up for our rights.” Common Get up, stand up Brothers, Stand up for your rights Common Get up stand up Sisters Don't give up the fight I'm begging you Get up stand up Stand up for your rights Get up stand up Don't give up the fight You know most people think A great cop will come from the skies And take away every little thing And leave everyone dry But if you know what life is worth You will look for your rights here on Earth And now we see the light We gonna stand up for our rights Common Get up stand up Don't let them push you around Stand up for your rights Common brothers Get up stand up Be brave now Don't give up the fight I say Get up stand up Stand up for your rights Don't let them hold you down Get up stand up Don't give up the fight See them tired of the stale psychology Only asking Jesus for his mercy We know, we know deep and understand That mighty Jah is alive now You fool some people sometimes But you can't fool all the people all the time And now we see the light We gonna stand up for our rights Common Get up Stand up Stand up for your rights Get up brothers Get up stand up I say don't give up the fight Don't let them push you around Get up stand up Stand up for your rights I say don't give up the fight. “In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.” - John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
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