Tuesday, April 14

Update on nigerian politics : How a Pentecostal law professor " Yemi Osinbajo " has helped reshape Nigerian politics

I met Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria’s vice president-elect, two years ago, during the annual convening of the mammoth Holy Ghost Congress at Redemption Camp near Lagos, Nigeria. Back then, Osinbajo — a law professor and former attorney general of Lagos State — was supervisor of social responsibility projects for the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Nigeria’s largest and wealthiestPentecostal denomination.
At the end of May, Osinbajo will be sworn in as the second highest-ranking public official of Africa’s most populous country and its largest economy. What prognostications can I make about his potential contributions to the new administration, based on my impressions from that meeting?
The theme of that year’s Holy Ghost Congress — “Signs and Wonders” — threaded through sermons, healing services, ecstatic prayer sessions and an altar call that stretched to half an hour to allow time for would-be converts to make the kilometer-long trek from the back of the main Redemption Camp structure to the enormous stage at the front.
Like many other homegrown Pentecostal denominations in Nigeria, RCCG preaches personal prosperity and promises supernatural intervention in the lives of people suffering from poverty and illness — powerful enticements for citizens of a troubled country whose population has swollen from 45 million to 170 million since 1960 and where the median income is about $500 a year.
When I was introduced to Osinbajo in Redemption Camp’s air-conditioned and opulently appointed VIP area, I was prepared to be unimpressed. President Goodluck Jonathan was scheduled to appear on the last night of the Congress — a capstone event that would be attended by roughly 2 million people. Jonathan was there to receive a blessing from Enoch Adeboye, Osinbajo’s spiritual father and the General Overseer of RCCG. To my mind, an organization that encouraged the multitudes to pray for riches, and that anointed a politician who embodied Nigeria’s status quo, was tacitly accepting the country’s dysfunctions.

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