fulani-herdsmen-hard-voices

Apostle Suleiman and the Politics of ‘Defend Yourself’

I wanted to post this on Facebook but, on the last minute, I decided to put it on the blog in order to have a better conversation. By putting it on the blog, I have cut off a large number of people who are less likely to click on a link and are too lazy to read but who are very quick to start a fight in the comment box.

I sometimes think of this blog as an exclusive club where I come to share more delicate things. Viral is not usually more useful. In fact, the more philistinism you put in your work the more likely you are to go viral. I am beginning to suspect that there is an acute lack of willingness to engage in intelligent arguments in Nigeria. We are too breezy, too gossipy, too pictorial, too jokey, too dismissal, too impatient to really make a difference. I, you and the few of us who have sense, have a lot to do to salvage Nigeria from the siege of deplorability.

That is not my problem in this particular post. Apostle Suleman’s sermon is.

I have watched the video for quite a few times and I have also read the comments condemning him. At first, I shrugged off the whole thing by reposting Elnathan John’s tweet that the average Christian or Muslim sermon contains hate speech. But the arguments and name calling have continued. And a tweet of 140 characters couldn’t have covered it all. I have now decided to develop my points.

I will discuss the points in two parts. The first part is on what I believe in; in the second part, I will pass my verdict (yes, this blog is a court and I am the chief judge).

PART ONE

1, I am a Christian. I am a Christian who has a strong clarity about the deity of Jesus Christ as a Prince of Peace.

So I find the sermon of the apostle curious and troubling. Self-defence, which the Christian Association of Nigeria has endorsed, is not a Christian way. It doesn’t matter how many Christians say it. It doesn’t matter how many times they say it, or how highly placed they are placed; the weapons of Christianity are not carnal. Period!

2, Nigerian government has failed Christians.

One of the perceptions of Christians and southerners about Buhari during his many attempts to become president is that he is a religious and ethnic fanatic. Even Atiku implied this during his campaign for the APC ticket. Buhari is now president having been polished by the media powerhouse of Tinubu. But Buhari’s appointments, utterances, actions and body language have proved his critics right. He is biased. He doesn’t take the incessant attacks of Fulani herdsmen seriously. I don’t think it takes sleep away from his eyes.

3, Self-defence is a natural law.

It’s acceptable to every international, civil and human rights group. But it is not a Christian tenet. I am not against self-defence but I am against advocating self-defence on the altar. The Christian altar should be disengaged from this sort politics. Why,

a) Because it is not Christian.

b) Because it robs Christianity the power to tap into the supernatural defence they   believe in.

c) It energises their adversaries who would take it as a call to arm themselves the more.

d) It is meaningless because anyone who is resolved to take up self-defence will do so whether the clergy condemns it or not. And those who will run away will run away even if Apostle Paul of Tarsus comes in person blandishing a machine gun.

That takes me to the second part.

PART TWO

What is the way forward? I, Justice Kingsley Okechukwu of Hard Voices Supreme Courts, rule that,

1, Christians must tap into their real power.

They serve a God who walked on water, who raised the death, who resurrected Himself from the death, whose servant’s shadow healed multitudes (except you don’t believe these in which case you are not a Christian). If a Christian with as little as a tenth of the faith of the least disciple of Jesus Christ of Nazareth stands up today and says, ‘As long as I live, there will no longer be any Fulani herdsmen harassment’, it will be the end of herdsmen terrorism. He may say, if he is the angry type, ‘Any Fulani herdsman who lays his hand on a weapon will fall and die instantly’, and it will happen. But where is such man?

2, Christians must stop playing home and away.

If you believe in God, you do, if you don’t you don’t. Once a Christian starts making statements like ‘Pray but don’t be stupid’ he is invariably saying, ‘Pray but get AK47 in case your prayer fails.’ And such attitude is against the faith in God. If you don’t trust, in totality, the power of God, then you better have a powerful plan B because you will need it. Once you put God as plan A you have lost it. God doesn’t do plans. He is your saviour or he is not. He is not one of your saviours.

3, If Christians decide to go with plan B, then the likes of Apostle Suleman must step down the pulpit and lead the way.

There should be offerings for weapons and congregations should be encouraged to sow a seed of weaponry. Going on Plan B stealthily won’t work because Christians are against a well-organised group with the tacit if not overt support of their elites both in government and outside it. I urge you Christian not to do this,

  1. Because it will destroy Nigeria. We’ll wake up someday and there is no more country called Nigeria.
  2. Because it is not a clear cut battle between Muslims and Christians. Although Christians are near 100 percent of the victims of Fulani carnage, the terrorists are a minority and in mobilizing for self-defence there is no way it won’t spill-over into a free for all fight.

4, Nigerian Government must protect Christians.

They should stop endorsing Fulani terrorism. They should start arresting these evil people, try them and jail them. They must raid their hideout and recover their weapons and go after their sponsors. The nonsense talk of ‘We will deal ruthlessly with perpetrators of this bastardly acts’ is nonsense talk, we are no longer buying. Buhari and his agents must show that they are not only against law-breaking but after law-breakers. How can, as Suleman says, ‘212 people died in Kaduna and nobody is prosecuted, nobody is prosecuted. Not one.’ Yet we have Biafran agitators in prison; Niger delta avengers in prison, Shia Movement members in prison and not a Fulani herdsmen in detention. This stinks of bias, of cover-up even.

They can start by re-arresting the killers of Evangelist Eunice and the woman beheaded in Kano. How can we be trying a man who named his dog Buhari and say we have no evidence against people who kill people?

5, Nigerian Government must rebuild the communities destroyed by the herdsmen.

I don’t mean rebuilding just the burnt houses and churches, but using the opportunity to electrify the localities, bring tap borne water, build more school blocks, tar their roads, empower the people financially etc. It won’t bring the death back but it would ease the mourning of the living. Doing this will pass a message to government that they stand to pay a huge price if they do not protect their citizens.

6, Influential Nigerians must continually hold government to their duty.

It pains me when politicians of the opposition join APC. It robs Nigeria of the needed dissenting voice. But non-politicians like Pastor Adeboye, whose complaint caused the sacking of the FRC executive secretary and the suspension of its alleged anti-church law, Uma Ukpai and Father Mbaka must use their influence to the limit (except they are silently involved in verdict one above, which is not evident).

Finally, we must keep the conversation going. It doesn’t seem to change anything but it has put us one conversation forward. You may also want to read Too much bloodshed and Don’t let the devil use you. My groaning for the good of Nigeria, no matter how flawed it is, did not start today. It won’t end anytime soon.

God help us.

Tweets to @Oke4chukwu

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8 thoughts on “Apostle Suleiman and the Politics of ‘Defend Yourself’

  1. justapollion

    Though i have not seen the footage of Apostle Suleiman, but the issue of defending yourself is a stone age word even in Christendom. The bible said that my people perish because they lack knowledge. (Hosea 4:6) You can be a Christian and die a weakling.The only thing we need now is the knowledge to know when to attack though it is already a pity that Nigerian Christians are weak And you might want to say that Jesus said if you someone slap you in one cheek turn the other side but Peter didnt hear it when he angrily cut of the ear of one of the soldiers who came to arrest Jesus. I am not encouraging Christians to carry arms but we have been on defense too long we need to start doing something and if we have to act like Peter so be it.

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    • HARD VOICES

      I am not against anyone defending himself. What I’m against is hiding behind Christianity to do so. That is the extreme opposite of the teachings of Christ. The point being that most Christians don’t know what power they have in them. Until we learn the true extent of our power, until we begin to tap into the limitless power of the word every bagger is going to push us about and some fiery preacher will scream “defend yourself”. And the perilous circle will continue

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kelvin

    I’ve never being a lover of political or religious issues, news, gossips etc. I never enjoyed it. I would rather savour sade-Haram (my love) than visit vanguard.com or channels.com We are gradually growing out of the spiritual part of our life into the ordinary (or non-spiritual). We are growing into the age where anything our spiritual leaders say is correct. Tell them it’s wrong they would reply “my pastor said” “my Imam said” they just swallow without chawing so they don’t know if there are little grains of stones to spit out.
    The Buhari Hardministration (as you call it and I totally agree) is not something we can write home about. And I don’t believe in “Nigeria is still young” because it’s getting worse by the hour. Apostle Suleman probably said what he said out of anger, pain, frustration (emotions affects a lot) he is human too you know. might be his own personal opinion (I haven’t seen the footage though) but am sure he didn’t back himself up with a verse of the Bible. Did he? The only reason any Christian would act on what he said is because that’s what they’ve been waiting to hear. I don’t believe any religion preach violence, it’s just miss-interpretation. Am a Muslim (by birth not by practice) The plain truth is we don’t love each other like we claim to. We always always put ourselves first. To start a war we need just one side but to end it we need both sides (or all sides).

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    • HARD VOICES

      Well, I suspect he might have said what he said out of emotional frustration but that he hasn’t come out to rescind the statement or make make excuses for it lays strength to the fact that he totally stands by what he said. He did back himself up with david killing Goliath but it is an event that occured under the law (time) of Moses (Old Testament) and not under the grace (time) of Jesus Christ (New Testament). I hope you understand. So, by asking his flocks to copy swing holding David, he has put it above the power of the death-raising Jesus.
      I agree, we need both sides to end a war. But if the other side cannot see the light you need to show them the heat. The Christian heat, I insist, is not physical.

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  3. akut Linus

    I don’t think the bible is against safe defense. Survival is the first law of nature. The bible must not boldly write about self defense, but the common act of eating food in itself is an act of safe defense against hunger. There is nothing wrong with a prayerful Christian that has a gun. That is work. Faith without work is useless. There is a big difference between an eye for an eye with self defense. I think we need to check on that. I love this. just that your headings say too much.

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    • HARD VOICES

      Will Jesus Christ carry a gun if He were here today? You know the answer, so why are we unnecessarily twisting the Bible when the person we claim to model after isn’t wired that way? Carrying a gun is not the work of faith. It is the indictment of faith. With a gun you can kill ten or so but by faith you can bind a thousand herdsmen.
      But carry your gun if you want to. I am not against it but it is not the Jesus way. Period

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  4. Walbe

    It makes a rather interesting read. I must, however, disagree with so many things. Christians are not allowed to start a war, but you must defend yourself and your old, and your children. Christianity will be gone in the next 20 years if Christians would remain not to defend themselves. You can defend yourself either by running or fighting. If you decide to run, you must run forever. By the way, our problems did not start with Buhari. Goodluck has failed to do a thing against the Fulanis that have been attacking Christians.
    As far as I am concerned, Nigerians have been doing everything for themselves including providing water and light so defending themselves shouldn’t be out of the ordinary.
    Anyone who folds his arms to be killed in the name of Christianity will only die a fool and not a martyr.

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    • HARD VOICES

      By all means defend yourself but like I said in my reply to Linus, Jesus Christ will not physically defend Himself. That you have to physically defend yourself shows that you have no supernatural evidence from the Christ you believe. People who reason like this, think that the Biblical miracles are myths and therefore do not apply today. They call themselves realists, I call them unbelievers. In fact there are very few Christians who understand their real power. So they do what they understand which is using their canal sense and they end up using the inferior defence. There are only Christian by name.
      Defend yourself if you are a Christian because your name is John but if you are a Christian beyond your name, with an iota of revelation you will know that you are above Fulani terrorism, and your knowledge is not the same as foolishly folding your arms.
      Fulani herdsmen terrorism actually started during Yar’adua’s time but it has exploded to terrorist height under their kinsman Buhari.
      Thanks for blogging with us.

      Like

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