The Most Reverend Olusina Fape is the Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Lagos. He is known for his consistent outspokenness. And he dared not disappoint that Tuesday morning.
He was blunt, forthright, straightforward, truthful and frank. He was almost everything rolled into one. He did not hide his utter disgust. It was indeed a candid talk from the pulpit.
He literally took Nigeria’s politicians to the cleaners that day. He was down to earth. He neither mixed nor minced his words.
He cut them to their various sizes and shapes. The priest was furious and refused to conceal it. He hit them real hard and harsh. He knocked the politicians for frittering Nigeria’s destiny away for selfish reasons.
Fape was not at a rally, neither was he on a political soapbox. He was rather in his constituency, his familiar terrain, the pulpit.
It was the politicians who came to meet him in his domain. They came to listen to him speak, and he did talk to them. They came in large numbers from all sides of the political divide.
They put their ridiculous affiliations aside to honour a very distinguished member of the old political class: Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who clocked 90 recently. The politicians gathered that Tuesday, April 10, 2018, inside St. Phillip’s Anglican Church, Isanya Ogbo-Ijebu, Odogbolu Local Government, Ogun State.
The clergyman was satisfied with the quality of the congregation. It included Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, former Sectretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, governors, ex-governors, Afenifere leaders, ministers, ex-ministers, senators, et al.
Bishop Fape enthusiastically mounted the dais. Again, he painstakingly took another survey of the attendees. He was sure of the personalities he was seeing. They were present largely for political reasons.
He was patient enough to follow protocol even on the dais. He gave honour to whom honour was due: “Of a truth, Papa Ayo Adebanjo will be remembered as a Nigerian, a legal luminary, who has not received the grace of God in vain. Chief Ayo Adebanjo has always been very audacious. In the words, of Solomon in Proverbs 28:1, Chief Adebanjo is as bold as a lion.
“Chief Adebanjo is an embodiment of truth, honesty and integrity. He is an unrepentant Awoist. What this means is that Chief Adebanjo lives and operates with clearly defined goal and ideology, just like his mentor, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.”
He regretted that the sad exit of the likes of Awolowo “has led to the emergence of political parties in our nation without proper political ideological configuration.
“I have not seen any political party that has outclassed Awolowo’s four-cardinal programme of the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), namely, free education, free medical services, gainful employment and integrated rural development.
“What would have been a replacement of the then UPN with a clear vision was the emergence of the Fourth Republic progressive party, the Alliance for Democracy (AD), of which Chief Adebanjo was a founding member in 1999.
“Unfortunately, because of infighting, selfishness and lack of internal party democracy, it was successfully strangulated and buried within a short time.
“Today, aspirants into various political offices merely talk about seven or six or five-point agenda, as mere rhetoric without full understanding of what they are talking about.
“Little wonder, our politicians who claim today to be doing what Chief Awolowo did merely have slogans but without any structures.”
He then launched his attack on the masterminds of this fake “political ideological configuration.” He refused to spare them; no breathing space for them either:
“Many politicians today are mere chameleons and fair weather politicians. It is very sad for somebody to have been part of an administration or government for 16 years and, because he has lost out to another political party in election, to now be describing his former political party as corrupt, reckless or irresponsible. How come that they have quickly forgotten that they were part of the corruption, recklessness and irresponsibility of past administrations?
“It is only in Nigeria this can happen, where people have no sense of shame, and are only out for personal monetary gain and not to serve the overall good of their country.
“Because of lack of clear political ideology, that is why some politicians today who are considered as rogues, corrupt and wanted for the evils they have done in one party quickly run to another party.”
Great pity, these are the cheats whom we call politicians and leaders today. This is not lost on the priest. He closed his case this way:
“I pity many of our politicians who have wasted the destiny of this nation, thinking that they are clever, jumping from one political party to another, claiming they are on a rescue mission; when in actual fact, they are only on a mission of self-survival and relevance.
“They are not clever. Except they ask for forgiveness, they will suffer the consequences of their wrongdoings against this nation together with their upcoming generations.”
Need we say more? The oracle has spoken. The voice of men is the voice of God.