One of my respected Comrades sent me a Sahara report on the lynching of a ‘fake bishop’ purportedly to have been one of the hired people cladded in clergy robes at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja, in July, during the unveiling of Kashim Shettima as the APC Vice Presidential candidate to Jagaban, Chief Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
To confirm the story, I went online and watched a few videos. As I watched the clips, my heart was in my mouth because that guy was almost being led to the slaughter until the police arrived. If they had succeeded in killing him, they would have replicated the killing of Deborah, accused of blasphemy by some Muslim youths in Sokoto state. We witnessed the aftermath of that ugly incident, which led to a state of emergency in some states. It took high-wired political alignments to douse that tension across the country. Why should we contemplate entering that same ring the second time? Don’t we ever learn from history?
People impersonate to defraud or intimidate others because they are looking for cheap daily bread. My advice to fraudsters is that in this age of technology, someone may be uploading your video on the internet as you are committing the act. Why take these risks you will ever regret? It is inhumane to kill anybody under the guise of protesting against what that person did without the law prescribing the death penalty. That has always been my stand, and it remains so.
The man identified as the “fake bishop” in the online videos, which has gone viral, was said to have been found doing a plumbing job in the dei-dei market, Abuja. People recognized him as one of the ‘fake bishops’ hired for the unveiling of Shettima as the APC Vice Presidential candidate to Jagaban, which was to give an outlook of overwhelming support from Christian leaders. Hell was let loose, and the “fake bishop” was almost killed.
I often tell people to side with the law because doing otherwise, will take us back to the rule of the jungle, where the law protects only the strong. We cannot make the law with lawlessness by taking directions into our hands. We cannot seek vengeance and, in the process, murder people. The reason is simple, innocent ones might be lynched, and before the mob knows the truth, the damage would have been done. Some laws cover impersonation offenses, which are punishable by law. The onus is for the organization or person being impersonated to flag the law enforcement agents for arrest and prosecution.
Looking at it from the flip side and hypothetically speaking, what if he is a clergyman with handwork in this case? After all, there is nothing that says clerics cannot work to earn a living. I know brilliant and intelligent clerics who are professors, teachers, engineers, and lawyers and still practice their trades alongside their services to God. This is a place where undue haste should be avoided. If the man had died, most of those the pictures appeared on the video would have by now been cooling their heels in the police net awaiting a murder trial. That couldn’t have brought assistance to their families too.
The mob would have shamed and left him for this man in question to his conscience. The children, himself, and his relations seeing him all over the media won’t be proud of him. I am sure the money he collected would have finished by now, returning to his beat.
Are there lessons for all to learn? Yes!
1. The evil we do will find us someday for repayment. That is why God wants us to repent to prevent his judgment of us. Our people have a proverb that s nobody steals in the marketplace and keeps his hands containing what has been stolen. The guy in question didn’t know that a day like this would come. Can you imagine the embarrassment in an open market?
2. For those who vehemently denied on behalf of the APC that the party did not hire “fake bishops,” they should realize by now that they cannot know everything going on in our twisted political spaces. Occasionally, let us always leave a window of shadow for doubts. In some religions, those identified as “fake clerics” have been declared persona-non-grata. In my earlier post on the subject, I said one ‘fake bishop’ is one too many to discredit the entire exercise. That should be a lesson to the APC and other political parties as we enter the campaign season soon.
3. When hired to do a job, people should weigh the consequences of their contracts with political parties. Try to avoid this type of embarrassing situation because people have been hired for a pittance and lost their lives in the process to a mob that could be unknown by the Nigerian parlance
4. It confirms that political parties hire the good, the bad, and the ugly to make their audiences look real. This type of action is not necessary. It adds to election campaign costs and becomes an integrity issue when the truth comes out.
5. In this matter, I am sure the man in question has also learned that his head has been used to break the coconut, and he is only lucky to have survived to eat out of the coconut.
6. God can fight His battles. Those who faked the bishops and brought shame to the body of Christ would pay for their acts except if they repented. It is a law of cause and effect. It never fails.
Grace and peace!!!