Posted by Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth | 12 May 2013 | 7,863 times
The television network Al Jazeera recently featured Pastor Enoch Adeboye who opined that his acquisition of a private jet is necessary for the efficiency of his assignments as the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). This has stirred debates on social networking sites.
I have tried to follow the arguments for and against this private jet by a faith based and non-profit organisation.
We are informed that this jet was delivered to the RCCG in Nigeria shortly after the 67th birthday anniversary of Pastor Adeboye then in 2009. This private jet has been seen in some quarters as a birthday gift.
Nigerian critics are, of course, making a mistake. RCCG is a global church. It’s not a Nigerian church. Pastor Adeboye belongs to people in over 160 countries. He is not just accountable to Nigerians. With over 5 million members worldwide it would take about 60 naira a month from each member of RCCG to purchase a private jet. Of course, some members of RCCG would have been more than ready to donate more than 60 naira a month. N60 may be a lot by Nigerian standards but by European, American, Asian and Middle East standards it is insignificant. If you desire private aviation services, you do not need to buy a private jet. There are some organisations ready to hire out private jets at anytime and anywhere in the world. You are free to fly as long as you like or as little as you like. You only pay for the time you fly. This saves money. This is something for the pastors and CEOs. Information Technology has made this possible.
We all have our private jets. That Christmas turkey, those pair of shoes purchased exclusively for Easter, that bottle of Champagne opened to usher in the New Year all equate to having private jets. Much has been said of bringing Christ back into Christmas. How often do we think about the hungry when on the dining table during Easter, Christmas or New Year?
Why should we be complaining about over 5 million people who have voluntarily come together to buy a private jet for their Pastor who they refer to as “Daddy”? Similar things happen on a small scale almost every Saturday in Nigeria. We have no quarrels about five children who have pulled their resources together to buy a luxury automobile as birthday present for their father or mother.
Pastor Adeboye has come a long way. He revealed that well into his teenage years, he was without his own pair of shoes. He also revealed that the day his father bought an umbrella, his siblings all celebrated! It’s like history is repeating itself but this time on a larger scale. This private jet takes the place of the umbrella bought by Pastor Adeboye’s father, and, of course, the members of RCCG are not supposed to be envious about this purchase of a private jet. Instead, they celebrate that he (Daddy) has taken the church well into the 21st century even though, metaphorically, they are all without their own pair of shoes.
Unfortunately, I do not know anything about Pastor Adeboye’s mother. But I just thought of what could have happened if Pastor Adeboye’s mother way back had managed to save enough money to buy an umbrella. Would she have bought an umbrella, realising that her son was without his own pair of shoes? Knowing what we know of “Sweet Mother”, Pastor Adeboye’s mother might have chosen to buy her son a pair of shoes, bracing the blazing sun and heavy rainfall, believing that her son would one day be financially strong enough to buy her not only an umbrella, but a house and a private jet!
It is not exactly known if Pastor Adeboye’s father had a pair of shoes at the time he bought his umbrella. If Pastor Adeboye’s father had at least a pair of shoes, then some would have thought it wise for him to have postponed the purchase of the umbrella and instead spend it on a pair of shoes for his son. The problem would have stemmed from the fact that Pastor Adeboye had his siblings to contend with. If his siblings were also without their own pair of shoes, his father might have been accused of favouritism. This could have led to some measures of disharmony. We all know what happened to Joseph and his brothers in the Bible. Of course, I would not know what the price of an umbrella was in those days compared to the cost of a pair of shoes. Pastor Adeboye’s father might have served his own father diligently and selflessly and so could not see any reason why he ought to have sacrificed his umbrella for a pair of shoes believing that his son would grow up to become a man capable of taking care of himself.
•Togonu-Bickersteth writes from London, England. Photo, courtesy SaharaReporters, shows the private jet, with Pastor Adeboye inset.
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