The Beatification of Suleiman Johnson
By: Deji Yesufu
The last has not been heard of the unfolding drama between “Apostle” Johnson Suleiman and his erstwhile sheep Mike Davids. The drama began, a few weeks ago, with a publication in Punch newspapers where Mike Davids accused Johnson Suleiman of sleeping with his wife and barring him from seeing his children. That accusation was followed with a series of videos from Davids’ estranged wife, Faith Edeko, who, amid much weeping, said that Suleiman was not to be blamed. She claimed her husband abandoned her and wished the worst for her until she found refuge with Suleiman. Johnson Suleiman appeared to have been washed clean of that allegation and Nigerians returned to other pressing national issues, like the menace of Fulani Herdsmen in the country.
Yesterday, Nigerians’ short attention span was invaded again. This time it was a short audio tape of no more than 90 seconds. Suleiman Johnson is heard berating an individual on the tape. We will learn later, that the person is Mike Davids. When Mr. Davids requests why Suleiman was cursing him, the revered pastor replied “… you are a bastard… get off my phone…” It must be noted that in the first installment of this ongoing drama, Suleiman said nothing in his own defense. It appeared he didn’t even know of it. But this second tape was way too devastating. Suleiman Johnson immediately replied with a video, with his wife by his side, saying that he was the person on the audio tape. He said “anger” led him to say those things. He was sorry. But, he continued, it should be noted that that conversation was between himself and a lady. Suleiman had not spoken to Davids in years. Davids doctored the audio.
Here is what a careful observer of the two drama scenes will notice: note that Mike Davids is on a mission to destroy Johnson Suleiman’s reputation. In the first video, Davis provided an edited photo of his estranged wife in the arms of Suleiman. Unfortunately we discovered the real photo and saw clearly that Davids was up to mischief. In the second publication, the audio, Davids implants his voice in the very response by the lady Suleiman was berating. This has actually rendered Mike Davids mission useless and I hope he has N5B to pay Suleiman when the courts eventually find him guilty of maligning the reputation of another man. My essay is really not about Davids and Suleiman; it is about how many have sort to beatify Suleiman Johnson. Beatification is a ritual the Roman Catholic Church carry in rendering people, mostly dead, saints. They look at their life works and say they are saints: without sin. I want to examine a few instances in which many have sort to beatify Suleiman Johnson and then draw out a worthy conclusion. Follow me.
In April 2017, Johnson Suleiman visited University of Ibadan for a crusade to students. That Tuesday, I carried out a one man protest against his presence in the University. I was arrested by the police and before I was put in detention, one particular cantankerous senior policewoman asked me “why are you protesting a man of God?” My protest was about the time of his scandal with Ms. Otobo. I said nothing to her. She looked at someone next to her and said in Yoruba: this man is not a good man o… please get him out of my sight and lock him up. In other words, I was the devil and Suleiman was the saint. I write this to show that there is a societal Beatification of pastors in this clime. Men of God can do no wrong, we appear to believe.
Notice also that when the first drama with Mr. Davis broke, the first person to speak was another apostle friend of Suleiman. This person published a video where he whitewashed Suleiman and made it clear that Suleiman could do no wrong. As we were grappling with his own revelation, Davids’ wife came forward and showed the world that her husband was a devil while Suleiman was an angel. There appears to be no end to the Beatification of Johnson Suleiman.
Just when we thought the Suleiman’s response to the audio was sufficient, the mercurial Daddy Freeze came forth and said that Suleiman should be forgiven. Freeze said that anyone can be angry and anyone can curse people in the manner that Suleiman did. He should be forgiven and restored to ministry. Saint “Apostle” Johnson Suleiman can do no wrong. Or so they think.
The latest drama emerging between Suleiman and Mike Davids has not shown the former to culpable of anything obvious. It is the normal sort of crisis that Nigerians deal with everyday. It appears we are being told that Suleiman can be left off the hook because he is not just a normal Nigerian, he is also an annointed man of God. Unfortunately this should not be the case.
First, we should examine Suleiman’s conversation with the said woman. This is what scripture says about curses:
Romans 12:14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
1 Peter 3:9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. 3:10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 3:11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.
When Peter and Paul wrote those scriptures, they were not describing a high and mighty standard unattenble by men; rather they were describing the normal Christian Life. CHRISTIANS DO NOT CURSE PEOPLE. I have long argued that men like Suleiman Johnson and a host of others who preach a Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith Pentecostalism are not Christians at all. What Suleiman did on that audio, cursing a church member, is the consistent lifestyle of these pastors in these churches. In fits of anger, they are known to curse people and even hit defenseless persons – like David Oyedepo, their revered example, did to a poor teenager in his church years back. Thus the trouble with Suleiman is that he is not just a rank heretic, he is not a Christian and cannot bear the normal fruit expected of Christians. If his church members will be true to us, they will admit that the tradition of cursing and physically abusing people is the normal way their pastor operates. Suleiman Johnson is not a Christian, talk less of enjoying the Beatification he is enjoying at the hands of Nigerians.
Having made this point, we ought to ask ourselves: why is Johnson Suleiman never ceasing to give Nigerians drama scenes to watch? Is he the only pastor in the country? How did Mike Davids loose so much respect for his Pastor that he is ready to destroy his reputation? Where is sanctification in Suleiman’s church because it appears that those who attend his church, including himself, are never bereft of scandals around them?
As we await a third installment on this melodrama, Nigerians should note that Johnson Suleiman is not a Christian talk less of being a pastor. His church is a social gathering and those who attend churches like that will do their souls a lot of good by leaving them and finding Christian assemblies to join.