Dear Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor,
On September 5, 2014, your company Eagle Air-used your
private jet to illegally transport $9.3m to South Africa. This
has raised serious faith and ethical questions because you
claimed in the past that this private jet –which you have
admitted-after the fact- that you commercialized for profit
purposes- was donated to you by anonymous members of your
church for God’s work on earth.
As Christians, your position as the president of CAN ought to
be a faith ministry of its own through which you manifest the
work of God. So you are supposed to be the faith, moral and
ethical public face of Christianity in Nigeria. Given what I
interpret as your unacceptable conduct, which violated the
religious and ethical foundation of our faith, I reported you to
Nigerian Christians in a public letter.
One of the un-acceptable conduct, which is no longer deniable,
is your morally questionable duplicitous account of the real
status of your private jet, which was used to illegally transport
$9.3m to South Africa. Did anonymous church members as you
once claimed give the jet to you? Was the jet given to you for
God’s work on earth? Was the jet given to you for business
purposes? Are you then a businessman making profit as a
regular and normal trader and investor or you are a Christian
Pastor ministering to God’s children on earth as we are called
to do by our creator? These questions bother me.
I wrote my first letter to Nigerian Christians where I showed
how CAN under your leadership has turned the Body of Christ
into a political and economic project in service of yourself and
your earthly political principals-PDP and President Jonathan’s
2015 presidential ambitions. I wrote the letter in defense of
the Body of Christ and the religious and ethical foundation of
About four weeks after your company, in which your church
claimed you have only “residual interest” was involved in
criminal and illegal activity, you replied. One had thought that
your reply would say the truth and the whole truth. Your reply
has not done this, hence this public letter to you. May I put it
on record as we proceed that in this matter I fear only one
being. That being is God.
In your reply, which you gave in an address to your church, you
admitted as follows: “At the risk of being seen to be
defending myself, I wish to confirm to the distinguished
leaders of the church that the Bombardier Challenger 601
aircraft in question is mine. Members of our congregation and
ministry partners presented the aircraft to me as a gift
worldwide at my 40th anniversary of my call into the
ministry…. In order to ameliorate the cost of maintenance of
the aircraft, I sought and got permit to allow the aircraft fly
in and out of Nigeria.
“Based on this, I leased the aircraft on August 2, 2014, to a
company to run it. It was the leasee that entered into an
agreement with the people who carried out the transfer of
funds. Having leased the aircraft to the Green Coast Produce
Company Limited, any transaction undertaken with the
aircraft can no longer be attached to me…”
Your explanations have put you in more serious ethical problems.
I will divide them into (i) history, (ii) concepts, (iii) the 2015
presidential ambition of your earthly principal and advisee-
President Goodluck Jonathan.
History of your private jet: Pastor Oritsejafor, in 2013 you said
the jet was donated to you by anonymous members of your
church. But in your reported explanation to members of your
church two weeks ago you sidetracked that. In your defense to
your church members you carefully avoided the issue of
anonymous donors of the jet. To suggest that you know and
that you do not know the same thing is a contradiction.
This is either a deliberate ambiguity on your part or something
only you can explain. Either way, it amounts to not saying the
whole truth. And it is not good not to say the whole truth. Our
God is not a God of ambiguity. It is very strange for a man of
God to engage in this kind of word play.
For example, it should not be difficult for you to look straight
into the eyes of women and men of God of your church and
inform them that a jet was given to you for God’s work (or
that you bought it if you did), and you privatize and
commercialize it to make profit. On the contrary, you did not
give straightforward information to your church leaders. You
played on words and through that act of omission or commission
you played on the intelligence of Nigerians and Nigerian
Christians on this matter.
But as children of God, which presumably you are, we are
required to say the truth and the truth only. We are not
supposed to quibble. You did not say the whole truth before
your church members. How do you expect parents in your church
to act before their children if you as a Pastor quibble and
cannot consistently say the truth on a simple matter of your
private jet? I am disappointed. Or are you saying we as parents
should simply make our children cram the scriptures, and just
ask them to spew it without making and encouraging them to
live the Gospel and proclaim it with joy?
Concepts-Concepts are important in explanation. They can
reveal, disclose and close. When the criminality and illegality in
which your jet and company was involved in was exposed, The
Word of Life Bible Church, your church, came out to say “Eagle
Air” is a company you had “residual interest” in. This is a
private company, which runs your jet for you.
Pastor Oritsejafor, to have interest in something is to be part
of it either substantially or “residually” as claimed by you
through your church. But why this play on words? Why qualify
or moderate your “interest”?
Why not come to equity with open hands and own up before
your fellow Christians and your fellow Nigerians and say, “Yes
I am part of this company”. Why beat about the bush?
In your explanation before your church, you became even more
Look Pastor, take this analogy and meditate on it spiritually.
And this meditation should be between you and your creator in
your silent moments. If I lease my land (in this case your jet)
to a company X (Eagle Air), can it be rightly said that I have
interest either residual or substantial in the company X? If
so? What kind of interest? Religious and faith interest?
Economic, business and profit interest?
Ordinarily, my “interest” should not go beyond my land in my
analogy. But since your own “interest” goes beyond your
private jet to include an “interest” (even though you said this
interest is “residual”) in the company that manages your jet
for you, then you are the only one that can tell Nigerians the
content of that “residual interest” for you know why you
voluntarily said you had “residual interest” in Eagle Air.
But then later, you said casually that you “leased” your jet to
Eagle Air to run. By this new explanation (which is different
from having “residual interest”) you are trying to distance
your self gingerly and subtly from Eagle Air! This is because
truly, if you lease your jet to company X to run, it means
technically you do not have “interest” in company X.
So this second narrative portrays a relationship with Eagle Air
which is different from the relationship of the first
narrative-that of “residual” interest claimed through your
Church when the criminality and illegality your jet was involved
in was discovered and exposed.
More importantly, you also wrote, “…I sought and got permit to
allow the aircraft fly in and out of Nigeria…” This is nothing
but petty and cheap casuistry. The questions are: “to fly in
and out of Nigeria” to do what? For what purpose? For
charity purpose? -Which will be consistent with the Nigerian
law under which you registered your church. Or for profit
purpose? -which will then contradict the Nigerian law under
which you registered your church.
In other words, does your jet fly in and out of Nigeria to carry
out God’s work on earth or to make profit? What was your jet
doing on September 5 when it was caught tail down in South
Africa with $9.3m in raw and liquid cash against both Nigerian
and South African laws?
And if your jet flies in and out of Nigeria to make profit, the
question is: into whose pocket does the profit go? Your pocket
or the church’s pocket? And if your church is registered as a
non-profit organization, under what law are you making this
profit and pouring it into private pocket?
Again, Pastor, this hideous way of explanation is strange, un-
Christian and un-Godly. When we as Christians talk biblically
about the way of our God, I am sure this strangeness is not
what we mean. This strangeness is double talk. It is a play on
word. It is called casuistry. Your conduct is giving we Nigerian
Christians a bad image, and grieving hearts.
Finally, Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, you have never hidden your
partisanship on behalf of a political party, PDP and President
Jonathan’s 2015 re-election. At each point, you have managed
to use in a blatant and un-ethical manner the platform of the
Christian Association of Nigeria to advance the political and
electoral interests of your earthly principal and advisee-
This is strange because you know but decide to “forget” the
following, you “forget” (i) the iniquity and corruption under
your earthly principals, PDP and President Jonathan and how
this has brought our country Nigeria from grace to grass, (ii)
that Nigeria is a multinational country, (iii) that Nigeria is a
multi-religious country, (iv) that Nigeria is a multi-faith
country, (v) that Nigeria is a multi-cultural country, (vi) that
Nigeria is a secular state, (vii) that there are theists, atheists,
Christians, Muslims, good Nigerians of other faith in all the
Despite the stench of corruption your earthly principal-
President Jonathan –sits on, there is no public record to show
that you defend Christian faith and ethics while rejecting
corruption under the government of your earthly principal –
President Jonathan. Therefore, you are defending a corrupt
earthly body rather than defend the ethical, religious, and
heavenly Body of Christ and the souls of God’s children.
While the principal question today in Nigeria is an ethical and
moral question which must make Nigerians decide finally where
we are headed, because an ethically diseased country is a
corpse, rather, you, Pastor Oritsejafor and your CAN
leadership have in an un-Godly and un-Christian manner used
the platform of CAN to campaign subtly but dubiously that the
principal question in Nigeria in 2015 elections is a religious one
between Christians and Muslims.
In doing this you are sadly turning CAN into a campaign arm
of the political campaign of your earthly principal-President
Jonathan. By CAN’s (under your leadership) statements, you
are dubiously asking Nigerian Christians to vote for your
earthly principal-President Jonathan. This is wrong and ugly.
Please leave politics to politicians.
However, as a Nigerian and Christian who together with other
Nigerians are deeply inserted in the material and street
conditions of our people, I put it to you as a fellow Christian
that you are wrong one trillion times to attempt to define the
primary question in our country today, and towards 2015
elections as a religious question. It is false; it is dubious because
it is not. Rather, moving forward, we are faced with a serious
ethical question a resolution that can make or mar the fate of
Therefore, it is un-ethical and un-Godly for you to always use
CAN and its leadership to gain support on faith ground for PDP
and President Jonathan ahead of the 2015 elections. This
happened under your watch when one Sunny Onoibe of CAN
tagged the APC an Islamic party, when the APC is a party
which is a national party just like your own party and the party
of your earthly principal and advisee-President Jonathan, PDP
and are both contesting for elections.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, I put it to you that you are using CAN
to determine the political choices of Nigerians. And this is un-
ethical and un-Godly. While as an individual you have a right to
your individual view, you cannot substitute your view for CAN’s
view. Therefore, you must openly and publicly distance CAN
from this un-Christian and un-Godly behavior as articulated
in Sunny Onoibe’s statement. If you do not do this, then this
interpretation that you are using CAN in an un-Godly manner
This is the context in which your final and miserable defense of
the involvement of your private jet in illegality and criminality
should be understood. In that poor and unconvincing defense
“I wish to appeal to Christians in Nigeria to remember that a
war has been waged against the Nigerian church. This war is
being fought on many fronts and this unfortunate incident is
another dimension in the assault against the church. It is clear
that those who manipulated this conspiracy desire to create a
schism in the church.”
Pastor Oritsejafor, my question is which war? If we are talking
about the same thing, which is the ambiguity you deliberately
created on the issue of your private jet in order to muddle the
issue and keep an un-ethical straight face, if we are talking
about the fact that you violated Nigerian law in
commercializing a jet (for profit purposes) you said was given
to you for Church duties, my simple question to you is: which
war? If we Christians disagree with you on this on moral
grounds, then an ethical disagreement with you as fellow
Christians on this issue is Godly, faith based, legitimate, valid
and sound. Our faith calls on us to witness truth and not
Pastor, are you no longer aware of the Nigerian law under
which Churches are registered as non-profit organizations?
Pastor, was Bombardier Challenger 601, your jet given to you
as a businessman running a business organization or as a Pastor
in the vineyard of God? Pastor, why did you turn this jet into
money and profit-making venture? So Pastor, if I ask you to
say the truth as a fellow Christian, how does that constitute
war against the Nigerian Church Pastor? Are you, as an
individual synonymous with the Nigerian Church? As Christians
are we no longer called to witness the truth?
And since you have said that this may be a case for you to sue,
I want to free the publishers of Premiumtimes from what I
have written on your desecration of the Body of Our Lord and
my defense of the Body of Christ and the ethical foundations
of our faith.
I take responsibility of my defense of the Body of Christ and I
am ready for you to sue me and other Nigerians at any time
you deem fit. I will be in Lagos, Nigeria with at least one of my
children. And I will ask you to look at Nigerian children in their
faces and please repeat the two stories of your private jet to
I will ask you to tell Nigerian children how you have used CAN
under your leadership to divide Nigerians along religious lines
and how you have subtly used CAN to campaign for your earthy
principal ahead of 2015 elections. I will ask you to show Nigerian
children where in the bible God asks us to do what you are
doing. I will ask you to tell Nigerian children one occasion you
have privileged the Bible, our Christian ethics and faith over
and above the corruption your earthly principal-PDP and
President Jonathan have used to destroy Nigeria.
Mom and I raise our children under Christian faith and ethics.
We parents are the images of God in homes. It is a shame and
disgusting that your political and economic conduct as CAN
president constantly compromises efforts of parents in private
homes to raise and teach their children as good Christians with
good Christian ethics for our children read the statements you
put out under the auspices of CAN. They see serious
contradictions between what you say and act and what the
Bible says and teaches religiously and ethically. They see this
and they ask mom and I hard questions.
Seeing how corruption has totally destroyed Nigeria under the
auspices of your earthly principal, they ask how a Christian like
you can condone corruption in defense of his earthly principal.
Our children are just unable to separate Christian ethics from
Christian faith, as you wrongly demand of Nigerian Christians
through your complicity with corruption and its soul. Though we
are in the Diaspora our children are Nigerians, they read
Nigerian events and relate to Nigeria.
Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, if this is the way to practice our faith
among God’s children, then I wonder what it means that as
Christians, we are called to witness the truth, the religious
truth, the moral truth and that the truth shall set us free.
While waiting for your court case, I commit this to you publicly
in defense of the Body of Christ and the ethical foundations
of our religious faith in Jesus Christ.
But in the name of God, I ask you to ask God for forgiveness
from God and your fellow Nigerians and we your fellow
Christians will pray for you. We will do this in defense of the
Body of Christ in Nigeria and elsewhere.
But if you think you are right on your chosen path, then please
proceed to the earthly court where you put your faith and
fate and where you promised to go and sue.
Adeolu Ademoyo, firstname.lastname@example.org Africana Studies and
Research Center, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. He is also a
member of the editorial board of Premium Times.