Saturday, June 16, 2018 7:32 am
Apostle John Suleiman, the General Overseer, Omega Fire Ministry and a fierce critic of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was among the Christian religious leaders who held a breakfast seesion with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Government House in Benin on Friday.
According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) the Vice President after the breakfast meeting held about two hours closed door meeting with the religious leaders.
The meeting which had the Governor of Edo, Mr Godwin Obaseki and his deputy, Mr Phillip Shaibu in attendance was also attended by Rev Felix Omobude, President, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria.
Others included Rev. Oriname Kure, Chairman, Edo Christian Association of Nigeria, Bishop Margaret Idahosa, Church of God Mission International.
Mrs Margaret Agbonofo of Vision Bearers Family Intercessory Ministry and the Archbishop of Benin Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Augustine Akabueze.
It will be recalled that Apostle Suleiman was early last years invited by Nigeria secret police, the Department of State Services, (DSS) for inciting and inflammatory comments against the state following insinuations that the Buhari administration has been condoning killings allegedly being carried out by Fulani herdsmen across the country.
He honored the DSS invitation on Monday and was allowed to go after he was warned to against inciting Nigerians against the Buhari administration with his criticism of government.
But the General Overseer had continued his criticisms of the government, especially lamenting that the Buhari administration has failed to protect Christians from being slaughtered by herdsmen in various parts of the country.
Recent reports also indicated that Hon Imuodu Sule who is the father of the General Overseer has not been comfortable with his son’s criticisms of the President and the governing APC.
Hon. Sule is APC leader in Auchi where Apostle Suleiman has the headquarters of his church, as well as the deputy leader of the party Etsako West in Edo State.
In a recent media chat with select journalists in Lagos, Sule reportedly gave warned his son against his persistent and unrelenting criticism of the President Buhari led APC.
Hon. Sule categorically stated that he will no longer condone anyone who undermines the anti- corruption crusade of President Buhari. “This is a man I love, respect and hold in high esteem for being a person of integrity over the years”, Sule said.
He added that “each time I hear people criticize my party, the (APC), my heart bleeds. Apostle Johnson Suleiman who’s my biological son and a renowned preacher of the gospel, is seemingly becoming a consistent critic of the ruling party lately.
“And I am seriously concerned about it as numerous well-wishers are now urging me to call my son to order.
“I hereby speak out to let Nigerians know that I have warned my son (Apostle Johnson Suleiman) to immediately leave politics for politicians and focus on his calling as a priest.
“Being a retired army officer, President Buhari is my commander in chief and the overall leader of my party, the APC. Hence, I will do anything in my capacity as a stakeholder to support Mr. President for his noble repositioning of our dear country Nigeria.
“Consequently, anybody who is not supporting the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is an enemy of the nation,” he said while wondering why his son who is a philanthropist and clergy would be seen dabbling into politics every now and again.
He also revealed that his son has defied his entreaties to stop his criticisms of President Buhari in the private discussion he had with him.
But in his response, Apostle Suleiman in an interview with Vanguard last Thursday, the cleric said his main concern was the killings going on in the country under the administration of President Buhari.
He added that his father is his number one hero and he would never hurt his feelings over any sort of domestic or public matters.
“Ordinarily speaking, I wouldn’t have responded to my father’s press statements, based on my cultural upbringing that prohibits children from reacting to parental chastening, but rather accept the wisdom that comes out of such actions
“But let me state that, I have never been interested in any form of political activities or happenings all my life; neither do I belong to any political party/association. I am an ardent crusader for equity and justice for all.”
“Being a preacher and a defender of the gospel of Jesus Christ for many years, I find it hard to keep mute and pretend, or even look away while Christians and innocent people of other faith are being massacred at random.
“It’s against my belief. Hence, I have consistently cried out to the government for quick intervention. My simple offence is that I speak against the activities of herdsmen who kill Christians and defenceless Nigerians at will and get away with it.
“While no government body or security agency seem to be doing or saying anything about it. I reiterate my position today, that I shall not stop talking about it, calling on the government to rise to its responsibility of protecting lives and property of the Nigerian people.
“Neither will I stop condemning the state of insecurity in Nigeria and the unabated spate of killings of innocent citizens of our land by those who are ordinarily supposed to have been criminalized, proscribed and prosecuted by now.
“I have never been against any Government let alone the APC government. But I urge the President and his cabinet to do the needful in curbing the high rate of insecurity ravaging our country,” the Cleric said.
It was not clear if the issue of frequent criticism of President Buhari’s administration by Apostle Suleiman came up during the VP’s meeting with the religious leaders as NAN reported that details of the meeting were not disclosed to journalists.
The meeting was part of the Vice Pesident’s two-day working visit to Edo, which saw him performing among other things, the ground breaking ceremony of 1800 Housing units Emotan Garden Estate at Ikpoba, Okha Local Government Council.
Osibanjo also inaugurated the Solar Lighting Project at Edaiken Market in Benin; was at the launch of the South-South Innovation Hub and attended the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Clinic.
At the MSME clinic, Osinbajo and the governor had a chat with owners of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s Social Investment Programme