The General Superintendent of the Deeper Christian Life Ministry, Pastor William Kumuyi, has been slammed by prominent Nigerians for saying Nigerians should not criticize President Muhammadu Buhari.
Kumuyi, widely respected for his preaching on holiness and the fear of God, said it was ungodly for Christians to attack constituted authorities.
He spoke during a church service in Gbagada area of Lagos on Sunday.
“Don’t attack the president of the country, whether in words or in the newspapers or through the Internet. Honour kings. Don’t disrespect or dishonour the governors. Don’t disrespect leaders of the community and leaders in the church. If we are to honour the governors in the states, how much more the pastors,” Kumuyi was quoted as saying.
Many Nigerians, however, were angered by the cleric’s message, citing the woes allegedly inflicted by the Buhari-led government. The government has been severely censored for lacking direction and impoverishing Nigerians.
Prominent Nigerians who faulted the cleric’s admonition included a former Minister for Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, Senator Shehu Sani, and former media aide to Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri.
Sani, while responding to the cleric’s message on Twitter, wrote: “Pastor Kumuyi is a respectable and responsible man of God, I like him; But he should allow people to express their views about their leaders and speak truth to power; that is their only shield of defending democracy and propelling the wheel of freedom and justice.”
Citing Luke 13:32, Omokri asked Pastor Kumuyi to remember Jesus, who came from heaven, criticised King Herod, a political leader.
“Paul, who went to heaven and returned to earth, criticised Peter (Galatians 2:11). So, should we obey them or you?” he wrote on Twitter.
Fani-Kayode, in a veiled reference to Kumuyi, simply wrote on Twitter, “Don’t attack Buhari”- Kumuyi. God deliver us from shepherds that slaughter the sheep, that defend the cruel, that support injustice, that love the wicked, that serve the tyrant, that despite the weak, that enslave the poor and that worship genocidal maniacs and sociopathic butchers.”
Kumuyi’s message has also divided many Christians.
While some feel the cleric’s admonition was unacceptable, others defended the cleric, saying he merely preached what the Bible says.
One of those who attended the church service where Kumuyi made the remarks, identified as Ose, wrote, “Yeah I was at the (church) service today when Pastor Kumuyi talked about not faulting the president and the governor but truly I didn’t entirely agree with him.”
Oladele Dada wrote, “Pastor Kumuyi of Deeper Life Bible Church, we really respect you sir and your doctrine sir. But telling us not to attack Buhari and politicians is ungodly. That’s a NO sir, you can help us support it with a Bible verse, maybe by then we will listen to you, sir.”
Another Nigeria, GabbyGabby, wrote on Twitter “Best question to ask Pastor Kumuyi. Sir, what should we do to them when they (the leaders) seem to forget the mandate they got?”
Other Nigerians who responded to the news have, however, backed Pastor Kumuyi, saying the cleric only admonished Nigerians not to “ attack and disrespect” their leaders. Those supporting the cleric simply asked the critics to understand the difference between “attack” and criticize.”
One of those in support of the Deeper Life pastor is Toyosi Godwin. He wrote, “Pastor Kumuyi is right as hell. When you constructively criticize someone, it’s not an attack. I’m not a pastor fanatic. I follow Christ. Criticize, but don’t attack. Don’t hurl insults. Don’t curse. This thing is simple English na “
Another Nigerian identified as Jeffery Munachi wrote, “ Pastor Kumuyi is Scriptural here ((1Peter 2:13-14)). Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, governors…”
Idris Adeleye wrote, “He didn’t say don’t criticize him. He said don’t attack him. This attack on Pastor Kumuyi is unnecessary.”