When it comes to matters concerning evil personified few clergy have the first-hand knowledge of Not-quite-as-big-as-he-used-to-be Peter Akinola. Consequently Beloved Sinners should pay close attention to his recent pronouncement that the motivation behind Episcopalians wanting to prevent property they’ve owned for centuries being stolen by members of a traditional Anglican Church founded last June is “demonic”.
That’s because the person speaking began his career against the background of one of the bloodiest civil wars in history, which featured a Northern army murderously crushing those Southern States impudent enough to think that they had the right to secede on the grounds of irreconcilable cultural and economic differences (No – he’s not that old – I’m referring to the Biafran War - although the similarities do always leave one wondering at the miraculous way Nigerian Archbishops have managed to acquire such prestige in Virginia). During this time the young Akinola courageously declined an offer to fight alongside his own Yoruba people (who sided predominantly with the North), instead preferring to develop a prosperous business selling furniture and patent medicines.
After the war Nigeria came under the rule of a succession of charming military figures now famous for their commitment to justice and the rule of law, along with a commendable willingness to sell anyone and/or anything to the highest bidder. Realizing these incorruptible gentlemen, whose ethnicity was primarily the traditionally Muslim Kanuri, would fail to appreciate the important contribution a patriotically carpet-bagging Christian Yoruba made to their glorious victory, Peter correctly understood his future would be brighter in the bureaucracy that is the Church of Nigeria than it would in government service. Or at least that in the Church there wouldn’t be any pushy Mohammedans-with-Machetes ready to remove the hand of any Christian kid sticking their hand in the till.
Even so, Peter wasn’t going to let God think He could send him to serve just anywhere. Rather than attend a Seminary in the Christian south-west, such as in Lagos, for example, the future Archbishop headed north, closer to his nation’s center of power. Where the rest of his meteoric rise to power is history – albeit largely unwritten and thoroughly white-washed. Making the Nigerian capital virtually his own in the course of what his own web site humbly describes as “two missionary journeys” he now proudly boasts of diocesan “investments in the hospitality industry and in the Nigerian money market” – if expertise in those two particular fields of Nigerian enterprise don’t bring with them an extensive understanding of the demonic realm what does?
After all, without a working relationship with the forces of darkness even a Conservative Christian couldn’t have found it easy to stay silent when Ken Saro-Wiwa was judicially murdered. Which probably goes a long way to explaining why Pete Akinola always refers to himself with plural pronouns. And why the staff of his “investments in the hospitality industry” would never dare be heard calling him “ Legion”.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.