Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor and the trafficked $.9.3 million for arms deal

Grimot NanePastor Ayo Oritsejafor, the president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has confidently owned up to being the owner of the private jet that was impounded while trafficking $.9.3 million into South Africa for an arms deal. We live in a world in which epitomes of admiration are increasingly implicated in standards of personal and corporate social responsibility that would have effectively finished off their careers or reputations in the decades before the arrival of neoliberal epoch, but today is just a case of investment choices and profit-making, business as usual. Christian Social Responsibility may be a thing of the past.

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Bill Gates is trying to use his vast wealth from Microsoft to better the world, especially the disadvantaged through his generous philanthropic foundation. He is also an investor in GMO foods giant, Monsanto, whose activities and tactics any thinking or unbought man or woman with courage would challenge. Furthermore, Gates could invest in corporations whose core businesses include arms manufacturing, fracking, sweatshops, land grabbing, property speculation and pay day loans, and be spectacularly praised for doing such. Gates’ investment portfolio would be characterised and defended as shrewd, visionary, entrepreneurial, an embodiment of the American Way, an example of excellence in diversification, and for his donations hailed as selfless and a saviour of mankind.

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor

Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor

The iron fragmentation bombs, health risks, the pollution, the ecocide, extension of poverty, homelessness, brutal displacements of people from ancestral lands produced by corporations in his investment portfolio would be explained away as infinitesimal in comparison to profits he makes and the good he does with the profit. One can call such “freedom from responsibility” personal or corporate in a nutshell. The Urhobo name, “Odafe rue chor” (the rich man can do no wrong), once frowned upon is making a comeback. Even African tribal sensibilities are catching up with “divinity of the rich.” And it is this global brand of divinity and freedom from responsibility that the “man of God,” Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor, is now benefitting from.

While the most ineffectual spin-doctors in Nigeria serve political/government executives, pastors are by far the most skilful PR professionals in the country. Masters at positive thinking, creating hope and renewable failed promises, backed up by massive Christian followings that can spontaneously defend their leaders no matter what. The pastors are always on safe grounds.

Shortly, after his plane was impounded by the South African government, Pastor Oritsejafor has become a new kind of President of the CAN. He is now looking like the de facto president (of sorts) of Nigeria marshalling out solutions to the Boko haram problem and even having the temerity to say it is religious leaders and not President Goodluck Jonathan who can solve the Boko Haram problem! A PR tour de force!

Furthermore, Pastor Oritsejafor has neatly dissociated himself from the activities the plane he owns is used for. If the plane was used to save the life of a prominent South African we know what the month’s sermon would be and he would take full responsibility for his “blessed ownership” and thank God his jet was for a “divine miracle.” I am surprised he did not see the activities of his private jet in a dream or vision.

Arms deals, especially in Africa, only create a definitive “hell on Earth,” not the irresistible security, longevity, fertility and above all prosperity, Pastor Oritsejafor has preached and promised unrelentingly to his followers for four decades. Arms are often recycled and unpredictably sent to destinations where they are most demanded by various kinds of brokers. How do we know that Boko Haram would not have been the primary, secondary or tertiary recipients of the weapons negotiated in the arms deal to be financed by the money found in Pastor Oritsejafor’s jet?

I wonder if CAN as a broad umbrella body of Christians is happy to be dragged into these events; it brings their Christian social responsibility into question. Pastor Oritsejafor’s apparent greatest success in this matter is that his PR coup has simply stoked the fire of Christian-Muslim tensions in Nigeria. This may ironically necessitate synergies for more arms deals at the present time or the very near future.

  • Dr. Nane is an errant scholar and economist. Follow him on twitter @Grimot


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