David Ibiyeomi, the senior pastor of Salvation Ministries, Port Harcourt, River State, Nigeria, is a man respected by many people. He has made a success of his calling, from the size of his church, the influence he has, and the prominence and access to power he enjoys. David is a member of the super-elite class in Nigeria.
In the last few days, David is in the news for the wrong reason.
He threatened to kill Daddy Freeze and tear him into pieces for daring to insult “my father, Oyedepo”. He said:
”I cannot standby and see that bastard insult my father. He is a bastard. He has no father, let him show us the picture of his father. I curse the day he was born. I will kill him if he insults my father again. It is a child without a father that will insult a father”.
His congregation shouted” yes, show us your father. Bastard”. They chorused every other thing he said.
I did not expect the congregation to shout him down or snatch the microphone from him, knowing how powerful pastors are, and how they are perceived by their followers, but I expected them to have moderated him by not shouting approvingly the shrill tone he used in describing and attacking Daddy Freeze- calling him a bastard and a nobody.
The action of David Ibiyeomie and the concurrence of his church members reflects poorly on them. They betrayed the core of the message of Jesus Christ who was attacked, mocked, abused, and humiliated by people he came to save, but did not reply. Though He had the power to eviscerate them from the world, he prayed for them instead.
This is what the Christian life is.
We are called to live our lives like Jesus Christ who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross and despised the shame – from sinning men like David and the rest of us. What if Jesus chose to use His power to deal with us just because He could? David Ibiyeomi failed the Christ test. Period.
I’m not supporting or justifying what Daddy Freeze said about Bishop Oyedipo, just as I also don’t agree with some of the things the Bishop has been quoted as saying.
Simple dignity and decency dictate that we should all respect others no matter their stations in life.
What Pastor Ibiyeomi did is above the pale and is condemnable. He has no right to call anyone a bastard or threatened to kill anyone. What was he thinking in publicly threatening someone in a country with high insecurity? If anything happened to Daddy Freeze today or in the near future, he will be natural suspect.
He succumbed to his emotions and betrayed his reasoning.
Imagine what the outrage would have been if the things he said were said by a politician or an Imam! Daddy Freeze has responded to his vitriol by posting pictures of his parents to prove he is not a bastard (no one is a bastard really). Beyond that, he should petition the Police on the open threat to his life by David Ibiyeomi. He is not above the law. His bully pulpit is not an immunity from responsibility.
Pastor David Ibiyeomi owe Daddy Freeze and the rest of us an apology for his condescending and hate-filled rhetoric. He is more than who he presented himself to be. This must go down as an Unforced Error.
Daddy Freeze must also learn to be temperate in his language. He can pass his messages without insulting people or being rude to them. His bully pulpit is also not without responsibility. Even when he disagrees with people, he must do so respectfully and sensibly. He cannot be unrestrained in his words and actions and expect others to show restraint all the time. We all don’t have the same threshold of endurance.
Finally, I do not justify what Pastor David Ibiyeomi did. He let himself and his teaming admirers down. We expected much more from him. I hope he learns a few lessons from what happened!