YOUR ADVOCACY STRATEGY ON THE NIGERIAN CHURCH AND PASTORS IS WRONG DR SUNDAY ADELAJA

Dear Dr Sunday Adelaja,


I have followed your YouTube videos on the Nigerian pastors  and the church with serious concerns. I understand that you intend to defend Nigerians from so-called exploitations but there are things you are inadvertently doing wrong. I do not know what your annoyance is but I wonder if you have received the mandate from Jesus Christ himself before setting out to work against the Church. It is essential to embark on a task of this magnitude after heavenly clearance to avoid the repeat of the story of Paul the Tarsus on his way to Damascus.


First, you are bringing the entire Nigerian church to disrepute before unbelievers and you are causing confusion as to what exactly you want Nigerian Christians to do. This is a shame! If you ask them not to associate with Bishop Oyedepo, Pastor Adeboye, Prophet TB Joshua, Pastor Chris Oyakilome, etc, who do you want them to associate with? To be clear, can we have your list of Nigerian denominations and pastors that meet your standard, please? One would have expected you to come to Nigeria to open a branches of your church and lead by example and lead from the front. Yet, you stay in Kiev, Ukraine with all the amenities and good socioeconomic environment to cast aspersions on people who are doing their very best to evangelize Nigeria, and indeed the world.


I have been looking for your video on the potential effect of CAMA 2020 on the church, Muslims and other civil society organizations that keep government in check but you are more preoccupied with the church and Pastors? As a Nigerian, I recall that you spoke passionately about voting out Dr Goodluck Jonathan because you believe he is a Christian. You have not updated us on your satisfactions on the state of the Nation since then.


The most ridiculous logic I kept hearing from your videos is that it is the prosperity of the church that caused the poverty of Nigeria as a nation! Are you serious and convinced with evidence on this point? What branch of economics did you use to arrive at this conclusion? I dare say that you are dead wrong as you tend to mistake the role of the church with the role of the government. Governments create wealth for the citizens not the church. Unless you are saying that your members at Ukraine became poor as you became rich and influencial. Even a stupid person will disagree with this logic, yet it is a manipulative phrase to cause a revolt by not just Christians against the church but unbelievers against the church. This too will fail by God’s grace.


One would have expected that your advocacy would give people alternative rather than detaching them from where they get spiritual nurishment. There are thousands of people whose life have been better by associating with these churches you criticise. Of course, your interest is on what is wrong with the church. There are hundreds of thousands of people who are employed by the Nigerian church and they earn a living working for the church. Pastor Adeboye provided the best Lab where Nigeria study diseases such as Ebola, COVID-19, etc. The people working in all the church organizations are not delivering free services. So, it is not just true that the church is a creator of jobs but support people to create jobs and run them sustainably. Effectively, your arguement is that the Nigerian church is a societal parasite and it must be plucked out of the body of Nigerians; it is an evil system,it must be pulled down by all means. This is develish, deceptive, and uninformed.
On the contrary, the Nigerian church is where Christ is now on earth, if you understand the times. Africa and Nigeria is currently important in Church history. As you are aware, many churches have been turned into supermarket, pubs or closed in Europe, but Nigeria is in the forefront of spreading the gospel around the globe. The Nigerian church is in every country of the world and they provide home church for Africans and others who need spiritual rejuvenation. If you achieve the destruction of the Nigerian church, and let us suppose you have your wish, it means that Africans may not have places to worship God in countries where they travel to. You are not thinking about this because you are not looking at the entire church systems that deliver the gospel and sustain the daily administration of the church as an organization on earth. You must understand that the kingdom of God is “of” the spirit but “not” in the spirit. Thus, the church must acquire and maintain earthly logistical apparatuses to advance the gospel. It is believers who will foot the bills not unbelievers!


To rephrase, Church as the body of Christ is different from church as an organization that needs to pay bills, pay workers, prepare a conducive environment for people to worship God.  Do you mean that a poor church is better of than a wealthy church? Do a video of poor  Pastors and Bishops who are barely surviving in Nigeria and show us how that suffering has furthered the gospel.  Or are you saying that ALL are equally rich? I do not understand your anger and illwill against the Nigerian church. Does simple logic not tell you that if the Bishops and Pastors who are doing well have impoverished their members as it were, they should have become poor as well. You cannot kill your host as a parasite and still live. On the contrary, people give because they keep getting. Ability to keep getting is what is called financial blessings. Are the Nigerian Christians asking for your help, as a self acclaimed Messiah, to come and save them? If they are, how many have you stopped from going to church? To repeat, is your objective of castigating the Nigerian church and church Leaders to depopulate Nigerian churches? This is because you are not offering them alternative Pastors or faith. You simply want them to withdraw their support from the church and allow Nigerian church to retrogress. I am amazed at your reasoning ability, strategic thinking quotient and goal-orientation.


Let me tell you and the world that it is your commercial interest that drives you into criticising Nigerian church and Pastors. Like Judas, your only interest is the pot of money. I am aware of the “social media business model” which the creators grow in popularity and income by attacking popular figures and generating controversies online. This is what your friend Daddy Freeze is doing as well. While I wish you well to do your business and become wealthy, you need not abuse the church and use fellow pastors  and workers in the vineyard as social media income generator! You deceive people that you love them and care for them and request them to subscribe and increase your followership – which translates to income. Youtube and other channels sell advertisement from which you make income and you sell your books and branded products while generating hatred against the Nigerian church. Do you fear God at all, Dr Sunday Adelaja? 


Another plausible reason for your passion to pull down the Nigerian church is that you may be receiving funding from anti-christianity organizations. Of course the visible approach requires you to strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter. This is exactly what you are doing because you are more focussed on discouraging Christians in Nigeria without offering them your church as an alternative. 


If you love the Nigerians, do you love God? You cannot claim to love God and love the people with your current approach. I expect that you generate intellectual discussions on models of funding alternatives for 21st century churches that will replace tithes and offering. Show how you have used such frameworks to prosper the gospel at the scale Pastor Adeboye and Bishop Oyedepo have done. No theories and postulations – only works! Even at your present standard of life, what can young people learn from you, I am interested in referring young people to you. What role model do you represent? Who are you? What have you done for others? I have referred people to watch videos of Apostle Joshua Selman, who is doing a great work for this generation. You need to make a contribution other than generating money from disparaging Church leaders in Nigeria.


Finally, I challenge you to debate your position with the others with opposite views. Engage them more constructively instead of resorting to insults. I think you should stop using the church and Pastors to generate income and popularity while you decieve many Christians who are simple minded. Engage in debates and help the church globally to innovate alternative funding and financing of church activities based on the realities of our time. I challenge you to a debate on this issue. You have held unchallenged views on this matter for a long time.


I hope you will reflect deeply on your vituperations and desparaging of the Nigerian church and heroes of faith. Christians like me will no longer allow you to deceive people because you think that speaking from abroad will elevate your fallacies to truth. Enough is enough! 


For Christians who will read this. You must find a church where you can contribute your time, energy, money and other resources to serve your God. When you serve God, build a personal relationship with God and pray that the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus Christ to you. Give money you can afford and take care of your family, poor neighbours and community. Do not believe anyone that tells you that you will become poor by giving to others. Of course, not just to church, give what you can give to people in need. Be like Christ.


Written by Destiny Chukwuma

www.destinychukwuma.com

THE GREATEST GIFT

My mother told me a story sometime ago.

She said that a very wealthy man gave the son bible and money for transport as he plans to travel. The son was very angry because he knew that the father had so much wealth that he could spare but chose to give him a common bible.

He travelled and hid the bible inside his bag to avoid seeing it only to be reminded of his father’s wickedness. He lived all his days in the new city hating his father for being cruel and insensitive. But one day, when he was exhausted in hopelessness, he thought, “let me read the only book my wicked father gave me since that is the only thing I have left in this world”.

He searched for hours till he found it right under his rubbish-contained bag. He took it, dusted it and started opening the pages. He began to read stories that sounds familiar and began to reflect even deeper. All of a sudden, some papers fell off. He casually took them and began to read.

Shockingly, he found that the papers contained directions on how to access his father’s wealth. It also informed him that the father has willed a very large portion of his wealth to him. Finally, he found an undated cheque which he was to cash as soon as he got to his destination, 5 years ago.

On realising all these, he regretted all the days he lived hating the father. He was also shocked that he had access to such wealth all the while he was suffering.

My mum then added, ” the bible has solutions to issues of life if one can read, understand and do it”.

It’s been a long time she told me the story but I believe that this story will continue to be relevant. The bible is still the greatest gift I have received in my life.

CORRUPTION AS A CULTURAL ARRANGEMENT

Corruption is an “arrangement” in which the people that have control over prudential nuzzles refuse to close the nozzles through which the resources are wasting because the waste is pouring into their containers. This arrangement requires consistently looking at the wrong places for tools to repair the damage whilst the wastes continue. Also, people that should mobilise to block the waste are not motivated to act because they need to also fill their tankers, their friends’ and families’ reserviors when it gets to their turn. This makes corruption a culture and a living legend bcos it is being guarded with forces greater than that of US and Britain put together.

Corruption is everywhere but more perverse where there are no systems to monitor leakages of resources. In order words, technology is the first tool for fighting corruption. Technology imposes the new culture. The challenge still remains that it takes those in charge of the resources to incorporate technology as a tool for reducing the first known pandemic long before the outbreak of COVID-19.

HOW TO RECONSTRUCT A REJECTED RESEARCH PAPER (part 2): why papers get rejected.

The title suggests that it is “papers that get rejected and not the researcher”. This highlight is crucial and should be the second mindset needed to reconstruct a rejected paper. By the way the first mindset which suggests that rejection is part of the review process can be found in part 1 ( see http://www.destinychukwuma.com ). In this part, I will focus on the major reasons why manuscripts get rejected. It is important to understand the “why” in order to deploy the “know-how”.

1. Out of scope.

Manuscript submitted to the wrong journal ( out of scope) will likely get a desk reject not because it is of low quality. In addition to the rejection, the author will waste time unnecessarily. Some journals may take up to 30 days to let you know that the paper is out of scope. Meanwhile, effective journals take the same number of days to give you the first feedback after the review process.
To avert rejection based on out of scope and unwarranted waste of time, the first thing to do is to read  information on the scope of the journal. First, look at the reference list and consider the journal with the modal citation in your manuscript. A more systematic approach to select the right journal is to use the SJR ranking ( https://www.scimagojr.com/journalsearch.php?q=energy&page=4&total_size=910 ). The time spent to choose the right journal is time well spent.


2. Non-adherence to authors’ guidelines.

Once the right journal is selected, the next thing to do is to read the authors’ guidelines. Different journals have different requirements. So, pay attention to the requirements for the structure, language, references, figures, tables, etc. Non-adherence will also wast your time.
Even when a paper is to the resubmitted to a different journal, the revised manuscript should conform to the guidelines of the new journal. It is also important to cite papers from the new journal to show that it is within scope.


3. Organization and structure.

The authors’ guidelines provide the superstructure  for the articles but variations are allowed to accommodate the diversity of contents. I created a structure for my papers and I adapt them to reflect the uniqueness of the manuscript ( https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=TPaNQhgAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao ). You can have a structure that you can easily fit your results into.


Whereas the structure can be likened to the skeletal design of the paper, organization gives it fresh and blood. The flow of information and the positions of tables and figures are matters of organization. Organization and structure help the reviewers and your readers to understand the study and it’s significance.


4. Incomplete study and reporting.

If the body of evidence and explanations provided appear incomplete, the manuscript may be rejected. The reviewers may recommend further clarifications or addition of a figure, table, flowchart, etc. A prove of scientific rigor needs to be evidenced probably through the description of the methodology and presentation of the results.


Extreme conditions may involve recommendations for further results, validation or application of additional technique/ methodology so that the results presented can be corroborated.
It is important to note that the reviewers will, in the first instance, judge the manuscript based on the evidence before them and how they are presented. So, presenting the necessary results that can show how your arguments lead to the conclusions of the study could reduce the requests for more results.


5. Language and style.

Most journals are published in English but it is not the first language to many researchers. It is vital to understand the mechanics of the language of the journal. Language and style can be learned from role models in your field. Academic writing is different from other forms of writing. By reading good papers, one is likely to learn how to write a good paper.


Good manuscripts are revised severally before submission. It is worthwhile to eliminate all grounds for the reviewers to reject the manuscript before submitting it. Remember that getting it right in the first submission will save time in the publication process. If a paper makes it through the review stage, it may get any of these recommendations: accept as it is; accept with minor revisions; accept with major revisions; or reject. The minimum target should be accept with major revisions. Once the paper is accepted, other revisions can be sorted out and some recommendations can be rebutted.


6. Unrealistic expectations from the reviewers.

In part 1, I stated that review comments should not be taken personal. The most annoying feedback is unrealistic expectation. A reviewer who prefers a certain approach or software may disregard approaches or software they are not familiar with. The truth is people have access to different equipment or software.


Still, demonstrating that the study is well conducted using evidence and telling the research story concisely may avert unrealistic expectations. The paper should be self-contained such that the background, aim, objective, hypothesis, methodology, results and interpretation of the results are elegantly knitted together. The originality, novelty and significance of the study should be attractive and explicitly communicated at the introduction section.

7. Excessive hypes.

Manuscripts with hypes are prone to criticisms. Academic humility is disarming. One could tell when a reviewer is empathetic even when the recommendation is reject. If the reviewers notice humility, they will offer useful feedback and references that can improve the manuscript or research.


Let me now say this. I hope this version is useful. I wrote the first version which I took time to write. Surpringly, I could not find any trace of it where I saved it. I had to give a summary as above. That said, expect the final part of this series which will focus on soft issues and quick action plans to reconstruct a rejected paper.

More importantly, you may have noticed that I focused on how to construct the manuscript so that it will not get rejected. Prevention is better than cure, I suppose. However, in reality, rejections do happen and the focus of this series is to build your resilience and confidence to bounce back and reengage to ensure that your hard work passes through the publication process. Afterall, of what use is a research if no one knows about it or uses it. Stay motivated untill breakthrough happens and I promise you that the repeat publication process will get easier.

HOW TO RECONSTRUCT A REJECTED RESEARCH PAPER

The fear of getting rejected by good academic journals is a legitimate fear. This is because you create a chance to get a rejection any time you make a submission. Getting a rejection from an academic journal is not a bad thing but getting a perpetual rejection could be a sign that something fundamental is wrong. It calls for a detachment from the paper to reflect on the whole circumstances of the research and your writing skills. Frankly, rejection could be discouraging or even fatal to the overall motivation to continue the research. This is why developing the resilience and the skills to reconstruct a research paper is a desirable skill for researchers, academics or those who intend to publish in peer-reviewed platforms. In this series, I will discuss how to develope the skills to reconstruct a rejected research paper so that it can get a chance for acceptance.

First of all, understand that the writing process is part of the research process. When what you have written is reviewed by experts in your field, the research process gets even better. So, writing up your results and passing it through the peer-reviewed process is good for your research. This should be a mindset.

The second thing to note is that feedback should not be taken personal. This is because the review process could be brutal at times. Focus should be on extracting the substance in the feedback. However, not all feedbacks should be absorbed. Some should be rebutted while you may simply need to clarify or substantiate any idea that appears obscure to the reviewers. Ideas that confuse the reviewers may likely confuse your readers. Because writing is a creative process, we may not come through with the exact message even with several personal revisions untill someone else criticise the shape and form of the idea. The intention of writing research papers is not to confuse but to communicate findings. So, appreciate feedbacks that force you to think deeper and clearer.

The third suggestion is developing fluidity in thinking. Academic papers are arguments backed with provable evidences generated from open methodologies. Convincing experts that the new evidence generated in their field should be absorbed into the mainstream thinking is not a task to be taken lightly. Fluidity is therefore required to adapt to the review process as the new idea is being examined. Here, fluidity is the ability to reflect, regenerate and represent results and reconduct literature search to accommodate new thinking and insights from the review process. This is probably the main reason while I encourage students or researchers to publish their results while they are studying. The feedback may require you to perform extra experiment or regenerate data in a different way or replot the visuals. Given that some of the pieces of equipment and software used are specialized, you may not have access once you graduate. Making hay while the sun shines is writing your papers as you are conducting the research.

I will continue with the nitty-gritty of how to reconstruct a rejected scientific paper in the subsequent series. What I want to highlight now is that getting a rejection is part of the peer-review process. Perhaps, one day in the future, you may look back and thank good journals for rejecting your paper because it became better after reconstruction.

IT’S NOT IN THE DRESS

Joseph’s brothers were certain that if, by any means, they lay hands on the coat of many colours that Jacob gave Joseph, the nuisance he propagates through his vision of his destiny would be over. Favour brings all manners of persecutions and hatred. Let’s face it!

But then, the grace is not in the dress. Portipher’s wife also believed that it is about the dress and seized his dress. The enemy is always desperate in accusing God’s people and painting them black but the grace is right deep down.

If it is about the dress, Joseph would not have found favour before Pharaoh’s Chief Prisoner wearing prison dress. Every device of the devil drives God’s own closer to their destiny. It looked like it was over when Jesus was crucified but the Church was being born.

As he was labouring on the cross, the Roman soldiers were busy sharing his dress. But it can never be in the dress.

We are hidden in Christ and Christ in God. Note this! There is nothing that can separate us from this love of God. Therefore, arise, shine for thy light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.

GRACE SCRIPTING

Since yesterday, I have been thinking, if I were to direct the storylines of the life of Abraham, Joseph, Jesus, etc. How would I have wanted the stories to go.

If I am scripting the life of Abraham and I have already promised him a child through Serah but was yet to make it manifest when he and the wife are well spent in body, I guess my story would be dead-ended. Also, if I somehow direct the story of Joseph into the prison, I know how difficult it would be to reconnect Joseph to the throne as a Prime Minister. Of course, immediately they killed Jesus if I am the one writing the story, I would be disappointed and drop the script as all hope for God to redeem man is lost.

As a writer and a research, let me tell you something deep and noteworthy. When you set out to write a story, the initial conception would dynamically change based on your characters and their characterisation. You have the freedom to make and unmake your characters but you often want it to be consistent so that the effects on the bigger picture would match your intents and purposes. As a researcher, a piece of information can change the direction of your research and may even cause you to discard a significant portion of your previous work.

So, in writing and research, you are led into unknowns and scenarios that are not obvious ab initio. So is our lives. When Grace is scripting our lives, there is no dead-ends. When God is the author of our lives, he finishes the script irrespective of tight corners we may perceive in our storylines. When God writes a story, he appends a miraculous turns in the story. When God writes your life, you are bound to be a unique masterpiece.

If you don’t believe me, what does it mean when the Bible say that the end of a matter is better than its beginning? How could God make Job to be far more better after being stripped off all that make life glorious. No wonder the bible says that Jesus humbled himself to face the shame on the cross because of the glory before him.

My duty this morning is simple. If you are a child of God and you feel that your story has been dead-ended, lookup and look ahead and see the glory before you. You are not looking ahead to see the battles ahead because you are expected to stand still to see the salvation of the Lord. You are to look ahead to see a glorious end because that is the kind of story the author and finisher of your faith writes.

Know it this day that the Lord God Almighty is with you and he has not finished with your story.

Amen.

OPPORTUNITY

It is like automatic windows opening and closing at different points and at different times in life’s continuum. The prepared jumps in while the unprepared misses it. The good thing is that different opportunities keep opening and closing at different times. The colour of opportunity is the colour of a person’s life purpose. It becomes easier to recognise what an opportunity is if we first define what we are ready to live for.

STILL ON MY FARM PALLIATIVE SUGGESTIONS: EMPOWER AGRICULTURE NOW OR CITIZENS WILL FACE SEVERE HUNGER LATER.

It is a disaster in the making to lockdown everyone inside the house without a sustainable plan. No amount of palliative can satisfy everyone. Palliatives are not permanent.

Why am I hammering on the farm palliative?

Many Nigerians engage in subsistent farming. This means that they employ few labourers and the rest of the workforce is household.

It is more sustainable to help people to be self-sufficient by growing food now for the next harvest since it is likely that there may be economic depression post-COVID-19 according to experts. It is likely that there are crops already due for harvest. Therefore, food security should become a matter of national strategy in developing countries such as Nigeria. States should also consider food security as a top priority.

Now, what are the chances of farmers who do not visit the same farm infecting one another? The risks of transmission are minimal and could reduce with proper education/awareness.

These are my suggestions:

  1. Farmers should be orientated to see themselves as critical agents in fighting post-COVID-19 warfare. I sincerely praise Nigerian medical practitioners in the frontline of winning the war against COVID-19 pandemic. The next set of people we need to prepare to serve the nation are the farmers. If we don’t have money to import food and we don’t have food stored/or ready in the farm, that is famine.
  2. I expect state governments to make use of the local vigilante groups to ensure that farmers stay safe in farms. The recent security creations such as Amotekun should be deployed now. What we see these days are people being bullied for disobeying COVID-19 laws. Can the same security protect the Agric sector?
  3. I think the COVID-19 laws should be amended to include food security. There is no social security package in Nigeria. My interpretation is that the best social security Nigeria can think of now is helping its citizens to grow food to eat and sell to each other.
  4. I make this assertion because Nigeria can not approach COVID-19 like the developed countries. I have always maintained this. Professor Chukwuma Soludo’s recent article in Premium Times elucidated this reality. The critical question government should be asking is what they can do for citizens to support themselves without the risk of increasing new cases of infection. Farming should be one of them.
  5. On a general note, governments should start planning ahead. Gather multidisciplinary and multi-sectoral teams and give them data and other inputs to start simulating how you might respond post-COVID-19. Models are predictive and could be useful. The time for evidence based decisions will soon be required to replace the current copycat approach which is not sustainable.

I hope that COVID-19 elicits new commitments from our politicians to build our institutions. Even the world can never return to business as usual post-COVID-19.

RELIABLE GOD

RELIABLE God, you have never failed me. Even when men’s wall around me collapsed, yours were still standing as a hedge around me.

I will tell it on the mountains; I will shout it in the valleys that your reliability is steadfast.

You do what no man can do and you do them consistently. You show your ways and leave the trustworthy trails of your acts.

What a mighty God I serve, He looks beyond the frailties of man and endow in men His Spirit. It is a good thing to know the Lord, to earn a peep into the makings behind all that spells mortality.

Oh reliable God, you are to me.

Destiny. Ndibe. March 31, 2016. 3:32am.