BY: Dan Phale*
Sometimes when you look at a tortoise you are likely to mistake it for a stone… These words “Tortoise is like a stone” were once part of the song words in a song done by the then popular local musician, Ben Michael, now the traditional chief.
Last week a pastor for a certain church in our area was apprehended for allegedly having forged official documents which are in respect of some projects being undertaken by the local authorities… And on Friday, he was taken to the Magistrate Court of law for the inception of the legal proceedings. With all the exceptional and extraordinary interest generated in the society by the case, most of his church members and all other people crowded the Court chamber in order to witness the proceedings. The most notable figure of all was another self ordained prophet who had been seen talking with the lawyer before getting inside the chamber.
“Having heard the Court’s reading of such particulars of the offence as averred by the State on the charge sheet, how do you plead?” the Court asked.
“Your worship, I‘m denying the charge,” the so-called man of God responded.
Then the prosecutor made an opening address. This was followed by that of a man in black suit who stood up and introduced himself to the Court of law as a lawyer to represent the accused person… But immediately before the lawyer’s address came to an end, the gallery went abuzz with murmuring. “How can a man of God rely on an earthly lawyer to represent him in court when he preaches that Jesus is the lawyer of all lawyers…?” The proceedings nearly got disrupted before a court Marshal strongly cautioned them to desist from making noise or risk being charged with being in contempt with the Court.
It is worth mentioning that as a general understanding of the people, it was expected that the pastor, Reverend Stephen – whose real name initially was Buffalo Buffalo – would always lean upon God as he has often preferred himself to be called “Man of God” both when preaching and when chatting with others… In fact Buffalo Buffalo had chosen Stephen as his spiritual godfather in his pastoral work… As per the bible, Stephen was stoned to death merely because of sticking to the truth according to God’s word.
But contrary to such a great expectation, people became hugely perplexed when they noticed that the so–called Man of God resorted to relying on somebody who practices law in earthly courts. To one and all, this is an hypocritical jigsaw puzzle because even the street wisdom can confirm that those who spread the word of God must live up to their own preachings.
When order was restored in the gallery, the pastor’s lawyer – Counsel Collins – continued with submissions. He pleaded with the Court to consider releasing his client on bail. And at the end of an inter partes hearing, the bail application was indeed granted. Finally, after all the formalities were done, Pastor Stephen was released on bail, as a matter of constitutional right.
Outside the chamber, Pastor Stephen raised his arms to the sky, and said, “thank you God” before everybody burst into giggling… Well, could it be proper to say that God had sent the lawyer to help him get out of the custody of the State on bail…? OR, is it an irony to suggest that a pastor or a prophet should be the one to guide a lawyer?
Meanwhile, most of the pastor’s church members are at the sixes and sevens. They don’t know whether it is true that faith in God is key to success in everything. Furthermore, they have lost trust in their pastor. In fact, the pastor’s name has now become a topical subject of gossip among many people. According to them, if he really did not commit this offence he would rather leave the case in the Almighty God’s hands than depending on a mere mortal. As such it is yet to be seen whether they will continue following him.