An unnamed pastor visited former President Goodluck Jonathan and asked him to pull down the “altar of Baal” in his government — but left disappointed with the response he got.
The “altar of Baal”, in biblical terms, could refer to ungodly pursuits or baggage that can hinder the presence of God in a person’s life.
But Jonathan could not or did not decode the message and wondered what “shrines” he had built, leaving the man of God frustrated.
This happened before Jonathan unsuccessfully sought a second term in 2015, according to a new book, ‘On a Platter of Gold: How Jonathan Won and Lost Nigeria’, written by Bolaji Abdullahi — who served as a minister under Jonathan from 2011-2014
In the advance copy, Abdullahi described the dramatic encounter between Jonathan and the pastor.
He wrote: “One day, a man of God went to see President Jonathan. God had sent him to minister to the president, he said. He opened to the book of Judges and read to him from 6:11. The president followed from his own copy of the Bible.
…That night the Lord said to him (Gideon), “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the Lord your God on top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order…
“‘Mr. President, God has put you here for a purpose. But you cannot fulfill the purpose, unless you “pull down the altar of Baal” around you first. There are some things you need to deal with before you can achieve your vision for Nigeria,’ the man of God concluded.
“Jonathan agreed. He had also never ceased to wonder at his own incredible story. How from a humble lecturer, he became a deputy governor and then governor. Without having to move a muscle, he became vice president and then the president of the most powerful black nation on earth. Within a decade, he had come a long way in such a short time. ‘You are right. Even me I know. But I don’t know what shrine God wants me to demolish,’ he said.
“The man of God closed his Bible and stood up. He had been a little taken aback by Jonathan’s code switching. He was talking about altar; the president was talking about shrine. ‘Mr. President, if you still don’t know what altar to pull down, then you need to ask God.'”
Abdullahi said what Jonathan did next might never be known, but concluded that the “altars of Baal” metaphor was apparently a reference to the perceived corruption in the administration.
“We may never know if President Jonathan spoke to God as advised, and if indeed God told him what to do. But as the Archbishop of Canterbury Walter Reynolds preached in 1327, ‘Vox populi, vox Dei’. Almost all through his tenure, Nigerians had made it known, loud and clear, which altar they wanted him to pull down – the altar of corruption,” Abdullahi wrote.
The book will go on sale nationwide from November 30, 2017 after the launch.
Abdullahi is currently the national publicity secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).