These are not the best of times for Chris Okotie, pastor and head, Household of God. Since he announced his separation from his second wife, Stephanie two weeks ago, many Lagosians have been wondering whether it was proper for the man of God to divorce his wife, an action many described as unbiblical. They also pointed out that his marriage to Stephanie was the second as his first marriage to Tyna, also ended in divorce after 17 years of marriage without a child.
Expectedly, Okotie’s failed second marriage has been more controversial given the way it was contracted with Stephanie, a mother of three from different men and the subsequent break up.
The marriage ab-initio generated a lot of controversy with many people saying he should not have remarried after his first marriage to Tyna hit the rock in accordance with biblical principle but he quickly debunked such talks then, saying that his critics do not understand the word of God.
Okotie, many people said, should not have even tie the knot with Stephanie who was once married to his friend. Okotie in most of his sermons said the second marriage would be the last and that it had already been revealed to him that Stephanie would give birth to twins for him.
But all that is now history as the marriage is over with most of his church members bewildered and in a state of shock.
The pastor according to a source said the marriage has been having cracks in the past two years believing that things would get better until the man in the centre of the drama finally broke the news.
However, for those who might be wondering why the marriage crashed like badly arranged pack of cards, a reliable source told LEADERSHIP that Stephanie was alleged to be having spiritual problems which Pastor Chris, could no longer cope with.
As the alleged spiritual problems become mysteries to be unravelled, Stephanie was said to have moved back to Marwa Gardens, a highbrow area in Ikeja area of Lagos where she lived before the marriage.
“She did not pack out completely because her siblings and children stayed behind when she got married to Pastor Chris. “They dated for 10 years and married for four years, is it now that he’s aware of her spiritual problems? There is more to that, and probably because she could not give him a child after four years of marriage,” another source said.
Spiritual problem or not, many are of the view that he should not have sent her packing. Some people, especially the Christians condemned it on the ground that apart from being against the ethics of the religion to divorce a wife at will, the pastor announced it on the altar.
According to Ladele Bisi, “This is really disheartening,” wondering why the pastor had to announce the breakup on the altar.
“I am not trying to judge him because the Bible says I shouldn’t. But I would just say that he doesn’t seem to have the fruits of the spirit which is long suffering. What could be the issue that was so irreconcilable that led to the break up?” she added.
A clergyman, Reverend Godwin Ogbewekon of the Mekadishkem Ministry said, “God hates divorce. It is wrong in the light of God’s word.”
For Michael Adedapo the breakup raises question about Okotie’s ambition to become Nigeria’s president, pointing out that, “If he cannot manage a mere woman, how can he preside over a country?”
According to him, “He said he married her for her beauty. So what do you expect? This is not an encouraging way to lead in church. How would he counsel people with marital problems?”
Abdulkareem Shauibu who saw it from a different perspective argued, “If a man says he is no longer marrying a woman again what is wrong with that. He is the one that married her before and now came out and say we can no-longer be together I don’t think he should be crucified.”
Another resident of Lagos who identified himself as Samson opined that by divorcing his second wife, Reverend Okotie has not set a good example for those looking up to him, saying the preacher is not qualified to be a worker in any church, much more a pastor.
Mrs. Agnes Amazu blamed the development on lack of biblical understanding of the Book of Revelations which the pastor teaches.
Amazu said “Those things that he teaches his congregation are heretical, without any biblical foundation. That he speaks grammar that the congregation need to look up in the dictionary is not evidence that he is teaching any biblical truth.
“Rather, it is evidence that his teachings have no biblical foundation so he needed to confuse the people. Jesus preached in the language of the people such that even unlearned Peter and John understood the message and the message transformed their lives from fishermen to fishers of men”.
As the general public continues to beam their searchlights on the pastor, Okotie has informed his congregation that he is set to remarry another of his heartthrob by December this year.
According to him, the decision to remarry another wife became necessary because it is not good for man to be alone, quoting from the book of Genesis to support his stand.
Born June 16, 1958 to Francis Idje and Cecilia Okotie, he has always been in the news since he left his home town in Ethiope –West, Delta State to Lagos with a resolve to stimulate the nation’s emerging music industry then and he succeeded in taking the music industry by storm.
His claim to fame stepped up when he joined partisan politics, seeking to become the president of the country under a party he formed – Fresh Democratic Party (FDP).
As a politician, he served mostly as an entertainer, with his lofty and grandiloquent English at party conventions and campaigns, a trait that earned him as much laughter as well as applause.
Although he has never made an appreciable showing in the three presidential elections he had contested, his party (the FDP) won a seat in the Delta State House of Assembly a few years ago.
But to say this is a trying moment for the man who also bagged a degree in Law at the University of Nsuka will be restating the obvious. From failed political ambition of becoming the president of the country he has come under fresh challenge of a failed second marriage.
In spite of the flaws in his personal life, pastor Okotie is one man who is given back to the society.
His regard for excellence spurred him to institute the annual Kris Okotie award to reward citizens of the country who selflessly contributed immensely to nation building.