“I’m Not Ashamed to Own a Plane” – Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor speaks on Private Jet AcquisitionPosted on Sunday, November 25th, 2012 at 2:20 PM
By Adeola Adeyemo
In the wake of the donation of a private jet to Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor by members of his church – Word of Life Bible Church, Delta state, there has been a slew of criticism from other religious leaders and Christians.
Many have criticized the Pastor saying the acquisition of such an expensive item is an exploitation of members of his church. Since the criticisms started, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Pastor Oritsejafor, had not given any response. However, he broke his silence in an interview with Vanguard speaking about the private jet.
He narrated some difficult experiences he’d had when he travelled to preach the gospel further justifying the importance of the private jet.
“You may have heard me speak about my trip to Indonesia, to Jakarta. In fact, it wasn’t even Jakarta I was going to, but I had to stay inside an airport in Jakarta for five hours to wait for my flight, to get to the very city I was going. I was only going to preach for two hours there. I flew from Lagos to Dubai and I spent over three hours, changed flight to fly to Jakarta and then stayed five hours at the airport just to catch a flight to where I was going to, where I was to preach for just two hours.
“And after everything, I got a flight from that place again to Jakarta, stayed at the airport again for another five hours, then flew into Dubai, stayed again at the airport for another three hours before I flew into Lagos. It took me four days to make a journey to preach for two hours. I’m a human being and I am not getting younger every day.
“And locally, it is worse, for instance, the acting General Secretary of CAN lost his father in a place outside Uyo, Akwa Ibom State and I had to be there. I preached in a place in Lagos on a Friday and needed to be back to Warri on a Saturday, but at the end of the day, the plane that would have taken me was no where.
“I had to charter a plane for N3.5 million to take me to Uyo, waited for me to finish and then take me back to Warri. Two weeks ago, a young pastor in Port Harcourt built a new church and had been on me all this while to come and dedicate the church and suddenly from no where, there was this flood that cut off the road to Port Harcourt.
“There is no road now to Port Harcourt. If you want to go by road now, it takes you up to 12 hours to get to Port Harcourt and I had to preach in Port Harcourt, I had to preach in Lagos, I had to preach in Abuja and other places. Finally, I was able to find my way to Port Harcourt, it was on a Saturday.
“I had to get to Warri that Saturday so as to be able to preach the next day, Sunday. Do you know what I had to finally do? I chartered a helicopter that cost me N2 million to drop me in Warri. When they dropped me here, ah, I can’t tell you how I felt that I had to part with that sum. But I had promised the young man and the church and if I had said no, will it be right? I can go on and on and on.”
He said he didn’t even know the church members who donated the jet but that they constituted a committee for the purpose and that his wife worked closely with the committee.
According to him, they decided to donate the jet after they became aware of the suffering he was undergoing whenever he travelled in and out of Nigeria to peach the gospel. “They feel the pain I go through and they feel painful for not seeing me most of the time,” he explained. “They don’t like it, they are troubled.”
He concluded by saying the plane was not a luxury but a necessity. “This is my story about the plane. And I’m not ashamed to own a plane, I think it is a necessity and not a luxury for some of us deeply involved in the work of God to own planes.”