Sterling Bank’s Easter message to Christians has continued to generate more outrage many hours after. The message which compared Jesus Christ to Agege bread, has left many wondering if the bank’s managing director, Abubakar Suleiman, who is of Muslim faith, would have tolerated such a joke if told about Prophet Mohammed (PBUH).
This is even as the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), has vowed to sanction Sterling Bank over the ‘distasteful’ Easter message.
Recall that Sterling Bank had in the controversial message, said that Christ had risen, just like Agege bread, an attempt to draw an analogy between the resurrection of Christ which Christians celebrate on Easter Day, and the rising of bread when subjected to heat.
Agege bread’ is one of the most popular Nigerian homemade breads, known for its puffy, soft, stretchy and chewy texture. It’s a slightly sweet white loaf, usually unsliced, oblong and baked in a tin, whose defining characteristic is that it’s fabulously soft and fluffy.
The bread is called Agege bread because it originated from a suburb in Lagos called Agege. Despite its sweetness, it’s alleged that the bread is not healthy for eating due to some ingredients used in its production.
According to Christian doctrine, Easter marks the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and his ascension into heaven. In essence, the bank was trying to depict that Jesus Christ rose like ‘Agege bread’ that are puffy.
The comparison, which triggered a wave of condemnation from Nigerians, had forced the bank to tender a sort of apology, asking, in reference to the Bible, that let he who never sinned cast the first stone.
However, the apology failed to assuage many who insisted that it was done halfheartedly, even as several commentators argue that the message was done in bad faith.
“How can you compare the rising of Jesus Christ with the rising of Agege bread?😡 is this a joke or what?” wrote @Airsae on Twitter. “Sterling bank, O wrong now!”
On his part, Omatsuli Oyekan, a member of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), wondered if the bank’s MD, Suleiman would joke with the Muslim prophet in the same manner.
“The agency that developed it is insane, the corporate comms person is equally mad and the MD is crazy. Can Sterling MD, Abubakar Suleiman joke with his Prophet Mohammed?” fumed Oyekan,
“They can never joke with their Mohammed like this, war will break out. Don’t give what you can’t take. It’s annoying.”
Also reacting to the message, David Oloyede, noted that “the agency that developed it is insane, the corporate comms person is equally mad and the MD is crazy. They can never joke with their Mohammed like this, war will break out.
“Don’t give what you can’t take. It’s annoying.”
Also condemning the message, another twitter user, The Revolutionary Seeker, @The_Seeker76, called for sanctions to be meted out to the bank.
“There must be a consequence for STUPIDITY & INSENSITIVITY,” he said. “@Sterling_Bankng MUST take disciplinary steps against all those involved in this unwarranted, public insult to the Christian Faith and it’s billions if followers.
“This is totally UNACCEPTABLE.”
A user equally alleged that the bank’s action may be because its MD is a Muslim.
“Is it because your MD, Abubakar Suleiman is a Muslim and you think you can humiliate Christians? Shameless and useless bank. All Christians must boycott this bank,” the user tweeted.
Another user, LaWreNce Karka, @karka_lawrence, said “Dear Sterling Bank, Your Easter message is really in bad taste. It is disingenuous and ludicrously mischievous.. You can do better.”
Meanwhile, as outrage grew on over the message, shared another post asking, in reference to the Bible, that “let he who never sinned cast the first stone.”