By Tersoo Achineku
To say that Nigeria is a failed experiment would be too harsh as despite the humongous problems our nation faces daily there is still progress undoubtedly. If you want to argue, be my guest but the simple show of solidarity by a nation to come together and kick out the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2015 elections shows that we are indeed moving forward. However, there is one loophole that needs to be plugged, and that loophole is staring right down on us.
I’m no atheist, hard to believe huh? But seriously, I am neither a racist bastard nor an atheist. I love black people, and I love God, but unfortunately, the two don’t mix and you have to admit, God and black people can never mix, until a spiritual restraining order is slapped on the Dark Continent.
Before delving into the reason why our dear country doesn’t need God, let’s take a quick detour into the path of India. India is a blessed country, with blessed people who have a wonderful cultural and religious diversity and is similar to Nigeria in a thousand and one ways. India got their independence a meager 13 years before our beloved country but let’s face it, in 13 years, Nigeria won’t even be able to surpass the toilet standards of India let alone their economical prowess. What is the reason, you might ask? God.
The British colonized both India and Nigeria and we all know that the British brought two things during their colonial era, technology and God. When India got its independence from Britain in August 15, 1947, they stuck with the British technology and still had time for religion and today they are one of the world’s leaders. But when Nigeria stupidly pushed for independence (when it was crystal clear that we weren’t ripe enough for it) we stuck with the British God and look where it got us. Most people argue that Nigeria’s problem is the vastness of the nation, I mean; we are the largest black nation in the world right? Well here’s the thing: India is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world. How about that for size? The Indian economy is the world’s tenth-largest by nominal GDP. India is a nuclear weapons state and a regional power; it has the third-largest standing army in the world and ranks ninth in military expenditure among nations. India is a federal constitutional republic governed under a parliamentary system consisting of 29 states and 7 union territories running a parliamentary system governed under a constitution. India is a pluralistic, multilingual, and a multi-ethnic society with over 2000 ethnic groups.
With all of the above, I guess it is safe to say that Nigeria and India are like twins from different continents. What differs in the two countries is the black nation’s addiction to God, so much that the term common sense is thrown down the offering bag. The average Nigerian doesn’t believe in anything else than God. He believes that his waking up, his breathing and his survival lies in the hands of the creator, and contrary to most beliefs, that isn’t always the case. I know this might sound a tad pagan but the truth is that God doesn’t, let me use the word, give a damn about how many times you pray or fast, as long as we’re still being fools, Nigeria isn’t going anywhere.
The bible tells the story of Mary Magdalene, a young woman who upon seeing the Jesus in her house, decided to give reverence to the King of Kings by washing his feet with perfume. What did Judas say? He argued that she should have sold the perfume and given it to the church rather and Jesus replied that what she did wasn’t wrong, I mean how many times was Jesus shown that kind of gesture in the bible? See that’s the major problem with Nigeria, we think we can chase off anything with a stash of offering, prayer or tithe. An unemployed Nigerian youth with a secondary school certificate would rather fast and scream at the top of his voice in prayer for a job at Chevron than actually getting a degree in the University. How many white people scream and shout in prayer? Are there not still white men in heaven? When we face reality, it is then that we actually learn. Take for instance the case of the Chibok girls. When the girls got kidnapped what did the nation do first? Pray. I sit down at times and imagine Obama calling a prayer session when 200 kids are kidnapped by the Al Qaeda; he’ll be taken out by a sniper, and fast too.
That’s the problem!!! We don’t want to face reality here in Nigeria. On Sunday the churches are pack full with a lot of hopeless people (forgive my choice of words) who aren’t ready to work. The few people who are successful Christians in the country are those who have managed to balance their spiritual with the physical, those who pray to work and actually go to work; those who are fully focused on the target than putting all their hope on a ‘helper’ that God will send. For crying out loud, this isn’t the time of Abraham! The economy has lagged because the amount of people working is smaller than the amount of people who are playing ‘faith’ with their business. Everyone claims to fear God and revere him to the point that they have prayer sessions a night before they loot billions of Naira.
As if this isn’t enough, the pastors in Nigeria aren’t helping matters. It might be a shock to you but of the ten richest pastors in the world, five are Nigerians. Now people, there’s the punch line. The entire population is engrossed with religion and the pastors are fueling it. I always say something, if Jesus were to be alive by today; he would have gone James Bond on so many churches. In the bible, all the people did was sell a few birds in the Temple and Jesus fell on them like Kamikaze. Today, adverts are done in the church, anointing oil, ‘Miracle Water’, special ointments and even broomsticks are sold in the church, pastors beat their congregation and torch them when the pain isn’t enough (See Reverend King for reference).
Pastors extort millions from poor people in the name of tithes and offering and build schools so expensive, the members can’t even afford the scholarship. The religious scene in the country is so messed up because the country depends on God so much and the wolves have taken advantage of this. If you think I am talking rubbish go outside and count the number of churches on your street. It’s embarrassing. The church when formed was simply a place where Christians gather for encouragement and help, even then, the church wasn’t led by only one person, it was more like a brotherhood. But in Nigeria today, the church business has turned into a one man show where one human being is the pastor, evangelist, prophet, counselor, accountant, overseer, general overseer, assistant deputy vice overseer. The bible has tried in its own way to get Nigerians off its back, and here are a few verses. God wasn’t mincing words when he proclaimed ‘Let us make man in our own image’. If you do not understand that simple sentence, well here’s a breather. You and God have the same blueprints! The same structure, the same IMAGE! So in other words, you have the same traits as God. Then why do you saunter to the church the moment you have a buffet in your dreams. Why do you run to the church when the trials of life hit you? Look, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t go to the church, but face it, you have the power! You can decide if you will let that problem pull you down. And if you can’t solve that part, then God can do nothing for you, sorry. No matter how many revivals, camps, transformation services or deliverance you attend, you are going nowhere. See that’s the truth most pastors aren’t willing to tell. They’d rather cook up service after service with corny themes like Marriage by Force and sell unorthodox religious fetish that only cause more problem. They would rather tell you that your problem is in the village. They would rather tell you to give generously to the Lord in order to receive bountifully. They would rather tell you that your placenta was buried by an old woman during your birth. And unfortunately, even the literate are caught up in this web. Millions of Naira are doled out yearly to churches in the name of donations for solving problems, problems that would have been solved with a sincere prayer and a small dose of common sense.
Look, all I am saying here is simple. Let us give God a break. The issue of religion is now an over flogged horse that animal rights need to intervene. I think it is high time Nigeria left God alone and faced our troubles head on. It’s time to forsake going for deliverance over and over and it is time to unite and save our country. How, one might ask, can we save our nation from the religious scourge it faces now? The answer is simple. We need to face reality. We don’t need God anymore! He’s already done his best and now it’s up to us to complete the job.
We need to realize that prayer only works when there’s an implementation plan. We all pray that God saves our nation from terrorism. But most people are eager to buy fuel when it’s time to lynch a thief. We all pray that God saves our country from poverty but you spend thousands of Naira in the club but turn a blind eye when that child comes to beg during a traffic jam. We all pray that God saves from country from corruption. In churches, mosques, everywhere, the main topic of prayer is corruption and how to weed it out. But it is in the same church environment that 5 Nigerian pastors are millionaires. If a said pastor is worth over 150million Dollars, then we have a problem my people. Jesus, as influential as he was never took money from anyone. Yet we see our pastors owning private jets, living in ridiculous mansions, and even recently divorcing. It is sad to say but before we decide to leave God alone, we need to open our eyes and see the light, and in my bible, Peter, Paul and even 12 pieces Judas never owned anything while walking with the Lord. Muslims have it easy. Their clerics aren’t extravagant and all but the Christian leaders have turned the church into a market place. I am not saying that we shouldn’t pray to anyone anymore or go to any church again, but let’s face it, corruption starts right from the church. We as Nigerians want corruption to be weeded out but how many of us are actually working on making it possible? In offices today, bosses sleep with lower colleagues, bribery is very active and the activities of the day has turned into a scratch-my-ass-I-scratch- yours situation. In schools, JAMB, NECO, GCE and the likes are failed every year with figures threatening to turn Nigeria into the Land of The Dumb. What is scary is that behind the failures, money had changed hands for leaked answers. So I ask you my people, if at that level, there is corruption, then why won’t there be in the higher places? We all pray for peace yet we are quick to fight when Chelsea are shown the exit door during the Champions League. We all pray, that’s the disappointing truth, but how many of us are working to make sure the prayers are heard?
Tersoo Achineku is a sarcastic writer who loves to say his mind, regardless of what lawsuit it’ll invite. You can follow him on twitter @AchinekuTersoo