THE PLEASURES OF BEING RELIGIOUS

I was scanning through twitter on a fateful day, a particular account known as “uberfact” tweeted that “an average Nigerian has electricity for only 46 minutes in 24hrs”. An aggrieved twitter user or tweep as twitter pundits like to call it replied “this is why I hate this uberfact nonsense, how can you say that a country which is the 6th largest producer of oil 

in the world has 46minutes power supply for her citizens”. Apparently, he is not a Nigerian; from his name I could deduce that he is from somewhere in Asia. As a Nigerian I wanted to laugh at his ignorance, on a second thought, I decided to hype my country; hence my reply “don’t mind them, I am a Nigerian and that is a lie”. So the guy asked me if we have constant electricity. I replied him saying of course we have uninterrupted power supply 24/7. He said he wondered how it was possible that an oil giant cannot provide ordinary electricity for her citizenry. If only this was impossible in this clime. Impossibilities elsewhere are possibilities right here. I told my twitter follower what he wanted to hear, what made sense to him. This is exactly what transpires in most religious centres.

Nigeria like every other developing country is a viable market for prosperity preachers. The hardship in the land is tremendous. Everybody is looking for who or what to blame for this misfortune. Life as we have it is already difficult, nobody wants to hear stories.

As an intuitive entrepreneur, you have to identify needs and problems around your environment and proffer solutions. Everybody is looking for miracle centres, where lies solutions to their problems. Against this backdrop, prosperity preachers started springing up, speaking the language of the needy. After all, the bible said “let the weak say I am strong, let the poor say I am rich”. I do not know where exactly this is, but I am sure it is somewhere there. The preachers hijacked the situation to suit their whims and caprices. People started trooping in, old generation churches started losing members-they didn’t follow the trend. Pastors started making money, the more the worshippers, the more the lies, the more emphasis on tithe and the more money for them GOs.

Salvation is supposed to be the focus. God is supposed to be the topic sentence. Heaven is supposed to be the target but the smart ones have taken advantage of the peoples’ vulnerability to enrich themselves. They make headlines not as a result of their spirituality but because of their wonders-on-wheels automobiles, parties in UAE, private jets, etcetera. who says our God is a poor God. No way! The richer they become the more impoverished their followers become; but they keep listening and believing in their pastors. When it seems like they are going to lose it, they are blackmailed with “little faith”. Even Jesus accused his disciples of having little faith ‘O ye men of little faith”. So our dear pastors readily use this as an alibi. I wonder how they read their holy books. Jesus according to the bible gave his followers spiritual and physical food. Cured sicknesses, cast out demons. He never asked his followers for material things. The ones with little faith, He still saved them. Our pastors are guilty of not just having little faith but having no faith at all, because Jesus said with faith as little as mustard seed you can move mountains. But our pastors cannot cure ordinary catarrh or help cast out corruption which is number one demon in Nigeria. They beg, cajole, coerce, and influence their members for financial gains. They only extort and never give anything in return. When they build schools, the poor cannot afford it, and part of the money used in building these schools came from the poor. This is not fair. Our pastors hate hardship. Even hardship in marriage they cannot endure; immediately, they head for the exits. They divorce their spouses when things go wrong and their members make excuses for them, even the learned ones. What a shame! They tell you they are men of God and should not be criticised. Quickly they say, touch not my anointed… you don’t need binoculars to identify an anointed man of God. “By their fruits we shall know them”—those are not my words.

A pastor once said that if you are not rich in Nigeria, it is entirely your fault because there is a million and one thing to do and make money, of which pastoring is one of them. There are more churches and mosques in Nigeria than there are industries. Pastors preach and preach, Muslims and Christians pray and fast but we are not moving forward, we are not developed. Inflation rate is 16.5%, unemployment rate is 12.1% according to National Bureau of Statistics. We are not top 20 in world economy. Apparently, we are doing the wrong thing. We are more religious than we are reasonable; we are more religious than we are visionary, we are more religious than we are righteous.

I read the other time that a Tanzanian pastor stands on the back of his members to preach to them. His legs cannot touch the floor. This is the extent to which pastors deceive people. If only we have basic amenities, maybe, just maybe, people will not be this vulnerable.

Churches should tar roads, send destitute to school, contribute to their country’s GDP, provide potable water, build hospitals, set out money for scientific research, build housing units, help the government to make life better for the people. Not every time, telling members to sow a seed but cannot lead by example.