Friday, August 9, 2019

the peculiarities of Nigerian Christianity
Here is what you need to know when you wake up to the shocking realization that you've been labelled a witch by someone dear to your heart.

Madam Jaquel, a Christian woman who has slaved through the stinging smoke of burning firewood while frying akara to earn a living and send her children to school has just encountered how the Nigerian brand of Christianity changes the dynamic in relationships.

Madam Jaquel is just coming to know that her married daughter, Kosolu, has given birth to a child, three days after the delivery. Kosolu in the course of her pregnancy was unwilling to disclose the month her baby would arrive and told no one in her family when she went into labour. Only after the baby had arrived and she was discharged from the hospital and well settled in her home did she share the news of the birth with her parents and siblings. When Madam Jaquel asks Kosolu the reason for such behavior, Kosolu says in Igbo, "O ka m wee muo n'udo—so I can give birth to my child in peace!"

And in that instant, it all comes together, the blur of confusion begins to fade and Madam Jaquel sees things for what they really are. Madam Jaquel is roughly jarred to the realization that to her daughter, she has become a different person. She has become a person free from the ties of a blood relationship, free from the familial duty to love and protect her own. She has become a person who can imagine harm and devise evil against her own. Madam Jaquel soon sees herself through the eyes of her daughter. She has become a witch, in the eyes of Kosolu, a daughter who once nursed at her breasts and did not gag on the milk, whose intestines did not churn and twist in revolt to her mammary love—the only poison her milk contained.

In the uncanny equation where a mother suddenly becomes a witch who cannibalizes on the happiness of her young, lies the balancing element—a Man of God. When someone begins to act out in an unfamiliar fashion, the Igbo have an expression for it. They say such a person is dancing to the beat of a drummer. Here the drummer is the "Man of God."

The manner in which events are weaved may differ but the principle is always the same. It starts with a divining, a poking through the layers of one's past and a seeing of impending danger. At this point, when a person's past is so dramatically unraveled, the well-buried intimate details of one's life exhumed, the ground is prepared and such a person has no choice but to believe whatever the "Man of God" says, if even if he claims that such a person's mother is a witch.

These "Men of God" are self-assured people whose confidence in their supernatural ability to peel open the past and the future tapers on the periphery of a god complex. They have come to enjoy and expect the cowering of people—the way people swallow up their words as though they were morsels of divine candy, the way people singularly followed their instructions, determined and unthinking, as though overcome by a sense of mindlessness and of course, the presentation of money to them by people seeking a blessing, seeking to, in their own words, "connect to the grace in the Man of God's life."

In the progression of events that led to Madam Jaquel becoming a witch to her daughter Kosolu, lies the defining moment, which probably was a church meeting. The atmosphere was probably charged with the electrifying sound of the keyboard. Hands were probably raised and people probably toppled and fell.  And the "Man of God" plugged into his soothsaying elements must have begun to see things for the people, to astound them by digging through the many crusts of their pasts and parting through thick veils to see into their future.

He probably stood before Kosolu, not really seeing her face but beholding reams and reams of her life, knowing things he would not ordinarily know without the metaphysical plug-in.

Hmmm… Pregnant woman… Kosolu. Kosolu.. I hear Kosolu in the spirit…

A dramatic shrill from Kosolu. Yes! Man of God. That's my name.

The ushers with a grave seriousness smeared on their faces probably positioned themselves on the left and the right, expecting a caving of knees, a falling.

Jaquel. Jaquel.. Madam Jaquel… I see a woman in the spirit. Who is Madam Jaquel to you, young woman?

A look of astonishment would spread rapidly over Kosolu's face. That's my mother. Madam Jaquel is my mother. Oh, Man of God!

He would then fix his gaze on the Kosolu's abdomen, peering intently at the roundness of her gravid belly, as though watching her foetus swirl in the thin-walled sac of amniotic fluid.

You are carrying a boy. He is a child of destiny. But your enemies are out to thwart this pregnancy. A man's enemies are the members of his own household (A misconstrued Bible verse). Beware of Jaquel. I hear that word in my spirit.

Kosolu's face would, of course, crumple in bewilderment.

Yes, Man of God. Thank you Man of God!

The "Man of God" would probably blow into her face, bits of his saliva descending on Kosolu's face, warm on her skin, and then she would probably backstep as though losing her balance and the ever ready ushers would swing into action, to catch her, to keep her from coming to harm.

Her scans would have shown the gender of her baby: a boy. The seeing of the "Man of God" corresponded with the reality of her life except on one issue—the witchcraft of her mother. She had never had reason to think of her mother as a witch. It had never occurred to her that her mother was capable of hurting her. But she would believe the "Man of God." She would gape and scream and then swallow the words of the "Man of God"—words that become, for her, divine prophylactic pills to keep her from coming under the viral attack of her mother's supposed witchcraft.

And so with the seeing and speaking of the "Man of God," Madam Jaquel is transformed from a loving mother who once enjoyed the warmth and friendship of her daughter to a woman who preys on her child's joy. A woman to be avoided.

Point number one in determining if a family member or friend is about to label you a witch—an enemy of progress: Find out who is the person's "Man of God." If your family member or friend speaks glowingly about the foretelling prowess of a "Man of God", if they say "Pastor m na hu uzo—my Pastor sees things" with the offhand confidence of one who has entrusted and left all spiritual responsibility to a "Man of God," then you should probably prepare to be labelled a witch or an enemy of progress.

Point number two: If your family member or friend who naturally thinks objectively and is not given to sentimental judgments begins to strongly oppose reasonable discourse and spice conversations with the words "enemies," "frenemies," "haters," "back-stabbers," "unfriendly friends," "adversaries," or any other associated word that tells you that they are on a defensive against hostility, you probably should be worried because you might soon be labelled with one of those words that embody hostility.

Point number three: If your family member or friend just cuts you off, without an argument or a fight, and if such person is going through tough times or is on the verge of having something really joyful happen for them, there are two things you should know. If they are going through a rough patch in their lives and have become fixated on seeing "Men of God" for solutions and attending prayer houses on Monday mornings, they probably have been told that you have a hand in their hardship. And if they are expecting some good news and suddenly cut you off, they probably have been told that you are an enemy of progress on a mission to massacre their happiness.
So dear perplexed people, run through the points and determine if anyone you know has bundled you into a drab box that reads "Enemies of progress ONLY."

You may also like this post: Shit happens:Why we are a nation of remorseless open 'defecators'.


  1. Intelligently written
    You haven't yet cracked what God has prepared for you
    This is just the starting point
    Keep soaring

  2. Wow. Thank you very much for reading and leaving feedback.

  3. Fantastic article. I really appreciate this. Keep it up


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