Religion and Politics

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Pastors, imams, and other religious leaders, in Nigeria to be exact, must learn the importance of being non-partisan, to begin with. No pastor/imam should be telling you what their favourite political party is, and the side of the spectrum they tend to lean on, asking you to vote for them or anyone they recommend because God has chosen them, or telling you to use your democratic rights in a certain way.

It’d be interesting to see a thesis on politics in Nigeria and how much power and influence the religious leaders have on politics, although it’s very far from being a theocracy. Nigerians generally don’t take things that they are told in the name of religion with a grain of salt; we tend to not be skeptical when words that begin or end with “the Lord said” are said. 

No pastor should tell you what to invest in, what to do with your time, money and body, who to buy foodstuff from, what kind of perfume to use because it’s the kind that they use, whenever they are on or off the pulpit. People shouldn’t state a piece of the Bible or Quran to manipulate you. What they should advise you to do is pray, or pray on your behalf, asking God to lead you to the right answer, and advising you to tap into your own inner intuition and clairvoyance abilities. You are a person of God too, whether or not you were ordained to lead in the affairs of the church, and God can ‘speak’ to you directly. When they however report that God told them certain things, you must be willing to separate the wheat from the tares and engage in critical thinking.

The mediums of any spirit are not a hundred percent infallible. Don’t be fooled or coaxed or scared into doing anything who wouldn’t very willingly do, left to you, in the name of whatever deity you trust your life with.

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Nigeria’s Only Problem

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“Old Oshodi in Lagos” (600×600)  by Ayeola Ayodeji 

What is Nigeria’s Problem?

When you invite a Nigerian to describe what the country’s problem is, get ready to die of boredom, because they’ll go on for too long, in an attempt to describe things that aren’t close to being problems. “Bad roads, bad classrooms, corrupt governments and greedy officials, bad power supply, bad this and bad that, ba—” It’s okay, my brother. Let’s breathe.

Most of us Nigerians don’t even know what Nigeria’s problem is, and that itself is a problem.

Bad roads, bad classrooms, corrupt governments and officials, bad power supply, and whatnot, are not problems. There are bad roads in Northern Canada, and poorly-built houses and classrooms in Flint, Michigan, and bad power supply in Cameroon, and corrupt governments and officials in Russia, Israel and North Korea. Well, they are everywhere, even in the United States- the “most democratic” of them all. The secret handshake deals that take place between and among public and private interests would take more than a fortnight to analyze.

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“Procession” (20 x 16 x 2 inches) by Tunde Afolayan Famous

Bad facilities and all that are mere consequences of Nigeria’s only problem, or second problem, the first being the one aforementioned- Nigeria doesn’t know what its problem is, and that’s a problem.

Nigeria’s only problem is that we Nigerians have a wrong sense of entitlement, and we can be quite aggressive and close-minded, even to change and development. It is not that we sometimes do not set our priorities right, or something else that you probably anticipated, if you did.

By a “wrong sense of entitlement”, what do I mean?

From the mechanic that is willing to beat you up or yell “ashewooooo!” [prostitute!] at you if you refuse to give him your number, to the policemen and soldiers who expect you to treat them like demigods when your paths cross, and offer your sacrifices in naira notes when applicable, to the local and state government officials who find it okay to steal from the people (after all they’re in charge) instead of getting things done with the resources available, to the pastor who deems huge offerings his right, regardless of the means of survival of the donors, because he is God’s mouthpiece, to Alhaji, who doesn’t really care if his car is packed in your driveway or the sound from his speakers is giving you a migraine- you must be Beelzebub’s girlfriend for not liking noise pollution- to Mummy ‘Dekola who deems your business her business and will die of high blood pressure if you don’t kneel before her properly, to our street men and roadside NURTW tax collectors who do not mind breaking windows and removing doors if they do not get a chance to extort drivers, even when the union dues have already been paid, to the drivers who think it’s okay not to pay their union dues, to Yahoo boys and men who think its okay, and even necessary, to make someone else wallow in depression, for their own survival and well-being- the interesting thing is, the rich almost never fall into their traps; it’s people like their own mothers or other members of the working class who do, to everything and anything else you can think of.

Whew! Yes, it really is that stressful- all of it.

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“Fulani Ladies” by Ayeola Ayodeji 

Inadequate infrastructure and corruption and whatnot all lead to the devil itself- having a wrong sense of entitlement. The bloody Nigerian Assembly is a mess for the same reason. Climbing fences. Throwing chairs. A mess.

The interesting this is, a wrong sense of entitlement might develop in someone because someone else has it: “You think it’s your right to block my driveway with your car, and I will show you that I have a right to break your glass.” What does it all result in? A mess.

Unfortunately, a wrong sense of entitlement and the “me first” approach to things is not just a Nigerian problem. It’s the problem of the world. However, in places where it is less dominant in the culture of the society, there have been lots of infrastructural, economic and social success. They are the “better” societies.

Let everyone, that would include me, and you, stop thinking they own or deserve to own the things, or the extra things, that they haven’t worked for and/or simply don’t deserve, and watch the nation, and the world, heal and grow.

It’s okay if my wife doesn’t want to cook today. As the “head of the house”, if the title matters so much to my ego and self-esteem, I should be able to fix something for myself and my family. I am not automatically superior to anyone because I belong to a certain ethnic group. When I use words like “aboki” and “mola” [mallam] or “omo nna” in derogatory ways, I must know that I am wrong. It’s okay if I don’t win someone’s soul to Christ or to Allah; why am I so obsessed with winning it, like a trophy? It’s okay if I don’t get your number; you don’t need to be insulted or disgraced for it. The money in the public purse is not mine, and I don’t deserve more than what my allocated salaries and benefits are.

A reorientation is needed, and I am fully aware that a reorientation is easier said that done, but we can try, at least. We can start from the elementary schools. There should be subjects/courses like Ethics, for instance. I don’t know how algebra has contributed to my existence, in the way that I interact with the world. The schools barely prepare us for the real world; I’ll discuss this some other time.

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These are some of the things that should be considered:

The spirit of volunteerism has to be encouraged among Nigerians, and in the world, to begin with. Also, I don’t know what has happened us-  sympathy and mutual respect melt in online communities and spaces. The wrong sense of entitlement gets worse when you give people Internet privileges.

1. Throw your thrash away properly. It’s not your street, you only live there.

2. Driving is a privilege, not a right. A little patience could save your own life.

3. I don’t deserve every woman and everything because I have a penis. My masculinity is not an egg; it shouldn’t be so fragile.

I’ll leave 4 and 5 and 200 to you to come up with.

Let me know what you think. 

Religion and Class

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We were talking about intersectionality in my class today, and we looked at social locations (like as race/ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, class, sexuality, geography, age, disability/ability, level of education, occupation, migration status and religion) and how they shape the way a person interacts with the world and the way the world interacts with that person.

The reason why many white people go “what the hell are you talking about?” when you tell them that they have white privilege is that they may be disadvantaged in many other ways at the same time. If an able-bodied, straight dark-skinned African woman with a PhD tells a white, differently-abled, lesbian who only has a high school diploma and is working in a factory that she has “privilege”, she might take offence, like “what privilege?” There’s a good chance that the white woman would not be followed around a store or racially profiled by the police, PhD or not. There’s also a good chance that the black woman would be able to attend certain meetings and functions at the University of Toronto that the white woman may never get invitation letters for. 

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The fact remains that a person could be privileged and oppressed at the same time- privileged in some areas and disadvantaged in some- based on the several different social locations that they fall into. I didn’t choose to be black and you didn’t choose to be white. It would be very wrong to guilt trip you based on your race, and if I say that H&M is terrible when it comes to hiring, I’d expect you to understand where I’m coming from.

What stood out to me, however, was religion. My mind drifted off and I had to try to bring myself back to the setting because I focused on it intensely- religion.

If you do not practise Christianity or Islam in Nigeria, you could very well be looked down upon in different social settings, and that is a fact. If it is not Christianity or Islam, it is demonic, and it must be cast and bound. One could wear a hijab or wear a necklace with a cross pendant in most parts of Nigeria without any problem, but as soon as they come out with an opele ifa or wear their ide to main settings, there would be a problem.

With the “you and your generation will go to hell” threats and all sorts of harassment and fuckery, you almost have to hide in a way. I see it now, that religion is very related, not just to culture, but to class, hierarchies and discrimination.

What’s Best?

God will make a weigh,
and sometimes,
as a result of the result,
He may not make a way.

Is God a Man or a Woman?

“If God is a male then the male is God” is the faulty logic that has eaten far into the structure of every society. ‘God’s plan’ is often, therefore, used as “a front for men’s plans and a cover for inadequacy, ignorance, and evil”.

God, the Father, is a spirit. He makes man and woman in His own image. Although He himself is not male or female, He prefers to manifest his own nature to us through masculine titles AND feminine metaphors.


Feminine Images of God in the Bible:
Genesis 1:27- Women and Men created in God’s image:

“Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them.”

Hosea 11:3-4- God described as a mother:

God: “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”

Hosea 13:8- God described as a mother bear:

“Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder…”

Deuteronomy 32:11-12- God described as a mother eagle:

“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”

Deuteronomy 32:18- God who gives birth:

“You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

Isaiah 66:13- God as a comforting mother:

God: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 49:15- God compared to a nursing mother:

God: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”

Isaiah 42:14- God as a woman in labour:

God: “For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.”

Psalm 131:2- God as a Mother:

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.”

Psalm 123:2-3- God compared to a woman:

“As the eyes of a servant looks to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you, YHWH, until you show us your mercy!”

Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34- God as a Mother Hen:

Jesus: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

Luke 15:8-10- God as woman looking for her lost coin:

Jesus: “Or what woman having ten silver coins, is she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

These are only a few of the numerous examples from the Bible. 

Does The Devil Have a Devil?

I wonder if the devil has a devil.
I wonder if the devil’s devil has made him a devil
so he can make us little devils.


We know that sin got into the earth through the devil, at least that is what we are taught, but I’ve always wondered how sin got into Heaven. Pride, arrogance and covetousness were the first few wrongs that Lucifer committed, and there was no mention of another Lucifer who tempted them. [Those who have seen the devil [how?] claim that he, or she, or neither, looks androgynous; that is a discussion for another day, or maybe not.] 

Maybe all beings are inherently imperfect or sinful. The devil may be present to aid and abet [how?] but if you don’t want to jump down from the top of the building, he won’t push you. Claiming that the devil made you do this or that is a form of “sociopathy”. That’s why religion makes pretenders out of people; I may be wrong. We bind and cast the devil for encouraging us to eat the fruit, but we don’t bind and cast ourselves, because we can’t. We ask for forgiveness when we think we’ve broken one of God’s laws without really understanding how what we’ve done is wrong. If we thought it was wrong, we wouldn’t have done it in the first place, but our very selves didn’t see anything wrong with it. We enjoyed it. Think about it; it’s a ‘good versus evil’ morality thing.

God put the forbidden fruit there. I have always wondered why- if you don’t want them to touch it, don’t put it there- but we as human beings aren’t supposed to think about things like that. Eve probably ate it so she could blame the devil, and she gave it to her man, not just because it tasted good but she knew it wouldn’t just be her that’d be affected by the consequences. She probably didn’t think about eating it only when the devil told her to; she was only waiting for the right time. Who says Adam wasn’t eyeing the tree too? Now that he had two entities to share the consequences with, he ate the fruit without much ado. That’s about as human and sinful as it can get.  The devil didn’t need to whisper in Adam’s ears before he ate it, before he sinned.

Do I know where I’m going with all these? No. What I’m saying is that it’s pretty natural for us to commit wrongs; the devil only points our attention to the ‘sin’ if we haven’t already noticed it. The sin is committed by us. We shouldn’t separate our selves from ourselves and begin to hold divine expectations for ourselves. It is pretty natural to have human desires because that is what we still are, although it becomes far more restrained when we seek to only pursue the things that God finds honourable. We don’t suddenly become spirits when we pledge our allegiance to God. 

I guess that’s why David quickly became a man after God’s heart, and he wasn’t even a High Priest. He cut the “Satan made me do it” bullshit. He knew he wanted Bathsheba. Religion shouldn’t make us distance ourselves from our selves, so much so that we begin to judge others for being human.

The devil did not make you do it; at most he encouraged you, but you did it. Whether or not you are sorry for doing it, or you feel you need to be sorry, is up to you and God. Stating that any natural, human feeling you have after surrendering to God (that could lead to sin) is of the devil is a lie.