I’ve started this writing several times but I’ve never been able to pen something down. It’s not like I don’t have ideas to put down, it’s just that I don’t want to create a wrong impression in the minds of the readers. I’m always careful when addressing people’s beliefs because of their stronghold on them. But I think it’s time to voice this out.
I will introduce these beliefs I’m about to discuss here with three short stories of events I witnessed.
- EVENT 1 – Few weeks ago, I met this woman and her daughter that is about 8 months old. This beautiful daughter of hers doesn’t pass stool through the normal channel (I think it’s a congenital issue). According to this woman, her daughter has been through two surgeries already – shortly after birth and when she was 3 months old. She was scheduled to come back for another surgery 3 months after the second one. According to her, her baby became ok after the second surgery until she was “attacked” and the problem came back again. Anyway, she is working on taking her for the third surgery.
- EVENT 2 – There is this man in my village; he keeps having misfortune after misfortune in his businesses. It seems that any business he goes into is bound to flop, so he just ‘zeros’ his mind and waits for it to fail. One day I overheard him saying that he has “ajo chi” (bad personal god) and that’s why all his efforts towards financial independence yields no good result.
- EVENT 3 – This one is quite hilarious, but serious. I was in commercial bus with other travellers. We were plying the disastrous Enugu-Onitsha Expressway. Those at the backseat weren’t finding it funny because of all bumping up and down of the bus. The conversation in the bus later turned to the bad road. One of the travellers at the backseat was so furious that he started calling on God to come and judge the politicians and the construction company reconstructing the road.
These three events are just three out of the millions we witness every now and then. To discuss these three events critically, I’ll brand them the ‘attack belief’, the ‘bad destiny belief’ and the ‘revenge belief’ respectively.
THE ATTACK BELIEF
This is the belief that most Nigerians hold onto when struck by ill-health or ill-luck – they believe that someone or something is ‘attacking’ them spiritually. I’m not saying that I don’t believe that there are witches, wizards and ‘the village people’. For sure, as a Nigerian, I’m forced to know of all these forces and what they do. But then, how can someone be sure that the misfortune he or she is facing isn’t as a result of mismanagement or normal course of life? How can you determine the one that came naturally and the one that came from the manipulations of something spiritual?
Before we decide that what we are passing through is a supernatural thing, we need to evaluate critically all our decisions and conducts to be sure the fault isn’t ours. I’ve heard of some people that assumed that the mistakes and wrong decisions they made were the manipulations of some evil forces. I don’t know anyway; but I think this belief is really affecting a lot of people.
For example, some sick people won’t go to hospital because they believe it’s not what doctors can handle. Some of them will go to ‘prayer houses’ for deliverance. That aside, a lot of businesses are suffering right now because their owners believed that their ‘enemies’ are doing voodoo on them. So, instead of they learning and acquiring some outstanding business skills, they jump from one place to another seeking for people that will find who their enemies are and see the future for them.
We need to let go of this belief. Even if people are coming after you spiritually, do the much you can to make life better for you and then leave the rest for God.
THE BAD DESTINY
Having an ‘ajo chi’ almost means the same thing as having bad destiny. The people here believe that they have been destined to suffer in this life. Some of them see their ill-health as one of their ‘agreements’ with their ‘chi’. This is also the same thing with those in this group that are poor.
I know that life doesn’t really give it all to one person, but I believe that some things are preventable and avoidable. For example, someone that is having issues with his business might have to sit back and do a proper evaluation of his skills and decisions. He may also want to find out why his business isn’t moving as it should. I believe that when such a person is asking and finding true answers to his questions, he will notice that destiny has no role to play in his misfortune.
One more thing, the people that belong to this group easily resign themselves to bullying, bad governance and corruption. The major problem I have with this type of people is that they are not easy to help. In fact, the more you try to pull them out, the more they drag themselves back into their ‘holes’. They see their predicaments as ordained by a divine force and your help may not be appreciated.
THE REVENGE BELIEF
A lot of people belong to this group. These people won’t ask for what is theirs, even if they could, because they believe that there is a supernatural being that will do that for them.
If you ask me, I’ll say that this is Nigeria’s general problem. We refuse to talk at times when our rights are being trampled on because we hope that God will revenge for us. Please, I’m not suggesting that we revenge when we are wronged; my point here is that we have to fight for what is right and not fold our hands and wait for a divine battle to come down and do that for us.
When some things happen that Nigerians need to seek redress for, they usually just walk away in bitterness and pain with the belief that God will revenge for them. Of course, God fights for the trampled and the downtrodden; but if you have the means of seeking redress or getting your voice heard, are you still among the downtrodden?
In this life, we have to keep learning and unlearning. I believe Nigerians should unlearn these three beliefs, they are not helping us.