I am a Nigerian through and through. I was born, raised and got married here. It is my wish that when I die, I be buried here. It doesn’t get more Nigerian than this. I have never really had a desire to live abroad. I love to visit and come back home.
Home is here.
I embrace it all. I see our good, our bad and our ugly. This does not mean that I condone things, but this is familiar territory so I know what goes on.
Also, I have written articles about the things I hate and the things that I love about being Nigerian.
Drum roll. Could it be corrupt politicians? The insecurity? The practice of religion?
Nah. Those things exist everywhere.
I absolutely hate the belief that ‘someone’ is ‘doing you’.
But if you are confused, don’t be, I go explain.
The average Nigerian is a spiritual person. He/She believes in the ‘other’ world. We believe in God. We believe the devil exists. Also. we believe in the supernatural.
But does it stop there?
We believe that people go out of their way using juju/black magic (and by black magic I don’t mean the Simone Biles kind. I mean the tie up a person’s destiny in a bottle and throwing it in the Atlantic Ocean type of magic) to harm people that they are envious of or people that offend them.
The average Nigerian believes that other Nigerians are out for them
The average Nigerian believes that other Nigerians are out for them. They believe that people are plotting to stop them from progressing; they believe that people are plotting to get them killed.
In fact, they believe that people are plotting to stop them from achieving their goals; plotting to ruin their marriages; plotting to take away good things that are happening to them, etc.
This single paranoia is secretly destroying the fabric of every type of relationship in this country. It has destroyed both nuclear and extended families. It has destroyed relationships with neighbours, colleagues and friends.
Talk to every Nigerian you know. There is always that one member of the family (most of the times in the village) that has been accused of dabbling in juju to harm other members of the family.
This is the reason why people rarely eat food sent to them when celebrations take place. People are afraid. I was talking about visiting a friend that gave birth recently.
My colleague said she no longer buys anything when she visits new parents. She said people throw away such stuff. They do not want anyone to ‘jazz’ them. Even when they receive monetary gifts, they prefer to deposit them in an account than to spend the actual notes.
I was taken aback. I usually buy gifts for the babies. Also, I think of things I would love to be given and if I can afford them, I buy them.
When I was getting married, before we started opening up our wedding gifts; a pastor was called to pray over them. To destroy any evil that may have been planted.
How many people have run away from their villages because people want to ‘kill’ them?
We all battle this paranoia
As educated as I am. As much as I believe in God and his goodness, I battle this paranoia.
When something bad happens to me and around me, my first thought is;
“Who is orchestrating this? Who is trying to get me?”
I will never forget a couple of years ago, we were passing through a tough financial situation. And then all the problems on this earth started presenting themselves. The height was one night when one of my kids suddenly had difficulty breathing. This was right after a week-long admission with a separate child.
I broke down.
“Who have we offended?” I asked my brother in law. He just looked at me. He knew just how hard things had been.
That night, I called a close friend and called my pastor to pray for us because I cannot lie; I felt attacked.
There was a year that one of my colleagues began to fall sick. The thing was that he still came to work and was functioning well. But he seemed so tortured and scared. One day, he opened up to me that he had consulted prophets and that someone was after his life; and that was why he was sick.
He spent the better part of the year jumping from pastors to imams to diviners to mallams to Babas looking for a solution.
I asked him why someone was bent on killing him.
He was a struggling pay-check to pay-check guy. He had no landed property. No car. No business… just a salary earner. None of his kids had gone beyond secondary school. It was a bleak situation all round.
The fear is real!
He said that it was because of a landed property in his village that his father had sold.
The person that bought it had passed on in old age (his uncle). The land belonged to the man’s children.
Had he tried to reclaim the land?
Had he had any contact with the owners of the land?
Why was he a threat to them?
This man spent all the money he did not have and even took out a loan to pay people to solve the problem.
The solution included going back home to bathe naked in the night. Indeed, it was horrifying and I am very thankful he did not die. But it scared me.
I never ever want to spend my life and my fortune trying to detect who my enemies are. I don’t want to look over my shoulder constantly. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to have to look for where my umbilical cord was buried. I don’t want try and remember what I ate that caused me problems.
The funny thing is that people jump in and profit from this paranoia. So called Nigerian men of God (all religions) will charge you exorbitant sums; with the promise to exorcise and kill the root of the problem.
And if ever a person is accused of such witchery, there is nothing that the person can do to clear their name. You can be guilty simply because someone dreamt that you were the one responsible for their downfall.
That is all.
You are now tagged a witch/wizard/village enemy. You will never get a chance to clear your name.
Stay tuned for the concluding part of this article next week.