Toyin Lawani: Much ado about a cross – Viola Okolie

Toyin Lawani: Much ado about a cross – Viola Okolie

Toyin Lawani got into the news again this week. But was it for the wrong reason?


Over the weekend, Nollywood actor Toyin Abraham who is fast becoming popular for her slapstick style comedy offerings attended the premiere of her latest movie The Prophetess, in which she played the lead role of a Woli Agba from the popular white garment church, The Celestial Church of Christ, who made a football prediction that led to what can best be termed “a series of unfortunate events”.


So the dress theme for the premiere was centered around religious attire; since that was the theme of the movie itself and Nigerian actors turned up in their very best. That includes Toyin Lawani who took hers a notch up. She showed up in what could best be described as a nun’s habit with a flair.


The slits on her dress were waist high on both sides. In fact, the only thing stopping her from flashing the entire world her hoohas was a long strip of cross-embossed white garment flap.


As expected, a certain section of the Nigerian demographic was not having it. Rather than look away if truly it offended them; they began to express their outrage in somewhat suspicious terms.


‘‘She can only do this with the Christian faith.’’


‘‘If she had tried it with the Muslims, she would have been the subject of a fatwa.’’


‘‘Aren’t we just the less blood thirsty of the two religions?’’


Analysis after analysis began to pop up on social media as “Christians” expressed their views and dismays that someone could treat the “symbol of their faith” so casually and get away with it. Some went further to pat themselves on the back for being so restrained by their religion; that they were not running after her with a sword threatening to cut off her head; if she did not cease and desist.


How quaint!


Also Read: Ndi Igbo, please be wise – Viola Okolie


Toyin Lawani: Much ado about a cross – Viola Okolie


Firstly, Christians (at least the Nigerian breed) loathe and vilify the Celestial branch of the religion with a passion; one that is almost equal to that with which they claim to love their God. Matter of fact, the hate extends to every white garment congregation; as they are automatically cancelled from partaking in the Nigerian brand of Christianity. If you stop the average Nigerian Christian along the road and ask their opinion of the average white garment church; the responses would make you think you asked their opinions of a fetish, demon-worshipping Satanist.


Yet, it was a movie centered around the antics of a prophetess from that genre of Christianity that had them up in arms.


Secondly, have you ever seen a white garment church during praise worship and similar related events? Have you ever seen their women throw themselves around while they were under the “anointing”? Nothing chaste or prim about those events and conditions. It would take a man with an iron constitution not to respond likewise. Either that or that the men in their midst are so used to such dance moves that they are almost immune to it.


So, looking delicious while in a white garment garb is nothing new to adherents of the faith.


Toyin Lawani may have taken it from zero to one million, but hey…


Thirdly, the cross as a symbol of the Christian faith must be the most laughable excuse ever known to man. It only goes to show that those who were eager to take up a sword and slash off the ears of the opponents of their faith know little to nothing about the faith they were ardently voltroning for.


First, the cross means absolutely nothing on its own. As it was portrayed on that cloth, it could have been anything to anyone. Just to give context, the Rose Cross, for instance, is a cross symbol used by a sect; one which the Nigerian Christians love to hate – the Rosicrucian Order. The ankh is a cross symbol used by the early Egyptians in worshipping their gods. The Scientology sect also uses a cross symbol in their worship. Furthermore, the satanic cross is even one of the most ironic depictions of the “symbol of Christianity”, because it upends the cross as we know it.


There should be only one thing that should represent Christianity for every Christian.

That should not be a mere cross, but the crucifix – of which the difference should be abundantly clear to anyone; especially the ones out there on social media ruing their inability to chop off heads using a “symbol” as an excuse and on this count; even the Muslim brethren have figured out what to defend and what not to defend.


For instance, the crescent moon and star has long been recognized as a symbol for Islam. You see it topping the minarets in mosques all over the world. Just like the cross, it wasn’t originally a symbol of their faith. But it became adopted through continuous usage and association.



Yet, you don’t see any Muslim take umbrage and start threatening anyone wearing any outfit with either the moon; the star, or the combination of the crescent and the star on it.

Think about it!

Almost every woman owns a “kirikiri star” Ankara. Indeed, it has been used to sew a lot of designs from bikinis to bum shorts. You can buy a crescent and star jewellery from anywhere online and put it on anyhow you like.



Yet, the only times the Muslims take offence is when the name of their prophet is taken in vain; or their Holy Book is treated with disregard. So no, you cannot blame them for your intolerance over the fashion choice of Toyin Lawani. That is all on you.



My point? Your faith should be of a whole lot more value to you than a cross. The two robbers also died on crosses. So, as a symbol of your faith which you need to defend at all costs; a cross is a weak excuse.




Toyin Lawani: Much ado about a cross – Viola Okolie



Calm down very well.

Search your hearts and try to reconnect again with the “why” of your Christianity. When you find that why, you will discover why even among the Christian faith itself; the jury is out on whether the cross is adequate proof of Christianity or not.



Which do you revere more? The cross or the reason for your faith? Because we might as well forbid carpenters from using nails and Romans from wearing robes.



Keep your focus on the reason for your belief and take your eyes off all other variables.



And also learn to unlook from things that will make you react like apostle Peter and reach for a sword to chop off someone’s ear.



Like you already know, Jesus does not approve.



And no, you are not restraining yourself “because you are a Christian”. That is an unchristian like response to any situation whatsoever and you already know it. You are only restraining yourself because “see you see prison”. Also, most of you already know that God is more concerned about your closet sins of fornication and covetousness and lying and stealing…



… far far more than He is worried about Toyin Lawani not giving her tailor enough material to sew full cloth for her.

About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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