Friday, January 25, 2013

The Religion Industry In Nigeria

A lecturer friend once said and I quote: "The fastest growing industry in Nigeria today is the Religion industry." I laughed about this statement for a while then I gave it serious thought and discovered that it contained some amount of truth. I can only talk about the Christian religion which I happen to be a member of because little or nothing is known about the other Nigerian religions. Using Lagos state as a case study, you cannot count five buildings without having a church in one of them, every street and major road could boast of three or more churches. Renting of shops as churches is gradually phasing out as people even run the 'business' from the comfort of their homes as their faithful are seen gracing their homes for prayers. Nowadays, anybody who could quote a sizeable portion of the bible qualifies as pastor and is optimistic of owning a ministry and growing it into a church. I know that some people reading this would be brewing with anger because I referred to owning churches as 'business' but come to think of it, how do you explain paying huge sums of money for prayer and deliverance or the placement of price tags on prayers. A story was told of a man who went to see a prophet for prayers and was given a list of prayers and their prices which ranges from N20,000 - N100,000. Now my question to the angered people I mentioned earlier is: Does this qualify as business or not?. It is no longer a question of if one has the anointing or not but rather it is how to get members because, the more the 'customers', the more income is generated. Strategies are been put in place to increase 'Internally generated revenue' as the services of professional fundraisers are been employed on a bi-weekly basis (every two sundays). I have watched closely as the theme of most sermons graduated from Salvation to Prosperity simply because a good number of church goers would come back each sunday to listen to the Our-God-is-not-a-poor-God, His-children-must-prosper sermon rather than the boring Accept-Christ-and-be-saved-or-refuse-him-and-perish sermon. The pastors being observant of this fact would not hesitate to ask their members to give an intimidating offering that would provoke God, i.e. after delivering such sermons. In a country where there is high rate of unemployment and the average citizen living on or below $2 a day, it is not uncommon to see anointed men of God cruising private jets which costs between N2.3bn to N9bn. The Aviation sector is in a poor state, I know but I think some of these 'religious wealth' should be channelled into Nation building and by this, I don't mean building universities which the citizens can't afford. Am using this medium to plead with the active participants in this 'Industry' to alleviate the sufferings of the masses not just with prayers and wonderful sermons. Jesus knew how important this is that he had to multiply the bread and fishes to feed the 5000. I don't even want to imagine what would have happened if he had asked them to give their pennies for his ministerial work in that their hungry state. The nation is hungry and in dire need of food but the irony is that poor Christians still give from their lean pocket. The take home question to our religious leaders is this: If Jesus is really our model, shouldn't He be imitated in every aspect?.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

A Letter to my unborn child about the state of the country

Dear Child,
I was worried sick about you coming to this world precisely to my Motherland –Nigeria at this time. I went to bed thinking about the State of affairs in Nigeria and wishing that you take some time before leaving your mother’s womb. I woke up just after midnight to write you just because I care so much about you. My plans was to fly your mum out of the country to the UK just before she enters labour at least to get you that British citizenship but those plans have been thwarted because the British Government discovered that pregnant Nigerian women are been flown there just for the same reason. I kept thinking about the hospital where you would be born here in Nigeria as a good number of them lack adequate medical facilities and qualified personnel. I want the best for you that is why I desire that you have a quality education but there is nothing like that here in the country and the few good schools can only be assessed by the nouveaux riche. Billions are allocated to Education every year on paper but what get to schools at the end of the day is peanuts owing to corrupt middlemen in the system. Throughout my four years study as a Biochemist, I never saw a DNA molecule, worse still; the only enzyme I purified was a previously purified one whose purification steps I got from the Internet as the supposed wet science (Biochemistry) was studied theoretically. This should show you the level of the educational decadence here. Due to my love for animals, I spoke to your mum about visiting some Zoo’s around the country when you arrive but the problem is that some of these Zoo’s are empty, filled without just monkeys and birds yet Billions are allocated to Tourism yearly. Your mother developed phobia for airplanes due to the now traditional plane crashes. Formally, our complaint was about the deplorable state of Nigerian roads now our concerns have moved to our Airspace which is now unsafe as most of the planes are way older than me and lack proper maintenance.
My child, another issue of great concern is where you would work after schooling. Over 70% of University graduates in Nigeria are unemployed; the other 30 or so percent are either self-employed or underemployed as it is a very common phenomenon to find Engineers working as Bankers and a Microbiologist working as a public relations officer in an IT firm. The country is ridden with dishonest politicians, hypocritical preachers, ailing institutions, religious bigots and a faulty political system.
Dear child, I advise that you leave your mother’s womb only and only if you are sure to bring the expected change this country requires i.e. If you would be that student that would uphold morality and not cheat during examinations, if you would be that corrupt-free and honest politician, if you would make sure that funds gets to their rightful place as a middleman, if you would invest in lives and not jets as a Man of God, if you would carry out your job effectively and not accept bribe as a civil servant and finally, if you would be that selfless, patriotic and hardworking Nigerian. If you would not be any of those, I suggest you cling to your mother’s placenta and continue swimming in her amniotic fluid until the Economy is stable and things are as they should be.
                                                                                                                                       Yours Truly,
                                                                                                                                       Potential Dad.
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Monday, January 14, 2013

PORNYWOOD: Moral decadence in The Nigerian Movie Industry

All over the world, the names of movie industries have the suffix -wood. We have seen Hollywood, Bollywood, Gallywood and their likes which leads to 'Pornywood' in relation to the Nigerian movie Industy (Nollywood). The upsurge of movies over the years have been an issue of worry amongst lovers of quality movies. Movies with little or no quality are churned out everyday and with titles that do not help matters but is like rubbing salt on a fresh sore. Overtime, I have observed closely as films with love themes become the order of the day as it not uncommon to find movies with titles like: Cry for Love, Wounded Love, Power of Love, Angry Love, Love talks etc. Making matters worse are some Nigerians who exalt mediocrity and glorify obscenity as they purchase these movies and their unending sequel in volumes. The issue of acceptance of low quality movies cannot be disputed because of the lackadaisical attitude of the Actors Guild of Nigeria(AGN), Nigerian Film and Video Censor Board(NFCVB), other concerned and movie regulatory bodies who instead of making sure that quality and educating movies are produced, prefers to siphon off funds meant for the betterment of the industry.
The Multi-Billion Naira Movie Industry is gradually heading into oblivion owing to the infusion of soft porn elements into its movies. This have been the trend lately as producers jostle each other for supremacy, fame and money by producing movies full of profanity, lascivious actions and obscenity using the cliché -'Sex sells' as their prime motivator. The influx of Ghanian actors into the Industry sparked off this soft porn trend as Movie star wannabe's who would do just anything to get a role are offered this erotic roles, even gracing the posters of these movies in little or no covering (clothes). Nigerian actors and actresses who don't want to be shoved aside or left behind also followed suit.
Most worrisome is the audience of these movies which constitutes young children, adolescents and a few older people. These young ones who are supposed to learn moral values, issues affecting us as humans, our rich cultural heritage etc. from our movies are rather being bombarded with movies filled with pornographic elements. As time goes on, these young adults instead of growing into responsible and patriotic Nigerians become perverts and Nymphomaniacs following prolonged exposure to these movies because naturally humans are prone to experiment what they constantly see and have haboured in their minds.
The long term effect of these movies are: a gradual and total loss of moral values, increasing number of rape incidents, the emergence of a Nigerian Porn Industry etc. I am using this medium to call on the Federal Government, Movie stakeholders, Regulatory bodies, Agencies and well meaning Nigerians who upholds morality to stand up and fight against this ugly trend which is gradually taking over our Movie Industry before it gets beyond our control.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

THE UNIVERSITY RUNZ GIRL: A sneak peek into her life

The average university girl who is into 'runz' is known as a runz gal. A word which I think is just subliminal for prostitution. But I dare you to call one (runz gal) a prostitute, not only would she call you names but your hard working mother at home would get some of her insults. But you would agree with me that any girl who spreads her legs for money is an 'Asewo' or 'Akwuna' as the Yoruba and Igbo people call it not minding the term used in covering up that evil practice.
This journey (runz) which ends up haunting the girl involved all through her life even in marriage is usually embarked upon by a girl who wants to 'belong', a girl who wants to be seen as a 'bigz galz' or a gal who is from a poor background and wants to supplement her income as a good number of them would claim. Some others attribute their becoming a 'runz gal' to peer pressure. Bt either way, I see the sole reason for becoming a runz gal as greed and nothing more.
The typical University runz gal always appear stylish and in vogue and in some cases drives a posh car, all thanks to her father's age mates which she has as clients. She is often not in class or out of school entirely as she needs to ply her trade far from where she would be noticed. Her attendances and assignments are often taken care of by the class representative, Head of Class or a trusted friend whom she is always in contact with and in some cases pays both in cash and kind as a result of covering up for her. She normally doesn't relate with everyone but a select few who are either into the same business as her or are still learning the trade. She sometimes keeps a 'school boyfriend' that everyone knows of, just as a decoy so that people won't suspect her. She likes her privacy which is why she doesn't stay in the hostel but would rather rent an off campus residence. When asked the reasons for her constant travels, she is quick to provide replies such as: To visit her sister or cousin in another school, to attend a friend's wedding or that she has a business which she takes care of in another state and other well structured lies. Most of these girls excel in academics regardless of whether they attend classes, write assignments, examinations or not as they have amassed enough money to pay their way through i.e where money is needed and are quick to spread their legs for anyone standing on their way to academic success if that is what is required.
The problems she encounters during and after this her supposed 'entrepreneurship' are not just one but a litany of them which includes: STD's because most clients like it 'raw', womb destruction due to incessant abortions, problems in marriage because she is hardly satisfied by one man and death because most of the times she is the perfect bait for ritual killers.
Having read and understood this message, I wonder why an undergraduate who should concentrate on passing her exams would still decide to boost an Ego which would be deflated in no time.
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Thursday, January 10, 2013

COHABITATION IN NIGERIAN UNIVERSITIES: The Undergraduate 'nna anyi' syndrome

The first time this was mentioned to some university students, they reeled out laughter at that coinage because some experienced and could attest to it. In university campuses across Nigeria, it is a common phenomenon for male students to rent off-campus apartments just for comfort and “a bit of privacy” as one of my classmates would say. Living in those houses alone i...s now a thing of the past as some students wants to experiment marital life before leaving campus and getting married proper. This led to the term “undergraduate nna anyi” which represents a male student living in his rented apartment with his girlfriend. This “couple life” as it is being referred to in some schools makes the male student assume the role of a husband and his girlfriend- the wife. This relationship has every attribute of a real marriage except that it must be devoid of pregnancy and the consent of the parents of both parties. The “undergraduate nna anyi” who relies on his parents for money, becomes the breadwinner as he provides money for food, sight-seeing during weekends and most often provides the female student with money for her upkeep. The female student on the other hand cooks, cleans up the house and satisfies her man’s sexual appetite. In some of these relationships, the female student’s accommodation fee is used for household expenses or in some cases, the proud-but-hungry boyfriend asks the girlfriend to look good with it (i.e. buy clothes and beauty accessories). This two are known by neighbors and people living around as they are seen going to and coming back from school together almost every day. For some, the only time they remember that they are actually students is when examinations come knocking as they spend a better part of the semester practicing family life. It is not uncommon to find most “undergraduate nna anyi’s” sleeping during lectures due to the vigils they keep at night. These male students tell every form of lies to their parents in other to get money for themselves and the demanding relationship and the female student doesn’t have this knowledge. At times of lack, maybe when the money they expect is not forthcoming or when they must have exhausted their allowances before time, these male students are seen running from one friend to another trying to borrow money just to please their girlfriends because as we all know, women have affinity for cash. The relationship as enjoyable as it seems from the outside, has dire consequences as some results in pregnancy which in turn leads to one or the two students dropping out of school or in more serious but rare cases death of either the boy or girl as a result of sexual marathons as had been witnessed in some university campuses. Most often, the male student squanders their school fees in the process which kicks off their problems in school as some are seen spending 6, 7 or more years for a 4year academic program. My advice to those who are thinking of engaging in the so called couple life is this: “not all that glitters is gold”. And for those who are already in it and think they are enjoying it- “the end justifies the means. 

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