With Reno Omokri
I will begin this week’s edition of #TheAlternative with a generalisation, and I ask for the forgiveness of my readers in advance. You see, a lifetime of living in Nigeria has taught me that Nigerians emote rather than we reason.
This tendency to emote is the reason African parents will not invest millions in their children’s education, but will invest millions in their wedding and their children will not invest millions to cater for their aged parents, but will invest millions in their funeral.
You honestly believe that if European and Asian leaders attend an African wedding or funeral, they would stop lending sub-Saharan Africa money, if they have a conscience. Africa’s problem is not money. It is misplaced priority. We look for PITY, but we like to PARTY
Our tendency to emote is also the reason why we approach religion differently from other continents. Recently, a Nigerian church announced with glee that they had constructed the world’s biggest church building. To be honest, I was not really impressed, because the word mistakenly translated as church in the English translation of the New Testament is, (ekklesia when using the English alphabets). The word ekklesia actually means gathering. It does not mean a building. God is not impressed with buildings. That is why Christ said “where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” People, not buildings, attract God.
In fact, let me even go one step further and say that Africa only half pleases God when we build the world’s biggest churches in the world’s poverty continent. If we want to fully please God, we must also build the world’s most Godly and honest congregations and the world’s biggest businesses.
FAITH without WORKS is DEAD! Christ’s disciples had businesses. Peter, James and John were fishermen. Matthew was a tax collector. Paul was a tent maker. Judas, who did not have a business, became a BETRAYER and a THIEF. So, say a big PRAYER, but be a bigger PLAYER in BUSINESS.
Going further on our spectacular ability to emote when we should reason and use are, I recently chanced upon a Facebook post of a famed footballer from the 90s, who had fallen on hard times. I took particular interest in him because Nigerians were commenting that the Nigerian Football Federation had abandoned him. And I thought to myself, why do Nigerians reason like this?
As a footballer, you earn money. You ought to invest it in preparation for retirement. It is not the duty of the NFF to look after footballers in their old age. It is called the Nigerian Football Federation, not the Nigerian Footballers Pension Society. The public should stop feeding such false expectations.
That is the same way I read about a late 90s pop star who died and the same Nigerians accused the industry of abandoning him. Excuse me? When that star was lavishing his earnings on a flashy lifestyle, why didn’t the public accuse the ‘industry’ of abandoning him? They were hailing him. Actions have consequences and you reap what you sow!
Many of the so-called celebrities now posting pictures of their brand new cars and their First-Class travels with their children and pets, will be broke in old age. Then emotional Nigerians will rush to social media to accuse the ‘industry’ of abandoning’ them. A nation of emotional people cannot progress like a nation of rational people.
A day is coming when their slay queen body will turn to a slay mama body. Roles will stop coming. Album sales will reduce. Younger footballers will be signed by your club. So invest in your future and don’t accuse the industry of abandoning you. If you don’t, it is you who abandoned your senses, and not the industry that abandoned you!
Our religious leaders need to teach their congregants and parishioners that God made man sufficient time to stand, and yet free to fall.
We, as Black Africans need to understand that contrary to what many Christian and Muslim leaders teach, we are not a product of fate, we are products of our choices. God had a destiny prepared for every human being born of a woman before HE sent them into this world and that destiny is that God gave you a head to decide where you want to go and 2 legs to take you there. It was not only Judas that satan tried to enter. He also tried to use Peter. The difference between Peter and Judas is that one elected to cooperate with satan, while the other chose to rebuke him. Their choices became their destiny.
We are poor in Africa because of our choices, and not because of the witch in the village. We made a choice to spend three times the amount we spend on books to buy real and artificial hair. What goes on our head is more important to us than what goes in it.
Africa will be rich only by our choices. Religion cannot make us rich. In fact, many of us mistake gullibility for spirituality. To believe that God wants you to prosper is spirituality. To believe that God will prosper you without any effort on your part is gullibility. Gullible faith is no faith.
Scripture says “my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”-Hosea 4:6 (NIV). That Scripture could as well have been tailor-written for Africa. But thank God that, unlike humans, He does not identify a problem without advancing a solution.
Hosea 6:6 says “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the KNOWLEDGE of God rather than burnt offerings.”
You see, we Africans focus on burnt offerings rather than knowledge acquisition. And until we make a course correction, we may find that development stays far, very, very, far from us.
If you have not bought or built a house, you really shouldn’t:
* Fly First Class
* Buy an iPhone 11
* Habitually wear designers
Poverty is the destiny of those who can’t differentiate their NEEDS from their WANTS. Sadly, many people with low self-esteem cover it up by living a lifestyle they can’t afford, just to impress people. That is why many celebrities go broke in old age and foolishly accuse the ‘industry’ of abandoning them.