Years ago, a minister of God was invited to the provincial headquarters of my denomination. Intense publicity and preparation had been put together to make room for a perfect visit. Unfortunately it was on a Sunday, I had Sunday lectures I needed to attend.
I spoke to my pastor about the imminence of my lecture and why I will not be available for the meeting. My pastor did not listen to me, rather he took me into a full dossier of the workings of aiyé (the world). He told me why I should attend the meeting as a precondition to escape all the fiery darts of aiyé.
I have always known aiyé as a matter of my mother’s consciousness, which over the years, I have come to believe was fear that morphed into piety. However, being conscientised into the realms of aiyé by my pastor whose daily teachings extols the singularity of the power of Jesus and the inferiority of the powers of aiyé, was a new dimension for me.
Growing up, over a decade of my Christian experience was dedicated to exorcism and escape from the fiery darts of aiyé. Aiyé or world is given colourful names by Nigeria’s Pentecostals such as “powers”, “principalities”, and “dominions”, and the fear of aiyé often make us spend the most productive hours of every day abandoning Nigeria’s work to bind her, rebuke her, come against her and send every manner of contrary machinery of aiyé back to sender.
I thought lately about aiyé and why her fear remains a potent force of faith. After so many years aiyé effectively remains the springboard for which faith thrives. Organized religion generally posits basically on the hopelessness of man. The hopelessness of the Nigerian induced by the failure of the government is more grim and this is leveraged upon by many Pentecostals to give alternative hope that is only guaranteed through the divine. Man is endlessly in search of hope. When there’s a failure of the social contract hopelessness increases and this is exactly where religion comes in; you are not married after society’s prescribed age you have to see Bàbá orí òkè for ìtúsìlè from spiritual husband because it’s not normal by the imperative of our cultural norms to be unmarried at certain age; when you get to Bàbá orí òkè he paints gory pictures of such repeated cycle in your lineage, fear grips you and in no time you become the disciple of Bàbá orí òkè or even in worse cases, his wife.
Why does faith always push aiyé into situations of hopelessness only and rarely for the upper social class? In the words of Jesus in Mark 2:17 “…He saith unto them, they that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick…”. It’s often in breaches of life’s courses that God exhorts himself however, unlike in the time of yore where God’s exhortation was for God’s glory, today it’s for the expansion of man’s ministry.
Kehinde Oluwatosin Babatunde, Lagos