By Aderonke Bello
I have been feeling an on and off pain around my rib for quite a while, so, on a fateful night, Thursday, May 11th, to be precise, I decided to visit a trusted pharmacist in the estate that I reside in Abuja.
After the consultation, he prescribed a drug and went back to his office to attend to others waiting for him
There was a nurse I regularly see around whenever I go there. She looked so gloomy and unhappy as usual – as if she was carrying all the problems in the world on her shoulders. When I said hi, she barely returns the courtesy.
The actual experience started when the nurse handed me the printed bill for payment to the cashier which I quickly glanced through and saw my bill was N800 and the name of the attendant (nurse) printed as Sharon (not real name).
The conversation started like this; “Who is Sharon here? I asked and she said, “I am the one.”
She looked at me with shock on her face, “madam, are you a Pastor?” I replied by saying, “I am a prophetess and a seer,” she said okay, “God bless you Ma.” That was how we got into a conversation.
Me: “Sharon dear, there are things bothering you for quite some time now, it has been giving you sleepless nights, I can see the vision,” I was looking deep into her eyes at this point and she said, “Yes madam, you are correct. Please advise me, what can I do to help myself?.
Sensing her desperation, gullibility and how she quickly believed me, I took the opportunity and asked, “do you have money to pay to develop God’s work?”
She said yes, but I told her, “salvation is free.”
Me: “all you have to do is just give thanks to God for all the unseen blessings, stop frowning your face because your frustration is always written boldly on your face, and many people can take advantage of that, do not let your predicaments be so visible on your face, keep a life of thanksgiving, sing to the Lord, less request – more thanks, smile all the time and make yourself happy, peace be onto you.” I told her and walked away like a true pastor should do, with confidence, gusto and smile.
To my amazement, she called me back. “Madam, please tell me your name, I want to visit your church and pay my tithes and to also attend services with you, I am happy with your message.”
I giggled and told her to just do as I say, then I walked away.
When I got outside the pharmacy, despite my pain (which I had forgotten), I bursted into a resounding laughter, asking myself, “did that just happen?”
This got me thinking how some so-called acclaimed preachers of all divides prey on the sad and frustrated, the desperate and the gullible to enrich themselves. How some might find it easy to manipulate people and situation to satisfy their selfish needs and take advantage.
Nigerians worship their clergy and clerics so much so that his or her picture is planted on the screen of their phones, computers, cars etc., when they do not have a single picture of their biological parent. They call them Daddy, Mummy, Baba na in disrespect of their real parents.
Monies that are supposed to be used in taking care of their aged-parents go to the clergy and clerics.
I hasten to add, there are Godly, kind and honourable workers out there, without a doubt, but these days, it appears the fraudsters have subsumed them, and you would require a magnifying glass to find them.
A lot of people sow seeds in the lives of these masquerading marabouts, unwittingly contributing to their private jets, luxurious travels for their families and sending their kids to the best schools at home and abroad, while the tither’s kids are in public schools with torn school uniforms.
The question is this, how many other gullible people do we have out there falling for different gimmicks from some seers like I claimed to be to the lady by the counter? I cannot help but think how she and others like her will be ready to eat from my feet if I had a prayer house or church, believing I am some kind of messiah, because of the success of my stunt.
The current shambolic state of the Nigerian economy has not really helped matters, with increase in poverty, desperation, lack of employment or government incentives to empower the population. It is no surprise that many have lost their dignity – most damagingly, the youth, who are meant to be the future.
It is plainly ridiculous to think there are successes in the worship of the so-called men of God and Alfas that are deceiving them, rather than worship God directly. It is widely known that some even sleep with these women and abuse young boys. All sorts happen in the name of religion.
Our counterparts in the western world are seeking a better world through innovative ideas, permanent cure for cancer, Ebola, HIV, flying cars, how people can even bluetooth sex without interaction, despite their introduction of religion to us. Here we are, talking about some seer/self-made prophets who are out to take advantage of the desperate by taking from the little they are earning.
We really have to wake up, get real and stop being gullible – this is the 21st century, dear Nigerians.
This non-fiction piece was written by Award winning investigative journalist and Advocate, Aderonke Bello. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org