Nigeria: Marabouts And Prophets

by SOC Okenwa

The Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, reputed for his no-nonsense fearless views, was a guest speaker at a recent education summit in Port Harcourt, Rivers State capital, last week Monday. According to some reports gleaned online he had decried the rate at which Nigerian leaders consult marabouts and prophets in a bid to hold onto political power. Hear the erudite scholar: “Give me the name of any head of state who has not been consulting marabouts and prophets and so on, sacrificing goats, animals in the dead of night to receive a third term in office and so on and then you start blaming students, they are imitating the same thing the infirmity society itself has become.”

Though Prof. Soyinka has been accused by those in power at different epochs of being an “atheist”, of being the brain behind the confraternities in the universities he had made it clear that the idea behind the university ‘cult’ he founded was quite different from what obtains today — where students engaged in cult wars leading to brutal killings and arson and maiming of fellow students belonging to opposing cult groups. To the Boko Haram terrorists up north he demanded that they be “re-educated” since the ‘education’ they received was not sufficient enough. He submitted: “So, these killers roaming around, saying that they hate western education; they are uneducated; but they think they are educated … They (Boko Haram members) have been taught on a monorail, one-track lane. They need to be re-educated, even about their own history, their own culture.”

In Nigeria it is not any news that we are battling against principalities and dark powers in high places. You have a whole lot of ungodly elements pontificating godliness but practising the opposite. President Goodluck Jonathan is perhaps the only odd one out as a praying practising Christian. We salute his sound faith rooted in Christendom! In Nigeria prophets of doom abound as there are good men of God by the fruits of whom compatriots decipher things wholesomely celestial. You have those who use the name of God to play ‘419’; you have those called pastors who bear the name in the day but at dusk they re-unite with demonic ‘angels’ to do evil. There are those who profess Jesus Christ but do not know or recognise the ten commandments or their import on our Christian lives.

The highly-revealing but controversial book “The Accidental Public Servant” written by the firebrand former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai contained some startling revelations about almost everybody that is somebody in the Nigerian ruling elite. Mallam el-Rufai is a ‘patriot’ who is never afraid to speak his mind no matter whose ox is gored. He has taken executive radicalism to another level by exposing the secrecy in power circles in Nigeria and the dirty deals struck in the dark corners. The former FCT Minister spared no one he had encountered in his ‘accidental’ public life making public whatever was hitherto unknown and hidden, damning the consequencies and offering no apologies. No doubt, he preferred telling the truth than maintaining any loyal friendship founded on hypocrisy for whatever reason.

In the book he told about the “fable” the former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, had related to him as ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo bared his dictatorial fangs in Aso Rock. According to el-Rufai Atiku once told him about a certain marabout in Cameroun he was beholden to who told him (Atiku) in terms of prophecy that Obasanjo was not going to finish up his mandate! Perhaps something would happen to him, implicitly, in Aso Rock that would terminate abruptly his presidency paving the way for Atiku to mount the saddle as successor! That represented, even in Nigeria, the height of perfidy. And when Mallam el-Rufai, a new-breed savant, seemed unconvinced about the whole tale the then VP Atiku tried to re-assure him telling him about the ‘infallibility’ of the Camerounian marabout and his successful predictions in his political trajectory in life!

Well, OBJ, in his diabolical best element, disappointed both Atiku and his foreign marabout by serving out his second term and even attempted a third term! In the scandalous pursuit of third term the Owu Chimp (sorry Chief) was paranoid, almost becoming a victim of insanity! To be able to elongate his tenure OBJ was ever ready to ‘worship’ Satan if the Lucifer had ever dropped such as a pre-condition for achieving the unconstitutional feat! Power corrupts good morals and absolute power (which was what OBJ enjoyed for eight long years) corrupted him absolutely! Obasanjo has become a better person today out of power than when he was in there as a glorified local ’emperor’ or ‘Baba’!

It would be recalled that when they were in power the then President Obasanjo and his deputy never pretended to be the best of friends waging a ‘war’ of attrition over power and other selfish interests. At one point OBJ pointedly accused Atiku of patronising marabouts and Atiku in turn furiously carpeted the Ota farmer for his hypocrisy of faith and occultic tendencies! Today we know better about the inner psychological workings of these pseudo statesmen. But the ultimate question remains: in a disorderly world fraught with morbid human egotism and egotheism is it not to be expected that the quest for power would untimately transform Homo sapiens into doers of evil deeds?

Whilst OBJ and Atiku ‘danced’ naked in the Villa we were ‘entertained’ but powerless to do anything about the grotesque recriminations bordering on ethical malfeasance. Aso Rock in Abuja is a mythical place of power where political Liliputians hibernate and plot evil for the rest of us to digest. Gen. Ibrahim Babangida gave Aso Rock the aura and awe it is still carrying about up till today. Fleeing Lagos in a jiffy following the Gideon Orkar coup IBB reportedly consolidated his spiritual power by sacrificing and burying live cows in Aso Rock! Gen. Sani Abacha followed suit by importing seasoned marabouts from rogue neighbouring countries to come over and fortify his black power base. Yet, despite these mundane primitive powers at his beck and call Abacha was humbled by imported prostitutes from India!

We have had three ‘Reverend’ gentlemen as state chief executives in Nigeria but none of them (except one perhaps) came out without any fiscal blemish: Bamidele Olumilua of Ondo State, Rev. Father Moses Adasu of Benue State and Rev. Jolly Nyame of Taraba State. The then Anambra state Governor and now Senator Chris Ngige was famously involved in the Okija shrine episode in which a godfather (Chris Uba) and godson (Ngige) went to Okija shrine in Anambra state to swear to an oath of allegiance and loyalty! Former Abia state Governor Orji Uzor Kalu was captured live on video administering an oath on a naked submissive Theodore Orji, the present Governor, in a shrine somewhere! And in Ogun state Gbenga Daniel was equally alleged to be a master oath-administering ‘god’ when he was the Governor. Today however, these tin-gods have all lost power in their different ‘fiefdoms’!

A celebrated Pastor in a white garment-wearing church in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire once confessed his hypocrisy of faith when he was still an active ‘Sunday-Sunday’ member of the largest church in the universe. He told his audience astonishingly on a TV programme aired live how he went to church and at the same time kept a calabash given to him by a marabout under his bed! For him, then, he was a member of a secret society that engaged in drinking blood at midnight during clandestine meetings! When it was time for him however to provide the blood of his sister, according to him, he reneged prompting gory threats to his life. He lived to tell the story because he repented and confessed openly!

In Nigeria marabouts and prophets are ‘friends’ of the rich and powerful because they are mortally afraid of both the unknown and life hereafter. This fear could be linked to their unrighteous lifestyles and failures as leaders. Sometime ago a certain ‘big man’

in Nigeria, ex-boss of a Niger Delta development agency, was reportedly swindled of millions of Naira by a fake prophet (or was it a marabout?) who was promising him job security or abundant life! Marabouts and prophets are daily expanding their ‘business’ and smiling to the bank because most of our people are still living in spiritual bondage.

Prof. Soyinka was right when he deplored the spiritual degeneration of our ruling elite. It is something we all know to exist but since all power belongs to Jehovah God we wonder why and how the rich and powerful in Nigeria fool themselves by giving heed to satanic verses and demands. And when they gained power by this diabolical means they were quick to proclaim that “power comes from God”. But let them not fool you: God is not mocked! To them we say repent and give your lives to God, your Creator! It is only Jesus Christ of Nazareth that saves!!

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