'Witch-Ful Thinking': The National Blame Game

by Ihechukwu Njoku

In Nigerian society today, we tend to take the accolades for our achievements, but finger certain forces behind our failures…

Can we call it the superstitious tendencies that permeate our African history and ‘local’ reasoning, or an easy way of shifting the burden of blame to the shoulder of another? Maybe it’s a combination of both – but this national blame game has been the bane of our nation for far too long.

Today, excuses and finger pointing are rampant. The moment our ‘breakthrough plans’ veer off course, and things don’t turn out the way we expect, there is someone or something that is surely behind it all, oftentimes under the manipulation of strange supernatural forces intent on our frustration and destruction. Wild prayer sessions or spiritual consultations tend to ensue, and a family member ‘in the village’ is often subjected to blind accusations with resulting shame and separation.

To make matters worse, religious organizations feast on this deception as an opportunity to further line their pockets. They openly declare little children, barely old enough to reason for themselves, or elderly mothers who are frail and cannot fight back, as symbols of wickedness and evil, namely witches and wizards – all as bait to collect cheap money from the desperate. Called to be symbols of peace and unity, ‘ministers of God’ have sadly become a source of separation and enmity in this regard. The case of Helen Ukpabio and the Akwa-Ibom ‘child-witches’ readily springs to mind. Innocent children are daily subjected to mental, emotional and physical torture after being labelled a ‘witch’ and homes are ripped apart through heated allegations and contentions. Thus, an easy ‘escape route’ for you brings dire consequences for many. When will this shameless madness end?

Only last month, I watched on Emmanuel TV the tragic case of an elderly woman forced to sleep on her own mother’s grave after being thrown out of her home through such allegations of witchcraft, a claim unflinchingly confirmed by various ministries and spiritualists. Only divine intervention through the revelation, input and prayer of Pastor TB Joshua saved her from imminent death and reconciled the entire family – a family that had been broken and bruised through these malicious lies. It was a touching and practical example of the ministry of reconciliation, which all true ministers of God are called to.

However, on the other side of this blame game, we are quick to ascribe our success to our personal efforts. When things flow according to plan and results materialise, we proudly attribute it to our many painful sacrifices, diligent work ethic and hours of labour. Why is it we freely boast of our successes, but blindly apportion blame for our failures? Can we not see such actions and attitude are a clear contradiction and perversion of the truth?

The principle that governs our ways and works in life is simple, and can be found in the Holy Bible in Galatians 6:7 – “Whatsoever a man sows, that he shall reap.” Success or failure is mostly a product of your mind and time management. Refusal to realise such is simply warping reality to the detriment of maturity and growth. It is true supernatural forces of evil exist, but to blame them for every misfortune and calamity that comes your way is tantamount to a refusal to take up responsibility. And when you do not arrive at the firm conviction that you are responsible for your situation by your actions or inactions, you can never learn the lessons experience is willing to impart to you through it.

There is always a lesson in every situation. The successful are simply those willing to learn through every situation, grow through every error and mature through every experience. Choosing to be blind to these truths is choosing to fail.

The choice is yours.

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