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Sunday, 26 July 2015

Today is Sunday, and in Nigeria, it means church for tens of millions of people. Attendance is essentially non-negotiable, from those who go compulsorily, to those who are forced or coerced, or who do it to avoid being labelled as an agent of the devil. One who does not go to church is invariably seen as  diabolic, and there are usually dire consequences.
There are other ways to make sense of this world than relying on the writings of bronze-age men who recorded their thoughts through the lenses of their culture. Even in Nigeria, our various tribes have different cultures. Today, we see the flaws and folly in some of them, such as the osu caste system, the killing of twins, female genital mutilation and the various humiliating rituals widows are made to undergo. All these we know today to be wrong. Tell me, did you need to be religious to determine that these practices were wrong? Even juju, which most Nigerians fear to this day, is being increasingly seen by discerning minds as no different than illusions and magic tricks. Think about it, if a 'jujuman' had real powers to kill somebody, why is it necessary to give you a physical potion/powder/mixture/concoction to put into someone's food or drink? Why couldn't he just speak and the person whom you wanted dead actually dropped dead? What he is giving to you is a physical, poisonous substance. He has no power of his own.
I remember, as a boy, how people 'secured' their farmlands with juju mixture in small brown bottles tied with a red piece of cloth and hung in a conspicuous part of their land. This was enough to deter most people from even stepping foot in those farmlands. The bottle had no powers; it was simply a bottle filled with some liquid, usually alcohol, and tied with a red piece of cloth. Any very savvy farmer/landowner who wanted to deter trespassers could simply fill a small bottle with ogogoro (local gin), tie a strip of red cloth around the bottle and place it where it would be easily seen by potential trespassers. It sure would be as effective as that of someone else who went to a jujuman to get the same thing done, and of course paid for it. Now tell me, how would you know who went to a jujuman and who did not? The fact that anyone could simply replicate a feared deterrent measure doesn't make it any less, or more, effective. It has the same effect that a parked, empty police vehicle in a high crime area has in deterring crime in that area. Since potential criminals do not know for sure if the police were around the corner, the wise thing to do would be to avoid any and all criminal behaviour. The parked police van has worked it's 'magic'. It has served its purpose. It has used PSYCHOLOGY. And this is exactly what happens with juju or Jesus. It's all in ur head. Yank it out.