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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Blame It On The Devil

"Na devil work" (it is the work of the devil) is the most common excuse used by Nigerians whenever they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Every evil deed is blamed on the devil. It is normal for the occupants of a vehicle about to embark on a journey, especially by road, to be led in prayers by at least one of the passengers, or even the driver. It is unfortunate that Nigeria still has appalling figures for fatal accidents caused by very bad roads and even worse drivers. Every safe arrival to one's destination by road is in itself a miracle (not the christian kind), and something to be thankful for (no thanks to any deity), and it is usually due to a conscientious driver and a well maintained vehicle, two  factors that, when absent, contribute to the deaths on our roads.
The reason we are so quick to blame the devil for things that should ordinarily be our own faults is the same reason we are wallowing in penury and perennial problems while listening to the prosperity preaching of our poisonous pastors. We have simply failed to take responsibility for our problems. We run to our pastors at the slightest hint of any trouble. These charlatans are usually the first to hear about problems in our homes, our places of work and even problems with members of our families. What is wrong with good old talking about our problems with our spouses, employers, or family, respectively? Why do we have to blame some external influence for every affliction no matter how inconsequential? Some problems should be seen as minor irritations, which they really are, but Nigerians are adept at making mountains out of molehills. A mother who takes her ill child to her pastor for prayers, instead of to a doctor starts blaming the devil when that same child who has been denied medical attention, becomes worse, or starts having convulsions. She has forgotten she is suffering the consequences of her foolish and wicked decision. If her child dies, she is told to accept this as the will of god; and she, and the pastor, will never be held liable for the child's negligent death.
We have also given our elected officials a blank cheque with this universal excuse. Whenever a building collapses, or the rains wash away a portion of a newly (and poorly) built road or bridge, we blame it on the devil. We never seem to question the contractors who did such a shoddy job, or the regulatory bodies that supervised them and eventually certified their work so they (the contractors) get paid. We have become a people with a culture of low expectations. The only time we aim high is when we ask god, in prayers, for selfish needs. It is so bad we even extend this culture of low expectations to our pastors and priest, many of whose bad behaviours we condone and defend. We do not remember that the devil is using them. Even when the devil is blamed, the offenders are usually forgiven and installed to their 'exalted' positions, and it is business as usual.
Nigerians should begin to learn that there is no devil. Most of our problems can be solved by us, because they were created by us in the first place. Those things we cannot control, we accept and move on in our pursuit of happiness. You know what? There is a devil - religion.