Our men of dog, By Bamidele Johnson
Strong chance that I’m infected with rabid skepticism where Nigerian prophets and prophecies are concerned. In the event the unscientific self-diagnosis is confirmed, I’m unwilling to seek a cure from orthodox medical guys, trado-medical experts, shamans or spiritual healers of other hues.
My unwillingness, long-standing, is hard, stiff and solid like a brick, with more than a little help from those who called the presidential election outcome one way or the other, as contained in viral videos, and public reactions to them. But the sooner we begin to treat these chaps as a plank of the country’s vibrant entertainment industry, the better.
Many, like our skit makers, measure 9.5 on the humour Richter. Others, even with the best efforts, are unfunny and perverse. Some, fluent in gibberish, have bodies of work nudging derangement. Only the hard-hearted would laugh at anyone in such a mental state. Privately, I suspect, their followers squirm with shame at the bollocks raining down from the pulpit. By this, I mean the kind of discomfiture you feel from watching an otherwise lovable uncle intermittently topple over, pee liberally on himself and hit on a niece he has not seen since she was a child after having a drink too many at a family reunion.
One claimed that there would be no elections this year, daring us to say that he isn’t of God if elections held. I wonder what his kids think of him. Another said the name of the winner is one borne by one of Christ’s apostles. All sorts. Well, none of Bola, Ahmed, Tinubu, BAT, Asiwaju, Jagaban and City Boy is in the Bible.
Two of the 18 presidential candidates are namesakes of an apostle of Christ. They are Peter Obi of Labour Party and Peter Umeadi, a professor, of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Neither was declared winner. Importantly, I guess that the prophet, Oyakhilome, was not aware that there was another Peter in the line-up and the crooked source from which he received the alleged revelation was similarly unaware.
Otherwise, it would have revealed to him who, between the two Peters, he should see as the winner. Even if he was aware there were two Peters and both had a near-equal chance of emerging winner, he would not be a Nigerian man of DOG (note that the letters have been rearranged), if he was specific. Men of dog, erroneously called men of God here, are people of considerable nous at delivering utterances of horoscope-level accuracy. They probably hear from dogs which, in my part of the country, are believed to possess an ability verging on clairvoyance.
I do not understand the language (s) spoken by dogs, so I cannot claim to be familiar with how they pass on what they see to prophets. But if there was mutual intelligibility between mongrels and seers, the latter could be relied upon to be unreliable at relaying what they heard. There are very smart ones among them and those avoided making a call one way or the other beyond what fans of the candidates did, some in hope rather expectation.
What they did, legit in my view, was to vigorously back candidates and milk their authority, snarling like a serial killer during sermons, to give force to the message passed on to their subscribers. The followers, in turn, believed that the preacher’s will is the same as God’s. The modern Nigerian Christian, I think, is the most indifferent person to God’s will. I take that back. The Nigerian Christian accords the will of God the same significance as yesterday’s garbage. He/she does not give a toss about the will of God because the preacher/prophet has conditioned is spectacularly successful at promoting the view as God’s Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), signing statements on God’s behalf.
Actually, I believe that the Nigerian Christian, bizarre as it sounds, thinks of the preacher/prophet as one who gives instructions to God on what to do, when and where. The guff the preacher describes as prophecy often comes with an ultimatum to God. “I prophesy that you will get married”, own your own home”, “have a set of triplets” etc before the end of this year. Stuff like this-which are prayers, personal desires for and words of encouragement to followers-have been baked into prophecies and sold in the “show glass” that is the “decree and declare” theology.
My flimsy understanding of Matthew 24:36 is that not everything was revealed to Christ. While fielding questions on the events prior to his second coming, details of which he gave without being overly specific, Christ said: “Concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of heaven nor the Son, but the Father only”.
What do we get? Grant audience to one of them and have him pray for five minutes and he’ll come up with 50 revelations, including about results of Premier League, La Liga, AFCON, Champions League matches, in addition to those sitting on your destiny. If Christ did not have access to every bit of information, I wonder how everything, including the date, hour, minute and second of occurrence, is revealed to a chancer in Lagos, Abuja or Enugu.