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SARATU CHATS | Musings on big awkward nigerian issues

I might need a SOAPBOX for this post!!- there has been a lot on my mind that I feel quite strongly about – so many interesting events and articles that caught my attention in the past couple of days so grab a snack and sit tight.

So there’s the COZA/Esse Walter scandal which you can read up on HERE. A former usher at a popular Nigerian church (Common Wealth Of Zion Assembly) in Abuja claimed last Thursday that she and the married main Pastor had a sexual affair (daily) for a week. The pastor concerned -Pastor Biodun Fatoyinbo did not deny or admit to it but rather told his congregation that he is coming up with a ‘robust reply’ whilst preaching on Sunday and disseminated lots of vague scriptures without facing head on, the real question.

I found it interesting that a lot of his church members cheered him on as he delivered that drivel about a ‘robust reply’. Since he has not  told his own part of the story yet, these people either support him because they believe he didn’t do it (hes a pastor and pastors are perfect right?) or endorse his behaviour whether he did it or not and don’t even mind if an explanation is never given. Its terrifying what we allow people to get away with in the name of spiritual leadership. We are all human beings, pastors included and we all have the tendency to make poor decisions. However, when an explanation like possessing ‘a level of grace’ that is superior is used to justify adultery by someone in a position of responsibility in church, its nothing short of abhorrent. There are lots of vulnerable people who go to church for guidance and this sort of conduct is terrifying.

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Moving on to Nigeria as a country ,i recently read a controversial article by Tim Newman an expat who lived and worked in Nigeria. It is quite lengthy so ill pick out a few salient points. He moved to Nigeria a few years ago for an assignment which has recently ended and talks about his expectations and his experience- basically he was told to expect a horrible situation and it ended up being even worse than he expected.  He talked about the appalling degree of corruption, theft, nepotism, horrific degree of inequality, etc he encountered, in detail with examples. He makes a lot of comparisons to corruption in Russia throughout. One of the interesting points he made was that  the 109 Nigerian senators get paid 1.5 million dollars a year(likely to be at least 3 times more considering other backhand deals)  and were requesting an  increase to 2.2 million dollars whilst Barack Obama gets paid 400 thousand dollars a year. He also highlighted the irony of Nigerians accepting dishonesty as normal but frowning upon things like not turning up to church/mosque. The security situation was another thing he expressed concern for.

I’ve talked about self evaluation before (granted, on a more superficial level) and its very difficult for Nigerians  to see how bad things really are here because we’ve either adjusted our expectations to see these horrific injustices and failures as normal or are so focused on keeping the hope alive that we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we have something colossal to surmount. Obviously a lot of Nigerians were angry about the things he said – How dare he?  Who does he think he is etc

I’m glad he said those things because most of what he said that I can personally verify or have knowledge of, is the TRUTH. Its depressing to hear complaints about the state of our country but we need to be fired up so we can instigate dialogue and come up with strategies and solutions. Some of the problems are deeply embedded in our culture so i don’t know how much hope we can really have for improvements there but we need to be reminded how bad it is so we are uneasy and restless until we pick our little bit that we can do to improve our country. Some of us grew up here then moved away and we came back full of passion but apprehensive because we’d have to deal with power shortage and bureaucratic BS, traffic and inefficiency. We complain for weeks or months then get used to it eventually. Where did that passion go? We hate the state our country is in so what are we doing to change things?

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On a lighter note, I recently read a lady’s story about how she met her husband on a popular blog. It was expressed as a testimony with very very heavy emphasis on this elaborate spiritual journey she went through to catch a man (we’re talking prayer& fasting with family members and a pastor, bread being delivered by an angel, a meeting with Jesus in heaven etc). I personally felt that the way that story was told made a mockery of women- apparently we’ll damn near kill ourselves praying for a husband because clearly there is no achievement as important in a woman’s life. Bloody hell

I wonder about the Nigerian society’s obsession with marrying off girls. The pressure and disparaging comments young women get because surely you need a man to exist, to count, to be complete. After a certain age your singleness becomes blotchy red boils that shroud your skin- they have to turn up their noses and remind you to get rid of it as soon as possible. No one tells women that the void they feel when they’re single will still be there when there are married. Nobody will make you happy if you cant be happy by yourself. FIND YOUR PURPOSE, CHASE YOUR DREAMS, EXPLORE YOUR PASSIONS, CHANGE THE WORLD ( if that’s too lofty, family, street, community),BECOME HAPPY, GET CLOSE TO GOD (or whatever you believe in)!

Parents fast and pray, give offerings and attend breakthrough services for their children to get married. I’ve never heard of parents fasting for their daughter to become president and change our nation. I believe there’s nothing too little or odd even to put before God but why are we so obsessed with getting that ring?  Why do women feel worthless until they’re Mrs Whatever? It confounds me.

If at the end of my life the only major achievement of my life is being a wife and a mother then I would have failed myself as an individual, because God expects much more of me. I’m not saying those are not great things to be but i know the talent, abilities and grace that have been made available to me, Therefore, I expect much more of myself! You don’t want to be the the forty/fifty something woman having a meltdown because she lived her life serving her husband and kids and doing everything to make them happy only to get hurt or abandoned by them. Girl, you gotta do you!

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One thought on “SARATU CHATS | Musings on big awkward nigerian issues

  1. I found your post asking myself the same question as to why Nigerian men, including pastors, are so obsessed about young women being married off with the speed of lightning. I’m not Nigerian, (I’m Trinidadian) and it made me question their view of women & womanhood. Your post pretty much brought significant clarification. Thank you so much.

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