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OP-UNEDITED | Oh Praying Nigerians

By Ayo George

I have always been a student of the school of thought that suggests that we pray too much in this country instead of using our brains and doing the right things. It is sad to know how we have become slaves of religion rather than being super powers. I have tried to find time to write this article, seeing it has always been on my to-do list, but it became urgent the moment Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah hit the nail on the head at the knowledge teaching, eye opening, wisdom impacting event; The Platform, organized yearly by Pastor Poju Oyemade of the Covenant Christian Centre.

Bishop Kukah was apt, precise, direct, sincere, coordinated, and articulate at the said event. He confirmed what has always been there but we shy away from. We don’t talk about it, so we don’t get labeled as a rebel or radical. In Nigeria, ‘prayer has become a substitute for doing nothing’ said Bishop Kukah amongst so many truths about corruption and our national dependence on a good man to solve our problems in a seemingly pervert society. For these truths and many others said, Bishop Kukah became the number one trending topic in Nigeria on social media for over 4hours on October 1st.

We live in a country where there is a unanimous thinking that only Nigeria has access to God and other countries don’t. successive governments have compulsorily turned most of us to prayer warriors since the normal has become abnormal and a good life has become luxury. We have been so punished by our leaders that we no longer make use of our brains where it is needed. Young people and women alike fill up larger spaces at prayer gatherings and church conventions. We shamelessly attend church services on Monday mornings; the first working day of the week, a day that human beings should ordinarily be at their optimum to drive the week to substantial and measurable success.

In the course of the year, I had researched to see the less religious countries in the world, so I could juxtapose that with the level of their national development, if indeed, the devil does not allow them develop. Brazil and china were some countries I stumbled on as countries that are “less prayerful” (what they pray to regardless, at least they don’t pray as much as we do), yet experience rapid developments. Most Chinese are even atheists; they have no religion. Yet these two economies have become world economic powers. Their growth is alarming. Their incursion into Africa gives the USA sleepless nights. They are part of the BRIC nations. Their development has no correlation with their religious dispositions.

I remember my mother’s first visit to Europe in 1988, she told us how Sunday was the day to take dogs on a stroll, relax, hit the beach and do other stuffs that had been pending all week. This is because the governments of these countries had answered their citizens ‘prayers’. In Nigeria, our bus stops are filled from 5am on Sundays, just so we can attend services as we always do. Our mosques are filled on Fridays in addition to praying five times daily, yet, we are STILL under-developed.

Before you begin to think Ayo George is from one of the hottest part of hell, I should let you know that I am Christian, and a member of one of the biggest churches in the world, but my point is we have been timid as a people. We only pray this much because we have become cowards. Martin Luther King JNR was also a Christian, but led a movement on the streets. Rosa Park was a Christian but liberated the black people from discrimination in her days. All through the bible as I have read, every individual that stood up for something and said to him/herself, ‘if I perish, I perish’, they ended up ‘not perishing’.

Oh praying Nigerians, how did we get here? We now bother God about everything you can think of. This shameless attitude now cuts across every fibre of our national lives. We have a competition, we pray to win. We have a program to watch, we pray to have electricity. We hear government embarking on projects; we pray our area is listed. We pray for water to run, we pray for super eagles to win, we pray for planes not to fall from the sky, and we have a new one, for trailers not to fall from bridges. For how long are we going to bother God, when simple laws could be made? Effective deployment of tax payers money, execution of budgets, adequate preparation for sporting events, political will to fulfill campaign promises, a national vision and direction, a diversification of the Nigerian economy instead of ‘praying’ for oil prices to go right up, more values and ethics, a national maintenance culture, massive infrastructural development and so on could just replace our many prayers.

Oh praying Nigerians, I can attest to the efficacy of God answering prayers, only when they are reasonable and well coordinated. God gave us brains so we can use it. To a large extent, in Nigeria, it is poverty that has made us all so religious, not like we love God that much, if not, child rape wouldn’t be on the increase, because these church goers and mosque attendees rape these children. If things were going well nationally, we would have also been dog-strolling on Sundays. If we continue to hold our leaders accountable, we would pray less in this country. Let us tell them we have had enough of the stealing. They have stolen enough already. A governor locks up a whistle blower for days without bail, and we let it pass? We would rather pray than ask the governor to prove his innocence of the allegation.

While I am not discouraging our prayer lives, we only need to act where necessary. God will not send angels to fix our power issues, win football games, fix our roads, build schools, educate our children or provide jobs for our youths. We must continue to push for a sane society. No wonder FELA wasn’t a fan of religious leaders! Our destiny is in our hands. God has played his part.

Ayo George can be contacted at He tweets via @iamayogeorge



Inspired by Steve Biko’s ‘I Write What I Like‘, OP-UNEDITED is the citizen opinion segment of SIGNAL. All opinions posted on the OP-UNEDITED page are unedited and the raw opinions of the writers.

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