Hard pressed on every side

To understand Nigeria, you must appreciate how religion colours every aspect of our lives and infiltrates nearly every conversation. There is a god of Nigeria, he is the carrot and the stick, and the final bs, that’s bus stop, by the way.

“Like soap that glides through wet hands, we use religion to evade the grasp of accountability time after time. From Aso Rock to Ajegunle, religion is courted, invoked, and brandished as if it is a determinant of GDP and as if, according to Karl Marx, it is the opium of the people!”

Tolu Talabi aka Naijarookie, doesn’t get enough credit for making me laugh. I hope you’ll laugh as well, and if you’re like me, untangle the many levels of ‘spirituality’ unfolding in his tale. Enjoy!


Originally posted on Nigerian Newcomer

Most of the businesses in Nigeria have an office gofer. Someone who can run errands for the staff, pick up food, clean a spill, make a cup of tea. Usually this person has an official designation, they might be the security guard or the cleaner. But when they aren’t opening gates, they hang around and wait to be summoned.

The person who does this at my office is a girl called Esther who is always taking days off to write exams. She would say, “I won’t be around next week, I’m travelling to Ibadan to do WAEC.” Or “I have JAMB on Saturday, I have to attend lesson.” You’ll see her sitting in the corner reading Literature-in-English past questions, or squinting at an Accounting textbook. One day it was a Chemistry practicals textbook, I had to ask.

She laughed, “Haha, all these subjects? It’s not for me, I’m doing the exam for other people.”

View original 628 more words.


Related Posts on Lively Twist:

By God’s Grace

Your Enemies Shall Never Succeed

Mommie Dearest


The Business of Worship by Jide Odukoya: It is hard to reflect objectively on the proliferation of Churches in Nigeria. View original photo commentary with 192 more words.

24 thoughts on “Hard pressed on every side

  1. If I were Tolu, I would have given Tomi the punchline “Touch not my anointed…” and gently release my fingers. Being checkmated in a ‘friend zone’ while analysing the majesty of hell fire isn’t a good place to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am always grateful when I can have some firsthand knowledge of other’s countries. I was smiling at the young woman who is a student and also, the description of the religion using carrot, stick and bs. ha ha! I also feel I need to learn more about Nigeria. Thanks for the snippets and news items. Good post, Timi! I liked your friends who commented and their additional information, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, the student! I stand back and wonder how she does not connect all the dots. But we are often blind sided like that- consumed by self-righteousness in one area, lacking in another. Good and bad are often executed under the banner of religion, it’s a way of life in Nigeria. The snippets show you one side of the story. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Haha, thanks for sharing this Timi. It was an enjoyable read. It’s funny how a culture can take on religion as part of the culture, however it’s just that – part of the culture, not living it out. Like in a lot of western culture now-a-day. Before I became a Christian, I thought that evolution was fact. It was taught that way in the schools, so I believed it. Now, as a Christian, it makes no sense to me to say I believe in something and not live it. Have you ever heard the expression, Coram Deo? It’s latin for “Before the face of God”. It implies that there is no separation between the secular and the sacred. All things are sacred. Not just ‘religious’ things (going to church, tithing, singing worship songs, prayer), but also the so-called secular (job, cleaning the house, the way one treat others, whatever leisure one engages in, etc). The way one lives their life is their worship.
    Thanks again Timi.


    1. “The way one lives their life is their worship.” How true. I like to think that people will be more effective witnesses this way, walking the talk. Thanks for teaching me about Coram Deo. As Francis of Assisi said, ‘Preach the gospel all the time, and if necessary, use words.’

      I’m happy you enjoyed the story and got a peek at the pervasive culture of religion in Nigeria. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahhh you know Nigeria and Christianity. Our faith in God covers a multitude of sins 😀

    It’s strange though how we forget to apply obedience to God in our worship…


    1. Ha ha! And it isn’t as if I’m against religion or faith per se. In my post, By God’s Grace, I write that:

      “Having watched God’s role shrink in the west, I embraced his omnipresence back home. But my joy at luxuriating in unabashed religious freedom was marred by incident after incident with religious-sounding people.” 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting story. I don’t like people shoving their religion in my face ~ especially someone like Esther who cheats for hire while praising her god. 😕


    1. If you live in Nigeria, religion, all kinds of religious beliefs, will be in your face- its symbols and proponents are everywhere. It is woven into the fabric of society. You get used to it. You stop seeing it. You even like it sometimes. You wonder about the sincerity of its proponents. But then you meet people who live what they believe/preach, and that can be a beautiful thing.

      It would seem as though people like Esther don’t see the hypocrisy in their actions. They really don’t 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. wow – I enjoy your challenge you are preparing for me, I am looking forward.

    Though there is archaeological evidence that societies have been living in Nigeria for more than twenty-five hundred years, the borders of modern Nigeria were not created until the British consolidated their colonial power over the area in 1914.

    The name Nigeria was suggested by British journalist Flora Shaw in the 1890s. She referred to the area as Nigeria, after the Niger River, which dominates much of the country’s landscape. The word niger is Latin for black.

    Nigeria is in West Africa, along the eastern coast of the Gulf of Guinea, and just north of the equator. It is bordered on the west by Benin, on the north by Niger and Chad, and on the east by Cameroon.


      1. I agree with you, religion is indeed one of our love languages, it gives hope even in the most hopeless situations. The Religious Nigerian’s anthem “It is well…” provides immediate relief for all problems, lol

        Liked by 1 person

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