Nigeria, a Pervasively Religious And Deeply Ritualized Nation At War With Itself

John Egbeazien Oshodi

John Egbeazien Oshodi

Nigeria has profoundly become a global case of delicate religiosity and extreme rituals that permeate every aspect of Nigerian life, institutional practices, the polity, and the economy. Nigeria could as well be the capital of amplified prayers and intensified rituals, yet the psychology of prosperity and safety is practically nil, especially at this time when poverty is in everyone’s face.

Nigeria’s religiosity and attention to ritual now seem to lack the moral passion and drive to generate a viable economy, prosperity, and security. The number of prayers beginning in the weekday mornings, evenings, and on big Fridays and widespread Sunday prayers remains extensive, yet disobedience, deception, disunity, exploitation, and dishonesty prevail. Societally, with all the widened prayers and rituals, Nigeria ought not to borrow excessively, struggling with inefficient institutions. It certainly should be a very good and secure country, yet there is so much unfairness, imbalance, cruelty, decadence, and abuse of power.

With almost everyone wearing religion on their face, plus institutions having prayer grounds on premises and visible prayer books seen in offices and stores, the work ethic of individuals and students’ behaviors should not be evasive of good acts. In Nigeria, in a more pronounced way, Christianity, Islam, and traditional religions are in full appearance, to the extent that they are, in different ways, looking at how to deal with the evil of poverty, insecurity, and hardship. The spiritual or magical hypocrisy in Nigeria has been taken to the highest proportion that some children are now in the business of using human body parts for money rituals. Many youth scammers, popularly known as “yahoo boys”, are resorting to prayers with huge offerings and the use of traditional charms to attract potential victims into their scams.

In Nigeria’s heightened religious and spiritual space, we hear law enforcement like the Department of Security Service (DSS), intelligence agency displaying charms and jujus amongst other items as evidence recovered during an arrest, arresting someone for allegedly preparing a charm for another person, and the police holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery after it shapeshifts from a human form. An Osun State lawmaker was reportedly found by night guards naked bathing with blood in the dead of the night apparently for ritual purification, spiritual cleansing, and empowerment.

Even the current nation’s president, while with his Muslim friends, said that if Nigeria continues to face security challenges despite the use of armed forces, divine intervention is needed now. In the past, the current Vice President and some legislators have participated in the National Christian Prayer Summit. Could it be that the types of prayers and rituals in Nigeria are so peculiar that they aggravate and serve as conduits for institutionalized fraud, exploitation, indiscipline, brutality, chaos, unpredictability, and insecurity? It appears that the types of prayers and rituals are so unusual that a few with accumulated wealth, gotten by various methods and by any means possible, are so wasteful, causing resources to become scarce and poverty to widen.

Therefore, can Nigerians start thinking more and feeling less, using more commonsense amid sincere prayers and meaningful rituals? No attempt is made here to suggest that Nigerians should avoid prayers or religious traditions. However, our widespread prayers and rituals do not appear to be appeasing our ongoing serious personal and institutional wahalas or problems. Hence, conclude that Nigerian type prayers and traditions are the most problematic. As a result, try common good prayers and rituals. Could it be that no matter how much time Nigerians spend carrying out prayers and chants for the betterment of individuals and institutions, their bad ways end up chasing them away? So, I say this: try to be better inwardly and outwardly and push towards becoming better people, institutions, and economies.

John Egbeazien Oshodi, who was born in Uromi, Edo State in Nigeria, is an American based Police/Prison Scientist and Forensic/Clinical/Legal Psychologist. A government consultant on matters of forensic-clinical adult/child psychological services in the USA; Chief Educator and Clinician at the Transatlantic Enrichment and Refresher Institute, an Online Lifelong Center for Personal, Professional, and Career Development. He is a former Interim Associate Dean/Assistant Professor at Broward College, Florida. The Founder of the Dr. John Egbeazien Oshodi Foundation, Center for Psychological Health and Behavioral Change in African Settings In 2011, he introduced State-of-the-Art Forensic Psychology into Nigeria through N.U.C and Nasarawa State University, where he served in the Department of Psychology as an Associate Professor. Currently, a Virtual Behavioral Leadership Professor at ISCOM University, Republic of Benin. Founder of the proposed Transatlantic Egbeazien Open University (TEU) of Values and Ethics, a digital project of Truth, Ethics, and Openness. Founder of Psychoafricalytic Psychology. Over forty academic publications and creations, at least 200 public opinion pieces on African issues, and various books have been written by him. He specializes in psycho-prescriptive writings regarding African institutional and governance issues.

Prof. Oshodi wrote in via

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