This article first appeared in Daily Times Nigeria
People have asked why I risk the wrath of friends and frenemies to say the things that many people think but no one says out loud. Simple. I am committed to your success. Many would like to keep these secrets from you. Not me.
Religion is big business in Nigeria. Millions cannot live without it, it is their link to God, to life on earth and in the hereafter. I see you look at many of these big clergy men who wear suits worth thousands of dollars and ride in cool private jets and think, ‘God, what holy act of worship will make me similarly endowed?’ Sometimes, especially after struggling so hard and getting so little, your faith begins to waver; you wonder if God is indeed the source of all the wealth. Consider me an answer to your prayer. Listen.
First, you need to look like you have what you are trying to sell. You need to look like God has been good to you. Invest in suits and ties and shoes. No big bushy beards. That’s for those crazy juju people. People should, at the point of meeting have no doubts about you. What? Should you perm or texturise and grease your hair? Don’t ask me. That one is a personal decision. Just look good. But if you are bald like me, I would say, don’t be too creative with the hair.
Invest in a good sound system. You need to use a microphone that enhances your voice. Then you need external speakers that will declare your presence in the neighbourhood. It does not matter if your neighbours are not believers or if they consider it a nuisance. Only those with the spirit of darkness are irritated by the spirit of light. It doesn’t matter if you have six members, you still need the external speakers when you are praying, dancing or singing. You need the speakers at night during night vigils- it is not your fault that some people can’t sleep when there is noise.
You need to show that you have power from God. You need to demonstrate the potency of this power. Miracles are one sure way to do this. In a country where getting basic things like water electricity and healthcare can seem like magic, people are desperate for miracles. Simple things like getting a job, owning a house, and getting pregnant are good raw materials for miracles. However, here you need to be careful not to commit a blunder. Don’t out of desperation announce that a man who has been blind from birth and has never known colour suddenly knows which colour is green and which is aquamarine. Or something scandalous like a man who has been deaf from birth and does not know any language suddenly can respond to instructions in English from someone he can’t see. Don’t try to raise the dead or fix cripples. Don’t do risky things like declaring you can cure HIV/AIDS.
There are easier ways. Safe miracles. I call them low-risk miracles. Say to a congregation of 1,000 people that someone here will get a new car this year. Or to a congregation with over 100 married couples that someone will get pregnant this year. Chances are that there will be that lucky person and that person will recognise this as a miracle and do the appropriate thing: come for testimonies and thanksgiving. The more testimonies you have, the more potent your power. The more potent your power, the greater the likelihood that you will buy that private jet.
Another way of demonstrating power is Prophecy. This one requires plenty of skill. To earn the title of ‘Prophet’, you need to invest time in understanding patterns and politics. Then you can accurately foretell the future. The more general the prophecy, the safer. Avoid mentioning specific names and places and dates. Say things like a very important man, a politician will die this year. Or, this country will witness a disaster this year but God will see us through it. Of course politicians die every year and Nigeria has no shortage of man-made disasters. Please, you do not have to be a prophet to be a successful man of God. One bad prophecy can ruin your business for good. So my advice is, if you are not sure how this works, stick to the miracles.
In Nigeria, demons and witches are the cause of every evil thing. From barrenness to joblessness to singleness to poverty. You need to be adept at casting out these demons and witches. You need to show your power. Show a witch that you are powerful and believe me, you will make an impression. Where will you find demons and witches? They will come to you. When they come, humiliate them. Slap a witch in public and all other witches will be petrified of you. You are, after all, anointed of God. Crimes like assault do not apply to you. And the good book says, ‘touch not my anointed’. Whoever tries to touch you will be attacked by your disciples and followers who cannot stand irreverent people persecuting their leader.
So, what do you do, when you have been sufficiently blessed and your business has grown substantially? Buy that private jet. It does not matter that you live in a country where poverty is the status quo. It does not matter that your members struggle to pay their tithes from lean salaries. This is the will of God for you: that you prosper. And how else can you prove your prosperity if you can’t be wasteful and own a private jet? Let bad belle people keep talking.
Good luck in this noble, righteous path to success. And God bless your hustle.