Monthly Archives: April 2015

The Music Issue (Can a Christian Artiste Sing Secular Songs?) by @LekeAlder

A few days ago, there arose a Twitter storm of apocalyptic proportions over news that a young “secular” artiste was invited to sing during a church service. The young artiste is a Christian and the song performed was from his title album, God Win. One must assume that a song titled “God Win” sang in a church setting seemed most appropriate, but these are curious times.

There are many choruses that echo the same sentiment, some using exact same words yet there were a lot of issues raised. The very notion that a non-gospel artiste had been invited to “minister” in church consternated many. And not a few were peeved that the artiste in question performed from the “altar” – a most holy place. And how can an “entertainer” be invited to minister to “the people of God”, some wondered, with righteous and not so righteous indignation. Even the Pastor was not spared. What was his motivation? There was no shortage of opinion, aspersions and castigations. And there was no shortage of exegetes misquoting scriptures. Were Jesus on Earth he would have had to up his signature command of nature to calm the storm. He couldn’t do a reprise. This was no watery issue. But lurking somewhere in the sea was the leviathan of the fundamental challenge as to whether a Christian artiste can even do secular music. It’s not exactly a new issue. The Amy Grants of this world faced that same challenge in the 80s. It’s as if someone somewhere is instigating topical conundrum in generational cycles.

An analytical perusal of the issues however shows a confliction in knowledge on many levels. The idea for example that the “altar” is “sacred” betrays a mix-up in understanding between the concept of the temple in the New Testament and the concept of the temple in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament the temple was a building. It was basically partitioned into two parts – the Outer Court and the Tabernacle. The Outer Court contained the Table, Lampstand and Altar of Incense. The congregation could enter here. The Tabernacle was in turn divided into two parts by a heavy hanging curtain – the Holy Place in which only priests from the tribe of Levi could enter; and the Holy of Holies in which resided the Ark of the Covenant. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies and he did so once a year, on Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. The High Priest must make atonement for himself before he entered the Holy of Holies. He would die otherwise. The sacrifice was his life insurance policy. And since no one can enter the Holy of Holies to retrieve his body, tradition says a scarlet rope was tied on his ankle. Small bells were also sewed around the helm of his robe. A priest in the Holy Place tended to the other end of the rope. He would drag him out by the rope in case something went wrong. If the bells stopped jiggling the priest knew something was wrong. You served God with your life as High Priest. Continue reading

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ON A LIGHTER NOTE..Vol 17- AY’s Election result announcement

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TO BE IGBO IN NIGERIA IS CONSTANTLY TO BE A SUSPECT

Dear Readers,

This story has been making rounds for days now and typical of Nigerians, we make a joke out of everything, twitter almost went down the day the news broke and since then we have heard all sorts, well i read from Nigerians super writer Chimamanda Adichie and i could not help but share her piece on my blog. The below is her view on the sad comments from the Oba of Lagos.

A few days ago, the Oba of Lagos threatened Igbo leaders. If they did not vote for his governorship candidate in Lagos, he said, they would be thrown into the lagoon. His entire speech was a flagrant performance of disregard. His words said, in effect: I think so little of you that I don’t have to cajole you but will just threaten you and, by the way, your safety in Lagos is not assured, it is negotiable.

There have been condemnations of the Oba’s words. Sadly, many of the condemnations from non-Igbo people have come with the ugly impatience of expressions like ‘move on,’ and ‘don’t be over-emotional’ and ‘calm down.’ These take away the power, even the sincerity, of the condemnations. It is highhanded and offensive to tell an aggrieved person how to feel, or how quickly to forgive, just as an apology becomes a non-apology when it comes with ‘now get over it.’

Other condemnations of the Oba’s words have been couched in dismissive or diminishing language such as ‘The Oba can’t really do anything, he isn’t actually going to kill anyone. He was joking. He was just being a loudmouth.’

Or – the basest yet – ‘we are all prejudiced.’ It is dishonest to respond to a specific act of prejudice by ignoring that act and instead stressing the generic and the general. It is similar to responding to a specific crime by saying ‘we are all capable of crime.’ Indeed we are. But responses such as these are diversionary tactics. They dismiss the specific act, diminish its importance, and ultimately aim at silencing the legitimate fears of people.

We are indeed all prejudiced, but that is not an appropriate response to an issue this serious. The Oba is not an ordinary citizen. He is a traditional ruler in a part of a country where traditional rulers command considerable influence – the reluctance on the part of many to directly chastise the Oba speaks to his power. The Oba’s words matter. He is not a singular voice; he represents traditional authority. The Oba’s words matter because they are enough to incite violence in a political setting already fraught with uncertainty. The Oba’s words matter even more in the event that Ambode loses the governorship election, because it would then be easy to scapegoat Igbo people and hold them punishable.

Nigerians who consider themselves enlightened might dismiss the Oba’s words as illogical. But the scapegoating of groups – which has a long history all over the world – has never been about logic. The Oba’s words matter because they bring worrying echoes of the early 1960s in Nigeria, when Igbo people were scapegoated for political reasons. Chinua Achebe, when he finally accepted that Lagos, the city he called home, was unsafe for him because he was Igbo, saw crowds at the motor park taunting Igbo people as they boarded buses: ‘Go, Igbo, go so that garri will be cheaper in Lagos!’

Of course Igbo people were not responsible for the cost of garri. But they were perceived as people who were responsible for a coup and who were ‘taking over’ and who, consequently, could be held responsible for everything bad.

Any group of people would understandably be troubled by a threat such as the Oba’s, but the Igbo, because of their history in Nigeria, have been particularly troubled. And it is a recent history. There are people alive today who were publicly attacked in cosmopolitan Lagos in the 1960s because they were Igbo. Even people who were merely light-skinned were at risk of violence in Lagos markets, because to be light-skinned was to be mistaken for Igbo.

Almost every Nigerian ethnic group has a grouse of some sort with the Nigerian state. The Nigerian state has, by turns, been violent, unfair, neglectful, of different parts of the country. Almost every ethnic group has derogatory stereotypes attached to it by other ethnic groups.

But it is disingenuous to suggest that the experience of every ethnic group has been the same. Anti-Igbo violence began under the British colonial government, with complex roots and manifestations. But the end result is a certain psychic difference in the relationship of Igbo people to the Nigerian state. To be Igbo in Nigeria is constantly to be suspect; your national patriotism is never taken as the norm, you are continually expected to prove it.

All groups are conditioned by their specific histories. Perhaps another ethnic group would have reacted with less concern to the Oba’s threat, because that ethnic group would not be conditioned by a history of being targets of violence, as the Igbo have been.

Many responses to the Oba’s threat have mentioned the ‘welcoming’ nature of Lagos, and have made comparisons between Lagos and southeastern towns like Onitsha. It is valid to debate the ethnic diversity of different parts of Nigeria, to compare, for example, Ibadan and Enugu, Ado-Ekiti and Aba, and to debate who moves where, and who feels comfortable living where and why that is. But it is odd to pretend that Lagos is like any other city in Nigeria. It is not. The political history of Lagos and its development as the first national capital set it apart. Lagos is Nigeria’s metropolis. There are ethnic Igbo people whose entire lives have been spent in Lagos, who have little or no ties to the southeast, who speak Yoruba better than Igbo. Should they, too, be reminded to be ‘grateful’ each time an election draws near?

No law-abiding Nigerian should be expected to show gratitude for living peacefully in any part of Nigeria. Landlords in Lagos should not, as still happens too often, be able to refuse to rent their property to Igbo people.

The Oba’s words were disturbing, but its context is even more disturbing:

The anti-Igbo rhetoric that has been part of the political discourse since the presidential election results. Accusatory and derogatory language – using words like ‘brainwashed,’ ‘tribalistic voting’ – has been used to describe President Jonathan’s overwhelming win in the southeast. All democracies have regions that vote in large numbers for one side, and even though parts of Northern Nigeria showed voting patterns similar to the Southeast, the opprobrium has been reserved for the Southeast.

But the rhetoric is about more than mere voting. It is really about citizenship. To be so entitled as to question the legitimacy of a people’s choice in a democratic election is not only a sign of disrespect but is also a questioning of the full citizenship of those people.

What does it mean to be a Nigerian citizen?

When Igbo people are urged to be ‘grateful’ for being in Lagos, do they somehow have less of a right as citizens to live where they live? Every Nigerian should be able to live in any part of Nigeria. The only expectation for a Nigerian citizen living in any part of Nigeria is to be law-abiding. Not to be ‘grateful.’ Not to be expected to pay back some sort of unspoken favour by toeing a particular political line. Nigerian citizens can vote for whomever they choose, and should never be expected to justify or apologize for their choice.

Only by feeling a collective sense of ownership of Nigeria can we start to forge a nation. A nation is an idea. Nigeria is still in progress. To make this a nation, we must collectively agree on what citizenship means: all Nigerians must matter equally.

 

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ZULU

ZuluDear readers,

A lot has happened since I last sent in my last post, apparently I have been upgraded and I am now a father, yes you heard me right, 6 days after my last post, my wife delivered a baby boy, our prince comes to earth, 12 hours of labour and stress, tears and pain and he arrives. After a 3 years wait for a blessing, he comes into our lives like a flash.

His name is Joseph ChiZulum Osodi, we call him Zulu, (Not a south African name of any sort) it means My God is sufficient for me. Our prince, born February 21, 2015. He has brought so much joy to our lives and we have been so grateful to God for an amazing gift to our family, our families have been overwhelmed by the multitude of prayers and gifts to welcome home our baby.

Zulu has given me a different feel to life, I look forward to coming home and meeting him, at one month, I found his ticklish spot surprising his fist. I savour the connect of putting him on my chest to feel my heartbeat and he sleeps off, apparently he hears exactly what we discuss heart to heart before he sleeps off, the screams while grandma gives him a bath and the tears and pain while he takes his all important immunization most times send cold shivers down my spine and gives me goose bumps.  Although it is most stressful and almost inconveniencing to stay up all night while he plays and cries, but once you look at his face, you fall in love all over again.

The joy of fatherhood is simply amazing, and I can’t wait for him to grow up so we would scream the house down when Chelsea (my favourite football club) is playing. Of course he would have a customized jersey to match.

I am now a proud father of the cutest boy on earth. *WINKS*

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