I was delighted to see T.B. Joshua on local TV this evening. I was preparing for some old fashioned entertainment from the pastor's pastor.
You might have seen the Channel 4 doc from a few years ago, where Dr Robert Beckford met with Pastor Joshua and was just a little disturbed by the encounter. Beckford, a brainy Christian theologian, was not persuaded that what he saw had any relationship to Christianity.
T.B. Joshua claims to be able to cure anything - including death (start from 5.30 in). Go to YouTube, type in his name, sit back and marvel at his spiritual powers. His church has people from all over the world in attendance. They can't all be wrong can they?
Despite his mangled English, I must say he made a lot more sense than the other local televangelists - Pastor Chris, Matthew Ashimolowo- at least for the while I was watching. The theme was giving. Various oyinbos from 'Emmanuel TV' would visit old people in their communities, give them a bag of rice and what looked like 2000 naira. They'd also give them a hug and stay to chat. Triffic. Then the show would switch back to Pastor Joshua in sermon, talking about the grace of age and how often old people suffered from loneliness. All definitely recognisably Christian behaviour and heart-warming stuff.
My only quibble was the age of some of the people they gave the gifts too - one woman claimed to be 130, and another couple of toothless oldies claimed to be 110. In a country where life expectancy is in the low 40s, that's a trifle hard to believe.
RELOCATE THE OBAMAS
Relocate Obama’s peasant family from Kenya to Lagos / Abuja / Calabar:
In the past Nigeria has had to endure the gross indignity of playing host to war criminals: Charles Taylor, Yormie Johnson, even Osama was said to have made Kano home at some point in the ‘90s. (Why do we always have to attract unsavory elements to our country?)
A while ago, CNN took its viewers to Kenya to see Obama’s peasant African family, complete with thatched huts and pregnant goats as backdrop. (Forget the fact that this would never have happened had Obama been Nigerian – we would have relocated the entire Obama clan, plus livestock to Asokoro or Banana Island the moment their son declared intention to run for President of the world).
This will finally be Nigeria's chance kill two birds with one stone: host a Hero’s family for once, as atonement for our traditional hospitality to fugitives, and two, revive our Big Brother role by taking the burden of caring for the Obama lineage from a less-endowed Kenya. (Country Social Responsibility?)
"There is not one Nigerian who doesn't have a relative or friend in America. Our aim was to encourage those people to tell their family who have the right to vote in America to vote for Obama." – Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, D.G, Nigerian Stock Exchange
Fund a Promo that will see Nigerians winning mouth-watering prizes from the telecom companies by calling their based-in-America relatives to instruct them to vote for Obama.
AFRICANS FOR OBAMA “CALL & WIN” PROMO.
1st Prize: A return ticket to the Democratic Convention, a front-row seat at the Presidential Inauguration in January 2009 and a mention in the Acknowledgements Page of Obama’s next book.
PS. For those of you who think MTN’s best days (in terms of out-of-this-world profits) are behind them, wait until Nigerians start 'harassing' their relatives in the US.
Donate Made-in-Nigeria ballot cards for use in the US Elections. The conceited Americans say they don’t need our money. But surely they can do with our (already thumb-printed) ballot papers. After all, if Mike Tyson voted for the PDP in Ondo State last year, why can’t Bash Ali vote for Obama come November?
Set it aside to serve as Bail Money (for Aunt Ndi) in case she’s (re-)arrested by the EFCC. But then, Nigeria’s big men and women always get off lightly when it comes to bail money prescriptions. What this means is that there’ll be more than enough money to bail the entire Africans for Obama organization in case they’re arrested en masse, as well as to pay lawyers to secure a renewable eternal order restraining the EFCC, ICPC, SSS and Police from harassing her; and the Press from mentioning her name in any of their articles.
BOOK EAGLE SQUARE
Invite Obama to come and draw pop concert-sized crowds in Nigeria on October 1: He did it in Germany; he can do it again at the Eagle Square. He will preach a message of hope, and lay hands on our dear President Yar’Adua and all the 36 State Governors to transfer some of his anointing to them. Michelle will commission beauty parlors in all the 36 state capitals of Nigeria and launch the Turai range of affordable hair care products (under the auspices of the Beautiful Life for Rural Women pet project).
Donate it to the Electoral Law Reform Commission and INEC: They’ll need it for sensitization workshops and seminars, and for trips to America to learn how Democracy works and how free-and-fair elections are conducted.
Create a TV Reality Show:
The Next Obama! Sell forms @ 5,000 each. Contestants will be drawn from all over Africa. The show will be shot in Kenya, Nigeria and America. Contestants will be judged on charisma, speaking skills, spiritual affiliations, blackberry-savvy, fashion sense and fund-raising skills. You’ve heard of Pop Idols, this will be a show for Pol Idols.
On November 4, conduct Mock US Presidential Elections in the headquarters of all 774 Local Governments of Nigeria: Obama vs. McCain: Nigeria Decides! Then annul the results without releasing them (it might be illegal to announce them, that’s why).
Use it to Publish the potential bestseller “HOW TO RAISE FUNDS FOR PROJECTS THAT ARE NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS: Tips from the Obasanjo and Obamafrica Projects.” [Alternative title: “HOW TO RAISE LEGAL FUNDS FOR ILLEGAL PROJECTS: The story of an Amazon’s Midas Touch”]
Set up the Lamidi Adedibu Institute for Studies in Electoral Integrity
The biggest tribute to the name of the Garrison Commander will be to institute a foundation in his name. If there’s money leftover, a Leadership Prize might not be a bad idea: The Ariyibi Mugabe Prize for Amiability, Elongated Leadership and Political Sagacity.
There’s one last Choice (apologies, my 10 things always manage to become 11….)
Hire one or two (more) chartered accountants, to speed up the counting of the money (Aunt Ndi claimed in an interview days ago that the ‘Africans for Obama’ accountant had not finished counting the money). Hire more bloody accountants I say!
It just occurred to me that it’d be a good idea for Dr. Mrs. Okereke-Onyiuke to take ‘Africans for Obama’ public. Offer for Sale, one billion shares of Africans for Obama Nig. Ltd, at a price of X dollars per share. If it worked for Transcorp, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t work for Africans4ObamaCorp.
Tolu Ogunlesi (c) August 2008