George sits carelessly in a beat up chair outside the family house. It has become a ritual for him to nestle at this spot looking at people going about their business as well as examining his quotidian existence. This is 3 p.m. in the afternoon when the sun is fairly wicked. Crepuscular! In his mind are pictures of sorrow and anguish. George stands a crestfallen man. He has been unemployed for five years! A graduate of Mass Communication, he had gleefully reveled in the thoughts of a happy life after school. Now, the prognosis is nothing but gloomy. Just as he ponders on the kerfuffle that is his life, his mother a devout “hallelujah” woman who is just returning from a steamy prayer intercourse at the Next Level Church of God approaches.
“Georgi! Georgi! Georgi! Do you know Mike, that boy from Salolo? After fasting and praying for seven days with our daddy, Prophet Temiyemi a.k.a the Devil Must Obey, he has secured a job at an insurance company as a Direct Sales Representative after five years of scrounging as an unemployed person. In fact, our daddy had prophesied to him that after seven days his job would come. Can you believe this? After five years of waiting!”
“Mama, that’s not good news. Mike has a Master’s degree in Chemistry. And he is very intelligent. That’s a bad way to start. I’d rather die in my joblessness than take an insurance job as a salesman. A salesman in an insurance company is the same thing as slave.” George retorted.
“Shut your mouth! A job is a job. I keep telling you, the reason for your joblessness is spiritual. I have already told Prophet the Devil Must Obey about your problem. And he says it will be solved. All you have to do is to follow me to church for the next “job clinic”. You will see the power of God move.” His mother quipped.
“Mama, God has nothing to do with my problem. The government of Nigeria does. I will get a job when the right time comes.” George replied.
It becomes recrudescent the harrying from his mother that George finally capitulated. His capitulation comes from a need to get his mother off his back, and not as result of an epiphany. The day for the job clinic arrives. Both mother and son set out to the Next Level Church of God. At the church, George sees a sea of youths who ostensibly have come to receive their miracle jobs. His mother holding him pushes forward for the front row so that the blessing overflowing from the Prophet’s altar can get to her son first.
From Prophet the Devil Must Obey comes an outpouring of prophecies which the congregation in “zombieic” unison claims with penitent rapacity. All thundering, Amen! I claim it in Jesus name! In tandem with the prophecies is a homily directed at the unemployed mass of the congregation slyly excoriating them that their sins are the major cause of their unemployment. Brethren, I say to you, your sins are the cause of your unemployment! After the “showers of blessings” and puritanical bashing from the Man of God comes testimonies from the unemployed hotchpotch of graduates in the congregation who confess his invincibility and spiritual might by regaling the already spirit stricken congregation with tales of struggle and victory over their somber conditions. At the apotheosis of the celestial frenzy, the Prophet in a didactic tone urges the “hallelujahly” nonplussed congregation to sow seeds for their miracle jobs. And obsequiously, the psychologically thrashed members of the congregation zoom forward to empty the contents of their pockets genuflecting before the altar as they do so.
All these George observes. And in his mind is a panoply of brazen ideas. Top of which is church business! This is a window into what has been going on in his mind. First is the thought of the great number of penitents who are connected by a common problem-unemployment, and whose humble, mindless, insular and reward-driven giving amounts to huge sums of lazy cash. Second is the potentate power to forge the destinies of many who have no heads to bear their own mysteries. The sheer ability to control and bend the will of people at a whim is an aphrodisiac! These thoughts jingle in the consciousness of George that he considers the rudiments of a successful church business. The primary thing is the gift of the gab; the all too important ability to use sophistry, cunning and vicious witticism to the apogee of usage. This is certainly the kernel! And he having been trained in Mass communication possesses the credentials. George stretches his imagination to the boundless easy benefits that come with the church business. The more he thinks about it, the more the picture becomes clearer to him. And damn it! The prognosis is good! The job clinic paid off after all!
The job clinic has come to an end. And the parting prophecy from the charitable bosom of Prophet the Devil Must Obey is your job will locate you in seven days.
“Have you heard it Georgi? Your job will locate you in seven days”. George’s mother gleefully said to him.
“Mama, I have got it! God has opened my eyes. Thank you for bringing me to this business seminar, sorry job clinic. Do you know that while I was sitting there the Holy Spirit was ministering to me? He gave me a mandate, George break the yoke of unemployment in Nigeria. That is it! That is it! I am called!” George reported.
“Thank God o! My son has been chosen. I told you that Prophet the Devil Must Obey is a Man of God. Look at the revelation you have had. On Sunday we will go and give a testimony. It is the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes.” His mother stated in a celebratory tone.
“Yes Mama, we will give the testimony. It is truly the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes. I thank God for the calling”.
True to his mandate, George goes into church business having mastered the art of persuasion and cunning. In no distant time, he garners a prodigious following comprising mostly the plebs, the unemployed and the overambitious. The moniker of his church, Your Breakthrough Has Come International Ministries. With good entertainment, spiritual fireworks and practiced theatrics the ministry burgeons in a bewildering scale. George is able to defray his debts which he incurs in setting up his church. And life is good! He is finally living out his dream! The job clinic was the answer, if only he had known this many years ago. By and large, the job clinic paid off!
It is an indubitable fact that the church industry has taken on a behemoth capacity. It is a big industry with the trappings of multinational companies; hence, the massive migration of unemployed youths to the industry. It is surprising how they get their calls from God. Even businessmen who have tried their hands at different businesses but failed quickly allude their failures to punishment from God for their refusal to take up his business. And as a result, there is a mushrooming of churches which by a rough calculation inundate actual industries. The church industry is a thriving industry, and as long as unemployment persists in Nigeria, it will keep attracting both the called and the uncalled with the unscrupulous making up the majority.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.