By Professor Pita Agbese
It is a new year. It is 2021. Nigerian Christian preachers have created what has become a tradition, the tradition of making predictions on what will happen in a new year. I have not looked up what these men of God have used their “eyes of the goat” to predict would happen this year. I did not have to. I can predict what they have predicted. “A prominent Nigerian politician will die this year;” “President Obasanjo Will Write Another Letter;” “There will be Air Crashes;” “Mosquitoes Will Kill Thousands of Nigerians;” “Bandits Will Terrorize Nigerians.”
I am usually quite skeptical about these “predictions.” In the first place, life expectancy for Nigerian males is only 54 years. There are thousands of Nigerian politicians, most of whom are older than 54 years of age. The probability that some of these politicians would die is a hundred percent. It does not take rocket science intelligence to predict that death among some of these “prominent Nigerians” was a certainty. A one hundred percent certainty. Some Nigerian politicians will before December 31st, 2021.
Second, how come the gift of prophecy has been limited to the Christian men of God? Imams are also men of God. Their God is called Allah, in the Arabic language. Imams are not known to make predictions about the future. Yes, some Imams write passages from the Koran on their wooden slates and wash these into a bowl and ask people to drink. If you are tasty, that blackened water can cool down your esophagus and make you feel good. Since I do not believe that God discriminates among his men, I refuse to believe that the Christian men of God have predictive powers endowed by God when such powers are denied their Moslem counterparts.
Third, these men of God who can see what will happen to the rest of us apparently are not able to predict their own future. They can tell us who will die but they are unable to see visions of their own death. I’d like one of our men of God to climb to the pulpit and solemnly announce that that Sunday would be his last Sunday on this side of heaven. The congregation will make joyful noises to the Lord and regret that “Daddy” would be joining the saints triumphant in a few days. Some men who want to be the new “Daddy” will obviously be quietly delighted that the current “Daddy Overseer” will soon be the late “Daddy Overseer.” Splendid. Our men of God do not even make any effort to see visions about themselves. They can see visions of other people’s “destiny snatchers,” but they never see visions of those who snatch “Daddy’s” wives. TB Joshua could not predict the plane that “hovered” over his building and brought it crashing down. Neither was Chris Oyakhilome able to predict the separation between him and his wife, Anita.
My last skepticism on the predictions annually made by the men of God is that they always tell us to pray to avert the disasters and calamities that they had already seen in their visions. Their prediction ought to be advance news report of what will certainly take place since they had already teleported themselves to the future where the events that they are telling us in the form of predictions have already taken place. It is this aspect of the lives of our men of God where the past becomes the future that has had me totally confused. I can understand a prediction that a rod will be turned into a snake, but a prediction that says that if I pray hard enough, the rod that has already been turned into a snake will return to its roddness, has me all confused. To understand that type of convoluted esoteric is beyond the small brains that God gave me. I don’t even make the effort to understand this aspect of our men of God’s prediction.
As for this last issue of doubt on my part, I have had several numerous imaginary discussions with a make-believe Nigerian man of God. He is the General Overseer of the Mountain and Valley of Fire and Smokescreen Salvation Ministry. I reproduce one of our discussions below.
The phone rang. I picked it up. There was some muttering of labalaba, lalalaba, shaka, shaka, Klaka, klaka, lobolobo, obololo, on the other end of the line.
Me: Hello. Happy new year my esteemed caller.
Man of God: Happy new year, Professor. How are you?
Me: We bless God
Man of God: Professor, did I hear you say, “we bless God”?
Me: Yes, Man of God. We bless God for allowing us to see the new year. Some people did not follow us to this new year. We bless God.
Man of God: Hmmm, Blessing Atta must have misunderstood you. She believes that you do not believe in God. She told me that you are a pagan. Anyway, this must be a good year if you have turned your face to God. We bless God. Prof. I am calling because I saw a very bad vision last night.
Me: Oh, my God. An Idoma man became the governor of Benue State?
Man of God: Oh, no. No Idoma man became the governor of Benue State. I did not see that in my vision. That type of vision is Satanic. I am a man of God. I am the General Overseer of the Mountain and Valley of Fire and Smokescreen Salvation Ministry.
Me: Oh, then an Idoma man was appointed the vice-chancellor of Benue State University?
Man of God: Oh, no. I did not see that in my vision. That type of vision is Satanic. I am a man of God. I am the General Overseer of the Mountain and Valley Fire and Smokescreen Salvation Ministry. My vision is about you. You died in my vision.
Me (quaking in fear): Man of God, that’s terrible. Can you tell me precisely the day I am bound to keep a date with death? There is a beautiful lady that I’d like to celebrate a Dry Season Festival over what I believe is her gorgeous womanhood and I’d like to know whether I can speed up the process before I check out. Also, there is a governor in the Northcentral Zone that I’d like to throw some hot pepper into his eyes before I say Sayonara to this side of heaven.
Man of God: With prayers, we can abort the vision. Please, go down on your knees and let’s pray.
Me: Man of God, do you mean if we pray, you will unsee what you have already seen?
Man of God: My vision is a warning to you about what will happen if you do not turn your face to God. With prayers, God will spare you from dying.
Me: Man of God, I thought you already saw me dead in your vision, but now you are telling me that prayers will make me undead? If you saw me dead in your vision, how can any prayer lead to an undead me? If I am already dead, according to your vision, then we are only waiting for the day of my death to dawn. Man of God, if prayers will lead to my undead, then you did not see me dead in your vision. Man of God, I am tempted to say that you are either hallucinating or you are a liar. Now, listen to me and hear real predictions. This is how those of us who are pagans make predictions. Our predictions are one hundred percent accurate because we have 20/20 vision.
First, in 2021 as has been the case since 2015, Samuel Ortom of Benue State, will tell humungous lies. He is not going to tell us that he will build a cargo airport in eighteen months. That’s an old lie. A new year deserves a new lie. Ortom will not tell us that he will recruit 5,000 new teachers. That lie has become stale and vapid. Samuel Ortom will not lie that he would revive Benue’s moribund industries such as the Otukpo Burnt-brick Industries, the Taraku Oil Mills, and the Igumale Cement Company. That lie is more than three years old. Old, stale and useless lies. New year, new Ortom lies. Now, you can take that to the bank. Ortom will lie in 2020. There are no ifs and buts about it. Ortom will lie. Period. Vision number one: Ortom will lie.
Second the Ortom administration will re-surface a one-kilometer street and his twenty dozen special assistants will tell us that Ortom has made giant strides. I don’t see how a Lilliputian like Ortom can have “giant strides.” I am still looking into my crystal ball to predict the person that Ortom will bring to Benue to commission the re-surfacing of this one-kilometer street. Among the people I am looking at are Atiku Abubakar, former vice-president of Nigeria, Gov. Nyesom Wike, and Senator Bukola Saraki. Left to me, Kiddwaya will be the ideal candidate. He will extol the virtues of Ortom and he will tell us how lucky Benue is to have a governor who arranged for a private airline to fly into and out of Benue’s Makurdi Airport.
Third, Ortom will not pay up the ten-month teachers’ salaries that he has been owing since 2017 and the twenty-four months’ pensions’ arrears that he owes thousands of Benue’s retirees. Not only will these debts not be paid, Ortom will care nothing about the fate of his victims. Prediction Three, Part B is that excuses such as “paucity of funds” and “economic recession” will be touted as reasons for the non-payments.
My fourth and final prediction is that unlike Ortom, the Holy Ghost will not ask Senator George Akume to make me the governor of Benue State. That’s a privilege reserved only for Ortom. He is a governor selected by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came to Akume and said, “Distinguished Senator Akume go forth to Benue State. Find Samuel, son of Adorogo and make him the state governor. We want to use him to punish those retirees who have refused to die. Happy new year, Distinguished Senator, as you complete this divine duty.”