It’s finally the 27th, same day for the prophesied end of the ‘horrific, sleep-snatching’ COVID-19 pandemic. The Twitter-verse is waiting, building memes off it and (maybe) coming to terms with the occasional inconsistencies of prophecies and Nigerian pastors.
The prophecy which came from the Founder of the Synagogue Church Of All Nations (SCOAN), Temitope Balogun Joshua, in what he described “as a month of fear” coming to an end on the 27th of this month. This development follows a historical trend particular to Nigerian pastors, who choose crucial moments like this to share often inaccurate projections into the future when they can mobilize their congregation to be helpful, or at least to keep out of harm’s way by staying home.
TB Joshua: Coronavirus will vanish tomorrow. Are you reaaady! ?pic.twitter.com/BEtqPjYGZb
— AyeMojubar ? (@ayemojubar) March 26, 2020
The base of this story, however, is bitter-sweet. While we are hopeful that this ‘prophecy’ comes to pass that the world may find rest from the many challenges the pandemic has thrown at mankind but it is worrying that since the spread of the Coronavirus in Nigeria, prominent religious leaders have taken often impractical steps to assist in the fight against the pandemic. While private entities, benevolent individuals and even the government have all chipped in however they can, there has been a lack of proactive action from leaders of the country’s most celebrated churches and mosques, (except a few) who have made a substantial donation of facilities instead just prayers and prophecies.
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@pastoreaadeboyeofficial through the RCCG Christian Social Responsibility @rccgcsr has in times past donated 11 Intensive Care Unit beds across the country, fully fitted with ventilators that will be most needed in the care for COVID-19 cases. #RCCGCSR #HisLoveFoundation #rccgloveinaction
Rev Fidelis & Pst. Gladys Ayemoba, out of their magnanimity in a period such as this, have reached out to members & non members of OFMLagos in foodstuffs, hand sanitizers, face mask & financial support to cushion the effect of the stay at home directives.@RAyemoba @APOSTLESULEMAN pic.twitter.com/LeH1x5uWC4
— OMEGA FIRE MIN LAGOS (@ofmlagos) March 26, 2020
While many argue that it is not the responsibility of faith-based organisations to do all of these, knowing the powerful influence religion has on many theists in Nigeria, it will be unfair to have a large number of Christian Leaders and Islamic clerics continue to do almost nothing substantial in fighting the spread of this pandemic or to people living in underserved communities who cannot afford to sufficiently protect themselves.
It is also unfair that some of them choose to flaunt government orders just to gather for Sunday service and it is unhelpful to ask people to come out for prayers or bank on prophecies when we can do the needful to bring those “prophecies” to life.
Nelson C.J is a culture writer with works in The New York Times, Xtra Magazine, OkayAfrica, Black Youth Project, AfroPunk, and a few other spaces. You can find him saving dog pictures on Twitter.