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Preying from Paris: The Parable of Mars and Barzini & Other Spiritual Things

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Last week, a short video from my talk at The Philosophical Society of Trinidad & Tobago went viral on social media, after blogs like GossipMill and Naij.com took it upon themselves to pass half-baked things to Nigerians. I was quite appalled, but when I checked my ‘filtered inbox’ on Facebook and received over 200 messages from people all over the world, I was astonished. And relieved. And then happy.

I will explain why I was happy: Nigerians are in denial. Every message that I read, I made sure I replied. It took me about three days. I still have more coming in that I have to respond to. Everyone wanted a miracle. These people quickly forgot I am a human being and that I can solve their problems. I decided to play a mindgame: I told them they would pay. They flew away! Nobody wanted to pay.

Now, let me understand this logic: these messages came from people who are tired of Christianity and other religions they have practiced. They want something different; different means that there is a whole new experience, where they can ask God for money and get it.

God does not give money. Money is a physical thing. It is a social construct. God is Metaphysical. What they have forgotten is that we are the force that controls the events of the physical world, which means we are in this life together. Whatever we created, we can destroy. God did not create money. And when you achieve any degree of success that is validated by man, it is not of God. God is much more important than the physical. God is of the heart and soul. They forgot that part.

I was raised an Anglican. I spent a large part of my life reading the Bible and the Hymnal Book of the Anglicans, and attending prayer meetings. And I was also part of the choir. I was later sent to the seminary to become a Priest, but I failed to become one. I travelled to India and the first place I found myself, a very close-minded village boy, was in Gurdwara (Sikh temple) in Kurushektra. Then, when I got to Delhi, I was more interested in Hinduism. Hinduism shaped my thought process. I began to see the world differently. When I returned from India and went to the university, I was already an atheist. I raised dust when I spoke – everywhere. People got scared of me. Deep down, I knew something was missing, but I was not sure what it was.

Now I have found out that Nigerians are tired of Christianity. They are practicing it for the fear of being tagged ‘Devil’. People are only attending church services for fear of reprisal. They are not in tune with their spirituality. I have received messages from people who want to be successful at work. Who want money. Who want to leave Nigeria. These are the problems of people. These are problems created by humans and because they must be solved by humans, these problems are brought to me.

Who ordains priests? Priests ordain priests. Now the qualification to be a priest is the number of degrees that you have. What we see today is capitalism seeping into every facet of all religions. Priests now hustle for Masters and PhDs, so they will be promoted in the church. This happens more in the Catholic and Anglican churches. What it means is that almost every Christian lacks spirituality, and spirituality is the bone of any true worship system. No belief system can exist without a strong spiritual standing. This is where the problem lies.

The people who have reached out to me want instant change in their lives. They want miracles, but they forget that they have been Christians for a long time. Why hurry up the god of Onyeka? This is because they have never had the grit or patience to wait for results from their gods. This is also where the problem lies.

Many people have forgotten that I am not superhuman. What I shared in the village are things that we already know but overlooked. It is only an awakening, a process that needed to be sorted out. However, there is something startling about the mode of communicating with God in Nigeria. We always want God to come solve our problems. We have never really bothered to help Her solve Hers.

Notwithstanding my views here, I have decided to take along whoever wants to make a spiritual journey, through the process of finding purity, shaping of the heart and future. It is totally annoying that people will mock the killing of people in a church.

Preying from Paris: Mars and Barzini and other spiritual matters

Mars and Barzini

But then, I tell people that no religion can make you successful. Hard and smart work will help you, which makes me want to conclude this piece with The Parable of Mars and Barzini, two enigmatic young Nigerian musicians who are doing things their own way. You know – I had told some friends a long time ago that once I released my new book,  The Beginning of Everything Colourful, I would mount billboards all over Nigeria with my face on them. Oh well, Mars and Barzini did it before me. They even made it more beautiful by pushing every day. They perform at almost every show in Nigeria now. Nigeria is a country with no single concert venue, but these two lads are pretending like there is no obstacle and that energy is infectious.

Preying from Paris: Mars and Barzini and other spiritual matters

Mars and Barzini, Onyeka Nwelue

Mars and Barzini are looking at Nature and conspiring with the stars. Where other young musicians are lacking, they are benefitting. They don’t wait for anyone. They are just speedy and move like trains. Here’s the thing: they do not need a Godfather. And when you have such an attitude, everyone will grovel at your feet.

As they release video after video of their beautifully recorded songs without seeking validation – and they are not just playing – they are actually ruling us. And very soon, we will see them as legends, because they did not have to suck any dick to become successful. Nor did they worship any God. They worked hard.

Onyeka Nwelue

Onyeka Nwelue is the President of La Cave Musik, a record label based in Paris, specialising in music from Africa and the Caribbean. He’s an Assistant Visiting Professor of African Studies at the University of Manipur. His latest book, Hip-Hop is Only for Children won the Non-Creative Book of the Year at the 2015 Nigerian Writers’ Awards.

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