Lagos Hustle: Offering Time! A True Life ExperienceAyobami Oke
Crawl, walk, run or fly. Whatever you do in Lagos, don’t just stay at a spot, else they stampede you. I was in a public bus sometime ago, Ikeja to Mile 2. I boarded the bus and made for the ‘owner’s corner’ straight. From there I could flaunt my bigness and observe the on-goings in the bus. You need free entertainment, these Lagos yellow buses can thrill you to a delightful experience. Funnily, I am keying this on my mobile phone as I journey to Jibowu in another yellow bus. The conductor has been bellowing Yaba-Oyingbo like he had metal lungs. You should be hearing him as you read this.
Yes, I boarded the bus for Mile 2 and was observing humanity. I try to read what could be going on in the minds of both opening their mouths and those squeezing their faces. For about 20 minutes while waiting for the bus to fill, the musical CD seller assaulted us with a dreadful cacophony of hunger induced songs. Finally, the bus coughed and came to life. It ejaculated a torrent of smoke as we slid into the traffic and the journey started.
As if on cue, a frightening looking man dressed in a sagging black suit cleared his throat like Olusegun Obasanjo and started a fiery sermon. He extolled the potency of witches and demons and other principalities I was yet to hear of in my years of listening to horror prophets. He gave natural occurrences a spiritual taint. Say you are eating yam and palm oil and the palm oil stains your lips- that’s the enemy at work. You forgot to put engine oil in your car and the engine knocks, that’s the enemy at work again. The whole crowd in the bus was enraptured. What a powerful prophet!
He started a vociferous mountain shaking prayer and the whole bus shook. I trembled as these yellow buses have no provision for seat belts. He was sweating like a volcano. His magma of fear filled the whole bus. He started a prayer of demon-binding, enemy-killing proclamation and the whole bus bellowed AMEN! I just isolated myself, took my business phone calls and waited to see a crowning miracle. Maybe a dead man would come alive or a something like that to endorse his prophetic call.
Then came the miracle! He announced God has specially sent him to end poverty in the lives of His people. He shared testimonies of those who had been beneficiaries of his ministry, complete with addresses and phone numbers. The whole bus nodded. He brought out a pack of ventilated brown envelopes from under his black tarpaulin, I mean jacket. He passed it round and promised untold blessings within the week for anyone who put money in it . To my utmost surprise, the bus took the envelopes and they put money in it.
I felt ashamed. Ashamed that my people are so irresponsibly gullible. Ashamed someone just used the name of Christ for his selfish advantage. Ashamed I was in the wrong trade. I’ve been labouring on my computer all these years and here’s this guy raking in money after a few minutes of mouthwork. After collecting his loot, our business prophet disembarked at the next bus stop.
I was troubled. I felt personally responsible for these simple people in the bus. In their puny minds they just gave God some money in exchange for some miracle within the week. I battled within me. My conscience wouldn’t allow me. What would I do? I’ve never spoken in a bus in Ibadan before. Now to try it in Lagos is mightily intimidating. I prayed inside, and took the podium from my owner’s corner inside the yellow bus.
‘My people, congratulations!’.
‘I see you just gave God some money in exchange for a miracle. Well, you can’t buy Him o’.
‘He works by principles. You don’t have to pray to break your head if you jump from a 4 storey building, His principle of gravity takes care of that’. All other issues of life are governed by principles, maybe unfortunately.
‘The first principle is to get on God’s side, His hands aren’t shortened to save His people, it’s our sins that is our undoing. Repent of your sins, accept Jesus Christ into your life and see the power of God at work.’
‘Our God is a responsible God, he doesn’t rob Peter to pay Paul. Do your part and God will do His part. And there lies the hope for our country.’
I saw some of them nodding but I wouldn’t know whether they were considering stoning me at the next bus stop for painting such an image of God: The God they wanted to use. I didn’t wait to find out as I quickly dropped at the next bus stop. I was just too timid to raise an offering.