By Nneka Okumazie
The singular reason church is prosperous in Nigeria is because it is voluntary. That’s it. Some may argue that it’s hope, yes – additionally, but the main reason is that it is voluntary.
Anyone can choose to go to church or not. Anyone could choose to go anytime or leave anytime. Anyone could choose to give nicely, give sparingly, give carnally or ignore. Some people go to church and they just wander about. Some go to church and are on their devices – doing other things. Some are in church to show off fashion, or to talk, or see it as a social gathering, or they participate for the optics or to satisfy others.
There are several benefits to being member of a church. But there is no price tag. You want to give, or volunteer or do something, you do, if not, no problem. This leeway is the reason why there are crowds in church, because they see benefits, either thoughtful messages, or kind words, or hopes, or rejoicing, and it is totally free.
Church is unlike work – or careers. Work is almost as equal to life, in adulthood. There are rules at workplaces and responsibilities that are not optional, or voluntary, and there are things off-limits. Work is far more regimented and can be high pressure. Work happens on more days of the week than church.
Misplacement in career or work that lacks purpose to the staff, or pressure, or stress has led many to addictions, to bad habits and dependencies, and has led some to church.
Church is almost like education at a certain stage. Just like many are brought up in Christian homes and deviate as adults, so it is that basic education is compulsory at a certain age, in certain places, then as adults – for whatever reason – don’t go far on it, or get to a stage and break.
If church is a problem in Nigeria, then it is the least problem of Nigeria. But church is not even a problem in Nigeria, so it is not on that list. The main reason Nigeria is underdeveloped is because Nigeria lacks good ideas.
Anyone can put out arguments of the list of problems, sources, reasons, etc. But the answer is really simple: Nigeria lacks good ideas to solve its problems.
If you look at any problem in Nigeria, how many good projects or ideas are out there working to solve it directly?
There are several projects and some really good small businesses on development stuff, but there aren’t much directly on major problem areas or minor problems.
But you know what Nigeria is doing so well? It’s entertainment. Banks, like others, often sponsor entertainment shows, because entertainment [including sports] is Nigeria’s common alliance.
The reason entertainment is not under attack like the church is because the money seems distributed to several parties and the wealth is not to ‘build’.
While giving in church towards buildings, or proselytization, or growth is seen after years, but in entertainment, money on drinks or show tickets, or other stuff go to so many, and those who show off in entertainment are seen as a part of the game.
But church grows, church expands, people are selfless in church to be part of something bigger. Giving, for some, is like therapy. Hope or Faith from church for some is like therapy too, against mood disorders. Prayer is like ‘communication therapy’ to ease hard burden – like placing it elsewhere or on someone else so it is not carried on the mind which can leave an individual crushed.
Church is under a massive attack in Nigeria as if Nigeria’s government is the church. Daddy Freeze, the hater of the church, said Nigeria does not need a new church building. Well, NO, a new church building was not built for Nigeria. He also said Nigeria should build factories, OK, but when market forces and factors rock the boat of the business and the church business seems ruthless – to survive, the same voices would say church factory was unfair.
Church schools, hospitals, etc. are examples of affiliations subject to market factors. Survival and thriving may sometimes mean having policies that may edge out some, albeit there will still be considerations and concessions.
The new church building of Dunamis, in Abuja, under the leadership of Pastor Enenche, did well, for themselves and their vision. Some said they should have gone to a state to create a business to hire people. OK.
The same people who say churches should create factories are the same people who have vague or general ideas about how Nigeria can move forward, without anything valuable.
They also said churches feeding thousands is worthless. If this is true then creating a factory in a sea of massive poverty for what, 1k, or 2k people to have jobs, is also as insignificant as the feeding. They do not understand that broad ideas and models to get at problems generally are better than one factory somewhere.
These stale church activists are learning from their government activists, or some do both. The say government is useless. That is their contiguous song. Some have suggested that Daddy Freeze should criticize the government, NO; there is enough daddy freeze of government already.
Why are there no activists in Nigeria on labour and employment conditions? Some offices are hell to work at, some bosses or co-workers are unnecessarily horrible, some distances to work are mordant, some work pressure and stress in Nigeria are insufferable, salaries are dizzy, etc. but no activist on employment conditions, to force changes and improve things.
Rather, it is nonsense story everyday on social media and then hate on the church, whose mission is entirely different from national development.
If the economy of Nigeria is bustling, and factories are in demand, no one will tell the church to participate. But everyone is waiting for one Church to take the initiative, when several state governments with great federal allocation are so worthless to their own people, it is a shame.
If Nigeria was simmering with great ideas to solve problems, say for example, Lagos traffic, the solutions and ideas can be so great that managers of Los Angeles traffic would visit, to learn how Nigeria did it.
But NO, solution is impossible because no good ideas just frivolous suggestions or total nonsense. Important problems that everyone should face for solutions are abandoned, electricity, so backward in Nigeria and more are not the case – it is church.
In the United States, churches are not growing compared to Nigeria, but in 2017, people who died from overdose of hard drugs were around 70,000 while those who died from suicide where around 47,000. Some of these people had many things going for them, but ‘maybe’ couldn’t find a coping mechanism. There are tons of addictions and bad mental states that some others had avoided because of Christ.
True church is important to genuine Christians and they need new buildings. The church is not for Nigeria. In the Epistles, and in the Book of Revelation, the churches mentioned would have different structures, and different kinds of order of service, but there are standards of the Lord, though it is a choice too, to follow.
Jesus said, come on to me, I stand at the door. I am the Way. I am the Vine. It is choice. Churches too are dwindling in some places because it is a choice.
Ecclesiastes 3:14, “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be forever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth [it], that [men] should fear before him.”
Money, Society, Development and Economics
By Nneka Okumazie
For some people, all they will ever become is what money can make them.
For them, the power of everything money can do makes everything about money.
They often measure to money and measure for money. They talk for it and ensure it is what is seen about them.
Many of these people have money above all culture in some of the countries the people there have described as unbearable.
In most of these countries, the same reason government does not work is the same thing outsiders are about, bringing the country to a contiguous halt.
Government is all about who can grab for self and interests, around power, resources and money.
This same reason is why many organized crimes exist and several kinds of harmful practices across the private sector.
Money will never develop any country. Though some continue to say money is what is lacking.
Money will never change anything about anyone because if there are real changes at any point, money may have enhanced it but was never cause.
Things that look like changes that money made does not change; they are just more of how money keeps itself important.
For many things done because there was money to do it, they are many times purposeless. There are also others that should be been important, but because money was more important in that project, it also became purposeless.
If in some developing country, someone lives in a nice apartment or drives a cool vehicle, making that individual seem important, the importance of the individual is to whom, and what purpose does it serve, and for what it serves, what does it change, affect or improve?
The comfort that is lived in many of these places is a false peak.
It keeps them there and there is rarely much else to find meaning for.
Money continues to dictate how to be seen to have it, going around in circles, absent of progress, but ensuring participants are unaware.
Money, for what it can, makes people become a sunset. Money stays important using people as tools to itself.
[Ecclesiastes 6:7, All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled.]
5 Tips for Tackling Imposter Syndrome
By Aisha Pandor
Imposter syndrome is something that most of us have felt at one time or another. Even if you know you have all the right qualifications and experience to be in a position, it can be all too easy to feel like you don’t belong.
Whether it’s someone dismissing your work or even just casually telling you about something you’ve never heard of as if it’s common knowledge, it can be an incredibly difficult space to climb out of.
Imposter syndrome can be especially insidious among entrepreneurs, who already have to deal with ecstatic highs and crippling lows. In fact, a 2020 study found that 84% of entrepreneurs and small business owners experience imposter syndrome. Many also worry that they’ll be “found out” for their lack of knowledge and ability.
That chimes with my own experiences as an entrepreneur and investor. When Alen (my husband) and I first started SweepSouth back in 2013, I had no experience as an entrepreneur. I’d come from an academic background and everyone at the various startup events and pitching competitions we attended seemed so much calmer and more confident. I couldn’t help wondering what I was doing there and why I’d sacrificed a potentially comfortable life for something I was certain everyone else was doing better at.
While that feeling occasionally rears its head again, I’ve learned a number of strategies over the years to effectively tackle it. Here are five of them.
Remember that your journey is your own
For entrepreneurs especially, imposter syndrome can be fuelled by comparing yourself to others. It can strike when a business that started at the same time as you gets a batch of great write-ups in the press or when they raise a massive funding round. At times like that, it’s important to remember that you’re on your own business journey, no one else’s. By trying to match someone else’s success because it makes you feel inadequate, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Remember, if you’re making progress, you’re doing the right thing. Many of the entrepreneurs who seemed so confident at the early events I went to have seen their businesses not perform as well as they’d hoped. The same is true of those who raised headline-grabbing early funding rounds. If I’d let comparisons to them cause me to waiver from my focus, SweepSouth would be in a very different place today.
Address your weaknesses
Sometimes the feelings associated with imposter syndrome come about because someone brings up a legitimate issue that your business needs to address. It might, for instance, be something that a potential investor brings up. The trick is not to take it as a sign that you don’t belong, but as something fixable that you can address. Every person and every business has weaknesses. That doesn’t mean they don’t belong or shouldn’t exist.
Remember your accomplishments
Write them down if you have to. Chances are you’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles to get where you are. This is especially important if you don’t look like everyone else in the room. If you’re a woman, for instance, nothing about your male peers’ maleness makes them any more suited to their jobs or running a business.
Have a support network
Remember that stat from the beginning of the article about 84% of entrepreneurs suffering from imposter syndrome? That’s not an indictment on entrepreneurs but an opportunity. By joining a local, regional, or even international entrepreneurs’ organisation, you expose yourself to people who’ve been through the same things as you (including imposter syndrome) and who can guide you through any issues you might face.
Turn it on its head
Finally, remember that real imposters are unlikely to feel imposter syndrome. Being a successful imposter depends on outsized levels of confidence. So, if you’re feeling like an imposter, you can take it as a sign that you’re probably on the right track.
Aisha Pandor is the CEO of SweepSouth
Reminiscing on the Loss of a Friend, Dreams Deferred, and Bold New Beginnings
By Chris Ihidero
One evening some eight years ago, my good friend Steve Babaeko walked into a mutual friend’s office looking a little less than his usual uber-confident self.
You won’t find many people who can claim to have seen Steve looking any less than assured: He consistently cuts the picture of a supremely confident man and his achievements are a testament to how that confidence has been well earned. But that evening in 2012, Steve had just put in his resignation as Creative Director of 141 Worldwide, the advertising agency he helped build from scratch and made a market leader. He would have to start all over again and the future held no guarantees. We broke out a bottle of cognac and toasted to new possibilities. As our mutual friend said that evening, “What’s the worst that can happen? You may fail, but at least you would have tried.”
When Amaka Igwe passed on in 2014 just as we were about to launch the TV channel we had been working on for about four years, it soon became clear to me that if I was going to have any shot at realizing the dream we shared, I would have to say goodbye to Amaka Igwe Studios. AIS was my home for eight years. I started out as an apprentice TV director and rose to become Chief Operating Officer. It was the place that built me. On the day I made the decision to leave, I stood in the building we had just furnished for the TV station, gazed at the transmission equipment we had installed and knew I was walking away to start all over again. Walking into a future with no guarantees.
Like Steve that evening, I was a lot less assured.
It’s been seven years since that decision and I have had an incredible run. It hasn’t been a sunset stroll in the park but I’m grateful for my contributions to the TV and film industry in Africa so far. While I worked for different TV networks, wrote, produced, directed and consulted on many film projects (and continue to do so), I started quietly building PinPoint Media. I knew what had to come next. I knew what I wanted to do with my life was to build a content delivery machinery that delivered excellence repeatedly.
In September 2019 we cranked on the content machinery we had been working on for a year and hit the set to deliver the first product off our production line, season one of Man Pikin, a family comedy series. Man Pikin is my nod to Fuji House of Commotion, Nigeria’s longest running and highly popular family comedy series I was privileged to direct for five years.
Man Pikin is the story of a man’s daily struggles with raising his kids after his wife’s passing. We shot 26 episodes for a first season and recently, IROKO TV acquired the rights for broadcast on their ROK Channels, as well as a french version for francophone Africa on NollywoodTV. It premieres on the 12th and 20th of December respectively.
In Q3 2021, we shot season two, another 26 episodes, and that’s not all we’re working on. But for COVID-19 actually, we would have rounded off the first year of our PinPoint Content Fund execution with 104 episodes of TV series in the bag. That target will now be met in 2022, starting with season three of Man Pikin and season one of a new series. Three feature films will also be shot in 2022, and we will also deliver a digital TV channel. Yeah, we have been very busy!
As I watched final edits of the episodes of Man Pikin before shipping off to our distributors in France recently, I reminisced on the loss of a friend and dreams deferred. This propels me forward as I focus on polishing and further knocking our content machinery into shape in order to deliver a five-year plan that culminates in the production of five thousand hours of content yearly from five production centres across Nigeria and Africa.
Scary, right? Well, that was the dream I once shared with an amazing woman and now I must trudge on scared, but confident that we will deliver the reference point for TV/film content excellence, whatever the challenges we will face, because, like the original soundtrack for Man Pikin says “Every day we keep moving forward ooh ooh ooh, ‘cos someday our dreams will come true ooh ohh ooh, man pikin go fall but will stand up ooh oooh ohhhh, for together we are strong and we’ll always have each other, ah ah.”
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