Chioma Nnani talks about four things that struck her about the inspiring Olajumoke 'Bread-to-model' story...
So, unless you live under a really teeny, tiny, moss-covered, icky rock, you've heard how that the life of a former bread-seller named Olajumoke, changed when she walked into TY Bello's photo-shoot with Tinie Tempah.
Just in case you really have been under the said rock … consult Google, abeg. Or CNN archives.
Moving on, four things that struck me about this entire thing:
In other words, she wasn't hounding people on those horrific groups on Facebook. She wasn't typing “Amen” under those laughable yet paradoxically irritating commands … you know those ones of “If you don't say 'Amen' to this status update, you'll grow horns overnight, but if you do, the 'god' who turns situations around, will visit ya house”? Yeah, those ones. Chic was working.
One of the things I find really baffling is how ridiculously pervasive religion is, in Nigeria. It's like a freaking virus. I think it's odd when I meet someone for the first time, especially in a social or business context, and they're trying to tell me about Jesus. I just think, “Psycho, that is so irrelevant right now.”
Even worse are people who are so naive, they won't do business with someone who doesn't attend their church. Then, the person who does attend their church, turns out to be incompetent or a fraud, they start fighting, then they look for people like me to fix the mess – which is great for me, because I can comfortably charge them triple to fix the mess, then start from square one … on a project, that they should originally have hired me for.
People's religious sentiments, which usually take away their brains, are phrased in questions that TY Bello didn't ask Olajumoke, before helping her: what church do you attend? Do you pay your tithe? Are you a church worker? Does your church believe in the baptism of the Holy Spirit, with evidence of speaking in tongues? She didn't ask these, or any other silly questions … which brings me to the next point.
TY didn't ask what was in it for her. Many times, when Nigerians give, they're trying to boost their own ego … or bribe their way into heaven. No, seriously. So, you have those fund-raising gigs where people are calling out these fantastic amounts they're planning to give (which from what I hear, almost never gets redeemed). Or even in church … actually, these are the most impressive offenders, cos folk actually think that they're in a new phase of “Umana E Umana”; folk who grew up in Nigeria, in the 90s will understand this. Many Nigerians give, because they have somehow bought into the lie that if their pastor is impressed with the size of their gift, they're getting a free pass and a half, into heaven. It's very disconcerting because in so-called ungodly societies, you have atheists, humanists and agnostics give to the less privileged … just because.
So, in the past week, I've seen all these memes/prayer points on social media, along the lines of “Please, send me my own TY Bello.” Why do people think they were put on this earth, to just collect? Truth is, you don't have to wait till everything in your life is perfect, before you do something for someone. And for a society that's so obsessed with the religious connotation of 'sowing seed', it's important to note that everything you do, is actually a seed – good or bad. You don't have to take money to a church. The Universe is incredible and has a way of giving back to you, what you send out; especially when you're not doing it because you're trying to get something back. So, you can actually be somebody's TY Bello, starting today
Chioma Nnani is the award-winning author of FOREVER THERE FOR YOU. The Abuja-based storyteller has been nominated twice for a UK BEFFTA (Black Entertainment Film Fashion Television and Arts) award in the category of 'Best Author', blogs at www.fearlessstoryteller.com and can be