I quickly dashed out to the car park in an attempt to beat time given the long-distance travel ahead of me. Luckily for me, the slight delay gave me the opportunity to remember one shenanigan I thought I have addressed but no.
While waiting for a bus, I engaged the driver in a conversation. we talked about the transport business, politics, tribalization and the way forward for Nigeria. During the discussion, the man brought out a bottle of Chelsea, London dry gin, sprinkled some on the floor and started to pray, wishing himself well, the opposite for his enemies and beseeched God to ward off evil from his way.
While praying, another driver joined us. He also had some drops of the gin on the floor and started his own prayers too. After him was another driver who did the same by having some drops on the floor but sips in between his prayers.
This act of ogogoro prayer is common with the Yorubas as well as the Igbos. What connection does a gin have to do with the acceptance of prayers? For the one praying, he is paying obeisance to the devil, if not, to mother earth to favour him. He goes asking the earth to favour him, not drink his blood, etc., while he also keeps mentioning God.
Ceremonies like weddings, freedom or graduation ceremonies for artisans may not be complete without the gin or schnapps. As a matter of fact, we have deceived ourselves into believing it is the elder’s drink while some elders have deceived themselves into believing that it is a worthy gift for blessings.
People who buy this ogogoro prayer include Muslims and Christians. The drink is cultural and traditional even if it was imported from Germany. Who would imagine that Esu in Nigeria or the Nigerian earth would so much love a drink especially when it is imported?
It is important to note that there is nothing spiritual about gins, schnapps, rum or whatever. Nothing is spiritual about them and they should not be used for spiritual purposes. Doing so is falsehood, delusion and a lie.
We want to accept a culture and tradition because we met them that way even when the lies therein are obvious? Unfortunately, I was not chanced to admonish those drivers. You want to pray, pray to God. Where is the evidence that you need to pour a portion of liquor on the floor to pray or wish yourself well?
Well, if there is nothing wrong with this, then, the one who does the ogogoro prayer should pour his drink up to the sky…only if he would defy the law of gravity…
Bashir Lucas Samson Lukman