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Atoke: Time to Start Using Jazz to Improve Nigeria

Atoke

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If there’s anything that is well acknowledged by Nigerians, it is the concept of jazz. Any self-respecting Nigerian knows that I’m not referring to the music genre. But, if for some reason you don’t know what that is, I’ll explain.

Jazz (like dash) is a Nigerian word (yes, one of those few words that have a nationally accepted and co-opted English etymology) which refers to the dark arts, or voodoo, or, specifically, juju. Jazz is often called upon for use in some of our most crucial moments – exerting wickedness to people who have shown they are deserving, establishing supremacy, eradicating poverty, punishing offenders. Children are often shown/told that jazz exists as a cautionary tale – to know who to avoid and to know how to behave. The belief in the existence of jazz cuts across religious, political and economic lines. The degree to which one believes may vary, but that tiny shudder of doubt that runs through the average Nigerian when faced with a seemingly inexplicable concept is indicative of the power of the supernatural.

Someone somewhere has it in it for you and is ‘doing’ you.

Religious organization have built an entire industry around the quest for protection from jazz. Self proclaimed spiritual advocates charge honorariums to intercede on your behalf against attacks from the dark lords – You Know Whos.

Everyone knows that anyone can catch these jazz hands – you simply cannot predict from whence the attack may come. Perhaps you applied for a role that your supervisor at work has been vying for; you need to be extra careful, someone may put something on your office chair, you’ll sit down and next thing you’re bedridden in Igbobi Orthopedic Hospital for the next three years. You might be studying so hard at school and casually mention that you’re aiming for a 4.98GPA beside someone who is offended that they’re still straddling the bottom of the barrel … next thing you’re struck with inexplicable cerebral malaria on the day of your Company Law exams. The stories abound, and if Nollywood is to be believed (and they’ve done a hell of a good job pushing these narratives) jazz is no respecter of persons. You simply don’t know who is around and who is looking for your downfall.

Allegedly.

A few weeks ago, Nigerian music artiste, Yemi Alade, posted a photo of herself in the cultural regalia of the Oba of Benin. The outrage that followed on social media was deafening. People saw the act as a desecration of the throne of the Oba, and some simply felt sorry for the singer. People came out with testimonies of the powers of Bini jazz and how it isn’t something to mess with. Everyone was united in the position that this was a bad move, mostly because she had simply endangered herself.

In the same vein, an Instagram page published the news of a woman who died in an accident in Edo state. The victim had been a volunteer with a non-governmental organization that works with victims of rape and sexual violence. The victim was reportedly on her way to court for an arraignment to seek justice for the woman who had been raped. Once again, the comments alluded to the fact that the power that ran through that city was not to be messed with. Apparently, seeking justice means messing with power.

The indisputable power that lies in jazz is also depicted in the seemingly innocuous talismans that are reportedly used to invoke these latent powers. In a song titled Logo Benz, by Olamide, the YBNL music artiste, there is an allusion to the fact that, in order to acquire a Mercedes Benz, all you need is a pair of panties (or two, depending on how many cars you want). There was an outcry on social media – per usual … why is Olamide promoting the dark arts? Why is he encouraging the youth to choose the easy way – a.k.a panties conversion to motor cars?

Interestingly, the real question should be: how do we harness this power of pant conversion on a higher scale for productivity and increase in the GDP?

One thing that is for sure is that we are all united in our understanding of the powers that exist in jazz. Whether it is those people who actively seek alternative ways for protection against the onslaught of jazz, or people who support their regular endeavors with one or two assurance giving talismans … there is an inherent belief in the validity of these supernatural powers.

However, it’s time for Nigerians to start channeling those powers into more positive causes. For instance, we are sorely lacking in  healthcare, education, social infrastructure and many more. It would be instructive to start harnessing these incredible powers to 24 hours of uninterrupted electricity. Imagine channeling the unyielding power that could be used to punish Yemi Alade for the sacrilege of donning the Oba’s outfit into magically providing good beds and bathrooms in the general hospitals in Edo State.

However, if these powers can only be used for causing harm and and inflicting pain or even buying fancy cars, then are these powers even worth our time?

Throw the whole jazz away!

PS: Please if you’re inclined to spend some money to pay for insurance against jazz, I’d like to implore you to give generously to Brave Heart Initiative, an organization in Edo State that provides medical, counselling and legal aid to sexual violence survivors. The young lady who lost her life a few weeks ago was a Brave Heart volunteer.

Email: [email protected]
Tel: 07033733538
Website: www.braveheartinitiative.org

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

24 Comments

  1. Pat

    January 31, 2019 at 12:23 am

    Very informative article on how we as a people have become ignorant and settle for mediocre when we could channel that ignorant energy for the growth and development of the nation. This sentence hit the nail on the head. “It would be instructive to start harnessing these incredible powers to 24 hours of uninterrupted electricity”.

    • Cocoa

      January 31, 2019 at 2:47 pm

      PAT go and observe the lives of those who “harnessed” these powers and see the BONDAGE they are living in. Learn to read the small print.

      Invite the devil into your life at your own peril. ATOKE will not be there to help you. goodluck.

    • Pat

      February 2, 2019 at 5:35 pm

      Your comment exactly proof the ignorance the writer highlighted. Neither i or the writer is in support of jazz. Learn to comprehend and read “between the lines” which u clearly don’t.

  2. tony

    January 31, 2019 at 3:56 am

    yesso… First to kill all the useless politicians!!!

  3. Cocoa

    January 31, 2019 at 2:41 pm

    If i say the devil is whispering in your ear…you will take it as an insult when it is merely the stating of a fact. Nigerians should use DEMONIC means to “improve” the country. What part of the “devil only comes to steal, kill and destroy” are people ignorant about?

    Someone will come now and say “cocoa you don’t get sarcasm”.
    Goodluck to anyone who dabbles in witchcraft. ATOKE as you can see you’ve already sown seeds in ignorant minds like TONY who think murder is an option.

    sigh.

    Please let your next article be inspired by the Holy Spirit. PRAY before you pick up your pen, PLEASE.

    • Engoz

      January 31, 2019 at 8:46 pm

      Ok ok, it is time to stop reducing articles to your ignorant level of understanding. Did you even read the article or you just read the headline?

      Tony is ignorant, and you are the ‘wise’ one? I’ve seen Tony’s overall comments on this site and clearly you are the one that is not only ignorant, but mentally deformed. You clearly lack deductive reasoning and can’t tell when the premise of a discussion is hypothetical, theoretical or simply sarcastic.

      This is what happens when you give Bible to illiterates. If anyone is looking for a Christian equivalent to a Muslim terrorist, this is it o. If the Bible had said they should kill, they will kill.

    • Cocoa

      January 31, 2019 at 10:09 pm

      ENGOZ
      “Christian equivalent to Muslim terrorist”…..actually you’re right. We as Christians take captive of all falsehoods and render it subjective to the word of God.

      The difference is we already know we do not battle against flesh and blood but principalities and powers in the high places.

      So yes. A child of God is the devil’s worst nightmare:)

    • Engoz

      February 1, 2019 at 8:34 pm

      Again, did you even READ the article? Do you know what theoretical, hypothetical scenarios, rhetorical statements or even ordinary sarcasm mean? If you did, you would have understood the perspective the author and no where she encourages anyone to go diabolical. You cannot continue to use Christianity to hide your cognitive limitations. Christianity is not an avenue to sacrifice intellectual thinking. This is the problem with the kind of Christianity we practice in Nigeria. It is led by people who clearly lack deductive reasoning, unable to make cogent deductions and present holistic understanding of what they’ve read. It not only stops there, they carry such demonic reasoning to other spheres of life. That’s why nothing works in the country. You must understand that the Bible was/is never anti-knowledge, Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. The gifts of the Spirit include wisdom and knowledge, and these gifts are given according as God pleases. We are encouraged to seek all gifts. Unfortunately, you are limited in knowledge. You don’t have sense. The fact that you may speak in tongues does not guarantee you have knowledge. You need to ask God for knowledge because clearly you have missed it. If you are scared of mini-topics taking captive of your mind, you clearly do not have the holy spirit. And you should leave this place and go seek God genuinely. No matter how you shout, all I see is Fear. FEAR comes when there is no love in you. And the perfect love of God chases all fear, 1John4:18. Your method of engaging people DOES NOT BARE FRUITS and will never bring anyone to Christ. You only get a pat on your back from mentally decrepit Christians like yourself. Never unbelievers. Don’t deceive yourself o. And this is the reason Nigeria evangelism is a recycling of same Christians, never new converts.

    • Pat

      February 2, 2019 at 5:42 pm

      Engoz, thank u!!!!! for putting this ignorant person in place. That ignorant comment to the article and my comment shows cocoa or whatevet their name is called severely lacks comprehension. Part of the problem we face in Nigeria.

  4. WeaponOfWar

    January 31, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    I was just thinking about this the other day my dear.

    All these people that do blood rituals all over Africa, have the evil spirits and Satan ever give them anything tangible after they have sacrificed chicken, goat, cow and even their mother, father, firstborn son and firstborn daughter, sister, brother, marriages but yeye fame that never lasts and fancy cars, clothes, stupid trips and houses, afterwards asks for their soul in death?

    Why have they never used the trouble they go through to acquire these temporary fame and weatlh to give us one scientific breakthrough in Nigeria or Africa that will put our name in the map and lift up the head of the black man from the shame of the accusation that they are an indolent race?

    Why have they never used such nonsense powers and rituals/sacrifices to bring about great inventions in Nigeria and Africa that will surpass the internet, electricity, rockets that go the moon, airplanes, etc. or even come up with such ingenious ideas like the common internet platforms FACEBOOK, AMAZON marketplace, or even GOOGLE? Or better still, the next safe cancer and AIDS destroying medicine, or to pushing it further, a computer programming language that can manipulate A.I. robots to fry garri?

    Idiots, may the Almighty God JEHOVAH punish all of you, destroy you instantly with his outstretch Right Arm, and march you all straight to hell without mercy, the next time you run to shed any blood, kill any human being, or take any human part to make any sort of ritual sacrifice in your cockroach infested smelly hidden shameful altar and shrines for your own selfish ends in the Mighty Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

  5. WeaponOfWar

    January 31, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    In addition, this is not to support them doing these things as “Cocoa” implies above (which I do not think Atoke is implies, but sarcastically point out a fact in the African society), but what about harnessing these powers to come up with greater inventions than the smartphones? Or even come up with a robot that drives the Keke taxi or the like, so that instead of the keke taxi driver driving, he can buy these robots cheap and get them to work for him?

    All they care about is to use the power to eat rice and chicken, wear clothes, drive big cars, travel to America and London, and live in ridiculous ill-designed big houses without class.
    Trust the lazy African man to seek the quick easy way out.

    If they are not chasing prophets and pastors to pray it fast fast for them, they are seeking spiritualist that will give them soap and perfume to rub and spray it on, or a voodoo doctor that will tell them to get the head of their family cow or a human being for a quick quick ritual for fame, clothes and a new house.

    Yeye dey smell, stupid.

    • Cocoa

      January 31, 2019 at 10:14 pm

      WEAPON OF WAR
      My issue with this article is simple: The mere suggestion that DEMONIC powers can be used for anything GOOD.

      Demonic powers ONLY “kill, steal and destroy”.

    • Pat

      February 2, 2019 at 5:47 pm

      Please gather analytical thinking and comprehension???? i am beginning to feel embarrassed for you. Or better still just keep quite

    • Pat

      February 2, 2019 at 5:48 pm

      And my commeny is for Cocoa????

  6. Bee

    January 31, 2019 at 7:02 pm

    The funny thing is all the jazzmen, jazzwomen, bablaawo and co are always dead and broke looking. If they have the power, why haven’t they used to better themselves?

  7. Ify

    February 1, 2019 at 8:53 am

    Interesting read Atoke.

  8. Engoz

    February 1, 2019 at 8:33 pm

    Again, did you even READ the article? Do you know what theoretical, hypothetical scenarios, rhetorical statements or even ordinary sarcasm mean? If you did, you would have understood the perspective the author and no where she encourages anyone to go diabolical. You cannot continue to use Christianity to hide your cognitive limitations. Christianity is not an avenue to sacrifice intellectual thinking. This is the problem with the kind of Christianity we practice in Nigeria. It is led by people who clearly lack deductive reasoning, unable to make cogent deductions and present holistic understanding of what they’ve read. It not only stops there, they carry such demonic reasoning to other spheres of life. That’s why nothing works in the country. You must understand that the Bible was/is never anti-knowledge, Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. The gifts of the Spirit include wisdom and knowledge, and these gifts are given according as God pleases. We are encouraged to seek all gifts. Unfortunately, you are limited in knowledge. You don’t have sense. The fact that you may speak in tongues does not guarantee you have knowledge. You need to ask God for knowledge because clearly you have missed it. If you are scared of mini-topics taking captive of your mind, you clearly do not have the holy spirit. And you should leave this place and go seek God genuinely. No matter how you shout, all I see is Fear. FEAR comes when there is no love in you. And the perfect love of God chases all fear, 1John4:18. Your method of engaging people DOES NOT BARE FRUITS and will never bring anyone to Christ. You only get a pat on your back from mentally decrepit Christians like yourself. Never unbelievers. Don’t deceive yourself o. And this is the reason Nigeria evangelism is a recycling of same Christians, never new converts.

    • Pat

      February 2, 2019 at 5:45 pm

      Gbam!

    • Manny

      February 5, 2019 at 11:31 pm

      Perfect response for Cocoa, whose self-righteousness is so offputting. Cocoa, you’re like Saul pre Damascus. You’re full of misdirected zeal.

  9. Jade edo babe

    February 1, 2019 at 11:12 pm

    Cocoa, I love your stand for God but dis your own don overpass. I hope you practice, have real relationship withi Christ not just quoting the bible anyhow sha.

    Anyway, if naijas already use witchcraft to kill their family , friends and imaginary enemies, all sort of tins, it’s time to channel that witchcraft to kill all the evil people.
    Witchcraft is practiced heavily by so called christians, muslims everybody.
    That country needs a thorough cleansing. All dis pastors wey una dey follow visit the same juju man as buhari and his people. The truth will always prevail.

  10. Baybie

    February 2, 2019 at 12:46 am

    The question is, are you sure our witchcraft has not expired? I think its gone and buried with our ancestors. Lol. If we still had it for real, the entire continent won’t be a bloody mess. I believe our greatest super power right now is the brain. Nigerians still don’t understand how the brain works. That’s why people keep asking God to bless them with smartphones, cars, houses etc. They do not understand that God has already given us the ability to get what we want/need. Everyone keeps saying ‘use your head’ What we need to start saying is, USE YOUR BRAIN!

  11. gbryte

    February 2, 2019 at 4:09 am

    I think our collective conversations, movies, etc as played a great part in spawning this projections. something like black panther is what this article suggests. but i promise us. it will not end well.

  12. gbryte

    February 2, 2019 at 6:42 am

    I think our collective conversations, movies, etc as played a great part in spawning this projections. something like black panther is what this article suggest’s. but i promise us. it will not end well.

  13. Larz

    May 8, 2019 at 4:47 am

    The jazz story and over reliance on God n religion is merely an easy way out so we don’t take full responsibility for our action. I mean how is it that after Boko Haram or terrorist attack, a defense minister / president will “pray” on national TV for God to help us catch them and not provide a single action plan or defence strategy. From 9/11 to Sri Lanka’s recent attack, we see leaders take actions in the wake of attack and not just leave all responsibility to God

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