Blog Details

14 October, 2016

Scramble for Souls: Scrutinizing the nature, growth, impact and competing claims to ori-oke in Ilorin, Nigeria

By: Patrick Uchenna Nwosu, PhD.

University of Ilorin, Ilorin, Nigeria

The central focus of our research is the Scramble for Souls: Scrutinizing the nature, growth, impact and competing claims to ori-oke in Ilorin, Nigeria. So far, our findings have shown increasing human experience giving rise to the Ori-oke (mountain prayer) spirituality in Ilorin, North-central, Nigeria. Diarmuid O’murchu views such spirituality as ‘the outsider’ in his book: Inclusivity: A Gospel Mandate.

Many Christians in Africa, particularly in Nigeria, are no longer attracted to the visions and praxis of most of their religious leaders. They are discouraged by the power games in many churches, leadership and succession crises and the high number of these issues resulting in civil cases. Included in this disenchantment is the pomp and prestigious lifestyle of the clergy in Nigeria. Alade Rotimi-John describes the situation further: “Church leaders’ grandstanding notwithstanding, the people are aghast why elementary principles of living which men of faith preach inexorably, are practised by them more in the breach than in their observation even in the fierce stare of the congregation.” (see “Our Godless Morality”. In The Guardian, Wednesday, July 20, 2016, p.17). In other words, by their activities, the various church leaders may have accentuated a sense of inequality, deprivation, and injustice in the society rather than holiness and the love of God.

In Nigeria, there are hundreds of undocumented healing centres and churches run by dreadlocked pastors and prophets. In such churches, members are at the mercy of the General Overseers popularly called “Daddy G.Os”. Most of them use unorthodox methods to operate and take absolute charge of the lives of their members. These outfits thrive across Nigeria because they wear the cloak of Christianity. In this regard, individuals are chained by religion and the larger society is held in bondage too.

Realizing that there has been no correlation between Nigerian religiosity and development, Ori-oke phenomenon/spirituality now serves as an alternative platform for the search for the real God in Ilorin. It offers the people the gospel attitude of discernment to see that the divine-human element of Jesus Christ is with us in the Christian religion despite many challenges.

Ori-oke adherents feel that they do not fit in as a result of their social standing or minority status. Seeing their leaders and their lifestyles as a betrayal of Christian values, the Ori-oke adherents have created a counter-culture of Christian spirituality on the mountains in most cities in Nigeria, especially in Ilorin. 



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