Some few weeks back, a preacher was reported in the dailies to have said that social media is a gift from the devil. Many people resorted to laughing at the statement and jeering at the person who made the statement, to them the statement was made out of ignorance and blind religion. When I heard of the statement I knew it must have come from a Conservative preacher. A preacher in the Charismatic fold isn’t likely to utter such. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have anything against Conservatives, I like to see myself as a Conservative-Charismatic. Let’s take a look at the preacher’s statement, but before then I’d like you to meet the Conservative-Charismatic me.

As a Christian, the Charismatic congregation is the one I enjoy the most. Though the Charismatic movement is different from the Pentecostal movement yet it is very difficult to actually distinguish the Charismatics from the Pentecostals, in commenting on this issue of difference between the two Wikipedia said one main difference is STYLE. Charismatic gatherings have that business approach to the gospel, from their posh names to the serene venues, manner of worship and sweet speaking ministers. In a Charismatic gathering you feel welcome. With flowers adorning the pulpits and the vibrant pastors moving from one corner of the sanctuary to another unhindered in their trendy suits that give bankers a run for their money, you also feel the class and glamour. If nothing, you enjoy the theatrics. For me, I love the word exposition in Charismatic gatherings.

Conservatives believe it should be done the old way, because the old path is the true path. Conservatives don’t really believe in spicing up the word – just give it out raw! Charismatics on their part love to simplify the word. I have heard my father in the Lord, Bishop David Olaniyi Oyedepo, a leader of the Charismatic wave in Nigeria, say more than once that Charismatics sometimes bastardize the gospel, I agree with his reasoning and that’s why I still retain my Conservative background despite my Charismatic leaning. I took time to explain my stance on these two groups because of the discourse I am going into, hoping that you will believe in my impartiality and fairness in dealing with the subject-matter rather than slamming me with bias. Unlike many Christians today, I understand the two sides because at one time or the other I had fellowshipped in both. And, now to our main discourse – is social media a gift from the devil?

I may not be the best person to answer this question but I believe my attempt at it will not be totally bereft of sense nor a waste of your valuable time. In 2011, when in a far away land on NYSC assignment, I turned to social media to keep pace with the civil world, stay in. touch with friends, kill boredom and have fun. It was a great experience. I became active on facebook, twitter and also got an invite for google plus in the good old days when it wasn’t yet opened to all comers. Social media was my buddy and I was abreast of all issues happening in the world. With social media, I was truly a citizen of the world, I knew whatever was happening to whoever, everywhere and whenever. I had no need for TV or Radio because I picked the news before the traditional media. Jokingly, I used to tell my friends that I broke with the news, so there was no need for me to tune in for any breaking news.

With my experience with and on social media can I agree with someone that social media is a gift from the devil? The same social media that is being used by many preachers across the globe to pass the good message of the Lord across? On facebook, you have the presence of almost all the great missions on earth; on twitter, today, the Nigerian individual with the highest number of followers is Pastor Chris of Christ Embassy, he has more followers than the D’banjs, the Don Jazzys and the 2faces of this world, an indication that there are believers on social media and are interested in connecting with the people of God. About a week ago, the number one trending topic worldwide on twitter was “Follow Jesus,” a gospel reach out. So how can this same platform be a gift from the devil?

While it is true that social media has its good, it is also true that social media opens one to the world like never before. I cannot count the many troubles I have entered into because of social media. With social media you are just one click away from everything you don’t want to see or hear. From time to time, there is the attack that posts pornographic pictures on your wall and sends links to your DM, there are also ‘friends’ and tweeps who post obscene things and use provocative pictures as profile pictures, avatars and display pictures. In addition, social media can be so addictive that you spend all of your valuable time doing nothing sensible but just refreshing your time line waiting for useless gists. The time you could have spent in God’s presence is wasted reading of Kim Kardasian’s divorce after 72 days in marriage, Will Smith’s difficulties in his open marriage, Princess Kate’s wedding gown, Linda Ikeji’s life style, Dbanj and Don Jazzy’s split and such other trivial issues.

Referring to the good social media platform as a devil’s gift, for me, instantly brings up the picture of the Trojan horse. In Greek mythology, the city of Troy was one that was heavily guarded and it was practically impossible for unwanted aliens to get through. When war broke out between the Greeks and the Trojans, the Greeks looked for ways to enter into Troy and when they saw none, they saw a means in the instrumentality of the Trojan horse. The Trojan horse was a hollow wooden statue of a horse and was placed at the entrance to Troy. When the Trojans saw the gigantic statue they were impressed at the gift their enemies have brought as a token of peace. The Trojans with their own hands dragged the horse into their impenetrable city and signed off on their invincibility because unknown to them, the horse was a device through which the Greeks concealed themselves and gained access to Troy. That gift from the Greeks was a gift of death, hence the term Greek gift which means a gift with the intention of tricking and causing harm to the recipient. With that singular mistake of accepting that Greek gift, the great city of Troy fell in battle never to rise again.

As Christians, we know that the devil is our enemy (1 Peter 5:8) and there is no gift he can give that is not intended to cause havoc. So, is social media truly a Trojan horse from the devil? Is it just a Greek gift intended to cause pain and defeat but packaged in such an enticing way? I believe that social media is a good tool but one that the devil can hijack as a Greek gift. Social media is just like its fore bears – TV and the internet. And those too had been labelled with bad names in times past.

I also see social media just like sex or music. The devil didn’t create either of those two but he causes much havoc through them. The use to which you put them determines whether you are making the devil glad or causing him pain. The alarming rate at which gospel musicians switch over to secular music and the ever increasing worship of sex today may easily make one refer to these two as gifts from the devil. Sex and music are snares that easily lure young people away from the things of God stylishly, innocently and quietly. So, I believe that the use to which social media has been used may have prompted the said preacher to make the statement he made. The Apostle Paul in commenting on a thorny issue that came up in his time said in Romans 14:14 that,
“I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean in itself: still, it is unclean to the one who considers it unclean.” (NET)
And for emphasis, he repeated in verse 20 that,
“…all things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who [does it] with offence.” (KJV)
The distinguishing factor here is the use to which one puts it, so if you glorify God with your use of social media, it is acceptable unto God; but if not, then you have the devil’s gift in your hands.


We woke up this morning to hear the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan declare in his Democracy day speech that the University of Lagos, Akoka has been renamed the Moshood Abiola University in honour of the acclaimed winner of the June 12, 1993 election who lost his life and that of a wife in a bid to reclaim his mandate. At the thought of the new name, MAULag we all went to town (facebook, twitter and the rest) laughing and mocking the Unilag babes who we believe are the hardest hit (don’t ask why).

I had fun too and came up with some jokes on the issue only to discover that some people were making a big deal out of the issue. Let’s get serious. What’s the big deal in changing UniLag to Moshood Abiola University? Students of Unilag are not called Unilagites but Akokites and that still stands as the university has not changed location. Correct me if I’m right but seriously I don’t understand all the fuss about the name change and the subsequent blockage of the Third Mainland Bridge.

You can protest all you want but I doubt if that will change anything. A similar thing happened in Ife in 1987. In 1987, the University of Ife was changed to Obafemi Awolowo University and people protested but that changed nothing, the name has come to stay. Today, the school prides itself as the Oba Awon University (King of all Universities). A play on its initials – OAU.

Eminent Nigerians have reacted to the issue and here are my thoughts on some of the opinions expressed. In my opinion, the best criticism against MAU so far is that a Federal structure/institution in the FCT like the National Stadium or the University of Abuja would have done greater honour to Abiola than the sectional approach the Unilag re-christening looks like. They argue that Abiola is not only a South-western hero but a national one. Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola deserves all the honour he gets. MAU doesn’t stop the National Stadium, Abuja or any other institution from being renamed after him. The fact that we have the Obafemi Awolowo University didn’t stop the many roads across the nation from being named after Awo.

From my perspective, I also think that the outcry against this move by the Jonathan led FG is one that goes on to show how people resent change. UniIfe students didn’t hate Awo, yet protested in ’87 and I’m sure UniLag students don’t hate Abiola, yet are protesting. People are just not comfortable with accepting that a CHANGE (of name) has come to an institution they are/were part of, either as students or lecturers. Simple!

Some other critics also accuse the president of not consulting anybody, but are we forgetting that the school is a federal institution? We are the same ones who complain that we set up committees for everything possible under the sun and now we complain again that no committee on name change was set up. This is not to say that the President was right in disregarding the legally prescribed steps for re-christening the institution. The man should take all steps to correct that anomaly by going through the normal route.

Some others say Abiola did nothing for Nigeria. My response to that is that he made steps to do great things for the country by contesting and winning the fairest election this country has ever had, he could have done a lot if the election wasn’t cancelled. And it is possible he wouldn’t have done anything. I’m not a fan of GEJ, neither am I an Abiola fanatic but I believe that this is not such a big issue as some people want the rest of us to believe. The whole furore and debate that trailed the issue seems to me like hitting an ant with a sledge hammer! I honestly do not see a reason for the noise the matter generated.

PS: This piece was originally penned on May 29, 2012 when the announcement of the change of name was made.


The mind of a wayfarer always wanders, so allow me to quickly share this thought before I walk on to something else.

I read about the funny turn that the bribery scandal involving Femi Otedola of Forte oil, formerly AP and Honourable Farouk Lawan of the House of Representatives has taken. It is reported that Otedola said “I bribed him (Lawan) in order to set him up.” The diminutive Honourable was said to have replied with the following line – “I collected the bribe in order to use it as exhibit,” the response sounds like one from a blockbuster Nollywood comedy parading the best of clowns like Sam Loco Efe, of blessed memory, Nkem Owoh (Osuofia) and John Okafor (Ibu).

Wonders shall never end in our great country Nigeria, the land of good people, great nation. I took my mind off the burden of that shameful exchange and resorted rather to think about the man Otedola. I’m not trying to exonerate him but I choose to control what I think of. Rather than give myself unnecessary headache because of a disHourable incident, I will rather move on to better things. I believe I can learn one or two things from all people, if the Bible could say “go to the ants” to learn, then I can pick a thing or the other from anyone’s life without sentiments. So, I tried looking at the life of one of the biggest financiers of Africa’s biggest political party, PDP (did you say biggest rigger?) and a strong contender for the position of Africa’s richest man. Don’t forget the brouhaha that came up not too long ago between our man in this study and the current occupier of that seat.

I tried looking at what lesson I can bring out from his life and this is it – that you can be set free from the bondage of no identity! Having an influential and renowned parent, kind of, puts you under that parent’s shadow. You don’t have your own identity because who you are is clouded by who your parent is. If I tell you I’m Dangote, your first question is likely to be – are You Aliko’s son? For those under their parent’s shadow its kind of frustrating (though it has its own pecks). I have read the frustrating stories of people who have lived under that shadow, nothing they get seem to be on merit – people believe they get those contracts, certain appointments or hit gold because of their parents. No one is ready to applaud them and accord them respect solely for who they are but rather for whose kids they are.

The shadow looks impossible to break free from and many even willingly succumb to live under such as they retain the name even in marriage and come up with funny compound names. Some try hard to break free from the name but with no success. The good news is that you can leave that shadow and build your own identity. When I think of the possibility and reality of this, the first name that comes to my mind is that of the Otedolas. When I mention Otedola, who comes to your mind, Femi? Probably, he is the only Otedola you even know. In 1992, Femi had no “identity,” at the mention of Otedola the person that came to people’s minds was Michael, his father and Governor of Lagos, at that time. Femi must have been under that shadow. Everywhere he turned, his only identity was as Michael Otedola’s son. Today, the table has turned, when the headlines read Otedola, we instantly think of Femi, the husband of Nana. Michael, today, may even be allowed in to some places simply because he is Femi Otedola’s father.

Femi did what many thought impossible, he stepped out of the shadow and got his own unique identity. Wikipedia in reference to his phenomenal growth has this to say about him, “From nowhere, Zenon (Femi’s brainchild) is today rated among the top five companies in the country, with a huge turnover . But how did he (Femi) do it many have asked? In an interview some years ago he attributed his phenomenal leap to “hard-work and staying focused on what you want and going all out to get it.” How he did it is another story entirely.

I don’t know what shadow you may be under, but here is the gist – You can step out of it. Be it the shadow of failure, lack or sickness. Whatever the shadow is, you can break free from it.