When I got the telephone call on 11th September, 2012, shortly after 10o’clock in the morning, I knew who it was. I knew, even though the caller had taken great pains to withhold their number.
Morin Osunmakinde. The founder and resident high priestess of an online “Christian women’s group” she had named BR (Babes Redefined). Her only other claim to fame, remains in her marriage to a certain Dele Osunmakinde. Not because of any academic, commercial, technological or philanthropic achievement on his part – but because he was a pastor.
You see, religion in Africa is one of the most lucrative industries on the continent. It’s ‘the new oil and gas’, and pastors are the keepers of its gates. Treated like demi-gods, with adoring fans hanging onto their every syllable, it can be a dangerous thing to disagree because you have a brain of your own. There’s supposed to be an umbrella body called “Christian Association of Nigeria”; but with reports of some of their members trying to influence voting behaviour during gubernatorial and presidential elections, and fostering arms-smuggling … they appear to be truly busy. Meaning some pastors are left to their own devices – building pseudo-empires, at the expense of their gullible flock.
It doesn’t matter what theological or other training – or even common sense – that they might lack, being a pastor’s Mrs is the new aspiration. To hear her speak is to come in contact with insecurity personified. The same insecurity that motivated the founding of BR, and continues to drive it into the ground. Not even a 20,000-strong (and counting) membership, can allay the insecurity of its founder. But this is what happens when a person has nothing tangible to offer. They instinctively know they are frauds, so live in terror of exposure.
Which is what Osunmakinde managed to do, with her calls. She made two calls on the day. International calls. Yes, I was in England, when she made those calls. Her purpose was to let me know that I was taking the spotlight off of her, in ‘her group’. That she expected her word to be the last on a matter; and accuse me of trying to destroy her group. Yes, these exact words were used.
My run-ins with Morin and her stooges, had begun a while before. Added to this group on Facebook (by someone I don’t remember), I was appalled by some of the frankly brain-dead, misogynistic and destructive pieces of information that were disguised as ‘godly advice’ in the group.
E.g. A woman writes in to say, “My husband beats me regularly, and has even landed me in hospital a couple of times.”
The ‘godly advice’ she receives is, “Pray for him and submit. Manage the situation. On no account, should you leave your home.”
Some advisers would also say, “My own husband beats me, and we’re still married. So, stay and pray.”
A woman writes in to say, “My husband has given me STIs, on many occasions.”
The typical answer is, “Cover yourself with the ‘blood of Jesus’, when you sleep with him. On no account, should you deny him sex. If you do, he will go outside.” You see what I mean by brain-dead? Since when is the blood of Jesus, an STI-prevention method. Plus, the husband is already going outside; that’s why the woman is itching in … nether regions.
There was even this one from a woman who had endured a bad marriage for 17 years. An esteemed ‘counsellor’ within BR said, “You must have stolen someone else’s husband. Because 17 years is too long for ‘god’ not to answer you if your hands are clean.”
And with such ambassadors for god, in abundance, people wonder why I have a problem with organised religion?
I believe that a lack of purpose in life, is what compels certain women to stay in ridiculous situations. They need to pray; praying makes them feel useful, because they have no other skill – they bring nothing else to the table. Praying IN a hopeless situation, gives their lives, relevance. It has to be hopeless, so they can pray for a long time. And if they can find partners-in-misery, all the better.
It is on unfortunate women like these – desperate for approval – that Morin preys. They give her a sense of purpose, so she needs to keep them under control. Intellectually handicapped and pathologically insecure as a result, worthy attention is beyond her; it’s always been. She’s played the church game for decades – but not really achieved anything noteworthy, on her own. She was not deemed anointed enough in her right; her marriage to Osunmakinde gave her faux status. Status as a pastor’s wife; status she has to hold onto, despite her glaring inadequacies.
It is for this reason that she needs to see BR as an extension of her husband’s church. It is for this reason that members are expected to forgo their own lives, for the sake of the group – to prove their loyalty to her and her vision.
A member was actually ordered not to attend some revision classes for an upcoming professional exam – because a BR anniversary, was on the same date. How does it make sense to tell anyone, not to study for her professional exam – an exam whose positive result would potentially progress her career, her bank balance and her status? Only a female from whose life, achievements are missing, would give or implement such a whacked-out directive; all the while, wrapping it in religious lingo.
This is why adult members of the group are ordered to “Explain yourself before 1pm tomorrow, or else …” Control (or the semblance of it) is everything – so much so, that prayer meetings were actually held in my ‘honour’. Meaning that my name was passed around a select group, to pray against me. Yeah, I know.
It is for the same reason that Morin surrounds herself with sycophantic women with low self-esteem (she rewards with “Admin” positions), who will help her keep other women in the bondage that she needs them to be.
I am allergic to stupidity. I can’t even pretend to tolerate it. So, Morin set me my very own … monitoring spirit, in the person of Bimbo Adefeso. Her job was to censor and eliminate my disruption to her group.
A tail that a target can see coming, is a useless tail.
And it took all I had not to inform Morin of this, during her phone calls. Instead, I asked, “So, how would you like me to help your group?” The woman was so flustered that she dropped the phone. I think she was expecting me to call her out on her BS.
I followed that up with a Facebook message, “You said you know my strengths. How would you like me to utilise them, to help your group?”
By March 2013, Morin was denying ever having spoken to me.
The circumstances of those were – I was removed from the group in mid-March, 2013. I didn’t say anything to anyone, cos frankly, I couldn’t bring myself to give a toss. I promptly received a message from Bimbo Adefeso saying, “I’m so glad that nobody noticed you’re gone.” I told her the time wasn’t right for anyone to notice; but that the avalanche that would occur, when it was noticed, would absolutely blow her mind. They probably expected me to go crying to people, about my removal from a group that brought me NO benefit, whatsoever. I mean, it’s not like I was ever paid for my contributions, hired for my expertise, gained citizenships of multiple nations, added to my wardrobe, or met a nice bloke – through the group. BR did not give me any of these; so, why would I be upset at not being there, anymore?
My birthday is 13th March, and that was when people noticed. BR does this thing on people’s birthdays, where they pretend to make the celebrants feel important and cherished – they write your name, put some celebratory but impersonal photos (cakes, balloons, etc), and claim to “invoke blessings over your life”. The perfect trade-off for subjugating you, for a year. But I digress …
Anyway, because some members of the group, could see my personal Facebook wall, they wondered aloud, why I wasn’t one of the celebrants of the group. And sh*t hit the fan. I began to receive messages and I just thought, “It’s a Facebook group! Not exclusive entrance to the coffers of the World Bank. Why should I tell you that I’m no longer a member?”
I did send an “I told you so” message to Adefeso, though.
It turned out that Morin had put up an entire post, dedicated to trashing me. And some said, “The person you’re talking about, isn’t here to defend herself. We want to hear her own side.” Those people promptly got accused of disloyalty. Morin claimed she had never spoken to me; when I was told, I said, “Tell her I said, she has. Twice. And I still remember the date and times. I also remember particular phrases she used.” I told them what we had talked about. They went back and said, “You’re saying you’ve never spoken to her. Why is she saying the exact opposite, and even being specific about phrases and times?” Morin was so livid, that she told them that the fact that they didn’t take her word for it, that they would even consider asking me my own side – meant they were disloyal.
Bimbo Adefeso then went attacking grown women, who so much as wrote on my personal wall – accusing them of being disloyal to Morin and her vision! At this point, I need to sound a note of warning to men: contrary to what you’ve been told, you don’t go and marry a woman “because she’s active in church”. Morin Osunmakinde, Bimbo Adefeso and the many of the “Admin” of BR are all married women – women, whose husbands met them in church; women, who according to Nigerian society, are ‘responsible’, based on their marital status. Yet, they somehow have the time, energy and inclination to display such demented tactics, stemming from their low self-esteem and discontent in their real lives, on social media.
I’d have thought my absence from Morin’s eye-line, would be the end of the matter. Until I got into a spat, on a Facebook post, in April 2015. I noticed someone ‘came for me’; I don’t know her. I noticed she was making certain comments – including being very specific about destroying my reputation. I’m no victim, so I gave as good as I got.
The following day, I learned that the person who had attacked me, had actually been set up to do so, by members of BR whose mandate was to “destroy my reputation”. Apparently, they’d hang around online, to troll my activities. On Facebook, they’d wait to see whose wall(s) I comment on. Then, they’d inbox random people on the post, to fill their eyes/ears with lies, to ensure they destroy my reputation. They’d been at it, for years. It made me wonder:
a) how many people had received such messages over the years?
b) how many morons had there been, who had fallen for it?
c) how many spats I’d gotten into, were unreal – in terms of the fact that they were baseless, but actually instigated by members of Morin’s coven?
d) just how jobless some women could be – why would you allow yourself to be used against someone you don’t even know, by people you don’t know?
Again – dudes, you want to marry someone sane, the fact that they “attend church and pray” means nothing. Some of you, your ‘praying wife’ is the reason you dread coming home, after work! Because you know she would have fought one neighbour, bashed another’s car, and wilfully injured the child of yet another! Your ‘Christian, praying wife’ fancies herself a local correspondent of a ‘fish-wife radio station’ – so, your neighbourhood is regaled with (and mortified by) tales of your inadequacies: from what you didn’t do in the bedroom, to how much you didn’t provide for ‘chop money’ – because she’s ‘upset’. You know better than to take her to your office party, because you know she will embarrass you, with her antics. You’ll never be out of work in her stagnant-cum-floundering business, because your role involves settling issues between her and her irate customers. But because you married her as a virgin (or so she claims), she expects you to be satisfied …
Bearing in mind that the entire putrid affair, was starting to clock four years, I had moved on. It wasn’t something that I thought of, or talked about.
Till the first week of May, 2015.
Within 48hours of my writing about it on Facebook, my posts were gone. Apparently, Morin’s feathers had been ruffled enough (for her lap-dogs) to contact Facebook. They had also been ruffled enough to instruct her team of ‘priestesses’ to attempt to threaten me.
I find it odd that African society deems a woman, ‘responsible’ because she’s married. The purposeless team of the insidious cult of BR, is made up of women, who are married. To men, who would swear blind that their wives are ‘virtuous women’. Men, who have sired even more unfortunate children with these women – I mean, with mothers like these, what chance has a child got? The poor children will see envy, non-achievement and folly as aspirations to have; after all, This is what mummy does, after praying.
When their mummies hang out with the likes of Morin Osunmakinde – a painfully insecure, pathological liar, who’s terrified of other women’s success – what are their chances? After all, your associations can only be an indicator of your achievements.
All Rights Reserved, Chioma Nnani