The more I study the Word of Wisdom contained in the Holy Book, the more I wonder, not just how the Creator does what He does, but why He moulded and shaped some people and things the way He did. I wonder why the Maker of Men put so much wealth in the hands of the wicked while poverty ravages the life of the righteous. I wonder how He made the corrupt, the selfish, the depraved and the self-centred occupy big positions of affluence and influence in business and politics while the kind-hearted, the meek, the generous and the righteous who should be in big positions serve men who should be serving them. I wonder why the slave rides on a horse and the prince walks barefooted after him.  And I wonder why bad and beastly beings live long and the good and humane ones die not fulfilling their days and destinies. I also wonder why some snowballing evil and tragic life events befall certain families from generation to generation with no end in sight. And I wonder why some men have so much power to negatively change the course of destinies of men through enchantments and CURSES.

I am a journalist, behavioural scientist, and clinical researcher. And in the last thirty-some years I have also doubled as a preacher. Over this long period of time, I have sat with many families in countless counselling sessions trying to help them figure out ways out of some evil siege that drips down from grandfather to father, and to son; and from grandmother, to mother, and daughter. But what I am discussing this week is not homiletic or ecclesiastic. It is not part of the deliberate Pentecostal widespread charade of some preachers attempting to dig into your treasure chests for silver and gold in tithes and offering. And it is not a mad dash to convert you to becoming a church chump or serving the God I serve in spirit and in truth. What I am divulging is the result of my unceasing wonder why God does what He does. This spiritual truism of curses and the mystery behind them have evidently manifested itself into physical realities in the lives of many that I know.  As a young man growing up in Nigeria, my eyes saw things; and my ears heard aplenty.  I saw some evil events bedevil certain families, and my experiences have made me easily conclude that CURSES ARE REAL.

What is a curse? It is a violent verbal expression of evil by a group of people or individual against an individual. It is a punitive verbal expression made by man against man; and an evil misfortune capable of ruling and ruining a family from one generation to another. The phenomena of “curses” are very real and impact very many people who may not even know it. People’s lives are blighted by curses on their health, their families, their finances, and their personal and spiritual well-being. There is no one immune to the ravaging effects of curses except those who have learned to know how to avert it, fight it, and then crush it. You may be lettered with a slew of degrees, sophisticated and connected to the highs and the mighties; and have traversed the length and breadth of this world in travels. But to know this fact that CURSES ARE REAL is to know peace. This short story I’ll share with you.

Thirty-six years ago, about 10 young journalists were tired of living and working in Nigeria. Just like the ‘japa’ wind wave swirling around Nigeria today, there was also the urge for young people in that season of life to relocate abroad. These young people decided to seek better lives for themselves in the United States. They were drawn from major media organisations in the country. I was one of them from this Newspaper. On different dates, we flew out of Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos.  At different ports of entry around the US, every one of us was admitted into America, the land of our dreams. Among us was a young photojournalist from a big Nigerian magazine. The young man routed his trip through a Florida airport. At the port of entry, he answered all the questions thrown at him by the questioning Immigration officer. He had all the documents for admission required by US law but was refused entry into the United States. He asked the attending officer what else he was missing, but he was told to go back home and reapply for an entry visa.  Swiftly, he was sent back to Lagos without telling him exactly what he did wrong. The young man was distraught.  He had sold his few properties and had bidden friends and family bye-bye back home. Shame waited for him at Murtala Muhammad Airport in Lagos.  He felt like killing himself.

Four years later in 1992, I went home to bury my grandmother and I met the young man in Ibadan when he told me the full story. On arrival, he said he had to run away from Lagos where he lived and worked; and hid himself in Ibadan. According to him, he sought spiritual counsel from pastors to know why life treated him the way it did. His father had two wives, and he was one of two sons among five children of his mother who was the first wife. Everywhere he went to seek clarity, he was told that his mum’s rivalling younger wife was behind the attack. She had put a curse on him. Why? Just sheer envy and jealousy. The younger wife’s children weren’t picking up good vibes in life. Success, whatever it was to them, was coming too slowly for the woman’s children. But every week they saw my friend on national television during press conferences and special sporting events. The imagined success of this young man apparently troubled the woman. And she had cursed that this young man’s star would never shine brighter than her own children’s. I had watched stories like this in Nigerian movies, but this time, it came up real because it happened to a friend.

On one occasion, my friend said he attempted to travel to neighbouring Cotonou to purchase a car, and all hell also broke loose for him at the border. The weight of the curse was so heavily and demonically wired such that he would never see or step beyond the borders of Nigeria. CURSES are real, my friends. It’s a mystery of life. Check out your life as you read this. Yours may not be travel-related. There are curses on health where bad health becomes a cankerworm draining your money. There are curses on wealth where you are never able to fulfil your financial obligations to your family. For some, it’s marriage or career. Is a CURSE the CAUSE of your troubles? FIND IT OUT AND FIGHT IT OUT!