By Wale Ademowo

After returning from Iseyin, Oyo State, on a visit to her parents, Favour Darley Oladele got an invite from her boyfriend, Owolabi Adeeko, later known to be a Yahoo Yahoo guy. But before then, Owolabi had planned with her mom and a pervert prophet of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Prophet Segun Philips, to use her for money ritual.

Owolabi reportedly drugged Favour, dragged her to the prophet’s slaughter slab and promptly smashed her head with a huge pestle thrice! Then the prophet slit her throat, severed her tongue and heart, cooked them with herbs for the mother and son to eat to complete the money-making ritual! Luckily, the three criminals have since been arrested by men of the Nigeria Police.

To my mind, however, while the criminals have been caught a few days ago, the real culprit is still very much at large. And, I make bold to say that Nigeria’s Nollywood industry, a largely uncensored industry that had persistently popularised a culture of fetishism and unbridled spirituality over hard work, is the real culprit. I argue from sociological perspective that Nollywood is directly and vicariously liable for this murder.

If you are still wondering ‘why Nollywood?’, then you are still happily unmindful of the powerful socialising role of the movies with singularly narratives. Without knowing it, movies socialise the populace; they shape outlook to life; they present role models to young minds; they inspire new values; they champion new attitudes; they construct new culture; they trigger social change, whether positive or destructive…

Still in the dark? Let me ask you:

Why are you or your kids afraid of a black cat innocently strolling on your walls at night? Why are you scared of a black birds that mistakenly fly into your room? Why are today’s kids afraid to step out of the door at night? Why are you mortally scared of your neighbour’s, grandma wrinkled by age? What could ever make a woman to allow a man to make love to her, and also allows him to impregnate her two daughters? What could make Nigerian men and women cringe and crawl before barely educated men of god, drinking their bath water, licking their drolls, and so on? What could make a sane man get home and set his mother ablaze, being an alleged witch?  Why? Why? Why?

The answer to these and many questions lies is in the latent conditioning of our minds to spirituality; to read demonic attacks to all matters that are clearly physical and temporal, by forty years of dreadful socialisation by Nollywood.

Yoruba movies are the greatest culprit. 99 out of 100 movies surely take viewers to a herbalist, or one Christian or Muslim spiritualist or the other. They all have a triadic theme: a problem, visitation to babalawo and a solution! The actors routinely visit spiritualists to look for easy money, to seek revenge, to seek succour, to plot evil against fellow men, to stir disaffection in the land or, most ridiculously, to seek help for every trouble that common sense can resolve.

In Nollywood, no existential problem gets solved by critical thinking. In Nollywood, it is Iwure, Itedi, Iseso, Aje and related charms that brings wealth. In Nollywood, our world belongs to demons, witches, wizards, water spirits, mermaids. In Nollywood, therefore, it makes no sense to think and act and plan to overcome. Everything is spiritual. The most devastating consequences of this narrative is that such stories becomes the people’s realities. They thus become easy prey in the hands of pastors and afas, who feed on the fears planted by Nollywood to reap them off.

Apart from the Nollywood, the government, particularly its National Orientation Agency seems to be in deep slumber. For instance, throughout the months misguided youths steal or forcibly remove panties from ladies for money rituals early this year,, there was no one word of reorientation from government. There was no falsification of the barbaric act; that it’s all a lie; that money doesn’t come from murder, from blood; that it comes only from dint of hard work. That ritual money is simply what it is: empty demonic imaginations.

It is indeed high time Nollywood rethinks its narratives away from that of spiritual helplessness to that of bold, critical thinking and problem solving. And it fails to do so, of its volition, it is time government forced a worthwhile socibual re-engineering on the industry.

Nollywood is the ultimate culprit.

Ademowo is a senior journalist, foremost entertainment writer and university administrator