Old book clubs

Organized Religions are really just old book clubs from back when each society had just the one book. It was kinda of a big deal, some garage startup had condensed writing into a mobile and portable storage media. Of course not a lot of people could read back then and luckily this new book format thing became all the rage. People started learning to read, first rich people and then later on more and more people. Huge market. It was amazing, only problem was there just wasn’t a whole lot of content in book format there was really just this one publisher and since most people couldn’t read there were even fewer writers. The few were however inspired. Clearly everyone could see that. They were inspired to do what very few people did back then, to write. In fact back then the average joe probably didn’t know anyone who could read talk less of write. So these guys were fucking heroes.

It has come to my attention that some of these book clubs have gotten a little out of hand in recent millennia. So I think people need to calm down and put things into perspective. Nowadays writing isn’t such a big deal. Lots of people write, we’ve got many more books.

I think these old book clubs need to expand their libraries and enlighten society with other inspired works.

Churches, Mosques, Temples and Shrines could take one sermon a month to entertain a discussion about something other than what they already believe. Something new. Something challenging to broaden the horizons of our hearts and minds. Something difficult to help us grow. Something at the edge of our comfort zone. Something to stretch the limits of our understanding and capabilities as human beings.

Something for the mind

– another religion
– anthropology
– psychology
– philosophy
– physics and chemistry
– history
– maths

On other days of the week places of worship should serve to deepen these lessons for the mind and also bring teachings for the craft.

– indoor and combat sports
– blacksmithing
– glass-working
– woodworking
– gardening
– cooking and nutrition
– computer programming and electronics

If you’re involved in the operation of a religious institution in Nigeria and you do not act now to bring at least some of these skills, truths and wisdom to your congregation. History will not judge you, for history will remember neither you nor your congregation.

I believe in Jesus

Nganga

I believe in Jesus. Jesus is a fairly common name in Latin america so you could say I believe in many Jesus’s. Jesus is also an astro-theological metaphor for the Sun God.  I do believe in the Sun God, the Christ spirit he is my lord and and savior, the primary power plant of bio-energetic processes here on earth.

History is littered with other allegorical Solar Deities. Way back when there was no J in the alphabet, even then there might have been a Jesus or something close enough. They may have been many, like there are now or there may have been a few. I have a hard time believing it was just the one guy but what do I know. After-all I wasn’t there. For the sake of agreement let’s say it was just the one guy. This guy was a bad ass carpenter, healer, teacher, fasting marathon champ e.t.c. Last thing I heard he may have done his 1st & 2nd degree with some Buddhist monks somewhere in the east,  perhaps Tibet. Based on my evaluation of his skill set I’m inclined to believe he also excelled in his doctorate and post doctorate which he must have done  somewhere in west or central Africa. Remember this guy was gone for 18 years. Ran away from home to study spiritual martial arts at the age of 12. As in, baddest guy but who knows he may have had problems with his stepdad, this is why one should try not to judge others.

He may have been the greatest healer that ever lived. But there have been many before him and many since and there will yet be many more. His healing unlike that of Emzor pharmaceuticals, was lasting. He empowered people to stay healed.

Jesus CDXX
Moses is lit

Now I also believe in the Roman Empire.  I can understand why they didn’t like the guy, because he was bad for business. It was bad enough that the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare system suffered terrible market losses as a result of cures being available but this guy had the nerve to start poking around in Jewish politics trying to be king and all sorts of crazy.

Something had to be done about the guy. Rome did what empires do. It re-wrote history and contained the problem.  Psyops counter intelligence cia/mi5/mkultra shii. Many Nigerian Christians know the church is corrupt some even entertain the idea that their own church or pastor is corrupt but I think they underestimate the historical depth of the rot. In my wildest dreams I cannot believe Jesus would approve of the way churches are run today or what is taught in them.

Jesus attends city of David in Victoria Island MMXVIII

It’s hard to tell exactly how he would take it. Would he flog us like he did the abokis in the temple or would he have tolerated our beliefs out of compassion ? Much like the case of Haile Selassie honoring the beliefs of the Rastafari even though he did not believe he was their messiah. Or like Prince Phillip and the Kastom people who live on an island in the south pacific and believe he is some sort of god. Don’t get your panties in a bunch because I mention Jesus and Prince Phillip in the same sentence. No one is perfect and I think we Christians need to consider the possibility that Jesus also focused too little on carpentry towards the end of his career and too much on politics. I’m having a hard time finding other similarities, I can’t imagine Prince Phillip providing healthcare in the same way Jesus did but I hope he gives them medicines or something. But I don’t know much about Prince Phillip. I could be wrong and/or there is always room for improvement.

this is the plaincourault fresco depicting Amanita Muscaria as the tree of knowledge of good and evil in the garden of Eden. c. 1291 AD Plaincourault chapel at Merigny Indre District France 

If we say Jesus was a healer of any significant competence, seriousness and repute he would most certainly have known about the use of many medicinal plants. He would have known each one of the many plants mentioned by name in the torah and he would have known many more. Plants that the people could use to heal themselves straight off the land and thereby circumventing multinational Roman pharmaceutical conglomerates.

Jesus disrupting codeine addiction with old testament flora

So as you can see I believe in a lot of Jesus’s perhaps even more than you.

Great spirit of the Mother of Eve adonbilivit

I believe in other things as well. I believe in every religion. I believe in Galleillo Gallilei, Issac Newton, Albert Einsten, David Bohm, John Dalton and Charles Darwin. Their teachings of truth are as sacred as any scripture. Beyond what I can see I have unwavering faith in the intellect, spirit and character bestowed upon me by my bloodline. My mother and father and theirs before them. Without them I would not exist, they have shaped and molded me. They have shaped the world around me and given me the foundation of all that I am. They are Gods in my eyes and heart. To them I am infinitely grateful. Together we form the holy trinity : man, woman and child.

Mighty spirit of the water carving through the rock

I believe in the spirit of the water that sustains us all our lives and surrounds us in the womb. With reverence and gratitude I savor each drop. I believe in everything that exists, everything living and everything that appears to be inanimate. I try my best to never foul the sacred waters to make sure no drop is wasted. I dive in her depths to be enveloped by her love. I listen to her voice in the sounds of the water. I bathe in the touch of her raindrops.  It is said by the elders that she has not one single enemy in all of creation. So gentle the drizzle so fearful the storm. So fierce the current. So nimble this sacred being of simple chemistry. So clear and so pure. So powerful and magical. So dangerous and so terrible is this Goddess.

The sacred river
Climate change activists have long forewarned of rising sea levels as the God’s are vexing due to pollution from industrial scale bad magic.

I believe in the holy ghost, the spirit of the fire. The mark of man, stolen from the God’s. He has taught us to cook, so we need not spend the whole day eating and digesting. That our hands may be free for the creative pursuits that liken us to the image of God. He has protected  our forefathers from the deadly beasts many times our size and strength. He cleanses everything. Even today in almost everything we do we owe the God of fire gratitude, when we start a car or turn on the lights we summon the spirit of a fire not too far away. Every beast knows to avert it’s gaze and avoid the flames, every beast knows that where there is a fire, a man is somewhere near. Only mankind gazes into the flame. The fire never tells the same story twice. I pay this homage to the sacred fire like my distant ancestors before me, lest he retreat and leave me shivering in the cold. I take great care not to soil the kindling or touch it with my bare feet. I fix my gaze upon the flame and say my prayer quick and short : all my gratitude, all my strength. So many fires to tend I dare not waste this guys time.

Holy ghost
Great Spirit of the fire

I believe in the earth, the great mother beneath our feet she is literally my world. I roll in the precious dust on her skin. I press my right ear on to the earth that she may whisper sacred truths in my ear. She fills my cup with unspeakable strength as she urges me to hurry and bear fruit and multiply, lest the spirits grow impatient to return. She explains that the child is an elder who has died in the world of the spirits to be born again in this world. When the grandchild and the grandparent speak, she says : it is the discussion of elders and the father and mother are too young to interject. She warns that we must always revere our children and our parents as the great spirits they are. Respect precedes all forms of love.

From within the depths of the earth I feel the current of the Iron beneath as it flows between my two bare feet, the great God of the metals and master smith. His great strength holding every pillar of babylon that stands today. He teaches me the way of the smith. To summon the spirits of the fire and the wind. I strengthen my grip in response to his. I pump my bellow to stoke the fire, his spirit arises, the rock turns to lava, the spirit of the Metal shows it’s liquid face. She speaks lovingly of her mother who is no more. Her death the death of a great ancient Sun God. She tells me her mother died for me, that I may forge these rings with her golden blood. Of all the metals forged in the heart of a great dying star, she is the finest, her pedigree is mint. So noble and bright this gold was born in great heat far hotter than the hottest fire, for her the earth is a cold place, she is of noble blood, she cannot unveil her molten face for too long without the fire. I say a prayer and quickly cast my die. As the smith I ply my craft. Simple and short is my prayer thank you for the mint, the iron and silver, the platinum and gold. To the long dead star whose blood flows in my veins. Thank you for the earth, thank you for my body, thank you for my life, thank you for my soul. I see your spirits reflection in the spirit of my Sun God. Great Supernova great nameless star, you gave your life that I may live.

The way of the smith

I believe in the air great spirit of the wind. I feel her weight on my head and shoulders. She caries sweet scents of the forest into my lungs. Many spirits and angels walk freely floating, buzzing and flying inside her silky touch. Her wind caresses my skin ever so softly. I watch her dance a stealthy dance in the great eye of the Sky God and God of great thunder and King of the God’s. I hear her voice as she rustles the leaves and teases the aerodynamics of Babylonian architecture whistling in hysterical laughter. She teaches the science of fractals as she waits for the chosen architect to fulfill a sacred destiny. I blow my horn and she carries my message to any spirit in any place. The Sky God the great warrior with his gravitational sling. He keeps our mother the earth God safe from great rocks in the sky, rocks of ice and rocks of metal. Countless rocks of different spirits he traps in his armory lest someone offend him. Great rocks and small rocks his aim is always true. Even the warriors among the giants falter to his sling. An angry God is he.

I believe in the moon, who speaks to the spirits of the water in the vast oceans and in my once lost rib. Heedfuly I kneel before her and watch with care each moon as she she turns to light and then to darkness. As the spirit of her grandmother weeps for the wasting of her seed.  Wary of her darkness my rod and my staff protect me as I walk through the darkest valley. The black wood  in my staff cries forth as she strikes the ground the spirit of the ebony the black arch-angel of the forest, so kind and pretty yet stronger than the hardest steel. In the language of the spirits she explains that love is the choice and infatuation but a fleeting feeling. My rib and I she tells me are God’s in our own right we honor each other as such ever reverent and grateful, ever forgiving and kind. A deadly tigress to guard by my side. A raging fire burning in my heart.

The staff of the healer
Great spirit of the winds

I believe in the forests and the wilderness, the temple of the God’s creation. Home to countless spirits in every color and every form. I hear their laughter and songs from the trees and the air. Great mysteries abound as the Sun God set’s upon the forest temple for as the angels of the night cry forth from the river. Spirits of the tree God’s who have lived many thousand of years and knew our forefathers before us, even when they danced as children. I hear their stories of joy and sorrow. I listen close to learn from their wisdom and mistakes. Their knowledge of the spirits far greater than themselves. Deep within the great sacred forest there lives the great spirit of an ancient bloodline, la panthere noir. The African wizard warrior, master of applied biophysics he walks in the shadows of the tree God’s. He who walks the path of teacher. He who walks the path of the healer and he who walks the path of the smith. Don’t mistake the stealthy gate of the leopard for cowardice and he stalks upon his prey. When the sun set’s on the temple in the forest by the river by the seas on the darkest night of the moon I bare my feet and summon the spirits, the spirits of the light, the spirits of the fire. They hearken to my call.

àmọ̀tẹ́kùn

My torch does flicker in the mild winds of the early night. The sacred oil of my torch is from the Okume tree ( great grandmother of Boswellia Sacra the tree that brings forth frankincense ). Sweet sticky oil drips burning from my torch and I walk upon the flames. I feel the great power of the holy spirit searing through my veins mixing with my spirit. He speaks of when he taught us to cook our food. He is a primordial spirit among the oldest of the God’s. He speaks of a time before the all beasts and all the trees. Before the earth was ripe and made a woman how she was fickle and fired hot from within and from the young Sun’s full spectrum attention.

The face of a spirit
A fiery maiden summons the holy spirit

Deep within a sacred forest there lives the great spirit of an ancient bloodline, Otorongo Blanco, grand master of the most sacred Mesa. Great Elder of chavin. Great warrior of El Brujo.

Otorongo Blanco

I believe in the mountains home of the eagle and the vulture and the leopard and the hare. Great spirits abound guarding the gates watchfully. Their flaming swords ready and drawn.

Great spirit of the mountain

I may be rusty but I know enough relativity to know black holes must exist and I have chosen to give the astrophysicist community the benefit of the doubt without studying their work in too much detail. So therefore I also believe in the primeval spirit Sagittarius A* the super massive black hole at the center of our galaxy that holds the firmament in place.

Great Heart of darkness. Sagittarius A*

The guardian mother of my Sun God and hundreds of billions of other stars. The bottomless abyss. I am in awe of her power to consume entire star systems beyond the veil of darkness to a timeless place. To her also I bow in gratitude and reverence. I am wary to never ask for favors. I would not want to be indebted to her, this princess of darkness is a vengeful God. The destructive spirit. The great protector. The blackest widow. Great heart of darkness, Creator of our galaxy destroyer of worlds. This mighty serpent, she is no liar but she speaks the hardest truths. I follow her instructions to the letter that I may be spared her wrath.

The cold embrace of a stealthy warrior,

She is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob and the God of Moses. Yes I believe in them too. A strict mother. Shy to the point of invisibility. A great warrior at once both dreadful and merciful. Blood for blood, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth but no more than is just.

Moses hear sense
Moses demonstrates advanced staff craft, intimidating the water with African science

Her army guards the gates with flaming swords. The souls of her soldiers so full of heat, their jaws bloodied with the souls fallen warriors. Only the fearless can pass her gates, only those who have paid their full dues. Master of the angels. Great serpents slithering on the earth and in the waters. Majestic beasts roaming the earth. Through her loving waters and angry winds and colored sands . Angels and wizards : in the forests, in the desert, in the tundra , by the river, by the ocean, in the air and on the mountain, great or small, beasts inside beasts : all hearken to her call.

Moses and friends, guard duty by the gate

Ready to deliver their account for unsettled karma.  Ready to exact revenge from some past life : for a man slain by his brother, for a beast slain by his keeper, for a shrub slain by a beast, for a great tree slain by a great man. All the names of all the spirits of the galaxy are listed in her book of souls. All their hearts will be weighed in her scales of justice, against the lightest feather.

Image result for anubis scales
Saggitarius A* weighing the scales of divine justice

Like a wolf she thins the flock that the grass may grow by the river. She is a God born of relativistic paradox. The darkness that guards the light. Of all the God’s in the heavens of all the God’s that have ever walked the earth it is her that I fear the most. She teaches us the dance of fearlessness on the perilous path.

She was once the greatest star in the sky, a messenger of light. She was overcome by greatness. So it came to pass that she fell from grace in the heavens and her light was put out as she was compressed by her own weight to below her schwarzschild radius. A stealthy warrior lurking somewhere in the shadows.

My faith in the priesthood of astrophysics is strong but not uncritical. I believe in cosmic inflation, the white hole from which everything we know sprang forth, the big bang, the father of all other God’s mentioned thus far and hundreds of billions of galaxies. To him I give the glory, he is omni-present.

When I am called by him his voice echoes from everything and everywhere, thus I know not where to turn. So I turn to face the Sun that he may relay the father’s truths to me.

I may be rusty but I know enough of quantum mechanics and field theory to know that the cosmic inflation, God the father, the beginning of our chapter cannot be the beginning of everything. He too must have have a mother and father, beyond our the reach of that which mere mortals can grasp. I suspect the universe may be ekpyrotic and the big bang marks the beginning of our chapter. I  believe that there is much more that I do not know. I believe in the great mystery, the infinity of that which can be known. I believe there is no beginning and there is no end. The white whole and the black hole the alpha and the omega. Together with their Sun they are the holy trinity : the white hole, the black hole and the Sun. And so it goes on there is always something greater than the greatest spirit you know something beyond the horizon of your comprehension, something out of view.

I believe in the precepts for reincarnation as outlined in Ifa. As I believe they provide the mechanism for exaction of karma and divine justice. Making heaven, purgatory and hell reality here on earth.

I believe language lacks the resolution to capture reality in all it’s essence.

I believe that everything I believe might be incorrect. I believe that at least some of the things I believe must be incorrect. I believe everything you believe could be correct and I believe everything you believe could be incorrect. I believe the concept of belief is not useful. I believe rather in knowing the difference between what you know, what you don’t know and what you think or what is comfortable for you to think. I know that paradox is they nature of reality.

I believe the more perspectives you have the deeper your understanding. I believe tolerance and respect for the perspectives of others is important. I believe the intolerance and exclusivity that is prevalent in Abrahamic religions and in atheist culture is harmful to society. I believe debating in this manner is circuitous. I appreciate those who share knowledge and wisdom. I can find truth in everyone’s point of view.

I know religion was once classified as a mental disorder by Sigmund Freud but I am more inclined to find a less dismissive perspective without completely writing off the famous neurologist and inventor of psychoanalysis.  More modern perspectives in the field of psychology have proffered that mammals faced social challenges with normalizing morals for social conduct as individual populations grew to be > 150 individuals or so. Human’s however were able to co-opt religion to normalize morals across population groups of arbitrary size acting as a catalyst for social growth, reducing murder rates and tribal wars in favor of increasing oligarchical and economic warfare. The shift in expression of conflict led to the adoption of new technologies and methods to cope with new problem domains. Their older counterparts mostly forgotten.

As far as accepting Jesus as my lord and savior things become more complex. I’m not saying that I don’t but I cannot in good faith accept all the many Jesus’s  I believe in, I have to be selective. Jesus the Sun God, the Christ spirit, the bringer of light is certainly my lord and savior as he provides

  1. the gravitational mass to keep my home planet in a habitable zone orbit.
  2. A lot of energy for fueling photosynthesis and probably/maybe many other bio-energetic/bio-rhythmic processes  some of which may be as of yet undocumented/unproven

In this sense I am a monotheist there is only one Jesus for me and he is the Sun God the father. I need not have faith in that which I can and see and feel. The truth before my eyes requires no imagination and every written word is merely a shadow of this glory. I know he will rise again each day.

I believe in Jesus

They are the holy trinity. The Sun, the earth, the moon. And so it goes on, as in the heavens so also here on earth.

As amicable and accomplished as these other Jesus’s may be : personified, allegory or otherwise. I am afraid I cannot as things stand accept them as my personal lord and savoir. Role model perhaps in many respects but not all.

  1. I’ve never personally met any Jesus other than Jesus the Sun God
  2. While many possibly most key tenets of his teachings have survived an honest translation. I suspect the Roman state managed incessantly recurring Jewish  uprisings by hijacking the Jewish messianic prophecy and swapping out the warrior prophet for pacifist prophet. This is also what I would do if I were a Roman emperor dealing with a Jesus crisis.

This however does not mean I cannot believe in and learn from other Jesus’s. I think biblical Jesus was a stand up guy. Well educated, well traveled, down to earth. Mad carpentry, healing,  teaching and fasting skills. I’m not even sure Leonardo da vinci was aware of the massive biological and psychological benefits of fasting.  I’ve learned a great deal from other teachers that overlaps with some of this guys teachings. So clearly he’s a competent guy. Very noble very wise great teacher, I will try not to skip every single class. However I already have a personal lord and savior and he is a stellar fusion reactor not a human being.  I take a moment at dawn to greet my Sun God and let his sun rays through my eyes to the depth of my soul. I face the Sun and kneel this is not a prayer this is a meditation. Who am I to speak to God. I am his servant here to listen. I ask only for guidance so much is already given. I take a moment at dusk to pay tribute to give thanks. I face the Sun and stand tall this is my prayer simple and short. So many prayers to process and I don’t want to waste this guys time. I suspect biblical Jesus also practiced sun-gazing who else could have bestowed upon him the wisdom and spirit of Christ the lord and savior.

Jesus Sun Gazer
Aaron Sun gazer

I think Rome did an injustice to biblical Jesus and his political career but hey it’s a dirty game. I’m sure they felt they were doing the right thing. In particular the council of nicea has done him a great disservice with their editorial license and in some ways has portrayed him in an unflattering light.  For this reason I must take the new testament with some unspecified quantity of salt.

Whatever motivated the men who shaped Christianity into what it is today and whatever our personal opinions and disagreements,  one must stand in awe of their accomplishments. They have built modern civilization. The greatest oxymoron of all time. The doctrine of exclusiveness has fueled a colonialist capitalism that has left the many greater civilizations dead and wounded in it’s wake. They have missed a great opportunity to learn from others. Great wisdom eludes them. Wisdom that is needed in this age.

Religions have helped us build the largest civilizations but not necessarily the best. The instruments that have brought us thus far are now a danger to us all. It is time to rethink religion. It is time for us all to open up and learn from one another. United we stand divided we fall.

I believe in my brothers so faithful and strong. I believe in my teachers so humble and wise.

Bimbilisodi
Papa Assosa
Neil and Maria

I believe in my brothers deep in forest, sounding the drums and dancing with the spirits.

Papa Assosa Dancing with the spirits
Mihodio
Petit Pe and Bebeka
Ditebu

I believe in the drums thundering in forest temple.

Spirit of the Drummer
Spirit of Mungonguo the first musical instrument

As an initiate of Bwete I understand that several parts of my nervous system spread out over my body including my gut, heart and brain play central roles in the existence of the human consciousness. I know that all knowledge is not cognitive and that intuitive intelligence and knowledge is important and requires hard work and study.

Woman is the giver of life, a jealous God. Man is the guardian of the warrior spirit, the taker of life, ruler of this world.

Bwete, Buddhism, Biophysics, Christianity, Ifism, Islam, Stoicism

Data Agnostic / All Systems Go

Paradox is the nature of reality

No pressure but feel free to accept Jesus as your lord and savoir too. African knowledge systems are inclusive not exclusive. No God benefits from exclusivity only the priests and politicians have that privileged. No God demands worship only reverence, love and gratitude. No spirit demands perfection only that we always try to be the best that we can be.

Everything is divine. The darkness and the light. Stay humble. There is an infinite number of ways of looking at any given thing. Unlearn first, only then can you truly learn. Understand that whatever you believe is at best a good approximation of reality. Therefore it is best to be ready to change everything you believe everyday.

In Jesus name we pray

I dedicate this essay to my great teachers
to my mother,
to my father,
to Don Howard,
to Hughes Obiang Pointevin ( Tatayo )
to Papa Assosa

Papa Tatayo in the temple of Adumagana
Papa Tatayo officiates at my initiation ceremony Papa Andre is on his left

© Ifedayo Oladapo anno domini MMXVIII The year of the Dog

Lagos @50 : 20 Million people shitting in the Lagoon

Lagos then, Lagos now

I was born in the Lagos State University Training hospital in Surulere, Lagos. Lagos was different back then but maybe not as different as I’d like to believe. My family lived on the UNILAG campus a safe and serene environment. As a child I woke up to the sound of birds and went to sleep to the sound of crickets.

Like many resident staff families of UNILAG we enjoyed large gardens and green spaces. I distinctly remember each tree, the mango tree my elder sister planted, the almond tree that fell in a rainstorm, the hibiscus hedge, the casuarina hedge, the avocado tree, the guava tree, the old palm kernel tree that housed a family of squirrels and a few smaller trees I would recognize but don’t know by name. I remember the gardener who worked for us. I clearly remember the things we discussed.

We had an ongoing conversation about if trees were sentient and could feel pain a matter I had discussed with my science teacher at ISL and with my mother ‘a medical doctor’. I of course believed my teacher and mother, who were certain that plants can not feel pain nor are they aware or sentient since they have no brains. The old gardener disagreed however he was certain that all plants think, feel and feel pain. “Why else would the mango tree scar where you cut the bark for agbo” he explained as he gestured towards the scars on the side of the tree. Many years later I found out he was of course right. Plants are sentient and do feel and consciously react to a wide range of stimuli1. Another thing I remember about the gardener is no one once told him what to do. Unlike the average Nigerian blue collar worker nowadays that must often be instructed to move one foot after the other in order to maintain a walking gait. This man knew and loved his job. I suspect he had deeper knowledge and understanding of plants than he dared to share. Our garden was always in pristine condition. He began work early, slept during peak sunlight and picked up his tools again in the evening as the day cooled.

Our garden was home to an array of wildlife : birds, squirrels. Further afield on the campus there were snakes, monkeys ( rumor has it they escaped from the zoo ) and crabs and fishes by the lagoon. The lagoon was crystal clear I caught and ate crabs from that lagoon as a child.

It wasn’t all fun and games though. Like most Nigerian children, my family made sure I was indoctrinated into a dangerous superstition that continues to wreak havoc on our society’s collective psyche to this day.

It’s been awhile since I visited the lagoon front in Unilag but when I returned to Lagos in 2008 it smelled of sewage, the water was black and opaque, no signs of animal life. I still visit other parts of the waterfront further south and to the east. The beaches are littered with plastics. The coconut trees long gone.

I suppose it’s not all bad the streets of Lagos are cleaner. Other than that I’m hard pressed to find any objective improvements in the way Lagos is run.

Lagos consists of islands separated by creeks and the lagoon. The islands are adjoined by bridges and parts of the creeks are sand filled. Maroko, Victoria Island and more recently Eko Atlantic are all sand-filled. Mangrove forests and swamps have given way to coastal development. Towards the east of the all along Lagos coastline there is the land itself is subject to massive open unregulated sand quarries. Construction, land clearing and sand filling goes unchecked. It is unclear just how much sand has been displaced and how much surface area has been filled. The destruction of mangrove forests is significant as they sequester more carbon than any other type of habitat.23

While global warming is an undisputed reality, extrapolated outcomes are arguably contentious. Therefore I will avoid a lengthy discussion about the possible consequences of centenary sea level rise for Lagos. Suffice it to say in other some other coastal countries sea level rise is considered a matter of National security.45

Lagos state boasts 4 waste processing facilities6 all built in the 1980’s with a collective service capacity for 130,000 people there are 115 privately owned sewage treatment units in Lagos7 and 21 federal facilities8. In 2010 LASG committed to building a further 10 plants by 20159. As of 2011 Lagos had a wastewater management deficit of 94% or a capacity of ~ 1 Million residents. The construction timelines and capacity of the private and federal sewage treatment plants are unavailable. Generously assuming that the average capacity for the federal and privately owned facilities are similar to those of Lagos state all 140 sewage treatment plants would have a collective service capacity of ~ 4.5 Million people. It remains unclear if any of these plants use bio-nutrient recovery systems to recover phosphorous and nitrogen.

The remaining residents of Lagos either use septic tanks or do not have access to toilets.10 Soakaways and septic tanks in Lagos are emptied by sewage trucks which discharge their payload into designated dumping sites around the Lagoon. Some wastewater also enters the water system via drains and gutters as a result of building code violations that are the rule rather than the exception.

Lagos state provides some public toilets in common use public areas and there are privately operated public toilets11. However problems with hygiene persist. Chief Isaac Durojaiye (aka Otunba Gadaffi) proprietor of Dignified Mobile Toilets (DMT)12 states in an interview with the Nigerian voice “pride is a disease”13 . A particularly poignant piece of advice for the Lagos polity. Durojaiye has done quite well for himself providing Lagos’s vibrant event scene with mobile toilets since 1996. “Shit business is serious business” is his motto, DMT’s website has not been updated for some time but they have established several revenue streams and have a vision to harvest biogass from human waste. With the right partnerships and support grassroots businesses like DMT could make an even larger impact on the still severely deficient sewage/wastewater management capacity of Lagos.

In Slums in and around Lagos open defecation is the norm. But many Federal and State universities also have intermittent water supplies leading some hostel residents to resort to “short put” ( The act of defecating in a plastic bag and throwing it away). Surprisingly the Lagos state waste water management board advises against construction of pit latrines14 :

“A pit latrine is a dry toilet system which collects human excrement in a large container. Pit latrines ranges from simple slits trenches to more elaborate systems with ventilation.  The usage of pit latrine leads to contraction of diseases.”

Which is simply factually incorrect. A properly built pit latrine will not lead to spread of disease15. There must be some middle ground between open defecation and closed water closet systems. Surely pit latrines are better than random open defecation.

The Lagos state wastewater management body should have guidelines about how to build pit latrines and could engage communities in slums illegal or not to manage sewage and other types of waste in better ways. Lagos state has made commendable efforts to address these issues16 but a lot more can and should be done urgently.

Aside from the obvious detrimental impacts to the ecosystem. Dumping sewage in the Lagoon removes significant amounts of phosphorus from the nutrient cycle, fanning the flames of the most serious existential/environmental threat that mankind faces today. Unlike the energy crisis or global warming there is no alternative to phosphorus, it is one of four elements of which deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is made. It is vital to all life forms on earth and we are running out17. The world will hit peak phosphorus production in 2030.

Long Time Ago …

Notably public and mobile toilets in Lagos come in a variety of configurations. Among them are sitting and squatting toilets. For most of the few hundred thousand years in which the anatomically modern human has lived mankind would squat to defecate only around 5000 years ago, relatively recently has sitting become more fashionable. This new trend brings with it some challenges.

Studies show that squatting is a faster and healthier way to evacuate the bowels. As the thighs exert pressure on the sides of the abdomen less strain is required on the core and pelvic floor muscles. It is stipulated that sitting toilets may cause and exacerbate hemorrhoids, appendicitis and other ailments of the digestive tract18. The appendix serves as a probiotic reservoir for the digestive system. Irregularities in the gut flora are associated with depression and obesity. Also typically when squatting there is no contact between the posterior of the operator and the toilet unlike in the sitting position. Therefore for public toilets or toilets shared between large numbers of people, properly designed squatting toilets are the better option to mitigate transfer of pathogens through skin contact. Squatting toilets consume less water and are cheaper to build. There may be a few porcelain tile manufacturers in Nigeria like Nispo Porcelain but I am unaware of any porcelain toilet manufacturers. Steel panels for squatting toilets could easily be manufactured here.

More interestingly steel toilets can be brass or copper plated to incorporate their inherently antimicrobial properties into the toilet19

Solutions

    1. Build more waste processing plants close to existing dump sites around the lagoon. It is anomalous that Federal and privately owned facilities outnumber Lagos facilities. 
    2. Foster partnerships between companies that import and install modular sewage treatment facilities ( that are now required for new construction projects by law )and Lagos state polytechnics and universities to reverse engineer and build sewage treatment units here. It’s not rocket science, it really is not.
    3. Engage any of the dozens of steel panel work companies in Lagos to build steel squatting toilets.
    4. Engage a steel/iron working company to build dustbins20.
    5. Enforce a no littering policy21.

    6. Run public awareness campaigns to promote squatting toilets.

    7. Establish realistic recommendations for construction of pit latrines and operation of pit latrines in Lagos slums.
    8. Engage companies like DMT to expand access to public toilets.
    9. Engage companies like DMT to run awareness campaigns in slums promoting the construction of pit latrines
    10. Explore the viability of biogas recovery from sewage as proposed by DMT this does indeed appear to be a potentially viable solution22
    11. Engage a qualified 3rd party to execute an Environmental impact assessment of
    12. phosphorus lost to sewage dumping in Lagos
    13. cumulative and ongoing impact of destruction of Mangrove swamps by sand filling, clearing and sand quarrying.
    14. Mandate tertiary institutions in Lagos state to produce usable thesis material by graduate students that is useful for the state ministries and parastatals i.e environmental impact assessments.

Pending Issues 

The following requests for information are hereby issued to LASG under the 2011 Freedom of Information Act

  1. How many people does Lagos state employ ?
  2. History of sand filling in Lagos
  3. total mass of sand displaced
  4. total mass of other material used for land reclamation
  5. #sand filling interventions/locations
  6. locations of dredging sites

A prayer

Let us say a prayer for the good of all mankind.

That we may seek each day to refine our intent.

That we may not dwell on our differences.

That we will seek to understand rather than judge.

That we may know our true friends.

That we may see the error in our ways.

That we will read many books.

That we will see many places.

That we will ask countless questions.

That our eyes shall be opened and we may know the mysteries of the universe.

That we shall walk in strength.

That we shall act and speak out of love.