By Busuyi Mekusi
The Merriam-Webster describes the blood as “the fluid that circulates in the heart, arteries, capillaries, and veins of vertebrate animal carrying nourishment and oxygen to and bringing away waste products from all parts of the body”. It also believes it can comparably be used for fluid of an invertebrate. Blood could similarly be used to designate human stock or lineage. Talking figuratively about temper, blood could be said to be the seat of the emotions. With some affixations, the word blood could also be upgraded for meaning-making, as found, for instance, in bloodbath, an expression that means a great slaughter, a notable fierce, violent or destructive contest or struggle, a major economic disaster, etc. Just as the bloodbaths occasioned by avoidable auto crashes and bandits-induced killings go on unabated across the country; some Nigerians are constantly bathing in blood and obtaining blood money, for the purpose of spiritual attainment and economic survival. The two are done at the expense of other’s life.
One justifiable explanation one could offer about the protracted deficient leadership in African nations, like Nigeria, is the possibility of members of the political class suffering from lack of blood-brain barrier, which is a lack of the structure in the central nervous system that keeps various substances found in the bloodstream out of the brain, while allowing in the substances needed for metabolism function like oxygen. The platitudinous idiomatic expression that one suffers from blood-stain in the brain has been used overtime to describe abnormal behaviour from people. Thieving Nigerian elites should have their brains examined!
In an apparent attempt to reinforce the relationship between the human body and the spiritual personage outside to it, it is spiritually conceived that the blood’s radiation connects body to spirit, and makes communication between the two possible. The foregoing is suggestive that man is not just a biological being, but a spiritual personality that is similarly embodied in the same frame so designated as the body. However, for the body to operate in the domain of spirituality, it requires the blood. This also explains while in Judaism the blood is conferred with the signification and significance of a life that was given and sacrificed. It is on this basis that the Jewish biblical postulation holds that the blood of Jesus was spilled to consummate God’s covenant of redemption and sanctification with man. This belief is further extended to the practice of sacrament where the body and blood of Jesus are symbolically accessed and consumed for spiritual regeneration. This symbolic re-configuration of the crucifixion experience of Jesus is unlike the physicality inherent in cannibalism, as practiced across the world today.
Similarly, African traditional cum cultural belief is that blood is not just a natural symbol of life, but life itself, and that there is a mysterious power contained in every blood because of the close connection with the vital life force that permeates all things. It is for this reason that both animal and human blood is considered a spiritual instrument through which certain ends could be attained. Based on the above, spiritual prescriptions could be made about the need for someone to undertake blood sacrifice, in order to appease the gods or forbears, as the blood spilled is considered permissible to stand vicariously for the demand that should have been placed on the human involved. Spiritualists who demand for goats or hens are often the beneficiaries of the body or flesh of the animals sacrificed, when only the blood component is needed for the reprieve or relief being sought.
Various forms of bloodbaths are ongoing in Nigeria. These range from the killings going on in Kaura, Kaduna State, deaths arising from the air force bombardment that accidentally hit civilian population in Zamfara, and the metaphoric one represented by the alleged defilement by Dr. Olufemi Olaleye of a fifteen-year old girl, and niece to his wife in Lagos. Asake’s London concert also precipitated its own bloodbaths. Central to the notion of bloodbath in contemporary Nigeria was the story of a 49-year-old man, Ganiyu Shina, who was arrested recently at a community river in Kotopo, Odeda Local Government area of Ogun State, for allegedly bathing with blood. Shina, during questioning, had told the police that an herbalist instructed him to bathe with the blood, which he claimed to be that of cow, as a ritual to solve his spiritual problem.
Ganiyu Shina is representative of other Nigerians, particularly politicians and religious scammers that are believed indulge constantly in abominable rituals of bathing with even human blood. Unsubstantiated claims and myths are rife to the effect that some politicians bathe with human blood, mostly that of children and pregnant women, to enhance political opportunities, and magically endear themselves to the people. Although these propositions are not scientifically verifiable, they are metaphysically plausible, even as so many cases of missing people are believed to be traceable to ritual killings. Blood money is a dangerous complement to the worrisome instances of ritual killings too. Jocularly speaking, however, one wonders if there is a Central Bank of Magic where the minting of blood money takes place. At any rate, anything done at the risk of others wellness is coloured in blood.
Granted, but without conceding, that the blood Ganiyu Shina was caught bathing with is that of a cow, the spiritual exploitation of the ‘life’ of the affected cow through the blood presages a possible conversion of certain spiritual dynamics that would help mitigate the spiritual problem the man claimed to have. As unscientific and unverifiable as the potency of such a sacrifice is after its performance, it is similarly difficult to determine the effectiveness of the ritual procedure meant to spiritually ameliorate the condition of the man.
Some literary texts have portrayed the impact of sacrifice and the place of blood in human existence and struggles. While Ousmane Sembène Xala and Aminata Sow Fall’s The Beggars’ Strike reflect the socio-religious dependence of the oppressive rich on the oppressed poor to reverse debilitating supernatural orders, the play by a Sierra Leonia writer, The Blood of a Stranger, illustrates how greedy and dodgy Africans collaborated with Europeans to exploit their people. Albert Camus’ lead character in The Outsider, Meursault, has been described as a response to the crucifixion, particularly the regenerative power of commitment to truth and honesty. Even though the character is also perceived as the model modern civilisation needs, the pervasive capitalistic orientation of contemporary times clearly negates the nuances of absurdity that Camus is reputable for.
In an open show of shame, the rich continues to bathe with the blood of poor Nigerians through disaggregated and unmediated fuel pricing, expensive cooking gas in the face of flaring, purchase of permanent voters’ cards of poor Nigerians, as desperate politicians weaponised poverty to perpetually sustain the subjugation of the lowly people in the society. Beyond spiritual essence, sex predators like Dr. Olufemi Olaleye are on the prowl, and are endlessly bathing with the blood of innocent Nigerians, who are raped and violated domestically and outwardly. Like I broached before, supposedly sacred places are not spared from desecration by the rapists, who employ different strategies to sustain their nefarious activities. Members of the elite class, privileged with access to the coffers are daily looting the commonwealth, lining their private pockets, and leaving national, state and local government volts embarrassingly empty. The political class is bathing with the blood of the electorate, as dividend of democracy are privatised, and turned to hand-outs, based on the principle of tokenism.
With the claim by Femi Falana that about forty local governments in Nigeria are still under the control of bandits and terrorists, and with the allegation that self-serving politicians are sponsoring violence and attacks on the facilities of INEC to cause a postponement of the 2023 elections, it is obvious that monstrous politicians are bathing with the blood of vulnerable Nigerians that get caged, raped, maimed, and killed in the negotiations for political powers.
In an apparent irony of dog eating dog, the poor are also feasting on one another, cheating in the process of slightly increased buying and selling during the yuletide. Shop lifters, petty thieves, and farm predators are on the prowl, looking for what they could devour. Roaming goats are stolen, caged chickens are looted, and fish ponds are rampaged by those who harvest where they did not sow, as virginity would be lost, in the process of celebrating the commemoration of the birth of Jesus, and as a new year is being welcomed.
If the predilection of Nigerians is not tamed expeditiously, the vengeful side of the hitherto reasonable others might take over them, turning all to vampires, desirous of bathing in blood, thereby unleashing anarchy on us all. As Nigerians’ blood bathing continues, the blood banks to rescue the poor dying ones are almost empty. Arguably, these bloodbaths must stop, for the birth of Jesus not to be in vain, and the newness of 2023 rendered a mere misnomer! Merry Christmas and Happy Year 2023, in advance!