As I travel around, one thing I love to do is play the part of a ‘secret shopper’ and visit as many places as possible. Churches are not spared from my mischievous itinerary.
One Sunday morning, I spontaneously jumped into a rickety danfo in my 3-inch heels with the aim of attending any random church that catches my fancy on the streets of Lagos. As our danfo plied along the Oshodi-Ikeja expressway, I saw churches like The Church of Latter Day Saints, Rhema, Kingdom Hall, MFM, Solid Rock, TREM and the likes beckoning to me but I still couldn’t yell at the driver to halt the vehicle.
We approached Kingsway Bus Stop when a passenger received a phone call and told her caller she was by COZA. The famous COZA I have heard and read a lot about. The excitement I felt almost flung me out of the bus window. I knew if I didn’t alight there, I might spend the next seven days wallowing in regrets.
I pulled into the parking lot in my leggedes benz. At the church entrance, there were about 10 people standing by a mini staircase and each of them clapped and cheered me enthusiastically with cries of “COZA celebrates you! COZA celebrates you!” as I walked in.
“Hah! But my birthday was on June 25th” I made an attempt to argue but swallowed my words immediately.
It was praise and worship session. People were standing and singing “♬Imela Ezeimo♬” while a handsome male usher with jollof rice coloured lips politely leaded me to a seat in the mid row of the auditorium.
Before grace found me, I used to create a scene with ushers and keep a bulldog face with the pastor throughout the service if I am dissatisfied with my seat location but with that COZA’s usher pink lips, even if he leads me to sit where LAWMA dumps their refuse, I would follow!
The session which followed was testimony session and I made a solemn determination to walk up to the altar and testify of my healing from cough and tse tse fly sleeping sickness. Before I could find my feet, the altar was already filled with members who pre-registered their testimony. This was evident because a nice portrait of them and a brief summary of their testimonies appeared on the church media screens.
I adjusted in my seat and paid attention. Oh boy! Check out intimidating testimonies in nice accents.
Each testimony ranged from thanksgiving to God for a huge contract, testimony of a dream job or job promotion (The jobs they are sharing in COZA. I receive my own miracle job in Jesus Name. Amen) and thanksgiving for supernatural healing from high class diseases like cancer etc. There is God in COZA oh!
Nobody has time to listen to a touching cough story or the razz testimonies I am used to, like deliverance from village witches/wizards, healing from purging sickness, or thanksgiving for the reduction in the price of garri from N35 to N30 per cup.
A long and intense prayer session followed next with a fantastic 50 minutes sermon from one of the pastors. I’d be a liar if I say I was not blessed.
Offering and tithes session was announced as people hurriedly trooped out in numbers to pay their tithes, a bright yellow high current bulb shone on me and I turned towards the light only to realise it was IK Ogbonna’s shine-shine head. IK, my crush since October 2nd, 1960.
I had barely recovered from my excitement when Alex Ekubo, my crush No.2 since the days of Nebuchadnezzar joined him at the altar.
All I thought of was how I was going to subtly apply my MaryKay powder tucked in my purse right in the house of God and also reapply an extra coating of my blood red lipstick without the ushers dragging me out to be delivered of witchcraft. Ironically, that was when the church cameraman was focused on me. Arggghhhhhh!!!
Alex and Ik were done with their tithes and they just walked past me without saying ‘hi baby’ while my eyelashes were batting in frustration. These celebrities don’t have conscience I tell ya.
During offering time, a basket was passed along each column and it hurt me that no one scattered skelewu from North to the West of the Church like it happens in some churches I have visited. I would have happily danced to where Ik and Alex sat and displayed my 10 year’s experience in makossa for them.
The last agenda was a call for first time visitors. Everyone cheered and clapped while a huge crowd of JohnnyJustCome’s walked up to the altar. I couldn’t believe Alex Ekubo and IK Ogbonna were applauding me just because I went to church. All these sort of fanfare when I was yet to showcase my talents to the world. I wished my parents were present to witness this day we used to envisage.
Everything would have been perfect but sadly, I was still in my seat, cheering and clapping the most for my fellow JJC’s.
Didn’t I tell you guys Naijasinglegirl is shy AF?
Each of the first time visitors were handed a paper bag containing goodies. It better not be a gold plated iphone5 inside that bag or I won’t forgive myself for not going out. I swore regrettably.
“Ermm…what’s inside that bag?” I asked the girl seated beside me in my usual amebo manner.
“So you’re a first timer? You should have gone out then.” She replied sarcastically.
Service came to an end and I was still smiling in my seat, enjoying the church AC like one mumu, then reality dawned on me. Jesus Christ! Alex and IK were leaving, I grabbed my purse and pursued them.
I got so close to Alex that I could smell his cologne when the beautiful Sharon Ojong suddenly emerged from nowhere and pulled Alex hands….leaving me stranded. “SHARON! LET GO OF HIS HANDS YOU ENEMY OF PROGRESS” I cursed in frustration but no sound came out of my mouth. Ik Ogbonna was nowhere to be found either.
I scouted the arena for another celebrity to take Instagram selfie with but found none. I accepted my fate and went to recoup from the day’s event on the bonnet of one sleek red car in the parking lot.
“Helloooo, could you please move your car so I could pull out.” One fine girl motioned to me in an American accent.
My God! See my age mate with better motor.
“Oh! My car….” I muttered abstractly. Being the drama queen that I am, I searched frantically in my purse for my non-existent car keys. “Oh my Goodness! my keyyssss must have fallen outta my purse.” I cried out in a loud & clear British accent.
“Awww…I’ll just wait for the owner of this other car to come pull out then.” She consoled me.
It’s only fair I have a fine red car like that since I couldn’t have the men of my dreams. Fifteen minutes after, I was inside one body odour stricken molue bus heading home.
Would I love to visit COZA again? Absolutely!
Does COZA owe me an iPhone5?
Does Alex, Ik & Sharon owe me an Instagram selfie?
Writer – Naija Single Girl is on a quest to find a good man, a good job, good food, good money and all other good things life has to offer. Her blog Naijasinglegirl documents her experience during this chase.
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