“It was God.” I am sure that you have heard this response so many times when someone who has succeeded at an endeavour is asked

Was it God?

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“It was God.”

I am sure that you have heard this response so many times when someone who has succeeded at an endeavour is asked for the secret of their success. Perhaps it is because of our religious zeal as a nation, and/or a false sense of humility, usually when asked, the person replies, “It was God.” With all due response to everyone’s sense of spirituality, I find that answer simply silly. Answers like that are part of the reasons why we do not develop as a people. You see, when you say “It was God”, instead of sharing practical knowledge and wisdom that others can use, you keep others from learning. Your wisdom and experience are wasted. You live and die with them.

We have a dearth of practical knowledge and wisdom in this country. We need to change this. We need to build capacity. When asked how you accomplished a project, built a successful company, or carried out a task successfully, please spare us the religious lingo and share in plain language (not unknown tongues) exactly what principles you deployed, and what steps you took to accomplish it. That way, others can learn. When others learn, they can replicate success in their endeavours. When that begins to happen on a widespread scale, we will be on our way to sustainable development as a nation. Until then, we are playing games.

We all already know that Oluwa is involved. It is God. Yes; to God be the glory, but please tell us how you did it. Praise the Lord. Can I have an Amen in the house?

Of course, if you paid a bribe to get that contract, cut corners to get the job done, or just fumbled around till you succeeded by a stroke of luck, it is very convenient to just tell us that it was God. In Nigeria, that phrase is a powerful gate pass.


  1. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed; 2 Corinthians 9:8

    But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty gives them understanding. Job 32:8

    While I agree that Nigeria’s over-spiritualise almost all forms of progress seen in their lives, you can’t entirely ascribe human success solely on the mundane; “Oluwa” is still involved.

    If you have read Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he theories on how a combination of culture, family , relationships and one’s personal drive contributes to individual success. I totally assent to this theories, I do however believe there’s some spiritual undertone to all these.

    For us to have no regard to the “grace of GOD” in our daily affairs will draw into a state of pride & perdition. Tell people about the commitment and focus you had that drove your success but do not fail to acknowledge GOD. You would agree thats it’s in him “we live, move and have our being”.

  2. “It was God” indeed that allowed a person to pass the brown envelope or cut corners to success. Only in Nigeria can people use “it was God” as a statement and get away with it without having to qualify the how. In other places people will explain how God led them to where they are, and the painful lessons learned along the way. Only in Nigeria does God seem to condone bribery and shortcuts and the few that genuinely work hard are considered fools.

    I don’t doubt God’s ability to lead people to success, but the whole idea that success is always financial is myopic at best.”It was God” isn’t enough.

    As Mister Mo has rightly said, it’s a loaded statement that – to me – seems to sheepishly be accompanied by “Amen” without interrogation or questioning. Explaining how you managed to succeed in an endeavour doesn’t have to mean bragging, but providing others with pointers and useful advice.

    Maybe “it was God” is a way of kicking the ladder down so others don’t achieve similar success.

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