Virtual sports bet: The pillar of faith and hope in Nigeria.


Let’s take a moment to carefully ponder on the weight and meaning of that word.

When a thing is regarded special, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it signifies a positive thing. Nigerians are a special breed. There is the positive aspect, but it is predominantly shadowed by the negative. To be a Nigerian is to admit that the government has no grand scheme of plan, but believe that things are about to take a drastic turn despite the economic breakdown amidst other forms of doom.

An Okada man — wearing a safety helmet in place of a crash helmet — was riding recklessly on an express road and when cornered by a truck, he threatened to hit the truck with his bike.

“Nna wait, make I just adjust my element” he screamed at the driver of the truck.

This is a true life story. I kid you not.

We can all laugh at the preposterous threat issued by the Okada man.

An insightful individual might argue that the Okada man’s reaction stemmed from frustration or say, he was angered because he felt bullied by the truck and so irrationality set in — and blah blah blah.

But that is the thinking of a common man.

Yes, he was angry, but he was not being irrational when he threatened to hit the truck.

And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die….

This is the word of the Almighty. What is the purpose of faith if you cannot jump from a plane without the possession of a parachute?

A man of God might try to draw an analogy and liken the situation to that of David and Goliath. Only that you might have reason to think that in the situation of the Okada man and the truck, Jesus is frantic with laughter that he is unable to tweak the givens of nature.

Hallelujah, somebody?

Wonders shall never end. Although this is a bit more wonderful than anything with the nature of a wonder.

Belief is what motivated the Okada man to threaten to hit the truck with his bike. He had faith. In fact, the Okada man is popularly known in his neighborhood as Baba Faith. ‘Faith’ is the name that his daughter was christened.

You see, the same faith was what Baba Faith employed when he angrily walked into a bet9ja shop. He was fuming as a result of his previous encounter with the truck driver. The shop was full with different set of people. There is a young man with a funny hairstyle, wearing a faded blue jersey. He is calmly seated and holding a ticket in his right hand. And then there is a delinquent who seemed odd and out of place. He held a ticket as well. And there are others. They are all looking at the screens hanging on the washed wall.

Money has to be made. And which better way to make it than virtual bet?

The floor is littered with torn tickets. A corporately dressed man tore a ticket and threw it on the ground. Another shattered dream. He signaled to one of the shop attendants and gave her some instruction.

“Ah! O God. One slash x ni won gba lo sha”

“*long hiss* Mo de ri key odds yen o. 11.56”

“O key pa”

Baba Faith has spent close to 3 hours in the bet9ja shop. Normally, he would play immediately he entered the shop. But things took a slightly different turn that day. He had not made enough money so it was unwise to play without calmly studying the games. Anyone was yet to win. Yet they were relentless and continued to play.

And Baba faith believes that whichever money he did not make on the road, winnings from virtual sports bet will make up for it.

Even though the concept of the virtual games defeats logic, faith and hope is all the propellant required to play.

And so it goes.

This is the everyday summary of life in a shop where virtual games are being played. Some prefer soccer to horse racing and it is otherwise for some.

Maybe one day Baba faith will win big enough and give testimony in church.

untethered. let the wings of freedom take me to an unknown destination faraway from here.

untethered. let the wings of freedom take me to an unknown destination faraway from here.