"Hello, Hello, Anayo did you hear me well enough? Did you get my message? The date is 28th August. Please come home with all your family members, it is compulsory", was what my cousin called to tell me one Saturday morning.
I later received several other calls from my other family members calling to ensure that I got the summon as agreed by the majority of the family members at home and in diaspora.
My relations had had it up to the neck and had resolved to give the demons responsible for extended family's economic backwardness a final fight.
After all, he who is down fears no fall.
What misfortune was left for the evil spirit to wreck? Are we not reduced in worth and in influence already?
Many men of God in Nnewi are in good business. They have specialized in the act of detecting generational curses and also claim to have powers to reverse them. They even have canvassers who go around advertising their principals' prowess.
These religious entrepreneurs also claim to have anointing to rebuke, chain and cast out familiar spirits and demons to bottomless pits.
But they seem not to have a cover or a lid to seal the pit so that the cast out ones would not return to torment their former victims.
My family members had been made to believe that a particular demon was responsible for the calamities, near-success syndrome, business down-turn, general lack of progress like no marriage, childless and failure in exams besetting us.
My folks selected Pastor Whyte, the man of the moment, who could make people fall under "aju" or anointing. He was reputed to have fearlessly accused evil people in their faces of their iniquities. Some of the accused were so moved that they confessed as commanded by the man of God.
The pastor's services didn't come cheap but nobody cared about the huge cost considering the future gain from his cleansing job.
Some persons who felt worst hit by the nagging affliction of the familiar demon decided to pick the bill to avoid distractions.
But my education was being called to test here.
My training in psychology, management and business studies had already revealed to me that the real cause of the economic problems and backwardness in the family.
My wife persuaded me to reason with her. She pleaded that I play along and should never voice out my opposition to the family project otherwise I would be accused of being part of problem.
She reminded me that some family members didn't believe that my recent visit to India was entirely a business trip.
India, Ijebu Ode, Nando and Enugwu Ezike are regarded by Nnewi people as places where one could see and interact with demons in human forms. A visit to those aforementioned places earned one, a great respect even amongst the native doctors.
I succumbed to my wife's superior argument that I should not be a lone voice in the wilderness.
Since Pastor Whyte came, many more men of God had come to exorcise the same recalcitrant demons all to no avail.
Even the demons being harassed or wrongly accused must have petitioned Lucifer, their boss for justice. It was a clear case of defamation or malicious accusation.
My extended family members' problems were mostly economic in nature.
The problems induced by bad economy were further reinforced by the stubborn refusal by my folks to adapt or to adjust to changing times.
Some of us who were dealing in Peugeot spare parts would conveniently blame the devil for low sales even when there were very few Peugeot cars on the road.
The cheese had moved but our people have failed to realize it.
Some of our young men who wanted to travel to Europe and were bounced at Schengen embassies blamed the same family demon for their inability to secure visas.
They didn't even understand the ever changing immigration requirements of the European Union.
The parents and siblings of those who had traveled and live abroad believed that the familiar demon was responsible for the inability of their wards to send enough money home.
The parents of our hustling brothers abroad didn't know that some of their kids were serving various jail terms for involvement in narcotic activities.
Very pathetic was the case of some of the girls who had refused to improve themselves overtime to attract good husbands.
They would keep blaming the demons and their human associates for their plight.
Our single but ageing ladies were soon to find out that young men of marriageable age, due to economic hardship, no longer marry liabilities.
Only the unintelligent amongst today's men marry ladies who would not contribute financially to the upkeep of the home.
There are also former rich people in the family presently experiencing a low in their economic cycle. They never thought it wise to raise other family members to economic self reliance and possible beacon of support.
These group relished in answering Okosisi (or a singularly tallest iroko tree) amongst their economically shrub relations.
Now, they are down, the whole family must "pray them up".
The family deliverance would never be deemed successful until they are restored as the number one in the financial or economic reckoning.
For over ten years, my family members were unable to send away these demons that have built a nest in our extended family homes.
The last ten years have also been marked by declining economic situation in Nigeria.
It was becoming clearer that the demons were actually not guilty as was further validated by the fact that some of the elderly women who were initially accused of being the devils' associates in destiny destruction in the area of wizardry have all died.
This vicious cycle must be broken.
Let all the properly educated accountants, economists, psychologists and bankers in Igbo land rise and stem the rising tide of misdiagnosis of pure economic issues and manifest ignorance.
Most of the goods our brother-traders are engaged in are in low demand because majority of their customers have become impoverished and cannot afford them anymore. Solution is to change line.
More so, our people should note the need for increased customer service in the wake of declining sales to retain or attract customers.
In the harsh economic times, customers gravitate to where they are treated nicely.
Our young ones should acquire skills useful in today's economy not just going to school.
The widely traveled amongst us should explain to our people, the impacts of the European governments' decision to crack down on illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
Our boys and their parents should know that traveling abroad without special skills in football, intellect or music would make their wards mere wanderers in Europe.
The privileged amongst every family should give scholarships to as many people as possible because the greatest weapon against ignorance is education.
Until the knowledgeable rise to the occasion, the unconscionable men of God would be holding sway and be profiting from the ignorance and fear of our people back home.
They would be casting away the very same demons their colleagues claimed to have pursued from our various homes in the villages few years before.
August is around the corner, another man of God has set up a job.
You may receive your own call as the demons are now very mobile.
Ignorance is the real demon in our midst.
Notwithstanding my submission above, I acknowledge that demons exist as they do in Europe and America.
I also know that there are some genuine men of God who are continuously engaged in demon fight.
My point still remains that demons have no hands in most of our problems.
BY Anayo M. Nwozuzu.
Clipped from Facebook.