All in the spirit of improvement, because we know the one thing Pastor Paul Adefarasin is passionate about is excellence.
A few things were a letdown, and once we have finished binding and casting the demons that causes such gaps, would be great to see measures to ensure we do much better in the next edition, because – of course – we will all be there again.
The heat was unbearable. You could literally cook rice with the heat that threatened to turn all of us into puddles of black on the floor. The performers were sweating, the pastors on the stage were sweating, and of course those of us in the audience (VIP or not) were sweating with a vengeance. Considering that predictive weather already evidenced such a harsh weather, pretty surprising that organisers just pretended as if the heat was invisible, and no one even made an attempt to make it better. Really surprising.
2. Crowd Control
We understand that this is a tough act to pull off. And to be honest, no one in Nigeria has ever pulled off an event like The Experience ever before, and the fact that there are no major public incidents – fainting, bodily harm, mass panic etc – is a major plus.
Still, the crowd control leaves plenty to be desired. The bouncers are deeply, offensively rude as if you were a C-list artiste struggling for access into Quilox on Friday after midnight. It was like that last year, but seems to have gotten even worse this year. We know Nigerians are a handful at any event, but to be needlessly mean and rude is such antithesis of why we are there.
Not to talk about the poorly-trained ushers (most of whom are volunteers) who are dismissive, nasty, and especially rude – to those finding their way to seats (one looked at our all-access pass and said “I don’t know what that is”), to people trying to find good spaces or just find their way around, and in the distribution of brochures and drinks (why do Nigerians always think this small act gives them some kind of power?).
It’s the church. We have to find a better way.
3. VIP roll call
The endless roll call of VIPs is a problem, and we have to say it has officially become a problem, even if we understand the need to maintain high-level relationships in an egocentric cultural context.
Of what benefit is that interruption of an important act of corporate thanksgiving to rub people’s egos?
We can understand the speech by the Lagos governor. Boring, and maybe needless, but it’s his state, he gave permission – there is an official context for that particular activity. Maybe even Yemi Osinbajo, because of the scale of the office. And we sure as heaven understand the respect to be given to Pastors. That one is fine. This is their office. They should be regarded as priests in service.
But why do we need to know if Stella Okoli or Jimi Agbaje or the Consul-General of one thing or the other are at an event where they are to come humbly to worship?
Do we really have to do this? Is it proper? Does it even make those special guests appreciate and respect the import of such an exercise, such a gathering?
Let’s really think about this.
And, please, if you are going to be doing such a thing, can you please add Don Jazzy to the list of VIPs to be recognized? We want to assure you that matters more to the audience than the attendance of a billionaire whose last public narrative was a multi-million financial scandal involving a man like Ifeanyi Ubah.
Holes, sharp objects, metal dividers shooting out, gutters and wires and pipes. It is truly by God’s grace that we have avoided any major incidents these past years. But perhaps we shouldn’t take that grace for granted?
5. Cow dung at ‘Gate C’
And this has to be said. Walking out of the square at the end – there was cow-dung strewn all over the floor at Gate C, so that you had to step on it to pass through.
As in, till now we are still confused. How did it get there? Why was it still there? What is going on here?
We must be grateful for the huge sacrifice and investment that goes into this annual festival of grace. But then, it’s our assignment to correct one another, in love. And this is said, with plenty of love.
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