The crowd swelled by the minute, on Saturday and Sunday. They came from far and wide, but were targeting the same thing:
They wanted to hear from Nigerian televangelist Chris Ojigbani, the man who, according to his Facebook page, was commissioned by God “to liberate marriages through the preaching of the Word”.
They had been invited through the radio, TV and newspapers to come and witness marriage miracles and chase away the devil preventing them from getting married or sustaining their unions.
And if you thought only men were scarce for mankind’s oldest institution, you were wrong.
Men, women and children streamed to Nyayo National Stadium over the weekend to seek ways of re-elevating their marriages to the till-death-do-us-part level.
On arrival, you would be welcomed by ushers wearing t-shirts inscribed “Covenant Singles and Married Ministries”. They would guide you to a place to sit and listen to the Word.
There were bouncers too, who tried to control disturbance mainly by roughing up journalists.
“Who invited you? We didn’t invite any journalists here. If you must be here, sit down and don’t disturb,” warned a man who spoke in a Nigerian accent. However, that did not spoil the mood of the day.
At the stadium’s VIP pavilion , the people sang with hope after a soloist with a mellow voice. They sang Ngai wakwa ni munene (My God is great) and their voices reverberated through huge loudspeakers on corners of the sporting area.
The men wore suits, many women made sure they had their hair sleek and that they put on high-heeled shoes. Some had sun-glasses and chewed gum, smiling whenever they chatted to their friends.
As for the children, some didn’t know why they were here and occasionally, you could see them grooming one another while adults sang.
Ms Catherine Wambui for example, was here to say “thank-you” to the pastor.
“I stayed for long without getting a perfect man, but after I attended the pastor’s seminar last year, I think I was blessed,” she said.
And Ms Jane Nduta told the Nation that she got married two months after the seminar because “I learnt how to be humble and prayed as the pastor taught us”.
Her husband did not attend this year’s seminar, though, as “he is at work”. It appeared there were more success stories attributed to Pastor Ojigbani, who has no specific church denomination.
For Ms Nduta, the pastor’s preaching inspired her to know how to look for a husband. Rather than compare men with those she saw in soap operas, she followed instructions to the letter.
“I was told that you must play your part in looking for and sustaining a relationship, rather than waiting for your partner to do that,” she explained. And so she got a husband.
The pastor’s formula could be that for every woman who got lucky, a man enjoyed the luck too. Josephat Odongo was here to see if “a good woman would be in the offing.”
The 36-year-old high school teacher desperately wants to ditch the bachelor’s club. But there were those who were driven more by curiosity than the hope of finding a mate.
“I’m not married, but I did not come to search for a husband,” said Stella, a university student, as she sipped a coke.
Others had already resigned to fate. “I’m meant to understand that there is man’s time to receive a miracle. I believe it is not yet God’s time and so I will wait,” said a man who declined to say his name.