By Chris Nwedo
Folks, neither Christianity nor Islam is Nigeria’s problem. Nigerians are the Nigeria’s intricate problems. At some points, the nation started breeding crooks and deceitful elites devoid of prudence.
There is nothing complicated in understanding why Nigeria seemed irredeemably stepping into self-ruin. More recently, Nigerians were unanimous in blaming the British, the Americans and generally the Europeans for catastrophe economic and socio-political systems in the country had regressed. The premises for this argument has been that these people came and ruled Nigeria to the satisfaction of their economic and political interest. Our ‘intellectuals’ accused them of uniting and harmonising diverse people and cultures into a geographical entity they named Nigeria. For the schools of thought amalgamation of the northern and southern Nigeria in 1914 fused together groups devoid of capacity to harmonise their imaginary differences. The former colonialists are still castigated for the culpable incompetence of Nigerians to evolve a formidable system of governance after more than six decades of absolute autonomy.
By the denunciations, the ‘intellectuals’ must have reasoned that the senses order and feeling of common destiny among Nigerians introduced by the amalgamation were wrong and sources of the perennial evil. The ‘intellectuals’ and those believing them were, thus, passionate converts to words of antagonisms to the west. To understand how educated the intellectuals were, it is pertinent you go and read more the impact of the Europeans in the development of Nigeria and compare what could have been if Nigeria had maintained the pre-colonial status till today.
There is need to note the patterns of these blame-games. The blames started with the ‘ostracization’ of the imperialists and the condemnations for the endless evils, and then descended on religion. At a point in the verbal assaults on the former imperialists, religion became the targets of the uncultured utterances and disparagement. At first, Christianity was the victim of the venomous assaults on religion principally because it represented all that appeared ‘evil’ in Nigeria’s experience of the west. Christianity is the immediate target because most modern ways of doing things in Nigeria point to European missionaries as the origins. The preponderant of the Christian Missionaries’ efforts in Nigeria were on enlightenment, education, schools, hospitals, science education and creation of institutions to support and facilitate the services of these fundamental positive systems.
The aspersions against Christianity and the nostalgia for the rudimentary past culminated in formations of fiercely violent groups that appeared to have sworn to phase out schools and education in absolute terms. For these sub-normal groups, schools and education they offer is detestable, thus, the determined efforts to destroy every school and anything that associated it. The destruction of schools came with irrational assaults on Churches and National Institutions. The rebels started the destruction of the schools from their own environments and made so much efforts to get the violence against the modernity spread. On accounts of these overpowering violent attacks many died and the attackers remained improperly punished for the horrendous violence.
It seems many are now embracing the disillusion that Christianity is not the problem of Nigeria. In fact, religion in totality is a solution and not a problem. The question is if the Christian religion is the underpinning of the prodigies of western civilization, and making Europe and the Americas ideals for human habitations why should it be perennial curse for Nigeria? In the world today and the immediate past, the Americans and Europeans present themselves as the gods of the earth setting the standards and styles of everything thanks to the religious traditions. With the conversions at various stages, they saw the light, snatch it and ran with it. Christianity has in many nations became the light that dispelled the darkness of crudity and ignorance.
Folks, neither Christianity nor Islam is Nigeria’s problem. Nigerians are the Nigeria’s intricate problems. At some points the nation started breeding crooks and deceitful elites devoid of prudence. It is infinitely mischievous to blame Islam for the catastrophes faced by Nigerians when in fact the Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia were built and preserved on the foundations of Islamic faith. The Saudis live in dignified environment and re-dignified themselves by caring and catering for themselves. The Islamic people used the resources given to them by nature to build an enviable empire irresistible to everyone. The alleged wonders of Dubai completed the narratives of the positive roles of the religion of Islam. Does it not baffle you that even some Nigerian so-called great men of God race to have churches in Dubai and brag about them? Today, the destination for relaxation of some of them is Dubai.
It is hard to resist asking, why is Christianity and Islam problems of Nigeria if they are solutions to others? Why are these religious faiths tools for good governance, justice and fairness in America, Europe, Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries and tools for evil, violence and death in Nigeria? Why is Christianity and Islamic religions tools for constructions, reconstructions and reconsolidation of love and care both for the governments and the peoples of other climes but they are destructions and instruments of upheavals in Nigeria? The only honest answer to these questions is the styles of Nigerians. Nigerian styles became counter-productive and self-destruct when the nation started empowering generations of crooks to pilot her affairs. It is incontrovertible that Nigeria is not the only country colonised and exploited. India was exploited economically and politically, dehumanised and suffered in various other ways under British occupation. Today, an India is the head of the government of Britain but Nigerians are still complaining and blaming the fate. Religion is the bulwark of many extremely progressive nations. Religion is good until you choose to use it for evil.
Recall, Christian and Islamic religions have love, care, fraternal cooperation and coexistence as the foundations of the convictions. The prayer of every good Christian is to be a channel of peace, to bring love where there is hatred, to bring pardon where there is misbehaviour and injury, to bring hope where there is despair, to bring light where there is darkness and joy in place of sadness. It is self-evident that the injurious tug-of-war in Nigeria between morality and immorality, good and evil, justice and injustice, kindness and wickedness, light and darkness, peace and war, love and hatred, development and retardation are the styles. These styles were introduced by Nigerians in both politics and religion. They are sustaining the evils and giving them resources to grow and expand, and at the same time angrily and passionately complaining of the harms.
The most general assumption, today, is that Nigerians are infected by chronic improper commitment to positive values. There are positive values in the religion we are disparaging, condemning and blaming. If really the foreign religions are the problems, who controls access to traditional religion? Studies of many studies have confirmed that traditional religion have truckloads of positive values very resourceful and productive to Nigeria’s every need. If this is the case, what are Nigerians waiting for before discarding the foreign religions?
Surely, nothing is being waited for. Nigerians have ample chances of not only doing so well but of being extraordinarily excellent. However, there is the nagging crisis of indisposition and corrupt intent among many. Nigerians know and understand that Nigeria is on a very dangerous curve and tilting for imminent fall. They are intelligent to understand the immense dangers of the fall but very indisposed to prevent the danger before extraction of very-little-short-living personal advantages. This ill quest is a product of corrupt intent, a life buried in a vain hunt for dishonest gains. We see this play out in the 2023 elections.
The election was consistent in the demonstrations of the profundity of the folks’ disinterest in proper values. The elections showed the trend that in the midst of the pains of evil, Nigerian politicians choose to maintain the statuesque even when the masses are dying in thousands for hunger, diseases and violence. And in the affliction of darkness and the injuries of groping again in excruciating agonies of destitution, many citizens despised right choices in exchange for big size loaves of bread. The election also threw-up a battle to challenge and contain low brain Nigerian elites of all types whose propensities are changing alliances, dumping self-respect and running over morality with outrageous impunity. In 2023 elections many Nigerians are baffled and still disturbed that those who spoke the loudest against the election of Buhari on the allegations of forged academic documents are the ones presenting ‘sound’ arguments dissuading punitive actions against Tinubu who forged his qualification credentials.
The greatest havoc done by corruption to Nigeria is the destruction of the courage to say the truth and valour to stand consistently on what is right and proper. The ultimate corruption is the stage in which the mind has lost the capacity to say the truth without rationalising it. Thieves plead guilty; transgressors ask pardon but the corrupt mind never sees evil in iniquity. The corrupt mind believes in utilitarian values of truth and objectivity. He or she says the truth and becomes just if there are things to gain. Nigeria is not crumbled by those who steal money and take what belongs to others but by those who failed to see evil in these atrocities.
Nigerians should reject the illusions that the evil of corrupt intent is the problems in the elites, the politicians and the judges alone? Not to know that the spread of corruption is inescapable in Nigeria is to be child always. Dealing with an average Nigerian in business of any sort proves that many are not morally qualified to speak against some politicians and judges for disgraceful insincerities. As a people, Nigerians have purposefully or otherwise learnt to live, tolerate and relish involvement in dishonesty. The politicians speak from both sides of their mouths. When things go their way, the politicians vow to follow the Parties’ directives against principles of justice and morality, and if fortune nose-dives, they come home bedraggled as they tune in ethnic or religious vibes. The judges rely on technicalities to deliver unjust judgement if settled. Think about it, is Nigeria not ruined by Nigerians?
The Tinubu certificate saga is becoming the most tragic episode in the chronicles of Nigeria’s political duplicity. In the eye of the world, Nigerians are becoming a nation of certificate forgers. How do you dispute these spreading assumptions when the forgers are bold, unapologetic and mock the efforts made to chastise them. The trivialisation of the monumental scandal shows the degree of moral decadence in the people and institutions. It shows that we have policy makers devoid of conscience and morality.