Christian and Muslim leaders, for whom?
The sun, is supposed to rise in the world of many people in the north, especially Muslims, just because President Muhammadu Buhari is a Muslim. The same way Christians celebrated the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan, just because he is a Christian. Many still do. I lost the friendship of many who expected me to support the latter on the basis of Christian fraternity when he was president, but I didn’t and it irked them. I am supposed to be happy that as a Catholic, Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, a pastor of the Pentecostal order, is a Christian. And is in government to serve my interests.
It doesn’t matter if both Muslim and Christian leaders do not know the prices of insecticides, of kerosene and bread for the common man. We shouldn’t complain when many people have their wards at home because they can’t afford school fees and that the public schools which should fill the gap have crumbled with no equipment. Neither must we be so unpatriotic to complain when people are asked to pay two years’ rent where I currently write from and that we hanker to build our homes but that the cost of building materials has shot through the roof.
And that even though it is the duty of the police, and not the military to be in hot pursuit of robbers, kidnappers away from their main constitutional role and they are over-stretched, the police are poorly funded and wrongly garrisoned in the homes of civilians. Could this be the reason that we do not have effective policing in this country? What should matter to us is that the people who superintend over our affairs share the same faith as we do.
They are Christians and Muslims, never atheist, agnostics and traditionalists. And so a Christian president re-based the economy, jobs were not created but we heard the boondoggle of the era which was celebrated daily. And so a Muslim president is on the throne yet there aren’t many manufacturers in-country to force the prices down for the common man and provide jobs. It was Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged, 1957 who said and I believe it that, “When you see that in order to produce, you have to seek permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favours – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded, honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you must know that your society is doomed.”
Religion has never built the economy of any country but tough economic principles superintendent by tough men who know how to galvanise the people. General George Washington wasn’t a nominal Christian even he read the Bible but he belonged to an order. Forty-nine of his generals also weren’t nominal Christians as well but they fought the war of independence. Nine of the men who signed the Declaration of Independence in the United States weren’t nominal Christians even when that country is called God’s own country.
Nigeria lags behind in many things, thanks to the silent majority who are deceived to hold on to the appealing symbol of religiosity and romanticise religion. Freedom isn’t won easily without doggedness, is it? Many years ago in the United Kingdom, a lady considered it beneath her dignity to work for a living. Today they are in jobs. Their orientation changed during the World War 1when they proved that, like men, they could and did work as railway porters, postal workers and coal merchants. They joined the army, worked as volunteers on farms etc. Small wonder suffragettes demanded the right to vote and in consideration of their sacrifices in the war, the right to vote was given to women over 30 and subsequently extended to women over 21. Those women understood that rights are demanded but equality is earned.
Why do people want to reap where they did not sow? We throw in people into elective offices on the basis of religion and expect to compete with China, South Korea, Indonesia and India. We are no different from the people looking for money doubler in the name of MMM.
Nigerians are simply not interested in knowledge. This generation is an ‘instant coffee’ generation. It didn’t take a religious president to sign the clean food and drug law in America? Cocaine was once put in coke before then and there were medicines that were termed “cure-alls.” The law brought about standardisation.
On our streets, everyday, music blaring to the heavenlies can be heard with advertisement from trado-medicine sellers introducing cure-alls. One drug cures every illness. Aside from the disturbing music, what is sad is that they must tell us the drugs to buy so as to perform nightly rituals with you know which gender.
Never a caveat : listeners’ discretion advised. Small children hear how holy temples are described. You figure the rest but the religious administrators keep quiet. The religious administrators allow houses under high tension wires with no zoning laws and brothels housing prostitutes in residential neighbourhoods.
A retired septuagenarian who worked with an international company and on a pension, was told that she had exceeded her medical allowance whilst on admission in a private hospital. Her pay grade couldn’t sustain the bills and she was discharged. She died two weeks later. Where were our religious administrators when this happened? How could the hospital discharge her and why should her former employer agree?
In Australia there’d be a Royal Commission if any hospital discharged someone who couldn’t pay for their stay in hospital. Inquests and inquiries are held when patients die within hours/days of medical clearance from a hospital (often caused by misdiagnosis.) Yet in Australia, there aren’t heads of government elected on religious basis. It’s so shameful we can’t boast of two or three cities of pride in Nigeria. Those lucky enough to see Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg say they are all world class, functional cities. With all our oil wealth most of our cities still can’t compare with any of those in some African countries not to talk of Europe and the Middle East.
Despite many religious persons as administrators everywhere, the rule of the mob has taken over the rule of law in many places. And so here and now a particular love is absent – love of the type in a brotherhood of man. Love for humanity as a whole. And love for the individual that is part of that humanity. And especially love for those who feel the same way and put their philosophy into practice.”Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin.
Despite Benjamin’s admonition, fornication and spirituality causes meningitis in the world of some people. Saddening when this comes from the mouth of a religious administrator who should know better.
Abah writes from Port Harcourt