Christianity and Islam hamper Nigeria’s progress
Sir: Nigeria has four principal enemies: egocentricism, Christianity, Islam, and ethnicism. Those are the obstacles blocking Nigeria’s way to progress. The Fulani used Islam to gain territories and thrones through jihad wars, initiated by Usman Danfodio in 1804 in northern Nigeria. In the process, Muslims tried to prevent Christians from gaining a foothold in the north, and planting Christianity therein became a herculean task for Christian purveyors whose interest, like that of the Muslims, is not social development, but triumph of religious predators.
The more Christianity and Islam gain ground, the more the purveyors gain power and influence. They now control human life in Nigeria from cradle to grave, using the name of God, Bible, Jesus, Qur’an, Prophet Mohammed, salvation, miracle, deliverance, exorcism, and so on. Thus, there is minimal attention accorded social welfare, except the welfare of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia and Israel.
The foregoing explains the issue of mass abject poverty in Nigeria. Politicians try to satisfy Christian and Muslim clerics who “own” the land, and then, they satisfy themselves through embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. If a politician tries to differ, Christian and Muslim clerics show him or her the red card. That was what happened in Cross Rivers State when Governor Ben Ayade tried to stop prayer in public schools attended by children from diverse faiths. The Catholic bishop who is the chairman of the local Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) ordered him to retract the order. He obeyed, trembling.
Who says Nigeria is not in chains? In Osun State, Govenor Rauf Aregbesola uses his political power as a Muslim to advance Islam. In Akwa Ibom, Anambra, and some other states, schools were returned to the churches that used to own them. Nigeria does not enjoy the allegiance of its rulers. Christianity and Islam do.
Does the foregoing mean that Nigeria is a property of Christianity and Islam? That is general impression. Nigerians are milked by Muslim and Christian clerics, in churches daily and weekly, without any tax. As if that were not enough, government at all levels spend millions on Christian and Muslim pilgrimages. Politicians do whatever they like once they satisfy Christian and Muslim clerics.
Hence in Nasarawa State, some protesting workers were gunned down; in Kwara State, they were tear-gassed. Who will redeem Nigeria from Christianity and Islam? Nigerian rulers have dollars to provide comfort for pilgrims but not for infrastructure. Yes, it’s lamentable.
Prof. Oyeniran Abioje, PhD, University of Ilorin.