Religion in university parliament of Nigeria
Sir: Dr. Olufẹmi Dunmade set the ball rolling: “The country is pervasive of institutional corruption — banks, federal establishments, IPPIS, etc bleeding her citizens dry.” Prof. Ifatoye Ayẹni responds: “It’s a consequence of institutionalised lawlessness, in which people break the law and get away with it on account of sentiments. A lawless society, I always say, is a most dangerous habitat, even, for animals. Citizens are not helping matter by doing nothing when their rights are violated. No one, I mean, no one at all is allowed to break the rules.” My response:
“Nigeria is a religious but lawless society. Traditional Africa is not what the late Prof Bọlaji Idowu and others call it: ‘religious in everything.’ No, what is paramount in traditional Yoruba/Africa is ìwà (character, behaviour, attitude), which determines what a person will get here and hereafter, not religion.” “Traditional Africa is not as religious as Christians and Muslims for whom religion is paramount, and a sine qua non. For traditional Africa, it is God, fear of God, fear of His ministers (the divinities), and fear of the ancestors/ancestress, which is expected to guide a person to fear misbehaving, and not religion per se. At any rate, why should some people try to impose their own religions on a nation, where the Constitution prohibits state religion? That is the root of the sordid lawlessness in Nigeria. Yes, sordid lawlessness in the sense that, take it or leave it, human beings have the tendency to be lawless and disobedient, but now certain religious bodies are bent on imposing their own religions on a religiously pluralistic society, saying, for instance, that Nigeria has two religions: Christianity and Islam, to the detriment of equity, and so lawlessness and inequalities are the orders of the day in Nigeria. As university teachers, it behooves us to be light of the world, salt of the earth, not religious bigots.”
Dr. Ọlatunji Ganiyu contributes: “Sir! It is so clear from your submission that you are advocating for religion laced with elements of morality and functioning for continuity of humanity. That is actually the Traditional Yoruba orientation of religion when they say ‘Iwa lesin’ meaning that morality is synonymous to religiosity. Support for this assertion could also be reflected upon from various verses of virtually all divine texts (Bible, Qur’an and others). To support your assertion Sir, our religious beliefs and practices are supposed to be sources of social sustainability and not vice versa as common in our clime. In my own view, however, one of the reasons why religion has been a dysfunctional institution in our society is because we are religiously but not spiritually inclined. There is need to strike a balance between our level of spirituality and religiosity. Or probably get more spiritual than religious.” My response: “Absolutely.” End of the exchanges. Respect for rule of law should begin with Nigeria’s secularity. Religio-political imperialisms are inimical to social sanity.
Prof Ọlọjẹẹde Oyeniran Abiọjẹ, wrote from University of Ilorin.
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