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The day Nigeria celebrated her symbols

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Sir: Today, Friday, September 20, 2019, gave me the happy news that University of Ilorin teachers could go on some holidays. The other strange experience is both sweet and sour. I found myself quarreling (in real life) with a friendly university don. He took the position of Athanasius (“Jesus is God”), while I took the position of Arius (“If Jesus is God, how many Gods will you have?”). I also said it is fraudulent to address Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ, since he did not fulfill the role of the expected Messiah, which was to liberate the Jews from their colonizers. The Don accused me of blasphemy and of calling God a fraud. At that point, I gave up. I regret engaging in argument with someone who had no clue what I was talking about. I have another puzzle: if September 16, 2019 were one of the days I spent in the Masquerade shrine from midnight to midnight, and unable to listen to any radio, how would I have learnt that September 16 is the day Nigeria celebrates her symbols, annually, and which symbols are celebrated. Even if you assume that the celebration started this year (2019) that is the more reason it should have had long and widespread publicity. But the real issue is whether Nigeria’s symbols are as significant to Nigeria rulers as Islamic and Christian symbols, including the festivals that are declared as public holidays spanning two or three days.

Which Nigeria symbols are said to be celebrated on September 16, annually (without any holiday or funfair)? The symbols are said to include the Constitution, the Flag, the National Anthem, the currencies, and things like that. Some of the currency notes are torn, dirty, smelling, and so on; the type you don’t see in Europe and America, or even in the good olden days in Nigeria, when such indecent currencies were taken to the Central Bank by other banks without fear of being asked to pay for them. The point I am making, however, is that Nigeria rulers don’t respect Nigeria symbols as they do Christian and Islamic symbols that they idolize, including the Bible, the Quran, the festivals and the pilgrimages, while they demonize other religions, including African Traditional Religion, as idolatrous. Nigeria rulers overrule Nigeria’s Constitution and impose Islam and Christianity as Nigeria’s religions, while the Constitution prohibits state religion, nationally and in any part thereof. Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) and Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) are imposed on Nigerian children, imperialistically.

That official lawlessness is the matrix of all other official lawlessness in Nigeria, leading to the unjustifiable war against the Boko Haram Islamic sect-community of men, women and children that did not attack anybody until attacked, and persecution of the Shiites added by the current President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB). Count the costs of governmental terrorism against Boko Haram in human lives and economic resources, 2009 till date, leading to degradation of security agencies, creation of internally displaced peoples’ camps, skyrocketing debts, hyper inflation, mass abject poverty, mushrooming armed bandits and kidnapping gangs. Nigeria experienced unbelievable bloodshed under the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, worse still under Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan who truncated rotational presidency and compounded the Boko Haram crisis, leading to counter-terrorism by Boko Haram, only for GMB to add persecution of the Shiites and protection of the Fulani herdsmen terrorists to his own intensified war against Boko Haram. Should the divisive Christian and Islamic symbols be more important than Nigeria symbols? Anything goes in Nigeria!

Prof. Ọlọjẹẹde Oyeniran Abiọjẹ wrote from University of Ilorin.


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