THE RELIGION OF ZERO BENEFIT
Nigeria has become a nation of poverty amidst natural abundance and manifold blessings. The religions represented in Nigeria have strong and useful value systems. Majority of religious followers and their institutions do not adopt these beneficial value systems and the consequence is that Nigeria has become worse than corruption itself.
Religious people constitute the greatest number of Nigeria population. Yet, corruption in private and public sector organisations has continued to thrive unfettered because the seemingly religious and sacred people of Nigeria have failed to identify with the good value system inherent in their religions and religious beliefs.
Religions in Nigeria have not helped Nigeria to eradicate corruption in any remarkable way. Instead, corruption has continued to increase amidst poverty and increasing number of so-called religious institutions. The poor continue to suffer and bear the brunt of the suffering in the Nigeria system. Religious institutions failed to tackle the poverty within and outside the various establishments.
The motives for the existence of these seemingly religious institutions are very questionable. Indeed their motives for existence are very much drummed and well published but their true unpublished motives are at the full glare of the public eye. How long will seemingly religious Nigerians and institutions continue to deceive themselves? It is a wonder to the uninitiated to fathom the religiosity of blindness that has pervaded and overtaken the country called Nigeria.
In their poverty, many Nigerians have become lovers and followers of money. Amidst the chaos, many poor Nigerians do not know they have been bought for a bowl of soup. How will Nigeria develop as corruption rules? As corruption rules in many private and public institutions, it also rules in many religious places of worship. Nigerians must act to save the country from the stranglehold of religious narrow-mindedness that helps corruption to thrive.
Every Nigerian must rethink their religiosity and truly show concern for one another with a view to eradicate corruption in all its forms in Nigeria. The future of Nigeria is blighted if Nigerians cannot turn back from their corrupt practices. Corruption does not negatively affect only the poor people in Nigeria. The rich will also suffer from the consequences of corruption as the immediate communities in the country remain undeveloped and in decay causing breeding ground for criminality.
The generation of Nigerians yet unborn will not forgive the ignorance, carelessness and greed in our determination to eradicate the corruption in Nigeria. If we fail to fight corruption today, no religious institution or sentiments can cover the shame that will continue to befall Nigeria and the citizens. In future, our children will try and test the determination of present day Nigerians; if we are found wanting in our behaviour, we would have failed to correct the correctable.
It is highly commendable of Dr Tunde Bakare of the Save Nigeria Group. As a Pastor of a church in Nigeria, he did not simply preach the Bible but he added action to his effort and formed the Save Nigeria Group to help eradicate various forms of corruption in the country including electoral fraud, mismanagement and failing governance. Dr Bakare believes that Nigeria must change for the better and Nigerians must take back their country from thieves. In a similar way, many responsible Nigerians are fighting to eradicate corruption in one way or another. As corruption fighters increase, the Nigerian society will become better. Unfortunately, the current fight is taking longer than necessary because the number of seemingly religious people is increasing while true religious worshippers are on the decline.
Nigeria does not want the religion of zero benefit. Religious institutions in Nigeria must make themselves relevant in eradicating corruption in Nigeria. Let religion be a force for honest and lasting change in Nigeria.
Bernard Imarhiagbe is a graduate of the University of Greenwich and University of Leicester, both in England. He is the UK Coordinator for Champions For Nigeria Organisation (http://www.championsfornigeria.org).