The Christian Hand And Muslim Leg In Nigeria
One does not get angry with one's head and therefore use one's cap to cover one's buttocks.
It beats my imagination how despite all the travails our nation Nigeria has and continues to go through, we remain not just the happiest but almost the most religious, with each passing moment the picture is even clear.
In the next few paragraphs I would want to touch some grey areas, issues many would rather not touch or discuss...my reason is not to court controversy, but I am sure some folks would be upset and no matter the side of the divide, my intent is to open up a conversation and broaden our learning experience positively.
Ever been to Aba the commercial nerve centre of Abia or visited a local crude oil pipeline village in Bayelsa on Sunday, everyone is in church, all well dressed, venerating to the clergy's vituperations at the devil and worship of God.
You could almost hear a pin drop on the streets of most South-eastern states, as every kidnapper is seeking forgiveness for the past week's adventure while seeking aid for the forthcoming week.
If you are privileged, you want to be in Kano or Katsina, on a Friday, and see how thousands of faithful are running to meet Jumat service, you will not be able discern how a population all running about with ablution rites will not hesitate to perpetuate abominable acts without any sense of remorse.
From the cities of Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, Sokoto, you are greeted with billboards of revivals, conventions, conferences, seminars, workshops of various faiths and advertising superstar men/women of God.
Every major celebration comes with either a multi or a non-denominational church service on Sunday, preceded by a Friday mosque service.
We are not short of Catholics, Anglicans, and Pentecostals, on one divide and then Izalas, Nasfat, Ansar-ud-Deen, Anwar- ul Islam, Jamatu Nasiru Islam (JNI), The Jama't Izalat al Bid'a Wa Iqamat as Sunna (JIBWIS)...on the other. I have on purpose left out the traditionalists and pagans.
A nation that prides itself with a politically active Witchcraft Association, I have been to many a funeral where different cult groups are fighting for the corpse.
For all sorts of reasons we are compelled to fill forms, stating whether we are Christians or Muslims, in some cases it is narrowed down to us spelling out which sect or group we belong to.
It is a Nigerian society where two-love bird cannot marry because they are from different religion or sects. However the heads of the families involved will not hesitate to steal public funds without recourse to their faith.
So much sentiments to our faith, after all it is supposed to be the essence of our existence, but the fact is that in practice, do we preach what we practice, or practice differently what we preach. A Christian steals and is conveniently defended by a Muslim lawyer, and we call it the profession, the practice...
Yet we are grey with anger when a list is released as we try to fragment the list between how many Muslims and Christians and if the Chairman is a Christian, or if the Secretary is an Ogboni member. Just reflect for a minute my dear reader and answer, is Nigeria as a nation, a Christian or Muslim?
Ever attended a function, and then watch the comic of a Muslim having to pray and then a Christian too having to pray, and it's amazing as we try to play God.
The new wave of the moment which is private universities are mostly run by Churches and Mosques but the tuition charged are almost impregnable for the masses despite the fact that the widow's mite in many cases make these schools possible.
I know it's a sore area, no one wants to talk, I dare ask, how has the Christian presidency of Jonathan helped Christians or Muslims, are we better as a people because the Senate President, SSS, NSA, COAS are Christians...
Was it not a Muslim Abacha that brought the Pope, did the Yar'adua presidency benefit Muslims or Christians?
We have become a nation that prays more and works less, forgetting that miracles are no magic, that faith and fate are different concepts.
Both leadership and the led simply forget that the basics of life bare no religious colouration. Good roads are not for Muslims alone; quality hospitals are not the reserve of Christians.
HIV/AIDS does not discriminate between religions, we are sensitive about the Arabic inscription on our notes, yet no Christian ever went to the bank and refused to collect the money because the cashier was Muslim.
One only needs to listen to all the conspiracy theories of Islamic Banking to appreciate that as a nation we are mostly religious bigots, as the noise has faded into the weather.
A falling educational system is not because Muslims did or Christians did not...
The simple preserve of live and let live, love your neighbours as yourself, do unto others as you would have them do to you is lost on us.
We forget that there is a simple reason why God chose us to still co-exist together and it is fate, as long as we are one and remain one, there is need to look at ourselves.
The things that trouble Nigeria are neither Christian or Muslim, corruption, greed, nepotism and ethnic jingoism and parapoism, mismanagement perpetuated by Christians, Muslims, Witches, Wizards and all sorts.
If only we practice the injunctions laid out by our various holy books, our society would be a reflection of our lives. Sadly we are with our various faiths trying to cut our nose to spite the face.
Prince Charles Dickson
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