Give it to Nigerians. When someone cannot measure up in other areas of life, religion becomes the last refuge. Nigerians love their religions, perhaps, a little more than they love their tribes. Their nation? Who cares about that? Who even needs a nation? We are fixing to start identifying ourselves by our tribes and religion when we go abroad. We are exploring ways of issuing international passports that show where we worship and how including the indigenous language we speak. Some say that is the only way forward. Who says we should hunker down and try to make something of our nationhood, just as every other ‘geographical expression’ the world over has tried to do. Intellectual dishonesty takes over.
Today, I intend to reexamine the claim that the entire nation is about to be Islamised. These are rabid claims from some of our most eloquent folks, many of them clergymen of the Christian faith, meaning they have a bias in the matter. The latest of such claims came from Retired Commodore Kunle Olawunmi, who made so many shocking and solid statements worthy of investigation from a security angle but complicated everything by claiming there is an Islamisation agenda.
We have cause to worry about the handling of these matters by Buhari though. Why, under Buhari are we rehabilitating cold-blooded terrorists and integrating them into society? Who are the guys sponsoring these terrorists? Because when some of them are caught, they all look gaunt, disheveled and deprived. Who gets the money? There is surely intelligence on this that hasn’t been revealed to the public. Who are the sponsors? What are their aims?
They have surely killed way more Muslims than Christians. I recall the January 2012 and November 2014 killings of over 300 people as they emerged from prayers at the Kano Central Mosque. From Borno to Kaduna and lately the senseless massacres of villagers in Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger and elsewhere, these terrorists seem not to care about anyone’s religion before abducting and killing them. In the Jonathan days, the terrorists never cared about the religion of any of their victims when they bombed Nyanya bus stop, Kuje night market, Banex Plaza or even the UN Headquarters in Abuja.
But is anyone trying to ISLAMISE Nigeria? Can anyone Islamise, Christianise, or Babalawonise the whole of this country? As a fact, we all know the tug of war between Christianity and Islam in Nigeria. These two Abrahamic religions are always struggling with each other for elusive supremacy.
Perhaps, rather than promote the hypothesis that Muslims and Christians could not exist in the same country in almost equal proportions, we could have risen above such sentiments and made Nigeria a model country. But the so-called intellectuals, who should be at the vanguard of such an idea, are the ones who push the extremism from the pulpit and other places. Both sides are equally culpable.
It is my considered opinion that since the Christian/Muslim balance has remained intact since the creation of this country, it is likely to continue ad infinitum. Instead, we are likely to see many young people who will probably choose to have nothing to do with both – because of the failures noted above. It will, however, help if we could find leaders, especially at the centre, who will honestly tackle the current dalliance with terrorism. As stated above, a lot of information has been kept from the public. This is not who we are. Before 2010, Nigeria did not know anything like the newfangled terrorism. We should ensure that that phenomenon does not define us, just over 11 years after. There’s got to be a way of reconnecting with our humanity.
I think what is going on calls us to think properly, on both sides. There is so much hypocrisy, on both sides. There is a need to focus on humanity and improve the lives of our people on both sides. We need to understand that in order to make heaven, there is a need to also contribute our quota to the betterment of this earth. Nigeria has been in reverse gear, largely as a result of this sharp and unproductive divide along religious lines. Those who have also benefited from this country and been at the kitchen table with their mouths full from the morsels of the national cake should spare the rest of us of these religious counter-accusations when they get kicked out of the inner circle. Integrity requires that they try and change whatever is wrong from within.
Let us roll back some of these dark, sad tales and ensure we do not indoctrinate our children into them. The challenge our children face, is not among themselves but with children in other countries, performing great feats, in sports, in technology, in industry, in the arts. What can I say? May God grant us leaders who are in tune with positivism. I believe this country can be turned around in a short period of time.