During my infantile stage with no cognate sense of rationality, curiosity enveloped me and I decided to join the Christian students’ assemblage one morning during the General School Assembly in my primary school, Tudun Wada, Zaria. Pronto, I was chased away that I wasn’t a Christian. I would cry until my elder sister would drag me to where the Muslim students were. At that age, I had been indoctrinated already to the dangerous world of ‘we versus them’.
This morning offers me the opportunity to reflect on that infantile naiveté. And I ask, why should religion separate people created with same dusty formation? Why should people impose their ideology on others when there’s no compulsion in religion?
Today, we don’t just have religious supremacy but plenty of sects and denominations. Being just a Christian or Muslim isn’t enough in Nigeria; you must be defined by a sect or denomination. The struggle is for over bloated membership drive and the motive is for the returns in fame, money and power. Preaching of salvation, love and hard work have been overshadowed by the sweet sermons of prosperity and ephemeral esoteric. Hate talks exude from worship centers more than war fields.
The language of love has been replaced with that of hate, bigotry and slander. Mobilisation for political parties begins from worship centers and I ask who is desecrating the sanctuaries?
Again, we have been greeted with another cycle of violence, this time around in Kaduna State. From conservative figures, about hundred souls have been gunned, macheted and hacked to death. How could a crisis that lasted barely two hours claim so many deaths? Can it be concluded that some people somewhere are always battle ready to unleash terror on others? The stupidity of my people is this; you kill yourselves and turn around to say they are killing Christians and Muslims- who will die if not Christians and Muslims that you are killing? Unless we stop this madness, we shall continue to be killing ourselves and coming to rants on our senseless decisions.
This clime is disgusting and repulsive; people derive nothing but unmitigated joy in hacking each other to death. No day passes without the smell of killings, men, hacking themselves as if there is reward for self-extermination. How do we have peace when every day the microphones spew hate, bigotry and distrust? Where can peace dwell when the heart of men is desperately wicked? Everyone moves around with hate-filled mindsets, begrudging each other like prey and predators.
Unfortunately, those who are meant to provide the needed template of peace are all stuck in the sacks of politics. Interceding only for politicians and not for the masses they shepherd. Religion has failed us as it has done more damage than good, especially in this clime. This is not healthy for our polity, that moment when religion takes determining hold of our political decisions; we are in for a dangerous outcome. When Bishop Mathew Kukah, Sheik Ahmad Gumi and Bishop David Oyedepo led that infamous entourage to Ota, I knew we are in big trouble. I knew it would become a trend, I knew the elections would be polarised yet again and we are bound to be more divisive.
Barely few days after Kukah’s political pilgrimage to Ota, the Dharika group stormed the villa to see president Muhammadu Buhari, and the trend became pronounced as religious bodies mop up their arsenals to begin the endorsement frenzy. As feared, we are at it now and it is going to be with us for a while. This is how we roll, and we are masterly crafted for it.
More groups will surface and the men in cassocks and turbans would take our political decisions. There is nothing wrong in religious leaders involving themselves in politics but when their involvement is done to promote one candidate against the other, and then a cord of mischief and unfair gulf has been created. And because we live in clime that is polarised on religious denominations, the backlash from these decisions are the army of uncontrolled worshipers whose judgments would be based on the leanings of their religious leaders.
Time for religious bodies to face their celestial callings and leave politics for politicians after all division of labour is a creed for human existence. The church and the mosque have no business in politics. There are so many souls to win for God, there is much to do in terms of moral rejuvenation, there is much love to inculcate, a lot more of preaching on tolerance, love and peaceful existence. Our revered religious leaders should be tied to these and leave the politicians to handle their turf. Meanwhile, in the cause of the madness in Kaduna, a hero emerged and his name is Josiah Gajere.
He saved the life of a Hausa shoe shiner who was at the verge of being lynched. Ordinarily, he would have walked away and left this helpless guy to be killed for an offence he knew nothing about. I will celebrate heroes like this instead of those who amplify crisis. However, it is a smelly shame to you all merchants of hate, harbingers of death and purveyors of doom.
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