If anyone ever tells you that in this very modern era of human development – the 21st century – you would find a very endowed country like Nigeria battling and grappling with common basic stuff like roads, electricity, water and sanitation you wouldn’t believe them. But it is precisely the truth.
Nigeria is the biggest and largest country in Africa besides its title of being the largest black nation on earth, yet it symbolizes everything that is wrong with the black race on earth.
Better still, why are we so religious yet very backwards in almost all the indices of human development? Or are we deliberately trying to demarket religion by showcasing it as a handy tool that promotes backwardness and stagnation? And are we not making the job of atheists and other haters of organized religion very easy by the lack of peace and backwardness that our empty religiousity has brought on our country? We promote corrupt politicians because of religion just as much as we hate incorruptible politicians because of religion, and in doing so we ended up stagnating our own development and prosperity because of religion. Ours is an excellent example of loving religion without loving its virtues, its tasking demands, and its universal values of compassion and benevolence!
We have so many churches and pastors that preach and teach only prosperity every week in 12 months every year to millions of church goers, yet India with over 1 billion people recently walked out of poverty leaving Nigeria that has less than 180 million people becoming the world’s headquarters of poverty, which leaves one wondering whether the Hindu priests of India are better teachers and preachers of prosperity to their Hindu devotees than our own jet flying pastors that preach and teach prosperity every week in every month and in every year?
Oh please, it’s none of that. Fact is, India, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, China, South Korea, Japan and other Asian tigers don’t have any jet flying prosperity preachers. Rather, what they have used to break the mould of poverty into prosperity is the deployment of their God given talent, wisdom and knowledge into tools of human development, which subsequently turned them into global economic power houses. Besides that, they have been able to build and sustain for themselves a lifestyle of discipline, which helps them to shun greed and covetousness. In other words, no one sees public service or any other service as an avenue to covet and steal what belongs to everyone but rather sees service as a means of enriching the whole society!
Contrast that with what we have here. Our religiousity has not brought us prosperity, peace and national development because we practice religion without discipline. Instead of using it as a tool for the cultivation and sustenance of love, service and discipline, we turned it into a tool for hatred, hate speeches and service of greediness. When we are greedy we only think more of ourselves than more of others, which is a complete negation of what the Lord said that it is more blessed to serve others than to serve oneself! And if that’s the type and quality of our religiousity, it makes our religiousity empty and useless as can be easily seen on the streets of Nigeria and the social media pages of Nigerians. Which therefore leaves us with the global record of having the largest church buildings in the world where hundreds of thousands of people gather to pray for jobs, and thereafter board boats or ships to Libya in search of jobs in India, Italy, China, Thailand and so on and then end up becoming slaves! Or, as a recent viral joke says, that thousands of jobless Nigerians gather in the world’s largest church buildings in Nigeria to pray for visas to enable them travel out of Nigeria to countries without churches in search of jobs and comfortable lifestyles!
It is remarkable that at the time India was busy planning and implementing policies and programmes that finally pulled them out of poverty, our large churches here in Nigeria were busy acting as spokespersons and campaign managers for a notoriously corrupt political party that looted, crippled and stagnated our country for 16 long years. Therefore, while India was busy completely overhauling their railway infrastructure during those 16 years to open up cheaper means of transportation for farm produce and other goods, we were here cavorting with those who couldn’t even complete the Abuja 23 kilometers metro rail project in 16 years!
During those same 16 years, India rebuilt and expanded their entire electricity and energy sectors, which boosted local industrial performance and enhanced productivity in all sectors of their economy, while here in Nigeria, our pastors’ favourite politicians inherited about 2,700 MW of electricity from the military in 1999 and left it at about that same level when God sent them packing in May 2015 after just a single regime of their genre spent about $16 billion on it. We were only recently told that the $16 billion electricity is in a book!
While India sealed their borders to boost the local production of whatever could be produced locally so that their local producers could become wealthy by the stemming of capital flight, our pastors or “Men of God” were busy in bed with our plunderers who preferred foreign rice farmers to be earning about $25 billion per year from us instead of our own local rice farmers to earn it, and while they were busy enriching foreign rice farmers with $25 billion annually at our own expense they were also busy deceiving us that our economy was the strongest in Africa without evidence! Yeah, the same “strongest economy in Africa” that had the finance minister borrowing over 470 billion naira to pay federal workers and had 27 States owing workers’ salaries of up to 14 months, and which had to be bailed out by a new President that is hated and despised by owners of largest church buildings in the world!
And while India was busy promoting integrity and accountability in governance, our large church owners were busy strengthening the arms and positions of rogue politicians who stole everything within their sight because they saw stealing as not corruption, and while India was busy promoting national integration for better harnessing of resources, our large church owners were (and still are) actively conniving with thieving, criminal politicians to divide Nigerians along ethno-religious lines just for the sustenance of the corrupt, rentier regimes that benefit only the corrupt politicians and their conniving corrupt priests! In fact, everything that India and other progressive countries did to break out of poverty into prosperity and development are the very things we are using ethno-religious bigotry to fight, and it’s a shame!
But then, we must thank God for His great mercies. God has a mysterious way of uniting us here in Nigeria for our own good. You see, while some pastors are very busy doing all they can to make records of building the largest church buildings in the world, someone like Alhaji Aliko Dangote, a Muslim, is also very busy building the largest oil refinery in the world here in Nigeria as well as a lot of other factories, so that when you fast and pray for a job in any of the largest church buildings in the world you can possibly get a job with any of Dangote’s factories! You see how Christians and Muslims unite for each other?
Hey, check the fact that 100 billion naira can buy over 200 private jets but those who raised such funds would rather have them deployed for infrastructure that will benefit everybody instead of the pleasure of a few! It’s just a matter of priority, right?
Well, it is always a brilliant idea to have very large church buildings just as it is also logical and legitimate to strive to break new grounds and make new world records in every endeavour, but we must work and pray that our large religious buildings become factories that produce disciplined, productive and useful people that will serve God and humanity with love, selfless services and prayers instead of becoming factories that produce hate preachers and hate mongers that see roguish, thieving politicians as role models. With such attitude, our large church buildings in Nigeria will continue to be where people merely gather to pray to get visas to enable them leave Nigeria for countries without churches in search of jobs and comfort.
–Cham wrote in from Abuja