Religion, Politics Nigeria’s National Unity


All human lives are sacred. Nigerian lives are especially sacred to me.

This means that the taking of a life, a Nigerian life, by anyone, is the ultimate heresy, the ultimate blasphemy and the most egregious sacrilege! A Nigerian taking the live of another Nigerian, is the most unpardonable blasphemy, heresy and most damnable sacrilege!

What then could possess any Nigerian to kill another Nigerian? Why do we kill ourselves in the name of any religions? Or in the name of cults or shrines? Speaking for myself, personally, I find the fact that I am a Nigerian worth all the celebrations in the world! I am bashful in my Nigerian-ness; it is for me, actually stronger than any form of organized religions, or any of the usual formal religions. It is stronger than any faiths, cults or shrines!

Nigerians have been proclaimed as the most religious people on earth! But what is Nigeria’s benefit in this? How be it that Nigerians are feverishly religious, some Nigerians are quick to display their passion, their fervor, emotional and emotive reactions to religious issues and debates? Some Nigerians are even known to display such emotive expressions and tones, about religious matters, bearing on the irrational and fanatical.

Some Nigerians are known to gyrate so ferociously about religious matters, and yet, they would not do the same for Nigeria’s national interests? They would not show similar or identical fervors and passions regarding the protection and preservation of Nigeria’s national unity! But why?

Nigeria is unarguably permeated with high rate of crime and insecurity, there are reports of armed robberies, there are these cases of intractable corruption phenomenon, there are cases of 419ers that have given Nigeria a public relations black eye on the world stage.
Where then, are the majority of Nigerians who are very deeply religious people? Where then is their positive influences on public morality and public policies?

Are some of them faithless in their ostentatious claims of religiosities and moral certitudes? Is what we have then, merely, proclamations without practice of norms?

Some Nigerians kill other Nigerians because of religious fervor and religious fanaticism? And, I surely have no patience for any Nigerian that would kill another Nigerian, for religious “reasons” more like religious unreason!

How can anyone or I, reconcile religious fervors and passions that are frequently on display by Nigerians, with unthinking killing or murder of fellow Nigerians in the name of any religion? Isn’t that like loudly proclaiming your virginity, while carrying visible pregnancy?

I do not know of any holy book that encourages crime or immorality. All religions seem to have obvious auto response in the advocacies of moral and ethical life styles for its adherents. So, one may rightly ask, from which populace do corrupt Nigerians come? Would a good Christian, a good Muslim, give a wink and a nod to crook? 419er or looter?
I would hope not! How then does any true Christian, true Muslim, explain our malaises?

Nigeria’s national unity is crucial for our national development. Just as crucial as the elimination of corruption. I constantly therefore get very impatient with issues that separate us as a people of one national citizenship.

I have always wondered, what it would take to create a stronger and indivisible bond between all citizens of Nigeria. Would a foreign war do the trick? During the schism between Nigeria and Cameroon over Bakassi Peninsula, I wanted Nigeria to prevail in the dispute with Cameroon over that territory. At some point, I wondered whether a war, as undesirable as wars are, I wondered whether a war by Nigeria with Cameroon over Bakassi Peninsula would have spurred Nigerians to love Nigeria and each other more?

My rationale or reasoning was that, Nigerians and Nigeria, faced with an external enemy, may actually, forget and jettison petty squabbling between Nigerians, based on the politics of religion, region and ethnicities. I have always wondered, whether facing a national catastrophe, national disaster or cataclysm of immense proportions, could stimulate our sense of oneness, nationalism and patriotism.

Nigerians in my experience have in the past been united by grief, tragedies and catastrophes. I remember how Nigerians from every conceivable religion, region and ethnic backgrounds, rallied and united in sympathies and commiserations with fellow Nigerians in Bakolori, Sokoto State, as Bakolori farmers, during President Shagari’s administration, had become victims of government’s forceful actions, against these Nigerian farmers who had resisted the confiscation of their lands for a federal project

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Olusola February 3, 2009 - 6:42 pm

The view of one who has witnessed these killings can certainly not be disregarded! I am Yoruba and I live in S/w Nigeria. so I have not witnessed them. I hope I wont when I go for NYSC next year!

Julius June 22, 2007 - 11:24 am

The religious fanatics in Nigeria definately see it differently from your own view Mr. Paul, go to the north and you will understand, I was born and brought up in the north, I personally witnessed many religous killings which sometimes are very senseless, take for example, if the US is engaged in war with a Mideast country we then in Kano shivers because our muslim brothers in Kano can wake up one morning and turn the matchete on the southern christians as if I'm an american. I remember just because Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was coming to Kano to preach all hell broke loose, right in front of me a young southern lady was stoned to death, I was lucky then because my hausa was flawless and of course I dress like them. Recently during one of their recent religous killings my dad's childhood friend was murdered and chopped into pieces, we still couldn't recover the complete body parts for burial. I really don't blame the al majiris carrying out this killings I blame the so-called northern leaders who uses these people to achieve their political ends, remember Buhari's comment then that muslims should not vote for a christian leader. If you think Nigerians will put their religious differences aside to forge a better nigeria think again Sir. I love Nigeria but I strongly believe that Nigeria will be better off as separate but united, what do I mean I prefer a loose federation where each region will take care of it's own while contributing a percentage to the center. This might just work better for us, how long I ask will some sections of the country continue to maim and kill the other sections without retaliation. Certainly not very long. A loose federation in my view is better than what we have right now, in fact since we've practised this United Nigeria for long without any visible result, then ket us try something else. Why do we keep working on an engine that has refused to start can't we just buy a new engine and get this equipment moving. Like I said I love Nigeria but I certainly don't mind a loose federation if that will bring development and growth which the country so desperately need. I rest my case. God Bless Nigeria(United or Loose).


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