by Victor Ehikhamenor

If religion is actually the opium of the masses, Nigeria is over-drugged right now and waiting to pass into oblivion. People of a nation have the right to practice whatever religion they choose, but that does not mean a people have to govern the state with the laws of that religion. The laws of a particular religion are only applicable to the believers of that religion in their domain, be it church, mosque or synagogue.

Nigeria has a constitution (the last time I checked). In this constitution, there are laws and bylaws with which the country is governed. There are pockets of other laws in her states that are answerable to the Federal Government. Sharia is not one of such laws.

After the British plundered Nigeria and went home to the queen with bounties, they coarsely yoked different peoples together as a punishment for demanding their own independence. A house that has no foundation will yield to a minor breeze, and that is where we are now.

Looking at Nigeria the different ethnicity that constitute her, even a dunce in a coma will know the North and South are different in every way one can think of. Politically the north believes in the oligarchy of the emirate, a far cry from the different kings and chiefs that rule in the south. Yet, the British, as clever as they claimed, did not take this into consideration during a diabolical amalgamation. Majority of the northern states have only one religion, Islam, while the south has a million and one different religions including Christianity and all sorts of traditional worship.

Now the northern hegemony has saddled the entire country with a law that has no bearing on an established constitution, and all President Obasanjo has to say is that Sharia will fizzle away.

That is sad. Sharia may not be as deep as a well or as wide as a church door, but in no time our children will be reading in history books of a country formerly known as Nigeria. The proponents of Sharia claim that Christians will be tried in regular courts, implying that Sharia does not apply to non-Moslems. My question is what if a dispute is between a Muslim and a non-Muslim, whose law prevails?

I have never seen one finger touch oil without spreading the sheen to the other fingers, and the only way to curtail the spread of the oil to other fingers is to yank off the affected finger.

For the past 30 years Nigeria has been able to manage a rickety peace, so to speak, not taking into consideration the score of people that have died due to one obnoxious regime or the other. That peace right now is like a ripe boil, waiting for the tiny kiss of a needle, and we will be buried in a war that will see all West-African nations in deep peril.

Sharia was last used in the 1900s when there was nothing like the entity called Nigeria and the North and South were distinct entities. This is the 2000s and yesterday’s law is not applicable to our nation. I cannot measure the number of steps we will be taking backwards if we surrendered to Sharia. If every religion decided to adopt its law, Nigeria will be the Tower of Babel. I am sure an Alhaji will be really perturbed if he realized he couldn’t practice polygamy in a predominant Christian state.

For Nigeria to be in the forefront of progressive nations, I believe Sharia should be kept in its nice scrolls and the nation should be ruled according to the stipulations of the constitution. We are in no need of a substitute that is tantamount to secession, the same ill that wasted the lives of a million people during the Nigerian civil war. Unfortunately, we have no million innocent souls to sacrifice to a senseless war anymore.

We should not forget that those pushing this bitter medicine down our throats have raped Nigeria for so long, they can jet out to Britain and other nations in no time at the outbreak of war. The only blood that will flow ceaselessly to wet the dusty streets will be the common man’s. Like the poor women they are sentencing to death in the most hideous way conceivable.

Nigeria should be working towards reconstructing a nation that has been plundered into a quagmire by greedy and deranged juntas since independence. We decided to rule ourselves since 1960, but we are still crawling and falling. Now that we are beginning see the rays of hope and restore democracy, no matter how crazy, some party poops are inventing monkey wrenches to plunge us into a darker dungeon.

I am not against Sharia if you practice it in your bedroom with your wife and family, but Nigeria is not an individual’s bedroom. Nigeria belongs to too many people and we have a common law that has served us for the past 40 years. If some of her hardhearted citizens think to hell with Nigeria’s law and Sharia has come to stay, then I think it is time we split the country before heads start splitting. If Sharia is so plush and so necessary and will put food on the table for millions of hungry citizens of the states practicing it, let them go form their own Federal republic of Sharia. I will not call a Sharia nation my country neither will my children. Enough is enough and Southerners are tired of holding the cows’ horns while others extract and drink the milk. If we can not live and co-exist as one nation, we sure can be happy as neighbors and someday maybe Nnamdi will shake hands with Mustafa across the border.

President Obasanjo should not daydream that Sharia will fizzle away. He has to either repress this wild fire and refrain the country from this threshold of chaos – or remove his civilian Agbada and dust off his military uniform. I hope they still fit.

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