My attention has been brought to the news story credited to the leadership of the South-South zone of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), that President Muhammadu Buhari is planning to Islamize Nigeria.
Chairman of the Christian group, Archbishop God-Dowell Avwomakpa, in a news report in The Vanguard Newspaper was credited to have said “the Vice President (Professor Yemi Osinbajo), was talking tongue in cheeks, reiterating that the plot by President Muhammadu Buhari Government to Islamise Nigeria was real, urging Osinbajo to cross check his facts well before making public remarks on the issue.”
Another school of thoughts even said President Buhari intends to do such through back door by using the Sukuk Islamic bond. While they may be deliberate in spreading falsehood and misinformation via the media, it is important to note that the difference between Sukuk Bond and other bonds is that if you invest in Sukuk bond, you earn no interest.
As sad as this statement appears, it is unfortunate that leaders of Christian bodies have decided to focus its mind on an Islamic agenda, seeking and finding it in every action, or inaction of the government. Rather than take its rightful place. Christian leadership has been reduced to ethnic and religious discussions in the media.
The fact still remains there is no agenda to Islamise Nigeria and no one could possibly do so. The Christian leaders who are supposed to be at examples of the teachings of Christ are now fast becoming harbinger of false alarm and prophet of dooms.
Their continuous charade of sentiments emphasizing islamization whereby no one has been forced to renounce his faith for islam or faced persecution for allegiance to his choice of faith has again rebuff their daily cry of lies and misinformation.
Let’s also begin discuss on the Christian agenda. Can these Christian leaders boastfully say there is also no agenda to Christianize the country when the Book of Mark 16:15 reads: “…Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Same Holy Book of the Christians commanded Christians to love their enemies and bless those who curse them in Matthew 5:44-45: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Why then are the present Nigerian Christian leaders going against the teachings of the son of God by preaching hate and divide?
Or has our Christian leaders forgot that the key to the unity and progress of Nigeria is in the church, which is the pillar and ground of truth?
It is the church that is imbued with the revelation that: there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
All through the book of the Acts of the Apostles, all that was recorded was how the disciples were beaten, disrobed and stoned to death. Yet these disciples made things happen by turning the world upside down. Centuries after, the gospel is as powerful and transformative as when it was first preached.
But what we hear today, instead of the gospel, are cries of war; those telling us from pulpits that our enemy is a physical one who must be destroyed before he destroys us. Every time it is repeated in a Christian gathering it excites applause. Yet there it is, completely contrary to everything in the new covenant of Jesus Christ. Is this also not another way to Christianize the populace?
The Nigerian elite – political, business and religious – regardless of ethnicity, think alike, and are driven by largely similar motivations.
Playing the religious or ethnic card when necessary so as to get the masses in line is the grossly cynical default tactic of our elite. While they get united looting our shared resources, they tend to divide us using religion and ethnic.
A perusal look at any list of alleged perpetrators of a heinous case of corruption will again reiterate to anyone that corruption knows no tribe, ethnic and religion. All groups are well represented. Neither, by the way, is extreme poverty parochial in its incidence. The conspirators include Christians and Muslims from all the geopolitical zones.
They are in governments, the legislature, the judiciary and the press. They are united, they protect each other, they fight for each other and they are prepared to go down together. They are one tribe, indivisible regardless of diversity. It is this tribe that confuses the arguments for change in society.
As Vice President Yemi Osinbajo rightly noted, “to build the new Nigeria, we need a new tribe; a tribe of men and women of all faiths, tribes and ethnicities; that are committed to a country run on high values of integrity, hard work, justice and love of country.
“A tribe of men and women who are prepared to make the sacrifices and self-constraints that are crucial to building a strong society. Who are prepared to stick together, fight corruption side by side, and insist on justice even where our friends are at the receiving end. A tribe consisting professionals, businessmen, politicians, religious leaders and all others who believe that this new Nigeria is possible.
“Righteousness, the Bible says, exalts a nation. This requires a new way of thinking, a new leadership corps, a new tribe. The challenge today for us all, friends and colleagues, is to populate that new tribe.”
Olusegun Adedeji, a Public Affairs Analyst, writes from Abuja, Nigeria.