DO NIGERIANS REALLY KNOW GOD/ALLAH? (Alternative version: DO NIGERIANS REALLY WORSHIP GOD/ALLAH ?)
I have been pushed to the wall by the things happening in Nigeria and I am left with no choice than to ask this question.
Please my dear readers do not crucify me by labeling me an ‘’Anti- Christ’’, rather take a deep breath to meditate on my points. However, I do not care if I am called Anti-Christ or whatever because I have strong reasons for my views. As part of introduction, it may be necessary to give you my background details. I am a Nigerian born in the northern part of the country, my parents are from the east and I had my university education in the southwest. I am a Christian but not a fanatical one and things must be logical to make sense to me.
Above I mentioned that I have been pushed to the wall, what are the things that pushed me to the wall?
1. Does God make people leaders through election rigging? Each time criminals rig elections in Nigeria and subvert the will of the citizens, uninformed Nigerians will say that God has made the criminals leaders, hence no one should challenge the leaders, and rather one should pray for them. This belief is manifested both among Muslims and Christians. I as a Christian do not share in this belief. In the synagogue of Nazareth Jesus paraphrased His mission by quoting the prophet Isaiah: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me; he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor, and has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to bring deliverance to the captives, to give sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are bruised, to announce the acceptable year of the Lord" (Lk 4:18-19). We can see here a reference to the close relationship between the mission to preach the Good News and the necessity to be alert to the needs of our brethren relating to social and justice issues. At this point I can summarize the missionary of Jesus Christ to be ‘’Peace and Justice on earth, and Salvation hereafter’’ .
Based on the Biblical backing: -
- How can one reconcile the belief that God made people leaders through rigging which involves outright filling of result sheets without voting, adding of figures behind or in front of the authentic figure as was done in Ekiti state, killing of people by using thugs and even security agents?
- How can God make somebody a leader who will later loot a state treasury?
- How can God make somebody a leader who will assassinate others if they express contrary opinions?
- How can God make somebody a leader when the person does not possess the minimum qualification specified in the constitution or electoral laws? Does it mean then that God encourages forgery?
- How can God make someone a leader when He knows that the man will bring poverty, diseases, sufferings and other afflictions to the people?
- How can God allow worst election to be held in Nigeria after people claimed to have prayed in Churches and Mosques?
2. Are the self-acclaimed men of God sincere ? I wonder if anybody has ever thought why so many Nigerians claim to be religious (both Muslims and Christians) but still things are not working. I have on a given number of times asked this question and I always get same stupid answer, ‘‘it could have been worse’’. The answer is stupid in the sense that it cannot be benchmarked with any best practice. Before the advent of the so called born again syndrome and Pentecostal churches in Nigeria, the crime rate was far less than now. I will illustrate my reasoning using a mathematical model. If I superimpose two graphs: ’’ a plot of crime rate versus time ‘’ and ‘’a plot of number of churches versus time’’, to demonstrate that religion is playing any positive role, I expect to see the two plots going in opposite directions. This implies that as the number of churches increases so will the crime rate drop. However in Nigeria situation it is opposite hence the so-called religious leaders are only interested in material gains. If this conclusion is not correct why the following: -
- After the fraud in 2007 called elections, why didn’t religious leaders condemn the sham, the only exception was the Catholic Bishops conference of Nigeria.
- Pastor Enoch Adeboye explained that even though he spoke on Obasanjo’s emergence as President and his re-election, he “kept quiet on the third term,” because it ran contrary to the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. I think it is very dishonourable for a self-acclaimed man of God to keep quiet when an issue that affects the well being of the masses was being discussed. So much evil was committed in Nigeria because of Obasango’s third term. Where is the justice, which was part of the missionary of Jesus Christ?
- While the Church in South Korea has made an impact on the society, we cannot say the same of Nigeria because our ministers would rather dine and wine with corrupt government officials and stand before their parishioners to tell them how important they are and how they met with the president of honorable this and that, the very things the prophets of old condemned. Nigerian ministers would rather carve out empires, build castles and empires, ride on the latest Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) made in America; they call them Jeeps in Nigeria or take all sort of names. In fact, it is no secret now that highly placed ministers do isolate themselves, seeing themselves as supper ministers. They now call themselves apostles or the apostolic leadership meeting. Of course, we know that the real apostles were missionaries and not name seekers like we see today [Rev. Suleiman Dankano, 2007]
- Nigeria is the most religious nation but with spiritually deficient and least godly people. It was at the same Pentecostal church that their pastor, Akanni, INEC’s Director of Finance and Supplies, acquired some seven billion naira. No wonder, an American Pastor Benny Inn was defrauded and cried out that his Nigerian hosts were 419 criminals [Religious , yet ungodly]
3. What does practical manifestation of knowing God entail? I am asking this question because I have heard many people saying that Nigerians know God or worship God more than Oyibos (white people). They went further to claim that our people are even teaching the white people about God / Jesus Christ. In their judgment knowing God in Nigeria is manifested in the following ways: -
- Preaching and distribution of religious tracks on the streets.
- Praying loudly in the night and thereby disturbing your neighbours
- Pasting of religious stickers all over their cars
- Having one hundred churches in a street.
- Saying ‘’bless you’’ to whoever cares to listen
- Using religion to practice nepotism in work places or in business arena
However if I compare a given town in Nigeria with a typical town in Europe, I can come up with the following: -
- Europeans do not know God but conduct electioneering campaigns by sharing balloons and flowers while their counterparts in Nigeria use AK47 and acids
- In many places in Europe people do not have window and door protectors while in Nigeria there is even protectors on the ceilings
- Corrupt people in Europe are usually tried and jailed while in Nigeria they are given national awards and they sit in the front row in the churches provided they pay their tithes.
- Europeans who do not know God have provisions for the poor people and there are adequate provisions for the disabled people. In Nigeria the self acclaimed men of God drive SUVs while the majority of the church members are dying of hunger. This reminds of my friend who attended a church service and at the end, he had no money to transport himself home because they were asked in the church to dip their hands into their pockets and to remove anything called money. Immediately this was done, smart guys came around with polyethylene bags to collect the whole money. My friend and others were promised that God will double it hundred fold. To the best of my knowledge nothing has been doubled, talk less of hundred folds.
- In Nigeria the self acclaimed men of God use heavy security to protect themselves against people whom they have cheated or their rivals because they are in personal business. I am not sure if anybody has asked why the Catholic Bishops or Cardinals who control larger flocks compared to the Pentecostal pastors do not use security or live life of affluence? Jesus Christ or his apostles never had security.
- Europeans do not know God. Why are their countries better planned than Nigeria? Why do many self acclaimed men of God now acquire properties in Europe and spend a lot of time there to enjoy themselves because of good amenities. What have the so called men of God done to enthrone genuine democracy in Nigeria? Without genuine democracy, we cannot have a meaningful development.
4. Can God do everything for Nigeria? I am asking this question because I have observed that Nigerians ascribed everything to God. Sometime ago I went to an ATM machine belonging to GTB to cash some money and found out that the machine was not functioning. I was very annoyed and was walking away when the security man told me that God will help the machine to function the next day. I told the guy that the functioning of the machine has nothing to do with God, rather a manifestation of human failure. Also one day I took a public transport and immediately the journey took off, prayer warriors started casting and binding against frequent road accidents, which they claim were being caused by the people in secret society. I was dumb founded at their ignorance when the roads have potholes coupled with vehicles having worn out tyres. The mechanical parts of some of the vehicles are almost falling apart and once the vehicles hit major pothole, the next event is accident. Nobody is looking at this angle and I do not believe that prayer can solve this problem.
Also I do not believe that God will come down to solve our problems. In my opinion I think that God is not fair to some countries. He gave us so much that we cannot think again. God gave us so many things: - Mineral resources both solid and fluidized ones, good weather, good vegetation and energetic human resources. It is left to Nigerians to say enough is enough to bad rubbish.
I will conclude this write up by saying that we should make religion to wear human face by ensuring that it brings justice and peace on earth. We should learn to ask questions about things happening around us. We should not allow selfish people to turn us to morons. In 2003 general elections, some selfish people used religion to campaign against Muhammadu Buhari claiming that Obasanjo was a born again Christian and that Buhari will Islamize us. Today we are in a mess for propagating falsehood and I hope people have learnt lessons.
Finally to achieve success we should do 90% work, then 10% prayer. Let us always ask ourselves why is Nigeria not progressing upon the amount of prayers, which people claim to be offering. We should not be complacent about Nigeria affairs, challenge your religious leaders when they go astray. During elections, let us make sure that we vote and equally protect our votes. We should challenge election riggers, praying alone cannot stop them. Let us remember that what we make Nigeria is what it will be. Do not worship money in your churches. Do not respect people who live above their income, go ahead and report them to EFCC, even if EFCC will not act upon it.
Pastor Adeboye, E.(2007) ‘’ Obasanjo avoided me during third term bid’’ ‘’The Punch25/06/2007’’ [Online] Available from: http://www.punchontheweb.com/Articl.aspx?theartic=Art20070625247159
[Religious, yet ungodly] [Online] Available from: http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/columnists/onabule/2007/today-3-aug-2007.htm
[Rev. Suleiman Dankano, 2007] ‘’Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s Prophetic Fallacies’’ [Online] Available from: http://www.gamji.com/article6000/NEWS7612.htm
Okonkwo Paulinus N.