In life, the worst miscalculation a group could make is to take the patience or tolerance of others for granted.
As an individual, I hold the opinion that Nigeria as amalgamated by the British in 1914 could stand tall in, not only Africa, but the comity of nations.
With our geographical size, population and human capacity, there is hardly any economy that Nigeria can not sustain. Besides, the country is abundantly blessed with natural resources.
Though very heterogeneous by composition, our diversity, if properly harnessed, should have been our major source of strength and, may be, pride.
Taking advanced cognizance of human nature, our post amalgamation founding fathers articulated and meticulously bequeathed us a Constitution that had in mind our diversity.
Our Constitutions, especially that of 1963, have always had and presented Nigeria as a secular state.
Being a secular state means that Nigeria has no state religion. Citizens are fundamentally allowed to practise the religion of their choice.
As we could sincerely attested to, nothing is as sensitive and volatile as religion. No wonder, our founding fathers allowed it to be a matter of personal choice.
In Nigeria, there are different types of religion; Traditional, Christian, Islamist and Jewish.
In a secular state, government has no business trying to impose one religion on any citizen. As long as the religious practice does not inhibit the fundamental rights of other citizens, government’s attention is never drawn to its mode of worship.
Christianity and Islam are two major religions in Nigeria. While Christianity found its way into Nigeria through the western zone and spread by European Missionaries. Islam came through the North. Islam has its origin in Arabia.
The methods adopted for the spread of the two religions by those that brought them to Nigeria differ basically. Christianity was spread through evangelism, persuasion and conviction. On the other hand, militancy and brutal force, otherwise known as Jihad, were the method of spread for Islam.
It was by military conquest that Uthman Dan Fodio subdued Gobir and converted it into a Muslim Sokoto Caliphate in 1804. By 1808, Islam, by conquest, had taken over katsina, Kano, Nupe and Illorin.
In spite of Nigeria’s purported secularity, some leaders of Nigeria of northern extraction, have tried or been trying to upset the religious peace of the country.
In 1986, General Ibrahim Babangida, a self-styled Military President of Nigeria, unilaterally and dictatorially dragged Nigeria into membership of Organization of Islamic Co-operation. I vividly recollect that mere expression of ignorance of Nigeria’s membership of OIC cost Commodore Okoh Ebitu Ukiwe his position as Chief of General Staff(Vice President)under President Babangida.
Other Military Heads of State who came after Ibrahim Babangida deliberately sustained that membership, not minding it’s sensitivity.
Boko Haram insurgency in the North of Nigeria, particularly in the North-East; a religious volcano that has eaten too deeply into Nigeria’s resources and still counting, is Islamist and has desperately been fighting for an Islamist caliphate in that region.
From the same Islamist propensity, the Fulani herdsmen, all Moslems, have been waging and sustaining wars against Christian farmers in North-Central and Southern regions of Nigeria. It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Christians have not only been killed by these Muslim herdsmen but heartlessly butchered. Yet, no single arrest has been made.
To add salt to injury, the Federal Government of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari, a core Moslem, through the Nigerian Education Research Council; a parastatal under the Federal Ministry of Education headed by Prof Adamu Adamu, a core northern Moslem, has, without consultation with key stakeholders, changed the curriculum of secondary schools in Nigeria.
Because Nigeria is fashioned as a secular state, practitioners of different religions in the country establish their schools through which they inculcate their beliefs in their children.
Christians, the world over, worship God Almighty, believing Jesus Christ as their Intercessor.
In Christian Missionary Schools, Christian Religious Knowledge is taught in order to sustain the faith. In junior classes in Secondary schools, CRK is compulsorily taught.
Jesus Christ is the pillar upon which Christianity rests. Any person or body that tries to force or deceive the Christian not to believe that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God is only attempting to sow the seed of cataclysm in Nigeria.
According to the Prof Adamu Adamu new curriculum of education, Christian Religious Knowledge has been removed and replaced by Islam/Arabic studies and French. Christian Religious knowledge will only be mentioned as a theme in Civic Education.
The trick here is that between Islam/Arabic studies and French, many secondary school students, in the absence of teachers of French, would opt for Islam/Arabic studies.
This is a crude way of phasing out Christianity in Nigeria and, in it’s place, imposing Islam on Christians. We know that whatever is fed the mind at its tender stage is what it grows to accept.
As a Knight of the Anglican Communion and being a defender of the Christian faith, I am duty-bound to join Rev(Dr) Sampson Oyekunle; the President of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, who led a protest yesterday against this illegal and potentially explosive imposition of an Islamist Curriculum on Christians, to say no to this horrible and horrific imposition.
Islam has continued to constitute a threat to the unity, safety and progress of Nigeria.
For those who may query if Nigeria’s unity is not threatened by the activities of Indigenous People of Biafra, Niger Delta Militants and Odua People’s Congress, my answer is very simple. These groups are either agitating, in a non-violent manner, for referendum or true federalism.
The desperation and manner in which Moslem leaders in Nigeria seem hell-bent in wiping out Christianity could leave an irregular signature on the Nigerian project, if left unchecked.
Those who think this write-up makes sense, could quicken it’s circulation by sharing it. We must say a capital No to this aberration. Enough Is Enough!
Okwubunka of Asa.