By BASHIR ADEFAKA
“For many years now, I have criticised Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for allowing itself to be at the centre of misrepresented security situation that we have. Because, when as religious leaders all you can do is fill the hearts of your followers with hate against system and followers of other religion, you are yourself guilty of the very foundation of the crisis we have.”
It is great we now have social media platforms that consolidate our individual resistance to all of these religious designs to draw us back as a nation, which is a particular parasite I, like many others, have spoken and written against.
We did this to the point that some people looked at us as being involved in writing religion, which they think as Journalists we should not do. This is the problem.
Last weekend, some Christian bishops and pastors took a protest to American Embassy to tell their “customer daadaa’ another story of how Christians are being caged in Nigeria simply because of Muslim-Muslim ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). It is their right to protest although it shows their inadequacies as acclaimed clergymen. Every man of God must learn to respect God by not subverting the process of constituting a national government.
What those bishops did badly that cannot be acceptable to any God-fearing soul is the lie they went to the American Embassy to tell. Knowing that Muslims will continue to refuse to be dragged into waywardness of being seen as doing counter-anything before Embassy of a country that, by now, needs Nigeria like any other country more, they repeated the falsehood they told to their US Senators in a bid to get that country blacklist their own only country, which presidential ticket they now want.
They said, “Dear Ambassador, since the return of democracy in 1999 in Nigeria, the tradition has been a Muslim-Christian or Christian-Muslim paring by all political parties. And this has to a large extent, ensured religious harmony in the country.”
This, to a large extent, exposes the bishops because, in their letters upon which those US Senators acted, they said Nigeria’s Federal Government under President Muhammadu Buhari was using the military to kill Christians and that, generally, Nigeria is a state at war with Christians. They also claimed existence of intolerance towards Christians’ freedom of religious practice.
If the claim lately that there has been religious harmony between Christians and Muslims since return of democracy in 1999 is correct, and of a surety it is correct, where then did they get the information of state at war with Christians and intolerance towards Christians from, which they told their American lobbyists?
Moreso, it is insult to the Sovereignty of Nigeria that Christian leaders would always take the lead in reporting the country to any foreign country so that what will happen from that country to Nigeria? If they are not ashamed, there are millions other citizens who are, and who would want them punished for ridiculing the country they own together, before some members of the international community who, themselves, by now have their own hands full.
And it is undemocratic of those religous leaders to want to dictate or impose their self-will on the APC when they know that they have their own political party they will vote for. CAN, since 2015, has neither voted nor mobilised its members to vote for APC.
In Osun State, at the just concluded governorship election, these religious leaders saw that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did Christian-Christian ticket but went ahead and voted for it, which was not the reason APC lost anyway. APC lost the election because of unresolved wrangling within its ranks.
That was why PDP’s Christian-Christian ticket won in Osun. But those religous leaders saw all of that, anyway, they kept silence and are running to tell their American lords why and how Muslim-Muslim ticket will destabilise Nigeria. We shall see if it is the squirrel that owns the farmland or the trap.
The same people, who created Directorate of Politics in Churches to produce a Christian President were they that went to engage some US Senators to say, in Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari’s main stay in power is using the military to kill Christians and they cited Boko Haram insurgency that has largely Muslims as its victims, widely condemned unIslamic mobbing to death of Deborah in Sokoto and attack on Catholic Church in Owo, my own home state of Ondo, as their evidence.
For many years now, I have criticised Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for allowing itself to be at the centre of misrepresented security situation that we have. Because, when as religious leaders all you can do is fill the hearts of your followers with hate against system and followers of other religion, you are yourself guilty of the very foundation of the crisis we have.
Then the Muslim-Muslim ticket. The fire that comes out of it. The protests by some Bishops and CAN. In Senegal, a predominantly Muslim country, a political party produced Christian candidate. Not only that the Muslims did not complain but also they went ahead and voted for the Christian, who is currently their President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the country.
The question is, why is it that when things work globally and continentally, they have no effect in Nigeria? Religion. When sometimes ago I gave in one of my write-ups statistics of Nigeria’s problems as 10% politics, 20% ethnicity and 70% religion, somebody said, “No. It is 100% politics”. I insisted that I knew what I was saying. They have now played out.
Why is it that Christians, from the point of view of CAN’s Christianity practice, cannot live together in peace with Muslims in Nigeria? It is a big problem that needs be trashed. I am a member of the press but I have criticised – even to the face of some of my former editors – why some of the roles they play sentimentally standing with CAN on this basis should not be.
Inside the same country, scores of millions of Muslims feel cheated by Western oriented media as they take side with Christians and therefore will spark at anything Islam or Muslim as demanded by CAN. They will do selective reportage to suit their own side of faith and you also have some others, who should reason with issues raised therefrom, bring up fruitless argument that pays neither themselves nor the country.
You have them agree with Muslims only when Muslims fight the wrong doings among Muslims, which is okay. But when you fight evils in others but allow the evils in you to grow and thrive, you ignite fire in the nation system, which has potential for consuming only you at the end of the day.
And these are things they give as excuse for their anti Muslim-Muslim ticket. Fear of the impossible. President Muhammadu Buhari was presented by CAN in 2015 as one with Islamisation agenda to convert all Christians to Islam and make Nigeria Islamic State. They also said he had Northernisation and Fulanisation agenda to take over all Southern land spaces and give them to his Fulani tribesmen to breed cows.
All of these did not happen, yet, in 2019, they organised themselves and stormed the streets in nationwide protests they call ‘prayers outing,’ well covered by the media, doing what? Telling Nigerians not to vote for any Muslim or Northern Candidate in the 2019 election. That was an election where Muslim-Christian stood across tickets of all the parties. They had issues.
They did it to the extent that Governor Nasir el-Rufai got angry and did Muslim-Muslim ticket, when, despite Muslim-Christian ticket, they still troubled his state of Kaduna. Presidential they failed to stop Buhari. Kaduna, el-Rufai showed them the right of way.
Since 2015, they have made religion a source of political unrest, killings, hate and whipping international sentiment against their own country. Ahead 2023 now, it is why Muslim-Muslim ticket must not happen. What is the trouble with CAN?
And this is where I don’t support those who criticised the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) for crying out loud. To me, MURIC is only being a reactionary effort to CAN’s decades of plots against Islam and Muslims’ rights in Nigeria. How do you beat a person and still blame him or her for crying out loud? This is the point.
And you have some big media, listen to how some of their Journalists (I mean broadcast in most cases) ask questions, you feel like going to war saying, “Why do you ask questions in order to put words into people’s mouths in favour of one side?”
I was watching video of a television interview granted by Presidential Candidate of Action Alliance (AA), Major Hamzah Al-Mustapha. Whereas the retired eloquent speaking Army officer said many great things that Nigerians require to consider in choosing from among the candidates for 2023 presidential election, all the television can lead its bulletin on YouTube with is “I have no regret for serving Abacha”, yet, such television would be quick to ring bell again and again, favouring attacks on Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is sad the role of some media practitioners in nation building and the making of a great Nigerian leader via election process.
There must be something wrong with some Nigerians, if they have problem with Muslim-Muslim ticket. Even the inexistent fear they expressed cannot be justified except that all I see is deliberate injury to oneself by his own hands and utterances.
Imagine that in Nigeria’s records of leaders, Senator Kashim Shettima either has gotten no equal or stands amidst the best few, in terms of ensuring equality, especially in a mixed society of Muslims, Christians and tribes. But they kept those good qualities of Shettima in the dark and start telling their American lobbyists why Muslim-Muslim ticket will destabilise Nigeria. How?
They keep breaching the provisions of the Electoral Law with this attitude of theirs and we have a country where security agents paid to enforce laws have continued to sit or sleep on duty as they do not act against them. As a testing ground for showing capacity, all of those numbered Bishops and pastors that protested to American Embassy last week with placards “Say No Muslim-Muslim ticket in Nigeria” must be arrested. Nowhere it is done.
*WAKE UP is opinion article column of Isolo, Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State Prince, Lagos based Journalist and publisher. Reach him via his email: firstname.lastname@example.org