CAN NIGERIANS MAINTAIN EQUILIBRIUM IN BETWEEN RELIGION AND DEVELOPMENT?

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We can boast of the biggest churches in the world, we can also boast of one of the biggest mosques in sub Saharan Africa! That is it. Nigerians are very religious, we love praying and love hoping for miracles ! The two dominant faiths in the country commands millions of followers and many worship centers springing up on per diem basis. But, the economy staggers or walks in a snail pace. I have never seen a dilapidated church. I have seen hundreds of dilapidated schools.

In my home town, the schools are rotting away while church buildings are growing bigger. No industries, just churches.

I once told someone that if the churches in Port Harcourt were to be transformed into industries, unemployment will vanish within one year and crime will be brought to a screeching halt. He agreed.

Truth is, if a politician asks a certain village what they will prefer to be built for them, chances that they will chose a church will be higher.

Doubt me? Gitto in a bid to show appreciation to former President Goodluck Jonathan, asked him to chose one thing they will build for his village people and he chose a church. I don’t know if there are world class hospitals in Otuoke or standard schools but he chose a church.

I also know that the former governor, DSP Alameiseiya died on the way while being ferried to University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) when he had a heart attack. In the whole of Bayelsa, no hospital could handle emergency situations. Remember that this is a state that has one of the highest revenue or allocation as a result of it’s vantage position in oil and gas. The government, the private hasn’t even considered to build a world-class hospital and the religious houses ( the state is made up of 98% Christians ) don’t even know if it is imperative to build one !

In Abonnema sometime ago , a young man mistakingly shot by security personnel attached to the area died on the way to the same UPTH in another state !

Follow East-West road to Bayelsa and Warri. If you happen to have an accident on that road stretch, the nearest hospital is UPTH and chances of survival is narrow. The road is bad. But there are hundreds of churches along that road yet kidnapping and rape, killing etc is the order of the day.

From Port Harcourt to Aba, you only find casket companies along the road. If you happen to have an accident. You will be ferried to those casket companies for swift burial. Yet churches litter everywhere. What are we even talking about? This is the level of madness we have gotten to. We have taken religion to a ridiculous level.

Buhari runs to mosques on Friday and run straight to London hospital on Saturday. Are we normal?

Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy president of the Senate invited Presidents, ministers, Senators etc to the opening of an Anglican Church he built for his village people. Schools there are in tatters.

Vita Abah, former PDP chairman in Enugu built a gigantic Church in his village. Community secondary school Ede Oballa is nothing but an eyesore. His children are abroad.

In the North, a governor once used 600 million naira to hire prayer warriors and imams to pray against boko Haram attacks. The same state had disease outbreaks that led to multiple deaths.

In the same North, Governors spend millions on recitation of religious texts while the schools are dying. They also spend millions on emirs and imams. One reportedly bought a 600 million naira house for the sultan of Sokoto in Abuja earlier this year. He is among those saying that he can’t pay 30k minimum wage. Imagine the nonsense.

This is in a country where teachers are paid peanuts. But they all have one thing in common: all their children are schooling abroad while they make sure yours go to church every day.

Go to your village and see if the biggest buildings there are not religious houses. How does a nation develop without the education of the citizens? Education is empowerment. It opens doors. An educated mind is a liberated mind. A religious mind is a shackled mind. Or didn’t you read of the attack inside Nigeria Law School because someone felt someone abused Mohammed? In Sokoto, I saw it first hand.

The truth is: if I become the president of this country one day, I will ban religious activities in the schools. No religious houses will be found in university campuses. I schooled in University of Nigeria and I know how students’ church activities distract academic activities.

In this same country, government pay hugely for people to go Mecca and Medina to stone devil and to Jerusalem to talk to the Wall. How much development has that brought us? How has that reduced religious tension in the country? Only an unwise person will not see how our government is dashing money to other countries through these journeys. The government has no business funding it but this is Nigeria.

This is same country that has never met the UNESCO prescribed 26% annual budget for education.

You see! I am not against anyone fighting for the church but how the church has benefited the country should be a topic for rigorous academic exercise.

A nation that cannot educate its citizens is a rogue country. A nation that pays more attention to religion instead of all round education of her citizens is a rogue and mediocre nation.

If you want to truly understand the politicisation of religion in Nigeria, watch how they never utter a word against misrule in Nigeria. If they talk, politicians will stop donating money to them abi you think that it is your 5000 tithe that built the largest church auditorium in Nigeria?

Nigerians are opening churches while Chinese, Lebanese etc run our economy.

Prince Ifeanyichukwu Emmanuel

 

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