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HomeExecutive BriefFuture of Christianity in Nigeria is in peril

Future of Christianity in Nigeria is in peril

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OLUDARE MAYOWA
BY OLUDARE MAYOWA

Christianity will soon go into extinction in Nigeria, mark my word, as it happened in Turkey and in some other countries hitherto populated by Christians, the same fate await our faith in this country if care is not taken.

You may be shouting ‘God forbid’ and even raining curses on this writer for his prediction, but the reality that stares us in the face showed that this generation may soon lose the privilege of serving Christ in Nigeria if care is not taken.

From a post-mortem of the recently concluded presidential primaries of the two major political parties in the country, it was glaring that while many Christians are sleeping or at most keeping vigil in their churches, praying for the installation of the righteous, their counterparts in the Islamic world were on the field mobilising supports for their own brethren.

In fact, many so-called Christians were at the forefront of people vilifying Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for daring to contest the primary against his ‘maker and the finisher of his faith.’ They even wax the melody of calling the vice president ‘a betrayal’ who is not worthy of trust.

Many of them constituted themselves to a gang of potent opposition, reeling out conspiracy theories that negate Osinbajo’s conviction to run and clamouring to demonise the vice president in a bid to discourage his campaign bids.

All these were done mostly because of pecuniary gain, like Judas, they collected their own 30 shekel, but this time around it’s dollars to sell off their own for one of the children of the bound woman.

Unlike some members of MURIC and NASFAT, two prominent Muslim organisations who were busy mobilising resources for their own, Bola Tinubu, working underground to raise support and wipe up religious sentiment in support of their own.

Unfortunately, our brethren in faith are the foot soldiers deployed by these smart groups to preach their own ‘gospel’ against our main commission.

For every encounter I had with members of the two Islamic organisations, I was left with no doubt of their preconceived minds and tenacity to see that their own have the upper hand at the expense of more competent hands.

They even deliberately engaged many so-called ‘Hallelujah singers’ to parrot their message that their man is the right person for the job.

Members of these two organisations clearly positioned themselves to ensure that their own carry the day and devoted huge resources to achieve their objective.

But what did we see from the so-called sons of Abraham? It was the treacherous denigration of their own by promoting deliberate falsehood narrations to ensure that their own fail to clinch the ticket of his party.

The same scenario played out in both the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries, though it was more prominent within the ruling party fold.

I am ashamed of those who know the truth but choose to sell their own brother for a morsel of a meal, call it naira and dollar; you won’t be off the mark.

Now that the primaries are over, they do not yet relent, these same set of people are the ones again rubbishing the well-thought-out principle of religion balancing in our politics, which is the offshoot of the federal character principle enshrined in our constitution.

Since the advent of the democracy, each political party has consistently observed this principle that if the presidential candidate is a Muslim, his deputy will automatically be chosen from among the Christian fold, the same principle is also observed if it is the opposite.

But again, not done with their briefing from their ‘hero of democracy’, some sons and daughters of Abraham, the professor of Christ have gone all out to promote a so-called principle of ‘merit’ rather than balancing.

Their claim this time around is that their chosen candidate could choose his vice presidential candidate from the same religion he belongs to, that such does not really matter as long as it promotes competence and merit.

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What a shame, what a disgrace to people who are always ready to be bought over, those who are not firm in their own faith, believing that there is no member of their faith that possess such sterling quality from the north to occupy the position of the Vice president.

In their warped mind, it’s their belief that faith has no role to play in governance as long as the person chosen is competent, can pull the needed votes and merit it.

I had the opportunity to respond to many of such people who are promoting this reckless tendency on social media, believing that they are doing their master’s bid.

To them, it was not enough that President Mohammadu Buhari a staunch Muslim will be completing his eight years in office by May 29, 2023, and that his party has decided to replace him with another Muslim. It was not enough for them that the main opposition party has equally sold its presidential ticket to another Muslim, who also has the probability of becoming the next president, thereby putting the Christian fold at a great disadvantage.

Before you concluded that I am a Muslim hater, let me remind those who may not be aware that long before many people bought into the vision of bringing Buhari into power, I was one of the very few who had supported his candidature with the belief that his reign will bring prosperity and security to the land.

In 2015, I spent both my money and energy to promote his ascendancy to power without expecting any pecuniary gain or patronage from him. Am I hearing some people saying that after all I had work against a Christian candidate in the person of   Goodluck Jonathan in time past; yes that was true to a large extent.

However, the circumstances are not the same; Jonathan was the architect of his own misfortune because he deliberately sold us to slavery in other to retain power. His incompetence was never in doubt because of the manner of his tolerance for corruption and misrule.

Again, the dynamics of the politics then favour a change and Nigerians were looking for a competent person who would turn things around without compromising the future of our country. Unfortunately, things turned out the way it is today.

Besides, I am not averse to a president who is a Muslim so far such person merit it and possess all the characteristic of a good leader with such person is also able to balance both the geopolitics and religious tendencies in the country in the composition of the government.

A lot of water has, however, passed under the bridge, like the saying goes. Nigeria is in dire need of redemption with the way and manner Christians have been persecuted across the country by some followers of Mohammed, toying with Muslim-Muslim tickets will be counterproductive.

While the issue of religion has never been a factor in the past in southwest Nigeria, the myth has been broken with the solidarity of both MURIC and NASFAT for the success of Bola Tinubu’s ticket during the APC presidential primary.

In time past, both Islam and Christianity cohabitate in the southwest in peace and unity without any discrimination, however today the story is gradually changing with the shift to the left by the extremists among Muslims, who now consider Christian as rivals in the dispensation of political office.

The recent killing at a Catholic Church in Owo Ondo State is fresh in our memories, likewise, the kidnapping of the prelate of the Methodist Church and the threat to Christian Churches in the country coming from anti-religion harmony are food for thought.

Unfortunately, the Christian folks are still behaving like an ostrich, burying their heads in the sand and playing ignorance of the changing times; they have refused to ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’

Playing into the hands of the politicians will ensure the fast disintegration of the Christian fold in Nigeria and before we say jack, the line between believers and unbelievers will be blurred by those who have become so liberal to lose the essence of their faith.

My counsel is that the few who are still committed to their faith should not take the threat being faced by Christianity in the country lightly, we should rise up to let the whole world know that we have as much stake in this country as other religions group.

The kits being flying around by some APC supporters that Muslim-Muslim tickets would be acceptable to the Christian community should quickly be countered by our leaders and those of us within the political circle. We should let them know that any attempt at sidetracking Christian in the consideration for power balancing will spell disaster for any political parties that dare to do that.

In resolving to allow power to shift to the south, the northern governors elected under the ruling APC had stated thus:

“After careful deliberation, we wish to state our firm conviction that after eight years in office of President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC for the 2023 elections should be one of our teeming members from the southern states of Nigeria.

“It is a question of honour for the APC, an obligation that is not in any way affected by the decisions taken by another political party. We affirm that upholding this principle is in the interest of building a stronger, more united and more progressive country,” the governors submitted.

We should realise that the same principle that supported the power shift to the south should also ensure that the power equation should be maintained “in the interest of building a stronger, more united and more progressive country.”

Any attempt to discountenance the Christian factor by any of the two major political parties would spell doom, not only to their ambition but also to the well-being of the entire nation.

Having come to such a conclusion to cede power to the South as a sign of fostering unity, it would be unconscionable for them to want to have a Muslim-Muslim ticket, which would challenge their earlier resolve for a balanced ticket.

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