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Friday, 14 August 2015

Fighting Religion With Religion

It was only yesterday that I posted about Nigeria's president acting as a cleric, and his 'exemplary' leadership format has been picked up by the Adamawa state governor who has approved the sum of 200 million Naira (about $1m) to be paid to prayer warriors who will be mandated to seek divine intervention for the Boko Haram menace. Adamawa state, along with Borno and Yobe states have been the hotbed of the terrorist group's carnage which led then president Goodluck Jonathan to declare a state of emergency in all three states last year in a bid to truncate their terrorism. It was, of course, unsuccessful. The prayer warriors are, not  surprisingly, of islamic extraction, Adamawa state being a majority muslim state.
General Sani Abacha, Nigeria's despot between November 1993 and June 1998 when he died in the midst of Indian prostitutes, was notorious for his romance with marabouts imported with tax payers' money from West African countries such as Burkina Faso and Senegal. They were ostensibly hired to ward off the opposition and illnesses (he reportedly had a serious liver condition as a result of his alcoholism) and were, as one would expect, muslims.
The prayer warriors who would benefit from this largesse would have been christian if they had been hired by the state government of any of the 17 southern majority christian states, with the probable exception of Nigeria's former seat of power, Lagos state, which has just elected its first christian governor. This $1m is money sorely needed by the state to fund education which is what Boko Haram (a loose translation of their appellation being 'western education is taboo') is against. The terrorist group, with known ties to Al Qaeda, wishes to implement sharia law across Nigeria, and also see an end to secular education and schools.
The northern part of Nigeria is unfortunately educationally disadvantaged as successive governments have deliberately failed to prioritze education. They have instead 'invested' in islamic schools, and so it is no surprise that Boko Haram inevitably flourished in these parts. They have also had no trouble with recruitment and support, and coupled with the deep seated corruption in the immediate past government of Mr Jonathan, became a rabid enemy of the state.
President Buhari has said that "if Nigeria does not kill corruption, then corruption will kill Nigeria", but I would like to rephrase this by saying that "if Nigerians do not kill religion, then religion will kill Nigeria." The way Adamawa state will be governed in the next 4 or 8 years is already clear for all to see. I would, very sadly, like to predict that the current Adamawa state government will do the minimum for education under the pretext of combating terrorism. Those who have been elected to run the affairs of this most unfortunate of states will be smiling to the bank as they misappropriate state funds while the educational  future of the state remains bleak.
Corruption and religion go hand in hand in Nigeria, and the action of the Adamawa state government only confirms this. It will be delusional for us to want to fight corruption if we do not combine this fight with that of religion - its siamese twin. Nigeria's success is inextricably tied to the elimination of religion within its borders. President Buhari's anti corruption war will fail if he does not simultaneously wrestle religion, but he cannot and will not, being a man of faith himself. It is therefore safe to say that Nigeria will continue to grope in the the darkness of religion and corruption, the final nails in Nigeria's coffin. A word is enough for the wise.

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