WHEN WILL THIS VICIOUS CIRCLE OF HATE, TRIBAL AND RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY CEASE. By Olajumoke AB

“In quarreling about the shadow we often lose the substance”.-Aesop (620-560 BC)

In 2016, when MP Aman Khan became Mayor of London, a Nigerian Pastor sent out a post, that it was the culmination of a 25 years plan to islamise London by the worldwide Muslim organisation. Unknown to him, Khan is as British as they come. He was born in the U.K, and went to the best British schools, has been an MP representing Tooting, 2005-2016, and shadow Minister in the Labour Party, 2010-2015.

After Theresa May’s recent resignation announcement, several members of the Conservative Tory Party announced their intentions to seek the office of Prime Minister, among whom is Sajid Jarvid, current Home Secretary, since April 2018, and former Director of Deutsche Bank, and a Conservative MP since 2010.

Again another Nigerian pastor posted on social media his outrage at such ambition of a Muslim to become the British Prime Minister.

I responded that he is ignorant of the British political system, culture and way of life. Over 85% of those who elected these two Muslims MPs are white British Christians.

But to a typical Nigerian Christian with our zeal to show off our Christianity, a Muslim should never be allowed to hold such sensitive positions in a predominantly Christian country. They regard it as an abomination. Our prevailing “Hate Muslims siege mentality”.

I have even heard some Nigerian claim that the white people are not as religiously pious as we Nigerians, when all factual evidence shows that in all our actions, and speeches, there is nothing godly and loving, the two most important tenets of Christianity.

I lived in Riyadh Saudi Arabia, from 2011 for a few years. I like to share two narratives.

It is often a source of wonder to us Nigerians living there; when any time the Prophet Mohammed is depicted negatively in Europe, we hear of riots, burning of churches, killings in the Northern part of Nigeria, and not a whisper is heard in Riyadh; whether the Muslims in Nigeria are more Muslims than those in Saudi Arabia, the kin of the Prophet.

The second is Boko Haram claim that Western education is taboo; education is free at all levels in Saudi Arabia, and intelligent and interested students who wish to pursue further studies in any western countries are given full scholarship. So if the seat of Islam accept western education, where did Boko Haram come up with the taboo ideas?

I cannot remember in the history of Nigeria, any period of length, that is devoid of hate, bigotry and hypocrisy.

Hausa/Fulani hegemony; Ibo sharp business practices, domineering attitude, kidnapping, money rituals; Yoruba laziness, money rituals, betrayals; Niger Delta laziness, warlike stances, threats of mass expulsions of certain tribes, the list is limitless.

It seems we are forever at war with each, we are forever blaming each for the same evil we ourselves perpetuate, we are always looking to outsmart each other politically, economically and physically.

There must always be something to fear out there. Rituals killings, snatching of women panties for rituals, kidnapping, religious killings, cultism, fuel shortage, strikes, road accidents, building collapse, ethnic and tribal scrimmages and the last recent, herdsmen killings.

To listen and hear the narratives, you will think Nigeria is the only country in the world that is perpetually at war with itself, and sometimes for the most stupid and mundane of issues.

If these extremely nagging and negative narratives is only carried out by the poor and uneducated, you could excuse their ignorance, but to hear supposedly well educated people spew out the same poisonous garbage is destabilisingly disheartening. It makes one wonder if one is living in a country of the insane, the dead or the half living.

At one time, hate was directed against the Ibos, then we were all against the Hausa/Fulani, then the Niger Delta avengers and now we are all against Buhari and the Fulanis.

The Christians leaders will incite their followers against Muslims, the Muslims Imams will incite their followers against Christians. Both religions will condemn the traditionalists, who can’t openly condemn either religion, because a lot of the members of the two religions also worship at the alters of these traditionalists, so I guess they are caught in the middle.

Surprisingly, none of the leadership of these religions ever impresses on their followers that God never created any religion, because for the followers, the desire is not to seek after knowledge of God and His ways, but to seen to belong to “a living church”, the orthodox churches are believed to be dead. Hmmmm.

It is universally accepted that most actions of human beings, are based on two factors, fear and greed. That we all exhibit this traits in varying degrees, is also universally accepted.

But in exhibiting these two traits, one must recognize that there are always two sides to any issue, no matter how thinly it is sliced.

One must therefore in all we do, factor the fear, and greed of the other side. That is the only way to have a balanced and objective approach to issues.

It is also universally known that religion is man made, and not God made.

Anything made by man is subject to manipulation, misrepresentation and evil. Since the average Nigerian is not willing to do research and discover things for himself, and only rely on what others say, he is easily hoodwinked. He would neither study his bible or Koran, yet, he will talk and act as if he has all the knowledge.

When finally, the scales fall off from his eyes, and he finds out that he has again been taken for a ride, he simple shrugs it off, unperturbed and goes about his business to repeat the circle all over again on another issue.

The situation is most often repeated in each individual states and zones. In Ogun state, the Egbas and Ijebus are sometimes at war! In Kaduna State,the Hausa/Fulani, against the Bwari tribes/ southern Zaria. In Ondo State, my Ondo North Senatorial District, the Akokos will gang up against the Owo/Ose for political and economic dominance and vice visa.

THE QUESTION THEN IS,

When would all the hate, tribal and religious bigotry end?

When would we see that there is progress and success in numbers if there is love and cooperation? When would we understand that merit bring progress and success? When would we understand that parochialism, tribalism and religious intolerance retard the progress and success of a nation?

UAE, Dubai is an Arab Muslim country, but their development is better than most European countries, because they have refused to allow radical Islam to take hold in their country, they have attracted western investors, who have invested massively in their development.

Compare their development also to their radical Islamic Arab neighbouring countries!

The Chinese have over a billion people in population, with diverse ethnicities, and no official religion. They don’t pray to start meetings, and don’t allow any religious sentiments in their society. Today China is the second most successful country in the world. The USA itself, the number one nation in the world is made up of all peoples of the world, with diverse languages, religions, cultures, and race.

What is the use of all our religiousness, when it does not reflect in what we do or say to our neighbors? What has been the benefit of our tribal bigotry if it does not bring development to our preferred enclaves? What is benefit of our hate of others if we are truly serving the living God.

I leave you with this quote:

“There are two kinds of light, the glow that illuminates, and the glare that obscures”.-James Thurber.

Which of the light do you follow?

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