- On the 21st of March, 2022, a certain Prof. Farouq Kperogi, published an expository article, on www.farouqkperogi.com; with the conclusion, that due to the open identification of Mr. Osinbajo, the Nigeria’s vice president, with his major obligations of proselytisation as a Christian pastor of the Redeem Christians Church of God; If ever elected president of Nigeria, come, 2023, he will plunge the country in to a major, religious civil war! And to be fair to Kperogi, he made his, a fully referenced thesis!
- Yes! I will not want Osinbajo as Nigeria’s president come 2023. But Kperogi’s conclusion as what Osibajo’s presidency can do to Nigeria reads like a fiction. It ignores the underlying issues bothering Nigeria right from conception, upon which all meaningful dialogue about its future and people will do well to rest.
The Real Nigeria:
- Nigeria is both a system and a circumstance. It is not terrific as a system and can do with a lot of panel beating for it to work straight and produce the much needed results. This I have written alot about in the past.
- But as a circumstance, it is larger than life. It is overwhelming. It stands for nothing and so it crushes anything (ideology) or body( fanatical persons) that comes close to it, convivially wishing to actualise themselves through the social vehicle it provides. Nobody or thing has been able so far to rise above it as a circumstance.
- In 1999, when a southerner, Obasanjo, was elected president, a good number of Northerners thought they lost forever in the Nigeria’s intricate internal power dynamics. Just as many southerners joyfully celebrated the eventual defeat of the Northern oligarchy that permeates the best part of the country’s narrative since inception.
- Muslims thought they have lost to Christians, just as Christians believed and openly celebrated their victory with Obasanjo joining Sunday services, covered by live broadcast stations, at Asorock Villa for the first time, after long years of Muslim leadership!
- Yet with all these victory celebrations by the Southern/Christians; mourning defeats by the Northern/Muslims, Nigeria did not give itself completely to Christians or Southerners as could not marginalise Northerners or Muslims completely. In fact, it ended up dashing itself to Northerners/Muslims in 2015; leaving Southerners/Christians yawning and whining!
- In fact the thesis can be very strong that argues, that Southerners/Christians are the major beneficiaries of Northern/Muslims rule now. Just as can be argued so, that the Muslim/Northerners were the chief beneficiaries of the 16 years of, mainly, Christian/Southern rule (1999-2015). They had Sharia. The rule ended with them getting power back in 2015 despite everything.
- Nigeria as a circumstance ridicules and embarrasses every ideologue. If you are a capitalist you fail at complete deregulation of its institutions that capitalism requires you to. It doesn’t allow you take off the subsidies totally!
- Nigeria can’t tolerate a thorough bred capitalist leader without making him heavily compromise.
- The same way if he is a socialist. He will see self hiking VAT and reintroducing toll gates again on the major highways. Socialists or capitalist by the time they leave office, they would hate themselves, wonder if the Asorock Villa demons story once told by Dr. Reuben Abati, was an understatement or under report.
- If you are a Muslim cleric either, Nigerian leadership or political appointment can make you to be seen to be acting antithetical to your conviction at every other time. You will be seen to be withdrawing your past statements and apologising for non-aligned behaviours at different points.
- Nigeria will force you to give accounts of how many non-Muslims you work with even as domestic staff. In fact before you leave office, a dispassionate assessment of you would search for every value you once stood for, prior to the appointment or election, and see a capital nil.
- If for some reason Osibanjo, is able to become Nigeria’s president come 2023, I strongly believe that Nigeria as a circumstance, will not treat him differently.
- It will not be kind to him. Instead of throwing the country into the pit of religious civil war, Nigeria will strip him off of any value his first constituency, the RCCG and the whole Christian clergy hood, see in him before!
The Real Truth:
- The strength of Nigeria is in its greatest weakness. Lack of ownership. No culture, faith or ideology owns Nigeria. Nigeria even kills, ridicules or frustrates its own avowed patriots. It treats them like it treats, capitalists, socialist, Christians or Muslim fundamentalist. Nigeria, what is it? What does it mean?
- It is possible for a polity to ridicule all or some other economic and liberal ideologues and ideologies and continue to survive, waxing stronger on all modern indices of life as is evident with China of today, despite the way it treated western type of democracy!
- But it is not possible for any to keep ridiculing popular priests of major national religions, which by extension, means ridiculing the nations foundational ethos, ideologies or philosophies. And yet the nation, continues to project for itself a healthy future.
Towards a better Future:
- Nations as circumstances are shaped and coloured by a time tested socio-cultural Weltanschauung. This no matter how secular they may claim to be. Britain is, USA is, China is, India is. Britain is Anglo-Christian; USA calls itself, Western Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
- China is Han as India is Hindustani. Iran is Parsi-Shiite-Muslim nation and Saudi Arabia is Arab, Sunni Muslim. What is Nigeria?
- For this country to be made into a malleable circumstance that can accommodate and sustain life nurtured by friendly ideologies and ideologues; an identity rooted in cultures and values need to be given to or deliberately created for it.
- One relevant suggestion, worth citing to reflect the concern of the present conversation, is a one, that can be obtained from the admonitions of the late Shaykh Abubakar Gumi. It posits, that Nigeria is an alliance of Muslims and Christians. Therefore all public policies should fairly reflect such notion in a deeply harmonious way.
- This means even debates in our national assemblies will be premised on, “Because we a Muslim and Christian nation…”
- Even at this, also we should be like all other nations, now or in history, where positions of rulership or leadership are jealously separated from that of a clergy or priesthood.
- Should one choose to become the moral conscience of the society, as a clergy or priest, then he should have no business ruling or leading the state. This has been the tradition in Sokoto Caliphate that was the Nigeria’s institutional forerunner! The Imam can’t be the king. In case he wants to, then he has to stop being an Imam.
- The current practice sought to be established by either Pantami, the country’s current minister of Communications and Digital Economy and also the Vice President Osinbajo, is a gross misnomer that is capable of harming the practice of the their faiths in the country and deepening the dysfunctional nature of the country.
- This position is what I laboriously elaborated in my two past essays: 1.Northern Nigerian Muslim Clerics in Politics: Shaykh Pantami and the Lessons from the two Wazirayni of Zazzau (1935 – 56)! 2. IRAN: Democracy, Theocracy or Democratic Theocracy?
- These are part of the reasons also, I say, no Votes for Osinbajo even if I don’t believe his becoming Nigeria’s president at this moment can really plunge us into a Civil war. I believe a combination of roles of a cleric and a politician in one person, only endangers the collective conscience of a society rather than straightening and strengthening it.
- Political space is where the ideal almost perfectly represented by a clergy meets the reality in its crudest form of savagery, it is meant only for the souls of those who are naturally compromised, to meet their Lord only on the template of His mercy, not near perfection of the sainthood!