Sharing my thoughts and putting my message accross
To the objective mind, the Christian religion in Nigeria today seems to embody a story that is yet to be told to a generation that is struggling to identify the goals, functions and aspirations of this religion. In a corporate society like Nigeria’s that has been smashed and battered to its barest fabrics, this is a daunting task. When I set out to write the book “Africa’s Diabolical Entrapment”, I was determined not to give the Christian religion any semblance of wholesale condemnation in the face of the socially and politically useful moral values that the religion incorporates to the benefit of any society that cares.
Today, like a few years ago, when I commenced the project of doing that literary discourse, the motivating factors that drove me to its completion are still persistent. In fact, they have significantly worsened.
The trouble no longer ends with robbers and kidnappers going to Church every Sunday to pray for God’s guidance and assistance in the execution of criminal and murderous projects. It does not end anymore, with criminals paying stupendous amounts as tithes to their gleefully excited and highly gratified pastors and preachers. No. The game has gone far beyond.
If I reported authentic instances of unbelievable and mundane pastors in that work, if I discussed fraudulent pastors and corporate tricksters in the glittering robe of peace and the bling-bling flash of splendor, today I can only talk about preachers and pastors, who have taken the game to the very foundation of the edifice that they seek to destroy.
To my readers, who expressed appreciation for my efforts in that work and told me how informative they found the work and enjoyed reading it, I owe you all a big apology.
I apologize for highlighting the unique position of the Catholic Church in Africa, which seemed clearly shielded from the racketeering mischief of new generation Churches that seem to have metamorphosed from the traditional blend of the Cherubim and Seraphim of old. Today, actors within the Catholic enclave seem to have long quietly devised a means of concealing their own version of racketeering behind the mask of ordinariness and avoidance of fraudulent sensations in the performance of miracles.
Indeed, I will make bold to say that Africans precisely Nigerians, do have reasons enough to express gratitude to the self-imposed men of God, whose stock-in-trade is flamboyance and the public display of silver and gold and jets and coats. They show us who they are and save for a few gullible and helpless minds, they are known to everyone else for their insatiable greed for material wealth and larceny based on sycophancy. They were not the least, very visible at the seat of power advancing prophetic and treacherously divine justification for all ills and evils in the last political dispensation under the Presidency of Mr. Goodluck Jonathan.
Not just a few observers suspected that many of these counterfeit men-of-God enjoyed gratifications from political sources and saw nothing wrong in being pampered for the nurturing of political support base at the expense of the tax payer’s resources and labor. But no one knew for sure, the prevalent modus operandi. In all of these, the Catholic Church soared high and enjoyed a level of respectability that shielded it from public scrutiny.
It all began to change however, when one Reverend Mbaka cried out that attempts were made to have him launch a money-induced political campaign laced with spiritual cronyism to garner support for the now defunct government of Goodluck Jonathan. He mentioned names. He mentioned locations and even mentioned amounts. None was denied.
We knew then that a lot happened behind the scene that did not meet the eye and Reverend Mbaka’s pronouncements lent more credence to the belief in the uniqueness of the Catholic Church.
Unfortunately however, this illusion began to break apart as early as May 2015 shortly after euphoric hopes began to mount on the potential cleansing impact of a Buhari administration. None other than one elderly and hitherto highly respected Cardinal Anthony Okogie fired an initial shot warning Nigerians not to expect much from the then President-elect Muhammadu Buhari. He hinted at the possibility of a selective probe. It sounded mundane and absolutely normal at the time coming from a Catholic Clergy.
Barely a few months into the Presidency of General Buhari in September 2015, however, this same Cardinal Okogie came out again with a call to stop the public castigation of looters of public funds. In his view, the solution lies simply in calling such thieves to a national dialog probably for the purpose of reaching an honorable understanding for a meritorious award.
Then came another Cardinal Kukah shortly after, decrying what he regarded as an undue focus on anti-corruption measures to the detriment of what he considered other ‘important tasks of governance’. Till the present moment, he has failed however, in credibly explaining to Nigerians, what more important task of governance former General Buhari has sacrificed to the war against corruption amid dwindling national revenues.
As if that was not sufficient, a third Catholic Cardinal – a position that qualifies the Clergy to contest for Papacy – came out to inform Nigerians that the war against corruption will get nowhere if the government failed to flirt with religious leaders and secure their favor (probably like Goodluck Jonathan did).
What is most noticeable in all of these though, is the absence of outrage at the huge amount of looted public funds that are highlighted in the daily headlines. The commensurate collapse of public infrastructure and the glaring destitution of a complete nation with huge initial potentials do not seem to drive these men mad in the height of their elevated podium. Yet these voices are the voices of the moral instance of society – or so we thought – coming from within a religion that is known for the Mother Theresas of this world and a serving Pope, who stands out for abjection and humility.
They do not cry out and appeal to the conscience of the looters and launch an unsolicited campaign for voluntary submission to amnesty. No. Not a bit of that. They do not apologize on behalf of the looters, for the lives lost in conquerable insurgency. No. Not one bit. They lose no thought on instituting an unsolicited moral campaign to educate the minds towards virtues and fallacies. All that matters to them is the integrity of the thieves of our commonwealth.
Then it dawns on me to ask if Africa is doomed and condemned to the shelters of Charlatans even in religion. Do they worship a different God in Africa than does the Pope in the Vatican? What favor have these voices hitherto enjoyed that is presently taking its toll on their standard of living and self-exaltation? For short: Are we dealing with Pharisees in Cardinal skins?
It then beats my imagination so badly to figure out that a section of our intelligentsia does not only condone and identify with these fundamental evils, they also come out in staunch defense of such elementary folly. This hardly catches me off-guard though, since the group dynamics that has been driving the concept of Anti-Buhariism in cyber space, seems to be robbing individuals of the urge to summon the need for a deeper rethink of shallow positions.
Yes. Any scholar of Social Pedagogics will smirk a bit hearing the phenomenon of ‘group dynamics’. It is this social phenomenon, which gives an individual a sense of security and reassurance, when acting in the company of like-minded individuals. He will do things that he wouldn’t have done left to himself. The need and urge to rethink one’s position is often obliterated in the face of empowering solidarity. I know many individuals, who invest a lot of personal capital in elevating their intellectual profile. What the simplistic, skewed and in part, tribal identification with Goodluck Jonathan has ended up doing to these individuals, however, now looks like a perpetual damage to their faculty of simple intellectual perception.
They are driven by the sheer number of people on the social media, who share this lower stratum of intellectual challenges with them and do not care anymore, to give a proper scrutiny to the positions they represent for a basic commonsense compatibility. The number of people, they are able to team up with, gives them the needed psychological reassurance that they are simply holding a “different” and not a “fundamentally flawed” position that basic logical reasoning would hitherto, have forced them to think about. This indeed, has also galvanized a desolate President Jonathan (who ordinarily, should have retreated into solitude never to be seen or heard for the time being), into truly believing that he has a genuine place not only in the good books of Nigerian History but also in international reality. The weighty burden of the mess he plunged the nation into does not seem to have dawned on him quite yet.
And then there is this position trending these days that the President has morally desecrated the image of Nigeria by admitting in overseas trips that his priority presently lies in cleansing the deeply-rooted rot in his own country. Many who hitherto, have spent their time and energy pondering over serious issues now seem to have found time to promote the efficacy and sanctity of a worthless state of denial.
Hearing this simplistic and superficial postulation, I asked myself if people truly expected a meaningful and purposeful cleaning of our own home with the assistance of outside forces that have served as safe sanctuaries for looting and exploitation if we simply took to denying the obvious and papering over the filth and stench. Who doesn’t know how rotten Nigeria is? To whom will that be news for the love of Mike? Is there anyone in his true senses, who actually believes that Nigeria can recover from its present disaster without assistance from outside forces? Not the least, the recovery of loot is proving this otherwise. Is it now that we fear the collateral impact of the vociferous vampires in economic and political superpowers? The same superpowers that housed loot from the Atikus and Iboris of this world! All these happened before the war on corruption was declared. The looting and exploitation had desecrated the image of the country badly enough and everyone knows from Abuja to Zurich. Who should then be the foolish and hilarious Statesman to go around the world denying the obvious?
It is precisely at the back of such elementary and pedestrian logic and reasoning (that no one indeed, should ordinarily, be wasting his/her energy upon, who is serious about moving forward) that the Pharisees in Cardinal skins conceal themselves from the glare of reason. They appeal to the gullible, who are ever ready to swallow anything that makes shallow sense hook, line and sinker, without in-depth consideration.
Going at this rate, however, I’m afraid Nigeria will be doomed. Yet I have my hopes that the new direction will fathom a rescue path that will make generations smile even after we quit the stage.