Religion vs Common Sense: Are Nigerians Blinded By Faith?

Religion vs Common Sense: Are Nigerians Blinded By Faith?

Once again,'s constant guest contributor Hussain Obaro, from Ilorin, Kwara State, talks about how religious thinking affects the mindset of Nigerians. We must not be blinded by any sentiments while choosing our leaders, and especially ahead of the 2015 Presidential election in Nigeria, Mr. Obaro says in his opinion article dedicated to the religion vs common sense debate.

"The developed nations have realized that God had already given them all the necessary tools to create a 'perfect' society. Meanwhile, the undeveloped nations have refused to leave God alone, expecting Him to come down from heaven to fix their problems. This is the major difference between the developed nations and the undeveloped or developing ones.

"No doubt, like any other developing or third-world country, Nigeria is a highly 'religious' country. Millions of Christians and Muslims often turn out en masse to their various places of worship and are not shy to signify and identify themselves with their religions.

"Of course, there is nothing really wrong with being religious. This would have been the case with Nigerians, too. If only they were ready to adhere strictly to the tenets of their faith. If only they did not allow religion get in the way of collective common sense and national interest.

"As a 'religious' country, Nigeria has refused to realize that God cannot and will not do what a man can do himself. We would often ask God to help us change our leaders,but we already have the power to do that through by using of our voter cards. We beg God to end corruption and the culture of governmental impunity. We urge God to help us build well-equipped hospitals. Some would even ask God to help them get their wives pregnant, to provide them with a house even when they could not afford it. Instead of uniting and putting heads together to brainstorm how best to put a permanent end to the killings, maiming and bombings by Boko Haram, we continue to call on God to help us fight insurgency. We all sit back and play the blame game and politics, as usual. Nigerians are blinded by religion.

"When someone steals goods worth less than a thousand naira, or a wallet with five thousand naira, they could be beaten, even tortured to deat, by an angry mob. This is because we regard stealing as unacceptable in a 'religious' society like ours. Similarly, in states where the Islamic Sharia law is practised, petty criminals are often made to bear the full wrath of the law, while, ridiculously, the big-scale criminals, whose loots usually run into tens of millions and billions of naira, are celebrated and honored in mosques. Criminals are the ones who receive chieftaincy titles and reserve front seats in religious houses. They get all of this all because they pay huge amounts as tithes and donations to their churches and mosques. So, are Nigerians being religious, or hypocritical?

"Since the Independence, we have had both Christians and Muslims at the helm of affairs at one point or the other. Yet, our dear country remains where it is today. Unfortunately, adepts of different religions are still calling for enthronement of a member of their faith into political leadership positions in Nigeria.

"Christian groups in Taraba State have rejected a Muslim governor after governor Danbaba Suntai was involved in an accident. Protests followed the ascension of a Christian as the governor of Kaduna State. The clamour for a Christian governor by some Christian groups in Lagos State cannot go unmentioned at this juncture. Multiple similar conflicts demonstrate the extent to which we have allowed ourselves to be unnecessarily agitated and influenced by religion.

"Nigerians are still guided by religious considerations rather than common sense while selecting and electing political office-holders. Too many don’t really care if a particular aspirant is morally upright, honest, accountable, or God-fearing as long as he is an adherent of their own religion

"What do we Nigerians need? We need a society governed by the rule of law, free of corruption, where the provisions of the Constitution are upheld to the letter. We need a society where crime and terrorism are brought to the barest minimum, a society with the provisions of basic infrastructural amenities (like portable drinkable water, good and motorable roads, well-equipped hospitals, good schools and affordable educational facilities, food security). A society with minimal employment level. A society in which security agencies are not harassing citizens but rather effectively secure lives and properties. We need a society with the peaceful atmosphere.

"Now, to achieve this, we have to be guided by common sense instead of unnecessary religious sentiments. It's time for us as Nigerians to begin to elect and vote leaders not on the basis of religion or ethnic group they belong to, but for their past records, their uprightness, incorruptibility, integrity, and moral standing.

"It's high time Nigerians began being guided by common sense in electing our leaders. It doesn’t matter if a Christian or Muslim is the president of this country. We should judge a person by their capacity to deliver good governance and quality leadership, to govern in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the rule of law, their ability to create jobs and provide basic infrastructural amenities. It doesn’t matter if the president is Yoruba, Nupe, Igbo, Hausa-Fulani, Tiv, Ijaw, Itsekiri, or Ebira. All Nigerians want is good governance. And... God bless Nigeria."

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