If any difference exists between Boko Haram and Christian evangelisation in Africa, it is a tactical one. One is stuck with the use of mindless physical violence while the other deploys mind-bending psychological violence. The latter is the more dangerous because it is insidious. It is like the proverbial mosquito perching on your balls. This danger has been manifest lately in the trickling repudiation of our traditions by those very anointed custodians of our heritage. In their confusion and disorientation, these distressed elders begin by repudiating their old selves to acquire imagined new identities. To show proof of their new causes, they constitute the vanguard of a destructive force thrashing hallowed traditions and customs that define our humanity and our core essences as a people. Their infinitely pliable mindset that is completely incapable of critical resistances reflects what may be described as our demonstrated high gullibility quotient as a people. Accordingly, the struggle for emancipation, implying identity validation, in its various expressions has remained the constant preoccupation of Black Earthlings in more contemporaneous times. The struggle, in practical terms, is a resistance to the vassalisation of the identity of the black humanity. The global black universe is thus engaged in a three-cornered struggle to protect the integrity of his being and spirit against marauding Boko Harams and the more insidious ever crusading Christian evangelisation.
The crisis that has engulfed the Kingdom of Warri today is symptomatic of the state of the deleterious spiritual condition of black humanity. It is a crisis that has been long in coming. The immediate pandemonium in Warri follows the decision of the traditional custodian of the Kingdom’s heritage, Ogiame Atuwatse II, to renounce and denounce his title Ogiame, having convinced himself of Jesus Christ as his personal lord and saviour. Also, in the first week of November, 2012, a similar pandemonium broke at Ogbagi-Akoko, in the Akoko South-West Local Government Area of Ondo State when youths of the town chased away their monarch, the Owa of Ogbagi, Oba Victor Adetona, from the palace for his refusal to approve the yearly celebration of the Ogun festival. The Owa had flagrantly objected to all pleas for him to respect traditions and the culture of the people and had vowed that as a born-again Christian, he would never indulge in or encourage such traditional rites throughout his reign. In fact, there has unfortunately emerged an Association of Born Again Traditional Chiefs, who appear to be choreographing these seemingly isolated odious cases of spiritual defections. The main objective of this association is to subvert the integrity of traditional institutions with a view to ultimately declaring their kingdoms as cleansed for a nebulous white god. It is the expression of the more sophisticated and subtle tactics of Christian evangelisation in Africa that it is the traditional chiefs that are publicly defecting in the final capitulation to foreign understandings of the cosmos and the ultimate spiritual whitening of their kingdoms. This reveals the weaknesses of the explicit physical violence adopted by the Boko Harams as merely crude. It, at the same times, reveals the sophistication of the methods Christian evangelisation and western forces in commissioning the very custodians of our tradition to destroy our true essences as a people.
This insidious approach adopted in Christian evangelisation is manifest in all our human endeavors-from a spectrum of the economic, through the social, the political to the religious. In the economic realm, the experts talk of dependency syndrome. It is an arrangement contrived to keep us as economic vassals to our foreign lords and masters. To assure this they deploy the services of expert economic hitmen to ensure our continued dependence. John Perkins provides a compelling narrative of how this works. The hitmen, like bible-wielding cassock-clad priests of old, are deployed to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to saddle their countries with debts they could not hope to pay forever. This is to make them vulnerable to political control of their masters. Perkins affirms that through the activities of hit men, developed countries are effectively neutralised politically and their economies crippled in the long run. In the social realm, the airwaves are filled with carefully packaged seductive informationals that only exalt the white look. So our traditional Obas bleach, our mothers bleach, our mistresses bleach, our girls bleach, our artistes and actresses bleach, and they must be like sacks of brittle bones with no flesh to have and to hold in their misguided pursuit of beauty. The most dangerous though, is the spiritual whitening of the black universe that is lately assuming epidemic proportions in Nigeria.
Spiritual whitening begins with desecration of traditional conceptions of the cosmos and the derivative understandings of the locus of a people from this defined cosmos. These constitute the axiomatic foundations that guide relationships not only with the creative force but direct relationships among the earthlings and their ancestors. In the process of the desecration of a people, the worship of Ogun, Sango, Osun, Yemoja are assaulted with attitudinal and lexical violence constructed by the hegemonic invaders that says our gods are heathen. On the basis of this spurious construction and illogicality, black humanity had repudiated his core essences, been transformed into a strange new creature. He is born again in the image of not just one external
Other but of all the external Others jousting to dominate his universe. Some become improvised explosive-hauling, blind militants of Boko Haram and others come as a strident and mad Reverend King [Chukwuemeka Ezeugo], or a whip-wielding Jesus mouthing arrogant charlatan riding in a private executive jet. The most visible sign of this capitulation however is the realignment of the cognitive appreciation of the Self, away from the very essence of his black Being: the spiritual whitening of the black universe.
To this phenomenon of black whitening belongs the loss of local languages and the adoption of foreign names as a badge of superiority, and ultimately the willing desecration of time-honoured culture by their very custodians. The most destructive of these abdications is the rejection of the traditional understandings of the sacred, the repudiations of ancient understandings of the cosmos and the interpretation of the locus of black humanity in the cosmos. For a people whose understanding of the cosmos and their place in it is defined by a foreign god shall know no salvation. The disjunctions created by the emergence of profound value dissonance arising from externally driven identity defections account for the proclivity of conflicts in our societies. In this boiling cauldron, Boko Haram must confront its Christians adversaries in their deadly struggle for primacy in upending our own world by subverting our common heritage.
Since the process of self-repudiation is to turn us against ourselves, we become our own worst enemies. The distressed new creature in the Olu Ogiame of Warri becomes the enemy of the Kingdom of Warri. He has fallen prey to useless foreign myths. Femi Komolafe who writes profusely on these issues confesses that he would never know what African Christians ever hope to achieve by claiming that the collections of absurd lies and forgeries, they call a Bible, is the word of an omnipotent and omniscient god. He affirms the indisputable fact that what the Christians today call a Bible was put together at the Council of Nicae conference in AD 325. It is also known that the conference was called at the instigation of one of the most murderous rulers ever, Emperor Constantine.
Sadly, Komolafe further observes, it is mostly Africans who remain too dogmatic, too bigoted and too blinded to reason; most priests in Europe today no longer believe in the literal correctness of the Bible. Of course, zealotry is an essential element of African conversion to Islam and Christianity as the convert seeks to prove the repudiation of their old selves. These proclivities unfortunately are peculiarly most associated with black humanity.
In 1900 Christians in Africa totalled ten million; in 2012 this number reached 50 million. In 1900 only 2 per cent of Christians in the world were African; today, this figure has risen to 20 per cent. At a recent conference in Morocco, Italian sociologist, Massimo Introvigne, revealed that African practising Catholics not only outnumber their European counterparts, Christianity has become the African continent’s number one religion, clearly surpassing Islam and traditional faiths. In ten years, African Christians will be the largest continental bloc within Christianity, outdoing Europe and the Americas. This unfolding virtual wholesale spiritual defection of black Africa contrasts sharply with the demonstrated tenacity of other races to protect the integrity of their identities. It may be noted that even though Christianity in China has a history going back to the Tang dynasty in the 8th century, today of a population of 1.5 billion, only an insignificant 18 million, just about 1 per cent, are identified as Christians in China. In Japan less than one per cent of the population is Christian even though the religion was brought to the country over 150 years ago. The 21 million Christians in India account for 2 per cent of the total population of 1.3 billion. This is after over two centuries of Christian evangelisation in India. Many Indians refuse to believe in the absolutism of Christian theology. The civil resistance to Christianity in China, Japan and India says something about the differential resilience and tenacity of different cultures and peoples to resist foreign assaults on the integrity of their essences. The resistance is of course through the agency of the people and community who protect their institutions. This tenacity of other peoples’ resistance to foreign impositions, no matter how well packaged, contrasts the case of black humanity globally. African communities have proven to be the least loyal to their corporate essences–the integrity of culture, including religion. Africans, both at home and in its Diaspora, may thus be said to have a very high gullibility quotient. We are willing clients to every nonsensical garbage from abroad sold to us.
The waywardness of the Ogiame, the Owa of Ogbagi and their ilk entrenched in our traditional institutions proves this sad point. They must be rooted out. It is reassuring that the Chiefs and the people of Warri are up in arms. If the Ogiame and his wayfarers have denounced our heritage, the logical step is for them to abdicate. Prince Omolubi Newuwumi in Warri, who led the protesters on the siege of the Olu’s palace, is right. There should be no going back on their position. The confused and errant Olu Ogiame must vacate the palace, resign or he should be forced to leave office by all peaceful means, including through the invocation of the wrath of the spirits of the land. He cannot sit on the throne of the ancestors and behave irresponsibly.
By Mr. Alalade (a pseudonym for a respected diplomat)
The views expressed in this article are author's own and may not necessaraly represent the editorial policy of Legit.ng