FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, January 12, 2020
balooy2k@gmail.com
Arizona, USA
THE DANGER OF RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM IN NIGERIA

s I write this piece, I am hunting for a title to befit the piece. I am not convinced that the title above is adequate or inadequate for my submission. As I write now, I am ensconced (engrossed) in self-referential (reflection) and also musing (thoughtful about) my contemporary Nigerian folks and the religionists amongst them in Nigeria. I am also on a mental expedition with a moral examination of my rooted country. Most times, one gets post-traumatic stress and chaotic mumbo jumbo and jumble from one's experience while in Nigeria, and now. The behavior of our people back home about religion, politics and other social norms usually triggers my personal nostalgic and psychological ordeals about Nigeria. Nigerian deadliest enemies are the warped adherents of the two prominent religions (Islam and Christianity) in Nigeria.

In this 21st century awareness, I am awed (with a feeling of reverential respect mixed with panic or wonderment) by how some Nigerians practice their individual religious beliefs. It is a travesty of knowledge; and untenable, damning and scary to many educated youths, even with professorial status to be dwelling in religious extremism and fanaticism. The extremism in religion is very repugnant to human kindness, self-improvement, social norms, and national development. The intellectuals are not left out in the current reign of religious impunity, blasphemy, and bastardization of God's names and doctrines. It's not uncommon to see or hear wrong religious idiosyncrasies from our folks whenever they are in the escapism of moral, politics and intellectual burdens. These groups of people are mostly visible in the two predominant religions (Christianity and Islam) in Nigeria. They are also highly "educated." These intellectual religionists usually have trepidation attitudes to challenge or question their religious leaders when they are spewing lies and deceit antithetical to the Bible and Quran from the pulpits. The veil of lies that covers these adherents' faces, if uncovered will stunningly stupefy you to give atheists credit for their humanitarian and moral gestures and rectitude.

Meanwhile, these religious extremists will bring some untenable justifications to fore to defend their religious extremism and enterprise. Some religious bigots in Nigeria always claim to be more Sheikh and Pope than Arabians and Romans! These naysayers always pose to speak ex-cathedral in their various pulpits, announcing evil prophecies to their gullible followers. From time immemorial, religion was divinely designed as a tool to guide human behavior and endeavor, and to bring harmony through mutual and universal love for humanity. But what we see today in people's lives is the travesty of what (religion) God has given humanity to direct man's affairs to the right path. Nigeria, nay Africa has lost her moral codes in religion, and this is having consequential damage to the sociopolitical lives of the people. Religion has been commercialized, debased and made a mockery and offense against what is left of our mores and traditions.

In my clime, some of our people are holier than thou and religiously pretentious and ungodly than Arabians and the children of Israel. Every malfeasance of religion prevails without any ounce of want in Nigeria. Our religious leaders speak ex-Cathedral than Pope in the Vatican. Yet, so many minds in Nigeria are corrupt and oozes mental stench everywhere you go. Beneath the minds and hearts of these leaders is malfeasance of hate and bigotry. Every Friday and Sunday, it's usually a celebration of mediocrity and show-off of ostentatious lifestyles. Every meeting in Nigeria starts with pseudo-prayers and ends with pseudo-prayers. After every prayer meeting, almost all congregants go back to surreptitious hate, resentment, and corruption. Salvation has been replaced by instant gratification enhanced by the pseudo gospel of prosperity. In those good old days, i.e, before the era of Babangida administration, hard work, honesty, and salvation were usually topics of services in our religious houses (Churches and Mosques). No one questions the sources of instant wealth and gratification anymore: "it's the Lord's doing" and "Alhammudullai." (All praise is due to Allah).

Meanwhile, the children born in the early era of Babangida (in the 80s and 90s) were nurtured and groomed through the institutionalization of laziness and corruption. None of these children of the Babangida era knew what hard work and meritocracy are all about! Babangida era birthed the yahoo-yahoo. Today, mediocrity, ignorance, "yahoo-yahoo" and culture of corruption and deliberate ignorance are the only nuances of life that these children of the Babangida era know best. Sanctimoniously, preach hard work and service of God, and to humanity to them without mentioning prosperity and instant riches; you will be OYO (On Your Own) at the pulpit of grace. This is the sad reality we have found ourselves in Nigeria.

The prescription or solution to the menace of false religion and indoctrination of laziness in Nigeria is not farfetched: The best way for Nigerian youths to predict a better tomorrow for themselves is to create tomorrow (future) today through their dreams, imagination, hope, perseverance, hard work and unburdened believe in themselves. It is high time the youth of Nigeria broke the jinx of stagnation and backwardness. Nigeria's intellectual property is unmatched anywhere. But, no matter how educated and masterful we might be through our knowledge acquisition, extremism and fanaticism, if we close our eyes to moral reasoning and imagination, and in everything we do, our action or inaction will always becloud our academic reasoning and sense of judgment. Religious extremism, in particular, will also bring unnecessary social differences, cultural upheaval, malady, and disharmony among the diverse group of people in our society. Finally, the untapped resources and the future of a generation of youth in Nigeria must not be jettisoned. The future of Nigeria must not be wasted for a religious expedient. Nigeria is currently a wasteland full of human and material resources. We must continue to speak out to reorder her lost values.

NEWS SECTIONS