RELIGION: A BANE OR A BOON?
Religion is the credence in and reverence of a God or gods; it is a belief in a particular way of life. Nigeria is an heterogeneous state that comprises of several pluralities like ethnic diversity and religious variation. Each religion has its own perspective about life, politics, fashion and so many things that shape the personality of men. Their varied beliefs has had both negative and positive impact on the political stability and socioeconomic growth of the nation. Though religious leaders have tried to expunge polity from their religion, it has corrupted politics as it brings bias based on religious belief. This has over the years broken the rule of political correctness. Though religion has one way or the other claimed to be able to create a better man by crafting a just and corruption free men, I has only ended up in widening the gorge of regionalism that has been tearing us apart.
Religion in the Nigerian case has brought chaos, calamity and social-unrest; it now hides behind the peril of tribalism wrecking cancerous havoc to the marrow of the country. Apart from issue of poor leadership, the economic doldrums of this nation has been aided by the religious differences of the tribes that make up Nigeria. We have allowed our religion to be tainted by the smears of tribalism as we were made to believe either from birth or by chance that our religion is the right one and with every opportunity we seek to establish the superiority of our religion over that of others.
On a Friday, go on a tour round the mosques in your area, you will be amazed with the turnout of people fully clad in the Islamic way of dressing to worship Allah. On a Sunday, take a trip to all the churches in your area you’ll be astonished with the numbers of Christian devotees that turn up to worship their God. The only question that comes to mind is “Will the world be a more peaceful place if there was no religion?”.
Someone said “religion, fanaticism and favouritism have been politically employed to popularize the people and thereby sustaining unhealthy tension in Nigeria” (Restated in my own words). Karl Max also buttressed it by defining religion as the only opium that the masses hold true, and it has been used as a tool of political jogging and manipulation of the oppressed.
Religion has failed the nation times without number; standing aloof and watching the collapse, it has sped up the rate of decay of the threads of unity that hold this country together. We are now in a pitiful state where the way we are plying at top speed to end in a ditch. Religion has only exacerbated the sorry state of our nation.
Religion will be advantageous if all religious bodies lay emphasis on peaceful co-existence with one another. The Holy Bible and the Holy Quran preach peaceful existence among human beings on earth, as it is part of the criteria for a glorious afterlife. This nation needs people that love their fellow countrymen, people who will put others first. Religion can only help out if it makes its cause to be towards making a better world rather than limiting the scope to making a better person.
When politics is secularized by extruding it from the world of religion, there’s bound to be unity of political and economical purpose. That will be our starting point for political and socioeconomic development as the unity that arises amidst us will make us see and then together remove the clogs that are in the wheel of progress of this country. Let federalism be practiced in truth that is in the book with consensus of purpose, ideology and philosophy towards making our Nation great.
God bless Nigeria.
Ologbenla Adedeji Samuel