Few days ago, i wrote the piece below as my humble contribution to the debate on the need to place humanity above religion and the foolishness of charlatans in power who rather than focus on developmental policies continue to hide under the guise of religion to promote ethno-religious intolerance through obnoxious policies in order to continue to perpetuate themselves in power even when being in power does not translate into any meaningful development for the people.
Just like other well meaning Nigerians, i kicked against the banning of opposite genders boarding same tricycles in Kano State and highlighted what should be the developmental focus of the State in 2020 and to God be the glory, the government of Kano State is today reversing that policy, which is capable of further fanning the embers of ethno-religious intolerance in a State meant to be metropolitan and heterogeneous in outlook.
The moral of my story is simple, the masses have the power to resist charlatans in power if we unite towards a common purpose.
HUMANITY ABOVE RELIGION AND THE NEED TO RESTRUCTURE
We need a national value reorientation that will help reshape our mentality to place HUMANITY above RELIGION. Until we get to that point, Nigeria will never develop. The truth is bitter but that is the truth. X-ray what religious intolerance has done to us as a nation since independence and you will agree with me that the myopic emphasis on religion rather than humanity has brought us nothing but sorrow, pain and underdevelopment.
Why should a nation with huge infrastructural deficit and negative human development indicators be investing in hajj and Christian pilgrimages? Who does it benefit, the individuals or the nation? If indeed the nation has been a major beneficiary, then, religious and ethnic considerations would not have been a basis for electing or appointing public officers because the two major religions in Nigeria anchor its central belief on love and peace. So where is the hatred, insecurity and fear of domination by one religion over the other coming from? Your guess is as good as mine. The elites both in the north and south use it as a weapon to divide us in order to further their selfish ambition of perpetuating themselves in power even when holding unto power does not translate into meaningful development for the people.
The need to restructure the country more than ever before on the path of sustainable development is rife and we cannot continue to turn a blind eye to this fundamental necessity. Just few days back, a governor in the name of religion deemed it fit that among the several challenges confronting his State, banning opposite genders from boarding same tricycles is topmost in his 2020 developmental agenda while he and his fellow elite oppressors sit beside female passengers when boarding flights within and outside the country.
Now, this is a State with one of the highest rates of out of school children, infant mortality and unemployment in Nigeria and rather than looking for innovative ways in addressing these multiple challenges in 2020 so as to make life better for the people of Kano State, has made the new policy on tricycle the developmental focus of his administration while forgetting that the metropolitan State of Kano just like Lagos in the South is home to people of all ethnic and religious groups and policies should be made with consideration for our heterogenous nature.
In a nation where we are too divided to galvanize ourselves towards a common vision, the need to recaliberate through RESTRUCTURING may become inevitable as any investment in infrastructure will be ultimately destroyed on account of religious intolerance as it is the case with the north east where billions of naira are today being expended for reconstruction to no avail because development will continue to be a mirage in the absence of peace. We either restructure or remain underdeveloped as the present structure is unsustainable.
That said, i strongly condemn the killings of 11 Christians by a demonic group known as Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) and call on all Nigerians irrespective their faith to do same. It’s time to unite like never before against terrorism. I also demand that LEAH SHARIBU and other religious prisoners in the captivity of Boko Haram should be unconditionally released in obedience to the true teachings of prophet Mohammad on peace and tolerance.
The government should stop living in self denial, accept responsibility of failure in providing security and rejig the country’s security architecture so that it can be more responsive in addressing our security challenges. The government must do everything by all means necessary to stop religious persecution and free all religious prisoners in captivity. Above all, the time to RESTRUCTURE is now!
Comr. Egbeola Olawale Martins
National Publicity Secretary
Young Progressives Party