Fred Ezeh, Abuja The Archbishop of Benin City Catholic diocese, Most Rev. Augustine Obiora Akabueze, has been elected the new President of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of Nigeria (CBCN). Also, the Bishop of Umuahia Catholic diocese, Most Rev. Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, emerged the Vice president of the conference, while the Bishop of Ikot-Ekpene diocese, Most…
Nigeria is like a sick child destined to die. The more treatment she receives, the more complications she develops. Of late, the country has been on edge and even now, nobody can definitely predict that Nigeria’s survival is assured. Nobody can explain why, despite the country’s intractable multifaceted problems in these dire times, somebody dares to open another battle, on the religious flank.
The Federal Ministry of Education has reportedly removed Christian Religious Studies, as a subject from the curriculum of secondary schools in Nigeria while imposing Arabic studies, as a compulsory subject on all students. The implication of this decision is not lost on even the dimmest of minds. Expectedly, Christian leaders have kicked against this highly objectionable decision and ordered Christian students to boycott of Arabic Studies classes. The fear is that this is a religious agenda to Islamise Nigeria. I had been in the forefront of those who believed there is no such agenda but recent developments make me to doubt myself; despite inane that can explanations fool.
Arabic for all I know is Islamic language spoken by a very negligible percentage of the world community. No real or serious transactions are done in Arabic. So, common sense dictates that Nigeria should have opted for major languages, such as French, Chinese, German, Spanish instead of Arabic, which even most Muslims in Nigeria but some Imams neither speak nor understand. There is certainly something devious and ominous in the choice of Arabic Studies. Of course, we have been told that it is only for Muslim students but facts on the ground point to the contrary and, so, the policy MUST be abrogated and a return to the status quo effected forthwith.
There is no doubt that its purpose is purely expansionist and that is why most Nigerians, especially Christians, are alarmed because this was how Turkey, Iraq and others, which were former bastions of the Christian faith, lost their glory. However, much as Muslims have a right to their Islamic religion without let, any evil agenda to Islamise Nigeria will be still born. Conversion by coercion or subtlety is naught, especially in a country like multi-ethnic and multi-religious Nigeria unless we want to ignite an unquenchable fire across the land.
Nevertheless, I am actually less bothered by the Islamic agenda than I am worried by the Christian agenda that is none. I don’t have problem with the overly ambitious Muslims seeking to promote their religion. They have every right to so aspire. But I have a problem with the docility of the Christian faithful in the face of looming calamity.
It goes beyond asking students to boycott Islamic classes and organising soulless national prayers. Christians have consistently shunned the Lord’s commandment in Matthew 28:19, that we should go teach all nations the way of life and truth; we have become complacent and comfortable in our little chiefdoms and huge multi-thousand-seater cathedrals where all we do is to pouch members of other churches, leaving perishing souls at the vagaries of Islamic predators. We have starved and defrauded the needy in our midst, thereby making them vulnerable to Greek free loans. There is nothing desirable or attractive in today’s Christian, as it was in Antioch when people identified the apostle by the way they lived out Christ and dubbed them Christians, not because of the size of their cathedrals or their revolving signboards.
Today, the altar of Christ has become a stage for all shades of wonky characters and shamans, deceiving and leading non perceptive souls to damnation. The altar of Christ has been polluted by comedians invited by showmen to crack abominable jokes in flagrant violation of the warning against jesting, just to pull crowd. Hungry souls are now weary, confused and marooned because the shepherd has turned the altar of Christ into repulsive automated teller machines and shops where all manner of debauchery is exalted because this is the 21st century.
Surely, nobody can Islamise this country; it is impossible; not because they will not try but because the more they try the more they fail; as long as we resist them by living righteously and exalting the nation. We should remain on the Lord’s side in words and deeds so that the Lord too will remain on our side. Romans 8:31 made it clear that if the Lord is on our side, no Islamic agenda can overwhelm us. Senacherib tried it in… and learnt the hard way before his very sons chopped off his head….God rained brimstones from heaven upon the head of enemies of His people… That same God is today, yesterday and forever…
The question now is: Are we standing on the Covenant? Are we still building on the foundation laid on the precious blood of Jesus or one we built on fat offerings, rams and bullocks? Do we easily dump our faith because of clinking evil coins from Egypt? Can we stand our ground in the face of persecution and trial or eat the king’s porridge, which the three Hebrew children rejected and eventually defied the fiery furnace? Are our eyes stayed only on Christ or cheap lucre? Does the Lord still find us worth defending?
We have nobody but ourselves to blame for the parlous state of Christians in Nigeria. First, Boko Haram bombed our churches; nothing happened. Before then, they would eerily chop off heads of Christians because of a cartoon in far flung lands. Today, Christians are marked for extinction in southern Kaduna and many other places; still nothing seems to be happening, emboldening them to now strike at our collective minds.
Nothing seems to be happening because our hearts are darkened by sin and our hands stained with filth and blood of the innocent. We pray and God ignores us because it is mere exhibitionist ritual, akin to the Pharisees and Sadducees. The leaders must be led, by God, before the followers are led aright. Children of the bondwoman ride roughshod over children of promise because we have turned our backs on our God and He has given us into the captivity of our enemies, to jerk our derailing minds back to sanity. Brethren, it is time we repented; cry out to the Lord for deliverance. Brethren, don’t bother about the devil and his agents, plotting their natural mischief. Who told you they can Islamise Nigeria?
But why can’t we Christianise Nigeria instead? Not by subtlety, not by force but by divine power from on High. Let them trust in their horses and chariots but let us go in the name of our God. Flood the nation with the Word of life; righteousness peace and joy in the Holy Ghost. Burn with compassion for souls and invade the creeks and hamlets and wherever human soul breeds. Let us showcase the power of the gospel and possess the gates of our enemies. Wake up; take up your mantle and part the River Jordan. Divide the Red Sea once again and let the covenant children move into the land of gold, as Pharaoh and his army assuredly drown. Stir up, brethren, for the mighty right hand of Jehovah is underneath us!