Religion, the Nigerian demon

Physically remote but fully involved in the processes leading up to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s victory at the APC primaries and also in the power play that led to the emergence of Senator Kashim Shettima as the vice presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, it was with quixotic astonishment and predictable derision that the mere suggestion of a controversy over a same-faith presidential ticket provoked my angst and anger.

When are we going to stop laying the foundation of every new experiment in national development on trivia? When will we stop chasing the shadows of selfish greed and particularist obsession with power and embrace the task of national transformation that has become our generational opportunity or imminent apocalypse?

Whatever the permutation- Christian/Christian, Muslim/Muslim or even Animist/Animist – reducing the gargantuan task of taking the country from the brink of socio-economic chaos to a debate over faith reflects the numbness of the elite to the flaring anger of the swarming throng of the hapless and hopeless.

It is an involuntary suspension of reason when in great need. How many of us, on boarding a plane, enter the cockpit to interrogate the religious identity of the pilots? Or do women in labour insist on the faith of the midwife before delivery? In critical situations as these, we trust the expertise of the persons in charge, convinced that we are in safe hands. Just to remind us and jerk us out of our reverie, look at what the figures are saying.

In terms of poverty, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics has reported that foreign investment, a principal source of industrial production and jobs in our liberalized economy, declined by 81.46 per cent from $8.49bn in the first quarter of 2019 to $1.57 billion in this year’s first quarter.

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