Only imported gods that were adopted by Africans would reject his children. Indigenous God of Africa will never abandon Africans if appeased by kindness to one another. At least we can understand stories of the devil rejecting Nigerians for fear of coup d’état. Africa was doing fine under big and vibrant Empires until in the last few centuries when we were introduced to imported God of Christians and Muslims from their exotic cultures developed in Far East.
Like everything else, let us blame it on communication, especially those strange incantations when in trance, possessed and sometimes in Latin or Arabic.
The image of dead African babies thrown into the sea while trying to land in Europe hit some of us like a rock. Allah dey, for where?
The Christian and Moslem teaching is that God does not abandon his children. Footprints in the Sand is usually quoted to demonstrate that in our most trying moments when we think there is no god, he was the one that kept us going. Many of us believe in a Being that is universal and powerful but not necessarily in the image of Allah.
Those of us, who see no difference between Olorun of the Yoruba and other gods, also pay lip service to imported gods. We build churches and mosques in our houses while paying tributes to unholy shrines all over the Country. Cleanse we must, not abandon our culture for others.
After hundreds of years, we dare not blame slavery for our predicament. Even as foreign powers in the form of neo-colonialism, subcontract our leaders while they receive stolen valuables, the blame game must stop with us.
Though, some would argue that quality of life was far better when we were ruled by foreign powers. Foreign powers could not stop us from armed struggles like Mau Mau in Kenya or turning Rhodesia into Zimbabwe. Yet Nigeria with all its population can still not throw off the yoke of African leaders.
Imagine the despair of women who throw their children into sea, dead or alive. During slave trade, we were moved that people had thrown their infants and themselves into the sea rather than see the shore and become slaves. How else can we explain a mother who watched her two babies starved to death helplessly on a boat before throwing them into the sea in this day?
We have developed high tolerance and remained calm under African tyrants who shoot and whip us on the streets in our own countries. So our students are sick and tired of rioting, checking out, hopefully to return and fight another day.
We are not oblivious to pain from our African oppressors and Reverends who ask us to pray for basic necessities, as imported religion had taught us about a better life in heaven when we die as slaves. Pray to relief 67% HIV infections and 72% of all Aids deaths in sub-Sahara Africa; that FDA succeed in fake drugs combat in our communities; for rain and sun.
As promiscuous men, even some with their wives infect our women. The poor reserve the worst anger for one another, kill in the name of imported religions, maim in the name of oil that benefit others, and glamorize oppressors dancing on our graves with hard currencies stolen from our treasury. Not even Church and Mosque can soften hearts.
The irony is, with all the money we can borrow for transportation, at the risk of death before landing, we are determined to survive discrimination in foreign countries at any price we consider less oppressive than the one we left at home. Heavenly Father helps those who provide for themselves.
In view of the helplessness Africans find themselves; the gods remain our only hope. So we say only God can help Nigeria! As the most religious country by some statistics collected by some empty heads who know us to the bone, Nigeria has resigned to its fate. Insha’Allah!
Yet most children of Africa at home and in Diaspora with unconditional love, stick thick and thin to the same fatherland, no matter what, grateful for a place they can call home. If all of us leave and become refugees, who are going to take us?
Before Israel became a Country, Jews prayed for the following year in Jerusalem. In spite of the danger of living there after it became a Country, many were just happy to return and many more outside never flinch in their support. There are Africans who claim to belong to Israel today and others who are now fighting in Iraq. Yahweh, God of Israel is too busy to save all of us.
Blessed are the ones who stick to practical African culture in these trying and difficult times. Abandoning your fatherland, spitting venoms and ridicule is one thing, getting temporary relief without burning your bridges with the wish to go back stronger is quite another.
Some would argue that Africa abandoned them for not providing sustenance and pushing them to the brim of life. They see Africa as a father who can not provide for his children. More reason to import exotic gods. According to a Yoruba phrase, only a bastard points to his fatherland with a left hand.
No matter who you are, if you have no identity, you have lost it all. We identify with other people’s religion, social life, political and economic experiment without any respect for ours. The mere mention of authentic African culture, religion in particular, is enough to trigger a rage in some people, while those who separated from us hundreds of years ago managed to keep the same culture alive in the Diaspora.
The nagging question is: if some of those Africans at home or abroad suffer identity crises could this be an indication of sophistication, self rejection or self-aggrandizement? We worry about these lost sheep because they change into wild cats.
All the scholars we have can not apply or implement all the solutions we have. We cry for answers as if we have none. Those who are appointed to prevent the devil from derailing us again are also bribed to derail us some more. No wonder some people are praying for the god of Tsunami to wipe out the whole Country so that we can start all over.
If we had to do it all over, we may stick and perfect our own culture including our religion instead of depending on those that fail us. As always said by the practitioners of democracy, it is not perfect but they will not borrow ours or any other. We can work to perfect ours also. We must appease African God for forgiveness.
After all is said and done, we need a Nemesis to keep us in check. If there is no fear of Nemesis, more people would go wild and we may find ourselves in worse situation. Our own ignored God, like Ijaw god of Aiyelala may be called to the rescue.
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Bim Columbus, USA August 04, 2008
There is also the rule of law in Nigeria, abi? No need to fool ourselves, none of these looters will swear on Juju shrine when they take office. Those who worship Juju never swore or promised not to steal money. That promise is made at the village level, where they give away, not steal.
They fear the repercussions of misbehaving at that level.
These people steal and kill and go back to the church and mosque after each episode to pray for forgiveness. Can they do that with their Juju shrine?
It is this same hypocrits kind of behavior that spills into disrespecting our culture.
wakabout Texas, USA August 03, 2008
Bim, I agree with you o. Maybe we should ask these lootocrats to swear by Sango or Amadioha when they take office and see how they will respond. They will all refuse and say that they don't believe in swearing by those gods. Well, if they don't believe in them then it doesn't matter if they swear with them.
After all the God that they believe in and swear by they show no fear of, they also use his name in vain and continue to manipulate the average citizen.
Ladi Lagos, Nigeria August 03, 2008
Mr. Bim, are you trying to say only christians and muslims steal and or mismanage the money that belong to all of us? Are there no ogun and okija followers in any level of government in Nigeria? Or are you saying that though these ogun/okija worshippers are among our leaders, they don't put their fingers where they shuldn't put them?
Let us not kid ourselves. Stealing and mismanaging collective resources are cultural problems, not religious. We need to pause and redefine this culture of stealing, mismanagement and mediocrity. People should be free to worship or not worship anything, it is their right. But nobody has the right to steal from us, no matter what they worship.
And if we agree that being bad is human, then punishment according to societal standards must be swift, transparent and equitably applied. I think Mr. Bim may have observed that the rule of law is important in United States where he writes from. It does not matter who you are, you do the crime, you do the time. That is what we need, not blaming religion for our shortcomings.
Bim Columbus, United States August 02, 2008
All the looters swear by Bible and Koran. None of them dare swear by Ogun or in any of the shrines all over the Country like Okija. The reason is obvious, they know foreign gods can not affect them. The writer made a great deal of sense, let us stop fooling ourselves.
felix Okhiria New York City, USA July 31, 2008
Does any one understand what Farouk Martins is saying?