The Southern tribe of Nigeria believes in a supreme God and worship him in many different ways; they have different gods, demi-gods, and goddesses. They have ogun, osun, sango, oya, ifa, obatala and many others. These gods are believed to take their requests and prayers to Olodumare (the supreme God). Every different family have the religion their four-fathers were attached to and these beliefs were passed from one generation to the other. The other regions of Nigeria have similar gods and their various practices.
Christianity and Islamic religions were introduced to Nigeria by foreign missionaries; it heralded a new dimension to our already saturated trado-religious societies. The two religions were widely accepted as the needed unification of our several traditional religions. Our elders’ reason that doing away with the old traditional religions and embracing the new imported ones will bring better understanding of the supreme God and lead to stronger cohesion among all. This is a sure way of getting rid of our very primitive ways of worshipping God, which often involves shedding of blood and other fetish practices. This new way of worship is foreign and it is in our nature to accept and embrace anything foreign, these tend to work at the time and everyone was happy. The new religions when compared to our long held religions is modern, imported and fashionable with new signs, approaches, dress style, new way of reasoning and several imported books and instruments.
The new religions tend to work for a few years, especially when it was administered by the white missioners and evangelists. It took a few years for us to get grip with the books of law that comes with the two religions. The Christian book is the Bible and the Quran for the Muslims. Most of Africans were not able to read the books at the time; they struggled to understand and digest the books and can only listen to its interpretation from the missioners. The white missioners were very modest, humble, very pleasant and not driven by money. Things have changed now, almost every one can read and write, so we tend to give those books of law our own direct interpretation as it relates to our societies and ways of life.
The two accepted religions; Christianity and Islam now seem to be splitting us apart rather than the initial aim of bringing us together. The fire of the differences is now fully ignited, intensely burning and coming closer to us daily. The massive unrest and killing in the north and other parts of Nigeria, says a lot about the void we have created for ourselves. We now see ourselves as enemies because of the differences in the religious beliefs and more lives are cut short daily. The reason we have abandoned our old religion was to avoid bloodshed, but the Jihadist says they have been ordered by God to kill for people to accept God at all cost. These indicate we have only left our old gods for the foreign one to cause more death for us.
Our old traditional beliefs now look better packaged and organised than this imported killing-machines. Our young lads are trained to be suicide bombers and killers, which has never been our way of life. To make it worse, we are all so much attached to the religions that we are blinded to see the realities all around us. The new age religious leaders are so full of greed, selfishness and confusion. We can see the confusion in all the different worship centres and churches; from Anglican to Pentecostal, Catholic to Presbyterian, Jehovah Witnesses to Methodist, white garment churches to Orthodox. They all preach and practice different things, read different types of Bibles and worship same God following different and confusing ways. Same is applicable among the different Islamic centres.
Each of the churches you find yourself has something negative to say about the one opposite. Visit a couple of them and you will be more confused than navigating the Sahara desert; they all preach different things and worship same God in different confusing ways. Things have gone really bad that the members of these churches have completely abandoned there ways of life, values, culture and integrity, for the worship centres to grow and make the priests richer. Nigerians currently obey and fear their pastors more than their God and are easily deceived to obey those laws the pastors’ way. They now commit their hard earned money to pastors, leaving the pastors to live large, riding the most expensive cars, buying jets and living in mansions among the richest. The followers who are in their poverty stricken state still bring their widows might to the church, expecting multiplications, believing the churches are money doubling scheme.
Our creativity, research, ideas and development is completely eroded because of the inspirational sermons from the religious houses, leaving the people with the impression that God will do everything for them. We are now developing a lazy society where everyone is putting their investment into the churches in exchange for a bright and successful future. This is helping to increase the church treasury, enjoyed by the priests and the officials of the church, while leaving the church members to continue in their self-pity.
Many new age priests in the various churches place their member on daily curses for not having their tithe and offering to give and this leads to more Nigerians going all out to get money through any means to impress the priests and keep their front seat positions in the church. The money we pump to these priests can be used for the development of our local societies and would make us better and richer. The church practices a lot of inconceivable schemes to get money off its members, who are out looking for supernatural rewards.
We all encourage our leaders to steal from us, if our religious houses is stinking, what more can you say of the politicians. Our pastors steal and leave more glamorous lives than even the politicians in the name of the Lord, but because they are men of God, we must not judge. The stealing politicians are the best friends of the religious leaders, some of them visit praying mountains to fast and pray for these politicians to steal more money to bless their church. This evil and corrupt scheme is continuous, while the poor who constitute the largest population of Nigerians continue to languish in their abject poverty.
The latest trend and worst for the economy is that these churches are buying off businesses and their premises and converting those to churches, forcing business owners to happily close business and throw their staff to the labour market and some to the crime market in the name of the Lord. The heartache we are putting ourselves through is too much. What with the brainless Jihadist -illiterates trying to kill everyone to get them saved, how worse can it get? Our gods must be dead.