BusinessDay

Alhaji and Pastor (Mrs.) Tinubu – No one religion can eliminate the other

Now that the election battle line is drawn by the nomination of the presidential aspirants of the political parties, it is time to shift attention to issues relating to elections. Undoubtedly, the PDP and the APC are leaders among the packs; no one should ignore the new Sheriff in town. The Labour Party is the third force in 2023.

Still, I believe the days of electing a president based on moral norms are ahead of Nigeria and not in 2023. The 2023 election is likely to be a keenly contested election between the party that had deceived us for 16 years and its twin brother that cancelled all the promises made in the last eight years.

You may want to agree with me that the central problem of Nigeria is religion and ethnicity. Yes, there are problems of corruption, lack of sound economic management, and untapped resources, among others. They are all anchored on religious intolerance, wrong perception of religious dictates, and ethnic preference.

For example, corruption is thriving on the platform of religious and ethnic affiliation. Those who had looted our public funds had done so with the people they could trust. The foundation of trust in Nigeria is mostly not on capacity or competence. It starts and thrives on religion and ethnicity in most instances.

This is the time for Nigerians to assess the political parties and their aspirants on their views, convictions, and capacity to solve the foundational problems affecting our diversity and reducing the giant to a dwarf in the land of the plenty

This is the time for Nigerians to assess the political parties and their aspirants on their views, convictions, and capacity to solve the foundational problems affecting our diversity and reducing the giant to a dwarf in the land of the plenty.

Let me save you from the mismatch between the headlines and what you have read. Why Alhaji and Pastor Mrs. Tinubu?

In his acceptance speech last week, Bola Ahmed Tinubu made a comment that shows him as one who can lead in re-building Nigeria. He said, “we should live in peace together. No one religion can eliminate another.” That was a deep thought from a man who was the master planner of Nigeria’s most ethnically and religiously diverse city. Tinubu, unlike his counterpart, who initially condemned the killing of a student in Sokoto a month ago and later deleted his Twitter comments, showed a strong intent. For Nigeria to be great and Nigerians to live peacefully, we must all know that no one religion or tribe can eliminate another. The earlier we take this to the voters, the better for us as one united country.

In Lagos, the epitome of Nigeria’s diversity, Tinubu and Fashola have in their private lives, showed that religion is personal. They married Christian women, governed the state, and did their best. No man can do his best exceedingly better without a woman’s moral or prodding support. These men have epitomised religious tolerance and love in their lives.

In the southwest of Nigeria, religion is secondary to the ‘Omo Oluwabi’ nature of the Yorubas. Forget anyone clamouring for religious relevance in the southwest. Through education and exposure, the Yorubas value character and competence above religion. It is part of the decline in moral values that is likely pushing anyone of Yoruba origin to put religion above character and friendship.

Tinubu was right. No one religion can eliminate the other. No tribe can destroy another. That’s the mindset of anyone purported to lead a country like Nigeria. TY Danjuma once accused the Nigerian Army of supporting or lack neutrality in the war between his people and the insurgents. This was confirmed by the recently kidnapped Methodist Church Prelate, who claimed his kidnappers passed behind the military formation without consequences. From the words of the two men I quoted, one would likely believe that there is a sympathy of some of our leaders for those troubling the peace of our country. Otherwise, we should have defeated the terrorists.

Religion is an emotional thing that can destroy if not adequately managed. We should, therefore, focus on practising our religion without encroaching into another religion. Unfortunately, the two major religions are imported and are subject to misinterpretations. No one has a complete understanding of their religion. Why have you been bothered by the other religion you know nothing about?

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Some years ago, a group of preachers started preaching against the other religion in the southwest. At their gatherings, rather than teaching the principles of their religion, they will take different versions of the Bible and read them in condemnation of what they don’t understand. Their action could have led to the loss of lives if that had happened in the north. For them, they are preaching for the superiority of their religion. Consequently, some of their followers, especially the youths, ported to the religion they criticised. Their mission of religious excellence died, and we don’t hear about their divisive messages any more. No one religion can eliminate the other. Again, Tinubu was right.

A country that focuses too much on religion will not make progress. Turkey is a case study where a former president decided to abandon the Sultanate system for education and yet retain the country’s religious identity.

Tinubu and his likes had balanced the emotions between love and religion. He did not only marry a Christian as a wife. He allowed her to practice her faith to the extent that Oluremi grew to become a Pastor. That’s a lesson we all need to learn if we must see a Nigeria, we will be proud of in the future.

No one religion can eliminate the other. We should copy the model of peace in the most religiously diversified countries like Singapore, Taiwan, and Vietnam. That’s what we should teach in all parts of Nigeria for peace to rain supreme. That is what all Imams and Pastors in every part of Nigeria should preach. The Imams should do more to stop the killing of people like Deborah and Hannah Saliu. Hannah Saliu, a sex worker was killed and burnt because a Quran was found under her pillow. She was given the jungle justice by her customer who patronised her and stole her money.

The argument for a Christian vice president nomination is justified in a country like Nigeria until we learn how to give the available opportunities to competent people who can deliver results for the poor masses. In the case of Tinubu, no Christian vice-presidential aspirant can be so close and influential to him as Pastor (Mrs.) Oluremi Tinubu.

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