Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has stated that increasing misery index and lack of happiness being experienced by Nigerians in Nigeria are responsible for increasing emigration and brain drain which further creates hardship for Nigeria and other citizens who have resorted to fate.
The former president declared that the only some Nigerians can tell government and Nigeria as a country that they aren’t happy is to pull out since they couldn’t get what they want in terms of security, vibrant economy, good governance and other socioeconomic variables that can guarantee good living and boost their standard of living.
Obasanjo, who delivered a paper entitled “Towards a Reunification of the Sacred and Secular: Religious Interventions in Politics”, at the 9th Toyin Falola Annual International Conference held on Monday at Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, expressed worries over the poor handling of Nigerian diversity which has created identity problem that now stares Nigerians on the face.
The former president, while speaking in presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was represented by the Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Is-haq Oloyede; Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state and Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Mathew Kukah, among other personalities, noted that once government is failing to make people happy, religious leaders should step in to reduce misery and lack of happiness that drive citizens out of their country.
He said, “You can’t take one and leave the other. You can’t take politics and leave religion and you can’t take religion and leave politics, they are together.
“It ought to be that way, politics without religion, I don’t know what you would call it, they both affect the welfare and the wellbeing of all of us as we live in life.
“As far as religion is concerned, there are two issues: diversity and identity. We are so badly handling our diversity that we are losing our identity. As long as we are doing that, we are going nowhere.
“The management of diversity must be right; religion, politics, and ethnicity are part of our diversity which must be well managed. When you mismanage diversity with impunity, it is particularly annoying. It can lead to what we may not want it to lead to.
“I don’t know of any Nigerian who doesn’t wish Nigeria well, but, I know many Nigerians who are unhappy and want to leave Nigeria. Our issue is so, because, what they expect from Nigeria they are not getting it”.
“The role of religious leaders and religion is to lead but, lead them also to let politicians learn a best lesson.
“God is a Nigerian because, what we have gone through in Nigeria and what we are going through, probably, Nigeria should not be on the map of the world. That’s why I say God is a Nigerian”.
Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, who spoke on ” Ceaser and God: Prophetic Engagement of the States in Africa”, said religion has failed in Africa as “we are carrying Western identity whether it is Christianity or Islam. This identity has continued to play out in our daily lives.
“Only in Nigeria we can go to war because of religion. We are not going to go to war because of no water, we are going to go to war because we don’t have road. But, we are not going to war because we don’t have decent housing, we are not going to go to war because of lack of salary, we are not going to war because of injustice, but we can go to war in the name of God.
“Nigeria seems to be like a polygamist who is married to two wives. Somehow, Christians are complaining that they (government) are treating Muslims better Muslims are complaining that they are treating Christians better.
“But, nobody is complaining about whether religion is getting its due. But essentially, my argument is that, unless some of us who are leaders and practitioners find ourselves rescued from the clutches of politics and politicians the wrong notion will continue as it is in Nigeria, somehow religion will be a problem”, he added.