ASSUMED CHRISTIANIZATION OF NIGERIA: SOME REFLECTIONS ON OSINBAJO’S DEFEAT
By Abdulkadir Salaudeen
It is normal to win or to be defeated in a political contest. Though winner goes home with a trophy, loser might need to re-strategize towards a future contest. The APC’s primary election has come and gone. Bola Tinubu was declared the winner in a landslide that stunned many analysts and onlookers. But it is not yet uhuru. Winning a primary election is not the ultimate victory in Nigeria’s competitive democracy. It is a prelude to winning or losing the real election scheduled to hold next year (all other things being equal).
In light of the above, the contest has just started. Presidential (and other) flag bearers of all participating political parties in the upcoming general elections would expectedly intensify their campaigns (especially that of calumny). The time is now when past utterances, misdeeds, write ups, interviews of contestants will be dug up. With the aid of ICT, of course, past faux pas of contestants will go viral soon.
Meanwhile, concerned and political Nigerians have been asking this big question: why was the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo woefully defeated? And how did Tinubu defeat other contestants in a landslide? Percentage wise, Tinubu got approximately 60% of the valid votes. In other words, he got more than the votes of all other contestants put together. This is notwithstanding all the political conspiracies against him by the powers that be. Some say Tinubu has the structure. That is true; but what is truer is that he controls the bullion vans—he has the money. Anyway, the focus of this article is not on Tinubu.
Prof. Osinbajo came a distant third to Tinubu with approximately 11% votes. This is indeed how not to lose. If I were him, I will hide myself eternally from the public view or at least till the end of this regime. But because he is said to be a man of God imbued with faith, he should summon the courage to continue his day to day activities as usual. But the defeat is indeed a defeat. He is a bad loser. I don’t know how to put it. Not because of his 11% votes, after all there are candidates with zero votes, but because he is the sitting Vice President. Is all really well between him and his principal (PMB)? Osinbajo, prior to the election, insists all is well. Perhaps he needs some introspections.
Some argue he failed because of his Christianization agenda. I don’t consider this argument plausible. Even though I cannot argue against the fact that he nurtures such agenda, that is not why he woefully failed. What we (Nigerian masses) fail to understand is that Nigerian political elites do not have religion in the political sense. They are nominal Muslims or Christians whose religion practices are confined within the houses of worship. Their real religion is interest and money.
This is not to say they don’t manipulate religion for political gains. They do, especially to curry the favour of credulous masses during the general elections. However, in a primary election where delegates (not masses) vote, religion is irrelevant. At that level, forget about Christianization or Islamization. Always think of money. In monetary terms, it is better, now in Nigeria, to be a delegate in primary elections which last for only few days than to be a civil servant for 35 years.
The truth is, Nigeria is not ripe for theocracy of any kind—Christian or Islamic. No religion has numerical strength to dominate the other. It is only safe to say Christians and Muslims are in the majority. Except through revolution—violent crusade or violent jihad—I don’t see the possibility of one religion imposing its way of life totally on the other in the near future.
And for peaceful co-existence, no religion adherents should stand in the way of others to practice what they are enjoined to do in their scriptures. Provided that does not infringe upon the freedom of others. For instance, I don’t see why a necklace with cross pendulum worn by Christians or any Catholic Christian’s rosary should give any Muslims any headache. So Muslims with thick beard or female Muslims with flowing hijabs shouldn’t provoke any uproar or become reasons for discrimination in the workplace or in the public. These are religious symbols that do not affect ability to discharge official duty.
If Christianization agenda is real, how is it achievable? Are you aware of the number of Christian presidential candidates in the recent APC Convention that stepped down for Tinubu (a Muslim) instead of Osinbajo who is not only a Christian but a pastor? So when Nigerian politicians resort to religion for campaign purpose, ignore them and make use of your common sense to vote for better candidates. We need leaders who fear God with sense of Justice and who will be just to all—they can be found in any region or religion. Primordial sentiments will only steep us further into the depth of desolate pool of despondency which we already find ourselves.
To buttress the thesis of ‘interest’ against ‘Christianization agenda’, Tunde Bakare who is also a pastor did not step down for Osinbajo. He should have gracefully done so and, at least, saved himself from that shameful outing. He got ZERO vote! I mean no single vote! What this pastor will tell his audience next Sunday, during service, is what I don’t know. I need to be in attendance, if virtually, this coming Sunday.
The deity that told him he will be the 16th President of Nigeria must be a god (not God). Even in that case, it is a white lie. I don’t know the problem with these clerics who always claim God speaks to them. One Muslim cleric also claims God spoke to him that he will be the next Nigerian President. Pastor Tunde Bakare even tried, I did not see this Muslim cleric contesting in any political party. Maybe he will become Nigerian President by miracle, only God knows. Enough of this joke please.