By Busuyi Mekusi
The culpability or otherwise of Isa Pantami, based on his misfires, predicated on his acclaimed abrasive ‘juvenile delinquency’, has continued to invite the wars of attrition from divided Nigerians, with religion, as usual, exposing Nigerians and Garba Shehu as candidates of gullibility. The paradox of holiness and hollowness in contemporary Nigeria is best manifested in the greed and consumerism that have made them to reduce spiritual blessings to bread and butter, when evidently man is not expected to live by bread alone. Religions, to the inquisitive man, remain mere vehicles to seek one’s Maker, but the corruption in their practices exists best as opium, leading to opprobrium! The three major religions in Nigeria have turned many worshipers to liabilities to fellow human beings, with the religious subscription of an individual escalated to an incinerator of a sort to others across the divides. Priests are supposed to be servants, but many of them have since become lords. Given the burdens of religious multiplicity in Nigeria, the gods are definitely to blame!
Religious bigotry has left the world depressed, with religious socialisations generating unforgettable orientations. Specifically, as part of the shenanigans in human relations, ‘colour politics’ have created the notion of avoidable ‘unwanted specie’ in blackness and hybridised whiteness. Religious extremism has birthed horrendous seemingly insurmountable orgies of violence on Nigeria streets, with respected spaces getting raped, and heavily violated. With a painful noting of the ‘homily’ by Governor Abubakar Bello of Niger State on the hoisting of Boko Haram’s flag in Kaure village, the gleefulness of the Emir that accompanied the governor to the IDPs’ Camp, where the latter made the statement, was a contradiction to the mournful and wincing agonies shown by the displaced persons. This case, like many others, is reminiscent of Fela’s classical all-time relevant sarcasm of ‘suffer-suffer for world’ and ‘suffering and smiling’.
Central to religious identification and personal inscription is the idea of name adaptations, which is at the core of religious and cultural propagations. Euro-Arabic-centric manipulations plunged most Nigerians into the abysmal danger of belonging nowhere. Religion-induced name-change has produced sufficient charlatans who by their acts embarked on social ‘cross carpeting’ that invariably engenders religio-cultural complicated identities. While associating with a certain religion by name, their active physical association would indicate the contrary. Beyond this, certain individuals also use names as political instruments to depict affiliation and engender recommendation. For instance, when they profess to be a Christian, after their identification with Islamic religion, they would willfully reintroduce their formerly blurred Muslim names to garner acceptance from a targeted community. While some have argued about what is in a name, the ‘No Name’ brands in South African market, like I argued before, remain a form of ‘naming’, in an attempt not to name!
Holy (Virgin) Mary is undoubtedly accepted by Christians as a carrier of a blessed womb. She is a privileged woman in the agenda of man’s redemption. Mary’s statue in catholism attracts calls for referential spiritual interventions, with such prestigious placement receiving unnecessary controversies in relation to the claim of idolatry. Given the highly religious nature of Nigerians, religious items are venerated, patronised and circulated, not just for the actualisation of religious expressions, but even for economic reasons. Beyond the foregoing, religious effigies and emblems are curiously imported and exported beyond borders, including ‘holy’ water, oil, bracelets, special beads, etc., that are believed to carry spiritual potency, meant to achieve certain metaphysical ends. Little wonder the recent subjugation of the statue of Holy Mary to the corruption of drug abuse and unhealthy personal aggrandisement. Incidentally, while holiness is mouthed by most Nigerians, hollow attitudes, manifesting in different forms of backwardness, are evidence of religious pretensions by Nigerians.
This recent use of Holy Mary’s statue for drug carriage is another acknowledgement of the mental and moral depravity assailing Nigerians. This infusion of 140grammes of Methamphetamine into the statue of Holy Mary, traceable to courier companies, was tantamount to the defilement of the ‘womb of life’. By the day, dangerous innovative strategies are deployed by drug carriers to circumvent the various checks emplaced by government agencies to curtail their nefarious activities. Apart from the swallowing of pellets of drug by peddlers, different body parts, hairdos, as well as traditional insignias, like walking sticks and sceptres are used discreetly by carriers to ferry illicit substances. This is even as the heat generated by up-scaled surveillance duties by security personnel are received with a pint of salt by many common Nigerians. The argument of these pessimists has been that a greater number of the gatekeepers are complicit in the illicit trade, citing links at high places as some of the negative established traditions that would not allow the negative trends go away in a hurry. Nigerians are reputed for converting things, from good to bad, bad to worse, and worse to a trip to Golgotha!
The acknowledgement of the different seizures made by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in recent times in Nigeria, by the Chairman of the agency, Buba Marwa, which was put at N75billion, clearly reminds one of the palpable greed and overt desperation for primitive accumulation of wealth, which this column has decried a number of times. With free unaccounted monies dominating the inflationary inflammatory economy, there is no gainsaying the fact that proceeds of crimes, scams, frauds, rituals, kidnapping, etc., would easily get loaded to the economic space, whose galloping inflation heads to the precipice, as a result of the shrinking in the agricultural contributions to the GDP. Experts have similarly established a link between criminality and drug abuse, particularly the psychopathic-like killings of innocent citizens and security personnel by bandits, criminals and terrorists. Evidently, Nigeria drug-trapped youths portend a hazy future, and almost total waste in a nation that requires all her productive hands to be up-and-doing in economic growth and nation-building. Metaphorically speaking, the ‘defiled womb of Holy Mary’ represents the possibility of a drugged foetus that is bedeviled by inescapable deformity.
To this end, Nigeria’s wombs of time and space are diseased, and in the grip of malignant cancerous growths. Amidst suspicions and accusations of pampering of criminal herders and misleading classification of terrorists as bandits by the amorphous presidency of Garba Shehu, the confession of the Niger State Governor of Boko Haram’s ‘endurance trekking’ to Abuja, the readiness of President Muhammadu Buhari to seek the intervention of America in mitigating insecurity is commendable, but undoubtedly belated given the needless killings that has become Nigeria’s negative trademark. The President must come out of the walls of Jericho imposed by the Aso Rock and cabals to be able to see his subjects weep, cry and despair. The President must be told, and know the truth! Vociferous political gladiators like El-Rufai who, in their bid to hijack power in 2015, advised Goodluck Jonathan to resign as President in the face of provocative insecurity under his watch must follow their unsolicited ‘special advice’ given under a similar present circumstance, and relinquish their positions, as they have apparently transgressed their constitutional oath, and failed the people they sworn to protect. Anyway, considering the malleability of Nigerians, one would venture to conclude that Nigerians’ ‘Mumu’ is unprecedented!
Looking at the critical corruption of the statue of Holy Mary, Nigerians hollowness must stop, so that, other sacred personalities left would not be infected. Every metaphorically diseased womb must be removed in order to prevent giving birth to deranged children. Both conventional and unconventional means are needed to restore the dignity of citizens, particularly by speedily arresting the ongoing various mindless criminalities and killings. As the dastardly activities of Boko Haram and its affiliates are being pushed hard, particularly the notion that western education is a sin, we must all be reminded that academic institutions are enriched spaces, and must not be reduced to eroded constituency!