By Dele Sobowale
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable support” – US President George Washington, 1732-1799, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS, VBQ, p 213.
I am very much amused by all the efforts which the promoters of the Muslim-Muslim Ticket, Mu-Mu Ticket, are making to deodorise and sell a bad product. Instead of getting on with campaigning on their manifesto, convincing Nigerians with their ideas of governance, they are wasting a lot of resources in the attempt to repair self-induced injury.
Deep in their hearts, they know they are failing; and will fail ultimately. Let me repeat again that, as far as I am concerned, those offering opinions saying religion does not, or, should not matter, are offering opinions – not supported by global and national realities.
The sooner they realise that their opinions are not binding on others the better. To most Muslims and Christians, anywhere in the world, their religion does matter to them. That is why they spend so much of their time and resources on them. Nobody, because of one election in 2023, can tell us that religion should be disregarded.
CURRENT GLOBAL SITUATION
“All religious sects have tormented others, all have offered to God sacrifices of human blood” – Rousseau, 1712-1778, VBQ p 212.
Granted, all religions have engaged in barbarism in the name of God. Two events opened my eyes to how deadly religion can be: My summer 1967 travel to the Middle East for field research on Comparative Religion and my term paper on the Crusades. By 1968, I knew that anything can happen – once a religion is headed by the wrong people. In the world today, the most violent places are in the Middle East – mostly Islamic.
The refugees are heading for Europe – mostly Christian. If breaking news appears on television about a terrorist attack in Italy, most of us instinctively believe we know the religion of the terrorist(s). And, if a bomb explodes in the United Arab Emirates, the likely terrorist(s) will belong to the same religion. Is it a coincidence that the most peaceful nations are in Europe and the most violent are in Asia and Africa? I doubt it very much.
From the standpoint of economic and social development, it is obvious that, with the exception of China and Japan, the league of top ten economies is dominated by America and the European nations. How many of us given a choice of Germany, France and Sweden to go – on the one hand; and Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan – on the other hand, will choose from the second set of countries? Like it or not, Christian nations lead in prosperity, education, science, arts, sports, entertainment; in short everything which makes life worth living. That is why refugees from Syria don’t head for Saudi or Dubai. They go to Europe.
“In the olden days, except you are one of the special people, they don’t allow the king’s dress to touch you. …Now kidnappers can go to the palace to kidnap the king. We are in a war situation, let no one deceive you” – Pastor Enoch Adeboye of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, October 2, 2022.
It was not only kings who were accorded respect. Top clerics, Muslims and Christians, were also highly regarded. Today, all are fair game for bandits. But, wait a minute. When was the first time that a group of Christian kidnappers went to a mosque to kidnap the Chief Imam, to demand for ransom, and to murder him after collecting the blood money, and none of them has ever been arrested or prosecuted by our all-Muslim security agencies? Only clergy men have been brutalised.
If that does not tell you that religion matters in Nigeria, nothing will. All these atrocities specifically directed at Christians occurred with Osinbajo as Vice President. That demonstrates how much contempt Buhari and the APC government have for his VP and Christians. If you are a Christian, don’t be deceived. Religion matters; now more than ever. We are at war.
TRAITORS WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE WITH US
“We have much more horror of a traitor than an enemy; since it is harder to guard against hidden dangers than open ones” – G. Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950”.
I was not surprised that some Judases, dressed in Bishops’ robes, were exposed by the peddlers of the MU-MU Ticket. In the years it took me to gather the quotes for my book, I learnt a lot about human behaviour. Few things people do, under certain circumstances, are new to me. That was why in February I predicted that Putin will find himself in his current position. The monster of Moscow has not read enough history including that of Russia. Otherwise he would not be in the present predicament. That, I admit, is a diversion.
It is a fact of life that “To a shower of gold [or raw cash] most things are penetrable” (Thomas Carlyle, 1795-1881); and “Money makes everything legitimate – including bastards” (Jewish proverb, VBQ p 163). Our own late Chief MKO Abiola has added that “Nobody stands all day in the rain for nothing.” Few Nigerians take a serious risk for nothing. At any rate, Bishops and Pastors are human and subject to temptations like the rest of us.
Many fail the test of integrity when their needs are strong and the offer is unbelievable. The first follower of Jesus to fall into temptation was Judas Iscariot. Our latter day Judases don’t need to be reminded about what happened to him. He got the 30 shekels of silver as planned; then confronted unintended consequences. Nobody will die on account of this; believe me. What will happen will be worse than death.
Few of their fellow Christians will forget their faces – after they were splashed on television and pages of newspapers. As Richard Quest of CNN will say, “I hope it was a profitable engagement for them.” My spirit tells me they will live to regret it. Majority of Christians know that they are being asked to swallow an idea which Muslims will never accept. No Christian-Christian Ticket will ever be acceptable to Muslims in Nigeria. They know it; we better get it into our heads – including some thick skulls on the shoulders of “Men of God”.
O! What a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive” – Sir Walter Scott, 1771-1832.
To demonstrate to everyone, including the peddlers of the Mu-Mu Ticket, that deception is involved in the entire enterprise, let me present a scenario and then ask a question. Five of the current South West Governors are Christians – Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Ondo and Ekiti. At one time five of the same S/W Governors were Muslims – Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun and Ondo. Will Muslims accept it if the Christian Governors appoint all Christian Commissioners – even if they are demonstrably well-qualified?
Will Christians accept it if the Muslim Governors appoint all Muslim Commissioners – even if all are eminently suitable? We all know the answers? So, why are they trying to deceive us that religion does not or should not matter? How we manage it to ensure equity is what really matters. Buhari/APC government gave less than 15 per cent of top level appointments to Christians; because, to him, religion matters. It should matter to us too.
MR FRANSUA, WAKA CLUB SUPERSTAR, MAKES AN EXIT
WAKA CLUB 1945, Lagos Island, has lost the only unforgettable individual ever to grace the Club since it was started by Pa Domingo Amidu alias Baba Ite in 1945. WAKA, one of the first clubs in Lagos created for the topmost indigenes of Lagos Society, is situated directly opposite the cemetery, called Ite Oku in Yoruba, at Igbosere by Joseph Street (now Campos Stadium). The ground floor of the house at 10, Joseph Street, was converted to WAKA CLUB in 1945.
It was a meeting place for Ministers, Speakers, Justices, captains of industry and banking, top lawyers, Commissioners, AIGs, Army Generals, Air Force Squadron Leaders, Medical Directors and Permanent Secretaries. The small family type private Club has received more eminent men and women than anybody would ever know. Even now, it still boasts of Hon. Commissioners, ex-Vice Chancellors, Rtd Army Captains and Professors among its members. By a curious twist of fate, almost none of the prominent people who passed through are readily remembered. Only one man will never be forgotten – Mr Fransua.
Information available to me indicates that Fransua was brought to WAKA around the age of 10 from the Republic of Benin by Baba Ite to work as a Steward. He must have impressed Baba Ite so much that he was adopted. He served WAKA CLUB for 59 years – making him the longest serving Steward of any club in Lagos – if not Nigeria.
He was working until 10.30pm on Thursday, September 23, 2022; went to bed apparently hale and hearty. He tried getting up at 6.00am on Friday, as usual. He could not. His wife noticed he was having difficulties getting up; and raised the alarm. The first responders immediately rushed him towards General Hospital, Lagos Island. But he was dead on arrival.
Thousands of members have passed on but WAKA was never closed for one day. For the first time in its history, WAKA was closed for four days. The real Superstar of WAKA CLUB was gone. Nobody who stepped into the CLUB, even once, will ever forget him. I certainly will not. He was my friend above all else.
“And when he shall die/Take him/ and cut him into little stars/And he will make the face of heaven so fine…” – Shakespeare.
May his truly gentle soul rest in perfect peace.