CHRISTIAN SOCIAL MOVEMENT OF NIGERIA (CSMN)
59TH INDEPENDENCE ANNIVERSARY: CELEBRATING DUAL IDEOLOGY’S FAILURES
🔵 Nigeria received Independence from British Colonial rule in 1960 as a Democratic country but 59 years later, it has departed from its foundation and is today ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS. While 1st October 1960 was officially the end of British Colonial rule, May 29, 1999 signaled the official commencement of neo-Colonialism with the introduction of the 1999 Constitution which promoted dual conflicting ideologies in Nigeria. There has been consistent de-emphasis of October 1 as Independence Day, while May 29 is promoted as Democracy Day. The message should be clear to the discerning.
🔵 The current Federal Government is unabashedly an advocate of injustice and inequality engendered by ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS. The discriminations permitted by this imbalance are cited as examples in the paper under violation of Federal Character Principle, Security, Education, and anti-corruption efforts. Details are lucid in the main paper.
🔵 Elites of the Muslim North are aware of these acts of injustices but generally keep mute. This is because when people benefit from discrimination, they shut their eyes to injustice.
🔵 Democracy as ideology is designed to promote the rule of majority over the minority. In Nigeria, the reverse seems to be the case as the minority exercises its will over the majority. This societal imbalance is also noticeable in the Church where two Christian Blocs seem determined to dominate the other Church Groups by any means possible. Those who ascend high offices in the Church or in the country through rigged elections cannot claim that God appointed them. God did not; that is illegitimate leadership.
🔵 A societal imbalance of ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS has never worked anywhere in the world and it will not work in Nigeria. Those who assume that deployment of violence will make it work in Nigeria will soon learn that in the 21st Century, violence does not solve any problem. Therefore, the elites of Nigeria need to convene a Conference and resolve the phenomenon of ONE COUNTRY, TWO SYSTEMS and agree on one system which is Democracy. Under the circumstances, CSMN is proposing again Truth and Reconciliation Commission as platform for healing and reconciliation of all ethnic groups in Nigeria.
🔵 The paper would not end without attending to its main constituency, the Church. Christians have no right to complain of election rigging or manipulation of the Court in the country because they conduct worse elections inside the Church. If Christians want righteous elections in Nigeria, they should dismantle the unrighteous elections they have done in the Church and do a proper election based on truth not vote buying and violation of Church Constitution. Christians cannot deny righteousness within the Church, and demand righteousness from non-Christians.
🔵 THE FULL PAPER IS BELOW:
The Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) joins Nigerians to commemorate the 59th Independence Anniversary from British Colonial Rule on October 1, 1960. With the official Independence from Colonial Rule, the founding fathers of Nigeria had looked forward to building a nation where, “though tribe and tongues may differ, in brotherhood we stand”. Fifty nine years down the road, it is prudent to look back and examine the journey thus far.
When Nigeria was established as a country, it was with the understanding that it would be a secular state with Liberal Democracy as the National Ideology and a Parliamentary System of Government. Today, events unfolding in the country indicate that these expectations have been thrown overboard and Nigeria, of today, is a great departure from its foundation.
The first noticeable shift was the subtle attempt to de-emphasize October 1, as Independence Day while May 29 was promoted as Democracy Day. This shift in emphasis started with the introduction of the 1999 Constitution which has strengthened the concept of ONE NATION, TWO SYSTEMS in Nigeria. The subtle interpretation is that October 1, 1960 did not end Colonialism in Nigeria, but May 29 is the official introduction of neo-Colonialism. Thus, while British colonialism ended on October 1, 1960, neo-colonialism commenced officially in 1961 at a distinguished ceremony in which the standard of Sultan Attahiru was returned to the Sokoto Caliphate.
Evidence for this conclusion abounds particularly under the current Federal Government which makes no attempt to hide its support for dual conflicting National Ideologies. With flagrant impunity, the Federal Character Principle in the country, which was introduced to promote equality in a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural society, is being violated.
A few days ago, the President of Nigeria was at the UN General Assembly. At a point in the deliberations, three persons out of four on the podium were Chairman of the General Assembly, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN while the third was the President of Nigeria. All the three persons representing Nigeria were from the same Fulani ethnic nationality and from all indications, the same religion, Islam. This posturing cannot be in compliance with Federal Character Principle as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution Section 14 (3).
Another example has to do with the spate of killings by religious extremists and terror groups in the country. Any act of murder or kidnapping committed by anyone from the South or Middle Belt area is immediately criminalized and prosecuted. However, any murder committed by anyone from the core north particularly, the Fulani stock is treated with leniency and in most cases the culprits are released without prosecution. Three examples will suffice:
🚩Garus Gololo the leader of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association in Benue State on January 4, 2018 told BBC that the January 1st (New Year) killings in Benue State was a reprisal attack for the theft of Miyetti Allah’s cows;
🚩Usman Ngelzerma on January 12, 2018 said that Fulani herdsmen attacked Guma and Logo because the herdsmen were fined by livestock guards; and
🚩Bello Bodejo, the National President of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association said the cause of the attacks on Benue State was because the State enacted Anti-Open Grazing law.
In the case of kidnapping, while Evans the notorious kidnapper was arrested and prosecuted, Wadume, another kidnapper from the neo-colonialists group was aided to escape by Soldiers who murdered Policemen to facilitate his escape. Even though public outcry has led to the re-arrest of Wadume, it would be interesting to see how the case would eventually play out.
In the area of Education, evidence of neo-colonialism can be inferred from the cut-off point for admission into Unity Schools. Children from some states in the South require more than 130 points to secure admission into Unity Schools while children from the core North could secure the same admission with 9 points. To worsen matters, those who secured Secondary School admission with 9 points often receive priority employment offers from the Federal Government while those who performed well with 130 points admission pound pavements looking for job.
The question we are asking is why a country (Nigeria) should have differing standards based on ethnicity and religion rather than on merit? Most of the elites from the core North are in support of this skewed arrangement because it provides for them a special status. It is clear that when people benefit from discrimination, they close their eyes to injustice. There are Nigerians who occupy positions for which they are not qualified as a result of neo-colonialism. If the country is going to survive, discriminations and supremacy of a particular religion have to end.
Nowhere is internal colonialism more apparent than in the “fight against corruption”. The impression clearly created in this country is that some thieves are untouchable while other thieves are guilty. Former Plateau State Governor Joshua Dariye was convicted for diversion of N1.2 billion Ecological Fund while former Governor Ahmed Muazu of Bauchi State who diverted N2.9 billion of Ecological Fund is roaming free. Every attempt to get EFCC to prosecute Muazu was ignored even after a Federal High Court issued an Order of Mandamus for his prosecution. While Muazu is of the tribe of the colonialists, Dariye is from the colony.
In similar act of discrimination, late Chief of Air Staff, Alex Badeh, a Christian, was investigated by the EFCC with pomp and pageantry over the alleged theft of N4.5 billion and his assets were confiscated. However, his predecessor in office, Mohammed Umar a Muslim from the North, was accused by the EFCC of stealing over N10 billion and he is yet to be convicted. He is being secretly tried out of Abuja with compromised charges to facilitate loopholes for his acquittal.
The same double standard was applied by EFCC to the case of former Comptroller General of Customs, Mr. Dikko. The EFCC published that Mr. Dikko allegedly stole N45 billion from the Government. Probably being a Fulani from Katsina state, a kangaroo trial has been arranged for him outside Abuja. The media blitz associated with the trial of southerners and Middle Belt indigenes who steal is suddenly muted on this case.
Therefore, on this 59th Independence Anniversary, Nigerians need to soberly ask the question, “What are we celebrating?” Definitely, the gross discrimination and sectionalism in the country could not have been the dream of the founding fathers of this country.
DEMOCRACY IS A CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE
The Church is one holy, Catholic and Apostolic. The teaching of the Church from facts of history and not fiction is that “Democracy is the secularized residue of Church doctrine of the people of God”. The social teaching of the Church further states that authority belongs to the order established by God, offices such as Presidents, Kings and other leaders. The selection or election of those to occupy these established orders is left to the free decision of citizens. From this Christian teaching, it is safe to say that those who ascend high offices in the Church as a result of rigged elections cannot say that God appointed them to such office. The visible consequence is the rule of minority which is akin to colonialism. It is also a fact that Democracy is incompatible with Sharia. The British, in 1908, had 399 expatriates for a population of over 7 million in Northern Nigeria and had to resort to indirect rule through the Emirs. This was a practical method of ruling such a diverse country even though in reality, it was the rule of machine guns over bows and arrows. Indirect rule was later extended to Eastern Nigeria with the appointment of Warrant Chiefs. It is wrong in the circumstance for a few Church leaders today to promote rule of a few, two blocs out of five, such practice is a form of colonialism. Democracy that was facilitated by Christianity and has gained international acceptance as the best form of government must not be debased or degraded.
Christians especially the clergy must not help those who do not believe in Democracy by granting them the number to constitute a majority which they lack only to turn round to destroy Democracy and the Rule of Law in the country. Pastors must not preside over rigged elections or in the selection of leadership for the people of God.
CONFERENCE ON “ONE NATION, TWO SYSTEMS”
As Nigerians review the existence of the country in the past 59 years, it is imperative that the elites in the country should convene a Conference to examine the issue of having one country with two conflicting ideologies. It has never worked anywhere in the world and Nigeria cannot be an exception. Before the inequality it engenders reach a boiling point, it is important that intellectuals and social engineers sit and resolve the issue in favor of the foundation that the founding fathers laid for Nigeria. Any attempt to build Nigeria on any ideology or ideologies different from the one the founding fathers agreed on will lead to disaster as this would constitute an inexcusable strain on the fabric of the Nigerian society which can force it to give way at any moment.
Those under the impression that deployment of violence would grant them their desires should be reminded that in the 21st Century, violence does not solve problems. On the contrary, it exacerbates it. Examples of this abound in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, and Sudan. The only thing violence achieves is death and destruction on both sides without providing any solution. To achieve solutions, both parties would still need to sit at a table and negotiate.
Therefore, the Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) is proposing again a Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the platform for healing and reconciliation of all the Ethnic Nationalities and Religions in the country. In addition, the country should return to its abandoned development route by returning the 1963 Republican Constitution.
LIGHT IN THE NATION
The Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN) would not want to end this Anniversary Message without addressing its main constituency, the Nigerian Church. The Church in Nigeria is one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. The purpose of God is that His Church should be salt of the earth and light of the world.
On September 11, 2019, the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PET) delivered a judgment that shocked every person of good conscience in the country. The group that expressed the greatest angst was the Christians even though the two candidates were Fulani and Muslims. For many Christians, it was travesty of justice and mockery of Democracy. However, a more discerning observation would show that Christians have no rights, whatsoever, to complain. If election is rigged in the country, what is going on inside the Church becomes relevant. There is credible evidence that elections in the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) are marred by rigging through vote buying, flagrant violation of the Constitution of the Association and deliberate compromise of the process. This is not the standard expected of Christians and the Church.
A Church that violates truth and righteousness cannot legitimately demand truth and righteousness from non-Christians. Christians must not condone and accommodate election rigging and corruption in its fold. Nigerian Christians have the right to complain about the evils afflicting the country when they do not condone and accommodate such acts inside the Church. If Nigerian Christians want justice, they must be prepared to do justice in the country. The Lord has this to say in the Scriptures, “physician, heal thyself”; whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.
As Nigeria celebrates her 59thIndependence Anniversary, in like manner the Nigerian Church also celebrates 59 years of local leadership free from foreign control. A person that is 59 years old should be matured enough to discern right from wrong. The embarrassment a few Church leaders cause the Christian community due to unbridled desires and lifestyles is very sad. These things should not be in the Household of Faith. Therefore, Christians should be more determined to call to order, Christian leaders who stray away.
The Christian Social Movement of Nigeria and other Christian Organizations should unite Christians in Nigeria especially now that leaders take actions that would rather promote their tribes not the country. We therefore recommend the following:
1. There is the need for the establishment of Truth and Reconciliation Commission as the basis for healing and reconciliation in Nigeria. The highest form of forgiveness is reconciliation.
2. Nigeria should return to its foundational Constitution. The 1963 Republican Constitution, with minor amendments, to replace the current 1999 Constitution which is plagued by a dual and conflicting ideology.
3. Nigerian Christians should be committed to enforcing righteousness in the Church as a prerequisite for Christian condemnation of evils in the country. A Church that condones unrighteousness in its fold is unable to call others to order or demand righteousness from Government.
4. It is very clear that the support a number of Christians gave to the Islamists in Nigeria has granted them the majority to rule and, the instrument with which to attempt to replace Democracy with Islamism. This support must be withdrawn and Christians must join in the promotion of Democracy without hindrance. Those determined to use violence and corruption to destroy our Democracy must be stopped because without us, Christians, they are very few. We must not give them the number to make us second class citizens in our country.
God bless Nigeria.
Elder Solomon Asemota, SAN
October 1, 2019