ON AUGUST 7, 20167:07 PMIN VIEWPOINTCOMMENTS By Femi Fani-Kayode
I am glad that Father Mbaka of the Catholic Church has finally seen the light and that he has denounced the Buhari regime. This coming from a man that once supported the President vigorously, even when members of his own flock and faith were being slaughtered, marginalised and humiliated, is cheery news.
Yet there are still many more Church leaders that supported the Buhari government, that need to follow Mbaka’s example and recant. The great philosopher, writer and intellectual, Mr. Dante Alighieri, once said that “the hottest place in hell is reserved for those who maintain their neutrality at a time of moral crisis”.
To add to this it was our very own Professor Wole Soyinka, the distinguished Nobel Laureate, that said “the man died in him who remained silent in the face of tyranny”. I have no doubt in my mind that this is the time to speak out because we are not only in a time of great moral crisis in our country but we are also facing persecution and wholesale tyranny.
I am making this contribution not out of fear for the plight of the Christendom in Nigeria because I know that, as the Holy Bible says, “the gates of hell cannot prevail against the Church”. It also says “He who watches over Israel neither slumbers nor sleeps”.
It follows that no matter what the enemies of the gospel throw our way, including one million President Buharis, at the end of the day we shall prevail. I am making this contribution not out of fear or to divide our nation but rather in an attempt to inform the Nigerian people and the world about what is really going on in President Buhari’s Nigeria.
What many fail to appreciate is that the Church and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ was built and spread by the blood and the bones of the Christian martyrs. It follows that the more you persecute, jail and kill Christians and the more you subject them to terror, shame, insensitivity and humiliation, the more the Church grows.
Where the so-called “great” Christian leaders with the mega-Churches have chosen to either side with the enemy or remain silent when confronted with the tyrrany of the state, the Lord will raise other voices to stand up for and speak for His people.
An example is Pastor Bright Bayo Oladeji, who is a journalist by profession and a Baptist preacher by calling. On August 2, 2016, he wrote the following on his Facebook page: “Where are the Christians who sold the Church? The Islamic agenda is being perfected.
Professor Ishaq Oloyede, a prominent Islamic leader who said he was not aware Christians are being attacked and killed, is now to head JAMB replacing Prof Ojerinde, a Baptist. “Four Muslims were not replaced but left to continue. Out of the 17 offices, 9 new replacement are Muslims and 4 retained are Muslims. 13 out of 17 are now Muslims. NUC, Muslim. JAMB, Muslim. TETCOM, Muslim.
“Where are our Christian leaders? Where are those telling us Professor Yemi Osinbajo would stand for the Church being a pastor? “Do they involve him in all these lopsided appointments in favour of the North and Muslims or not? Do we have Christians among the APC leaders? Does Odigie-Oyegun, the National Chairman of the ruling party, really belong to the Catholic Church?
“The fact that Buhari released these appointments the same day that a newspaper published an editorial titled, “Buhari’s parochial appointments,” (this is a paper that endorsed his candidacy), is a dirty slap on the nation. “To say the least, it is corruption with impunity. Many are afraid to speak out and are being intimidated by security operatives. Have we become second class citizens in our own country?”
Pastor Bayo, as insightful and courageous as ever, has asked a pertinent question. Sadly, the answer to that question is “YES”: Since Buhari came to power, Christians have become second class citizens in Nigeria. We warned our people but they wouldn’t listen. Nigerians said they wanted “change” and now they must live with it.
Every Christian that supported President Buhari and the APC, including some of the most prominent Church leaders, should bow their heads in shame. As long as this continues, we will not remain silent and neither shall we be intimidated. No matter how hard they try,
Nigeria will NEVER be Islamised and neither will our Christian faith be rubbished. When Christians are treated with respect and dignity and when they are honored in the land, that is when we will know that true change has come.
When Yoruba Muslims are allowed to lead their northern counter-parts in prayer in the mosque, that is when we will know that true change has come. When the secularity of the Nigerian state is reiterated and confirmed, that is when we will know that true change has come. When southerners are regarded as being on the same level as northerners in the affairs of our nation, that is when we will know that true change has come.
When the murderous herdsmen and militias are finally diasarmed and when they stop slaughtering our people with impunity and without any fear of retribution from the state, that is when we will know that true change has come. When Christians are no longer murdered in cold blood in some parts of the North simply for exercising their faith whilst the govetnment turns a blind eye, that is when we will know that true change has come.
When Christians leaders are no longer subjected to insults and brutal assault by over- zealous security agents simply for praying and reading the Holy Bible, that is when we will know that true change has come.
When the Igbo people are not treated as pariah citizens and when their children are no longer shot in the streets like stray dogs simply because, as a people, they have their own dreams and aspirations and simply because they are protesting against the manifest injustice that they have been subjected to in the land, that is when we will know that true change has come.
When Middle Belters and the northern minorities are allowed to carve out their own identity and when they are freed from the intimidation, harassment, hegemony, genocide, cultural imperialism and slavery of the core Muslim North, then we will know that true change has come.
Until then, the change that the Buhari administration has offered and served to the Nigerian people is nothing but fake.
Fani-Kayode is a former Minister of Aviation.