I started this piece as a commentary on Facebook when I opined on a friend’s post on the subject of the proposed law, which Governor Nasir El Rufai of Kaduna State is desirably pushing to legalize in licencing of religious processions and outdoor activities they may, futuristically, wish to embark on in the State. As much as I am not privy to the content of that bill, presently before the Kaduna State House of Assembly, I am however under the obligation to call my fellow brothers and sisters, Nigerians; especially the Christian fold in, and of Kaduna State, to take heed that they do not portray our common faith in a very bad light. My admonition therefore centres on the urgent need for the Christians in Kaduna State to align themselves with scriptures and dutifully project the life of Christ whom they profess to believe and emulate.
We cannot be spiritual in singing “this world is not my home, I am just a passer through…” and at the same time seek to demand for worldly “religious rights” that are not captured by the foundation of the Christian faith – the Holy scripture, nor by the constitution of the Federal Republic. One thing that must be effectively noted in this is that, though the constitution of Nigeria permits “the freedom of worship”, it is blind to any religion or religious practice. It is therefore illegal for anyone to demonstrate any religious issue before the Nigerian State. Nevertheless, it is allowed by our laws, that any abuse of the permission granted by the constitution for the “freedom of worship” to breach public peace, a responsive government should take the obligation to address such abuse in whatever way it deems appropriate and necessary for the sake of the people it governs.
The religious activities, and the continuous public show of rascality by members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), by their usual and unscrupulous obstruction and disruption of the free flow of pedestrian and vehicular traffic on the roads of Zaria, where I spent 25 years of my life of orientation, in Muchiyan Dan Auta, has not been able to, and cannot justify the number of young lives lost in the hands of the Nigerian Army almost annually in Zaria. The usual fracas that almost annually pitches the Nigerian Army, in an arrogated war of superiority, with members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) is something any serious government must ensure it nibs in the bud.
In the face of these clashes between the Nigerian Army and the Shiite group, methinks the bill seeking to outlaw public show of religion, promoted by Governor El Rufai, is a positive responsive step in the right direction. It is therefore upon this believe that I am concerned about the prominence exhibited by some “Christians” in Kaduna State, whose worries are purely political, in seeking to confront and resist the promotion of “the El Rufai Bill. In my opinion, I do not think that Governor El Rufai, as Chief Security Officer of Kaduna State, has any kin reason whatsoever to tailor this creative bill against the Christians population in the State.
He, however, surely has a duty to contain the annual belligerence between the Nigerian Army and Shiite believers. It is for this reason that I wonder what the beef is with the “Christians” who are spearheading the resistance to such a very commendable and positive step put forward by the governor to ensure peace and safety for the generality of the people of Kaduna State. I am therefore here to address those “Christians” who seemingly appear to be happy with the kind of bloodshed constantly witnessed in Zaria.
Let me therefore take us into a particular aspect of Christian truth that we need to put before us; but let me start by quoting a revelation I received from the Holy Spirit in the year 2005: “All the believers of Jesus Christ are Christians but not all Christians are believers of Jesus Christ”. I am very sure that there is nothing vague in the above quotation that should limit ones understanding in appreciating the fact that most people who profess Christianity are ignorant of what the word means, and since it is possible for them to bring the Christian faith into disrepute by “loving this present world” and relegating the truth needed to set them loose from the chains of spiritual ignorance and despondence, their acts should be examined against the background of what and who they profess to believe; in case they are trouble molders, makers and shooters.
A time was when Jesus was passing through Samaria, coming from Galilee; and he permitted his Apostles to go into Samaria to eat and get necessary supplies. While they were gone, he made to rest at Jacob’s well: Jacob dug this well during one of his relocations as a wandering pilgrim in the Palestine wilderness.
The Samaritans were mixed children of Jewish men and Gibeonite women. The Gibeonite were, as punishment for their deceitful characteristics, the fetchers of water and hewers of wood for the Jews during the Exodus: the movement of the people of Israel from Egypt to occupy their “Land of Promise”. Their men were made to live separately from their women, until the Gibeon race gave way to the Samaritan race. When the Jews finally inherited Canaan, their Promised Land, they located the Samaritans outside their camp. That location was called Samaria. The Samaritans were half Jews.
As Jesus sat at the well under an oak tree, there came this Samaritan woman, who scripture says had married 5 different husbands previously, and was at that time living with a boyfriend, came to fetch water out of the well. Jesus asked her for a drink: a request no Jew would dare make from a Samaritan, least also knowing she is promiscuous – Jesus told the story of her life to her face. So she was surprised and sensed that this Jew (Jesus) must be a prophet, because prophets in Israel at a certain time in their history were the Oracle of God, in spite of their Kings and Priests. So it was easier for people to relate with them, because they were accessible and accommodating in the face of their very restrictive laws – this was the reason Prophet Hosea was permitted to marry a prostitute.
Having the privilege of meeting a seeming prophet, and as someone who, in spite of her outward credential as a prostitute, desired the true worship of God as her inward credential, asked Jesus, “why are you, a Jew, asking me, a Samaritan for a drink?”
One conversation led to another until she asked Jesus, “I sense that you are a prophet, now tell me, our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but your people say that it must be in Jerusalem that God must be worshipped”. The distance from Samaria to Jerusalem was note-worthily far, mountainous and deserted. The Parable of the Good Samaritan, which tells of a man lying almost dead on that road, who suffered the attack from robbers, captures the usual risk people take to transit between Samaria and Jerusalem. In spite of this fatal danger, the Jewish authorities made the “Jerusalem worship” demand on the Samaritans only because they anticipated their tithe returns.
Jesus told her clearly “neither upon this mountain or in Jerusalem shall you worship the father…Time is now, when the TRUE WORSHIPPERS of the father shall worship him in TRUTH and in SPIRIT, for such SEEKS THE FATHER to worship him”.
On the matter of worship therefore, Jesus Christ makes it very clear that no Christian requires a location to worship God, if you get what I mean. He also makes it clear that there are those who God seeks to truly worship him. In my opinion, this is the truth that should be clear to the Christians in Kaduna State.
However, I am aware that in spite of the truth that there are God-worshippers, sought by God to worship him, our communities are filled with God-seekers, people who seek God to worship: they are yet to find God. These are they who go about and around, disturbing everyone in their communities in the name of the Lord. They are loud, greedy and deceitful. Their targets are to enslave ignorant men and rob them of their wealth and self-respect.
Yes! Governor El Rufai can ask those who seek God to obtain licence for their search: if gold diggers pay for licence, why should not God-seekers? Who/which is most precious to God-worshippers: God and gold? They should even pay for the licence to seek God. God has not sent them to do what they do.
Granted that there are definitely those who should seek God, but these are those who have not come to him yet. Jesus Christ says “Come unto me, all you who labour and are heavy laden; and I will give you rest”. How then can, and why should those who seek God claim to know him? And if they know him, why are they not at rest from seeking him? Anyone who arrives his destination needs no longer to wander naa! He should be at rest.
But I tell you of truth, no man nor power on earth, not even a billon El Rufais, can stop the activities of those who God seeks. So in Christianity, their are two divides: believers and church-goers. El Rufai is not targeting believers with his bill but the Church-goers.
I say it very loudly, that ALL who go to Church are nothing more than Church-goers, but the difference between a Church-goer and a believer in Jesus Christ is in how they positively impact their communities.
This is why I support the locking up of all the community-oppressing and noise-making Churches in Lagos. All State Governors are duty-bound to replicate this commendable policy of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, to arrest the noise-trespassers in their various States.
It would not be that because Islam requires the “Call to Prayer” in their religion, Christians should hang megaphones upon the externals of their church walls. Nevertheless, it is appalling that while the Moslems’ call to prayer takes less than 5 minutes, these copy-cats’ take a minimum of 1 hour.
I hereby call on the Federal Government to start imposing taxes on the Churches as long as the legal tender they receive from Nigerians are in Naira and Kobo because their Jewish example had Temple Shekels into which regular currencies are exchanged to allow the monetary transactions within the Temple. This was the matter that led Jesus to accuse some operators of the Jewish Temples as those who make his father’s house “the den of thieves”. This is the picture of the Nigerian church system and Government must not shift any ground for them.