By Olabode Emmanuel Olawumi
As I was preparing to go to bed on Sunday, July 8, 2013, I made a last attempt for the day to keep myself updated with the latest happenings across the globe. In the course of doing that, I stumbled upon an article on YNaija titled, “Nigeria – Are We Still Waiting for God?” The writer, who questioned our over-emphasis on religion as the pathway to the nation’s growth concluded with the question, ‘Why is Nigeria still waiting for God?’
As I ruminated over his rhetorical question, I embarked on a soul search. I asked myself, “How long will we continue to fail, using God as an excuse for our woes while we ‘pass the buck to him?’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not denying that we can trust in God for all things’, I just need us to come to the realization of the fact that God has already given us the power to do all things. This implies that our God-given sense of reason and logic should motivate us to take personal actions rather than cast our cares (some of which we’ve been empowered for) on the Creator. We’ve gotten the whole religion thing wrong and we need to retrace our steps immediately.
Nigeria is one of the most religious countries in the world as far as I am concerned. As much as I don’t have a problem with that, what breaks my heart is how this country has refused to take a giant leap forward, considering, the heightened religious activities that take place in the country.
Everywhere you go, one seems to be welcomed by several revivals, crusades, healing schools, prosperity sermons, messages among others. Once you miss a church service or fail to go for your Islamic prayer, you are considered an outcast, a backslider, an enemy of the faith – one doomed to perish with the devil in hell.
Everyone wants to tell you what you and ought not to do. From your hairstlye, to your dress sense; your career, to where, when and how you (should) spend your leisure – religion has a grip on everything.
Considering this much emphasis on religion and how ‘saintly’, ‘godly’ and ‘holy’ we all are expected to be crusaders of our faith, one is left to ask why we’ve barely left where we are to where we should be.
We pray for good leaders but refuse to vote for the right people. We tell God to grant us a good government but the Holy’ and Upright sit in the places of worship as they fold their hands and watch the evil ones rule us and make decisions on our behalf.
Truth be told, Nigeria’s numerous problems is not only embedded in our submission to a supreme being. We can only exit ourselves from this mess, only when we understand that God has given us the power and the ability to mould our destiny. Good or bad, whichever way we so decide is our choice.
In Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’, the two characters waited throughout the play for Godot that never showed up. They were lost, they were hungry, they were stranded, yet, they waited for Godot – hoping that, at least, when he comes, he’ll deliver them from their misery. They didn’t make any attempt to search inwards to create a way where they couldn’t find any. At the end of the day, they achieve nothing and conclude that ‘there is nothing to be done’ but is it okay to say there’s is nothing to be done to make Nigeria a better place? There is a lot to be done. First, from the renewal of our minds; we all need to understand that a crippled mind cannot produce anything of worth. We need to think about the right things. All our actions (of corruption, mediocrity, laziness, greed, covetousness, indecency, hatred, war, ethnicity, tribalism, political instability) evolve from our minds.
We don’t need God to tell us that we are blessed with the resources – human, natural that we need (if properly utilised to become a great nation. We just need to see the need to do the right things, make the right decisions; have a clear picture of our future at the right time.)
In whatever position or sector we find ourselves, we owe ourselves, our society and God, the responsibility to be diligent and promote the values of hard work, persistence, excellence, and creativity.
God has played His part. It’s up to us to play ours.
Let no one ask anymore for we have all the answers.
Olabode Emmanuel Olawumi is the Creative Director, OYA MAGAZINE www.oyamag.com.ng, an online entertainment and youth empowerment magazine. He tweets at @olabodeeo