GUEST COLUMNIST

HIJAB CONTROVERSY: NIGERIAN’S TRAVELING ON THE PATH OF FOOLISHNESS AGAIN, PLAYING WITH FIRE


By Isaac Ochegbudu 
In the past few weeks there have been series of happenings surrounding the Hijab controversy in Kwara state. From war of words to physical confrontation last week. Seeing the incident and it’s byproducts so far, the assertion of Karl Marx on religion is substantiated.
The postulation by Marx that “religion is the opium of the masses” will forever be true, especially in Nigeria. Since I was born, I have witness series of religious escalation and manipulation of religious issues which have caused the social formation called Nigeria great harm. There is no doubt that religion is one of the major problem of Nigeria, not because of the dictates of these religions but those who practice it. Sad still, it is  Christians and Muslims  who are always clashing.
I’m not interested in either Hijab is allowed in schools or not but my major concern in this piece is the continuous foolishness of Nigerians on religious matters. We tend to be intoxicated with religion that it blurs our sense of reasoning,  then we take decisions that will later land us in regret.
The Hijab issue in my view,  is a little problem that can be resolved easily but sadly the situation is manipulated and escalating everyday. The war of words, insults, accusations, hatred , religious ignorance displayed from both sides is nonsensical and frightening . Even those who are supposed to have a neutral stand and halt the situation, have further amplified the situation. Most regrettably, the government has failed woefully on the matter as usual. The inability of Government at all levels in Nigeria to resolve issues among parties, is a constant phenomenon. They only end up doing more harm than good in such situations.
It is sad that both Christianity and Islam which both claim to be religion of peace have always been in antagonism with each other and resorted to a non peaceful approach in resolving issues between them. Making utterances that are capable of setting the society ablaze, instead of finding ways to solve these problems. Sadly, the so called intellectuals have ventured into this religion manipulations, fanaticism and bigotry too. 
The inability of the government, religious bodies and their leaders to resolve simple issues but allow for  the manipulation and escalation of such issues have set the country ablaze several times, leading to the destruction of lives and properties. We are all aware and witneses of these incidents in past years, so I don’t need to mention these sad incidents one after the other .
 Nigerians have always followed the same path in resolving issues, which in turn lead to reaping of bitter fruits. Knowing how sensitive religious issues are in Nigeria and past sad experiences, it is expected that the government and citizens of Nigeria learn but sadly we haven’t learn and are not ready to learn. We prefer to always follow the old path of regret.
Sentimentality beclouds our sense of reasoning that we don’t look at the long term repercussions of our actions and inactions. It also makes us blind to the immediate sad past experiences.
I have always decried sentimentality to be our major problem in Nigeria, thus I said this in one of my articles :”Sentimentality blocks our sense of reasoning, it makes us blind and it makes us to become enemies of ourselves. More serious, even within our ethnic groups, we are always against ourselves because of religious sentiments and in our religious groups we are against ourselves because of ethnic sentiments. We are just so divide and scattered in all ramifications. What is wrong with Nigeria? When are we going to realise this common enemy? When are we going to learn from the happenings of the past  and its blows? Maters of national interest, security, politics, religion, social interactions etc., are all sentiment based. Members of same ethnic group attack and harm each other because of religious sentiments; members of the same religion attack and harm each other because of ethnic sentiments. It is appalling how Nigeria degenerate everyday!Nigeria must break away from the shackels of sentimentality.”
Is it not funny that the Yoruba’s who were  few weeks ago united on ethnic ground are now fighting each other on religious ground? It’s so sad how Nigerians allow themselves to be foolishly manipulated on ethnic or religious ground and later end up in regret.
It is very important for the government, citizens and religious body to know that, so far on the Hijab controversy, they are playing with the same fire of the past that have consumed a lot.
It is better for us  to put the fire off reasonably now before it becomes an uncontrollable inferno just like in time past and we end up in regret.
Nigeria has a lot it’s facing now and we can’t afford to add another problem. We shouldn’t add insult to our already painful injuries!
Isaac Ochegbudu Isaacochegbudu@gmail.com 08106194657, 09047416032

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