I don’t know what we see when we take a critical look at our nation 57 years after nationhood and I don’t want to hazard a guess. A conclusive picture should be the outcome of a well researched study. Nevertheless, as humans with intelligence we can take certain positions and draw certain assumptions based on what we see happen around us and some of the things that affect us directly as citizens and which substantially determine our state of welfare. If we were to proceed from the above premise, then it is easy to say that we have a nation that is very intriguing and complex at the same time. It is intriguing because some of the things that we do defy logic and commonsense.
Many of our actions cannot be categorized. In the 21st century we are quarrelling and making a big conflict out of a simple matter like what subject to teach our pupils and students in primary and secondary schools. See why I say our activities are intriguing and unnecessarily complex.The altercation is not over key subjects like mathematics, biology, physics or elementary technology. Rather, it is over Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) and Islamic Studies/Arabic Language.
I said earlier we have this penchant to make simple things assume complex nature. Except for Arabic Language which has always been taught by the many Quranic schools in our nation, both CRK and Islamic Studies have been subjects in our educational curriculum since independence in 1960. Both have been taught as separate courses and to the best of my knowledge that allocation has never been a source of concern or friction to anybody or group of persons. Our governments have never had to worry about what the two studies meant, the course contents and what the teachers did with them. Today the nation is on the edge over the two subjects because some unpatriotic and mischievous citizens have chosen to take the nation on a journey on a wrong path. They did not only collapse the two studies into one under one bogus name, National Value and Civics, they went ahead without consultation to author new books on the subject in which they distorted key principles of the Christian faith and elevated and made prominent some of those of the Islamic religion. To ensure they get the nation into a fighting mood, they came up with the idea that the study of this subject including Arabic should be compulsory.
Now the country is boiling over what should ordinarily have been a non-issue. The motive which they christened “National Value” is noble but those of us very experienced have seen enough to know that wicked men hide under the cloak of good to perpetrate massive evil and so it is with this case. If it is about national value and good behaviour, the pupils and students could still have acquired that under the old order, in fact the old syllabus offered more because it was comprehensive than what is being prescribed by the enemies of our nation under the new arrangement. If the authors of the new order are not misguided religious irredentists, one would wonder then why they had to commission a new book which significantly deconstructs a cardinal Christian principle which stipulates that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He came into the world by birth through a virgin, died and resurrected to reconcile man back to his creator. Those who went this way know this is enough to set this nation on fire but we have been saved this malady because the Christians in our nation are passive otherwise we would have had our hands very full by now.
The other question would be, and this reveals the motive of these unholy schemers, why is it that we have become so obsessed with Arabic Language to the extent that it ought to become a compulsory subject? Is the intended gain religious, political, economic or all the above? If it is religious, the question would be are we suffering from lack of knowledge or application; from where we are today our nation is exporting religion back to those who brought it to us, the Arabs and the Europeans. If politics or economics is the interest, don’t nations like Germany, Malaysia, Russia and China offer better bargains and so we should be learning their languages rather than this recourse to Arabic. The truth is what has happened on this score is just a part of a grand design by few demented extremists who have always been with us to continue to create problems when there should be none. It is unfortunate that such elements have always come from the zone that tells us that national unity is non-negotiable. My worry is the style of shouting “One Nigeria, One Destiny” and at the same time initiating actions, in the most dubious manner that can lead not only to bloodshed but actual break-up of the nation by the same forces that never spare anything to call this country their own.
We live in a global village and I am sure the whole world knows that one of the things troubling us is whether to teach CRK and Islamic Studies as one or combined subject. I am certain they will be laughing at our folly wondering why an issue that should be private has been turned into a huge national concern. Without external prompting if we are blessed with intelligence we should also be asking ourselves if this is the kind of matters that should receive our total focus. If we examined ourselves and our areas of emphasis by now we should be ashamed of some of the things that happen here including the matter under review. If the disagreement were over teaching our children how to be creative and productive, to have the kind of education that would make them productive and masters of our economy, I can bet nobody would complain, but see what we are talking about. I am ashamed, I don’t know about you. Dr. Junaid the Muslim at the head of the institution that did this said mid-week that his evil wind has provision for reversal. I will in the interest of the nation advise that he reverses expeditiously before the nation is engulfed in avoidable conflagration. Same vein, those who carry the flag of religious expansionism should cease and give this nation chance to achieve cohesion and development.