REJOINDER TO BABATUNDE RAJI FASHOLA’S CONVOCATION SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BENIN ON THE 25TH DAY OF NOVEMBER 2016, BY AFRICASTALLESTMAN, PWD, UTC, MOA (MEMBER OF AFRICA)
ON NOVEMBER 30, 2016, AT THE UNIVERSITY OF THE INTERNET.
PREAMBLE BY AFRICASTALLESTMAN.
How can you be free from fear when your entire life is hanging on a thread? The whole country is in recession. Boko Haram is slaughtering people like rams in the North East. Kidnappers are roaming in the South East. The South South is on fire. Fulani herdsmen are dismembering people in the North Central. The Yorubas are threatening to drown lgbos in the South West. And the North West is declaring public holidays as a prelude to autonomy.
The only non-threatening zones are the religious houses where the anointed representatives of God hold sway. They sell dreams, hope, and salvation. You cannot sue anyone selling dreams, hope, and salvation. They are not selling you promissory notes. It would be double jeopardy to experience hell in Nigeria and hell in the afterlife. Therefore, being in God’s good book by sheepishly obeying these religious actors assures you of heavenly bliss. We hope! Liberal sprinkling of God in every sentence gets you in the good books of the Creator according to these religious merchants. God bless you, has supplanted gudu boning (good morning), gu da funu (good afternoon), and gudu ibinin (good evening) as universal greetings. The operators of these religious businesses claim to be praying for your success 24/7/366. With the religious actors constantly praying for you, how can one claim credit for any success? In return, they are entitled to 10% or more of your income. I once heard someone say, ” I am going to the toilet in Jesus name.” Jesus now makes it possible for us to defecate!
Nigerians fear the future. Any day that you wake up is a miracle. These are greetings on social media for “Happy Month,” “Happy Week,” and “Happy Day.” Prior to the fear created by the political elite, the only happy days were “Happy Birthday,” “Happy New Year,” and “Happy Anniversary.” As the economic picture turns bleaker, “Happy Hour” is not far off.
Since the political and wealthy classes, which are indistinguishable in Nigeria, is working against you, any little favour that comes your way must be from God. God’s favours are divine intervention and miracles. God and not the security forces, effected your escape from the marauding Fulani herdsmen. There are documented cases of security forces shielding Fulani herdsmen, after they have sacked villages and disemboweled men, women, and children.
How did religion take over the function of the state? Financial imprudence and mismanagement started with the military government of General Yakubu Gowon, a young, inexperienced, bachelor military officer, who was hastily promoted to head of state on a tribalistic basis. The legitimate successor to Major General Aguiyi lronsi, Brigadier General Babafemi Ogundipe ran for his life after Northern officers led by Captain Theophilus Danjuma slaughtered lronsi and Lieutenant Colonel Francis Adekunle Fajuyi in July 1966.
The Nigeria Biafra War followed. The clueless Gowon administration had so much money, but no plans for developing the country. It held sway from 1966 to 1975. The country fueled by excessive oil riches, institutionalized an import culture. Every food staple including water and some claim oxygen was being imported. Infrastructure stagnated. Alhaji Moshood Abiola in collusion with the military, pocketed most of the one billion dollar contract, meant to modernize Nigeria’s telephone system. Nigerians are still paying the price. The memory deficient and gullible Nigerians actually wanted this man as President.
Unemployed, underemployed, and avaricious religious charlatans started selling dreams to a hopeless and fearful population. Africastallestman once came across a book written by a religious official explaining dreams.
Pentecostal Churches exploded in numbers. Crafty operators broke away from existing Pentecostal churches and formed their own churches after being anointed in their dreams. Science informs us that dreams are unreal but tell that to a charismatic, Pentecostal, or born again Christian! You’ll prefer a physical assault to the verbal abuse that will be heaped on you by the faithful. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lhe-science-behind-dreaming/ http://www.columbia.edu/cu/21stC/issue-3.4/breecher.html
In the days of economic prosperity, people went to church once a week because most people were gainfully employed or got their share of the oil money through confidence games, contracts, or trickle-down economics. Nobody went to a religious house 7 days a week, as currently being done by Nigerians. If you did that in the 7O’s, 80″s, and 90’s, you could kiss your job goodbye.
The Pentecostal and the other new-fangled denominations got only a little piece of the action. Most Nigerians patronized the traditional churches and mosques during the day and the shrines at night. Nigerians are bireligious by nature. In the days of economic prosperity, people who worshipped at the new denominations were considered religious fringes. There is an lgbo saying that goes thus, “Ejiro anya oma aba Uka Ekpele.” Translated, “Joining the uka ekpele denomination implies that your fortunes are dwindling.” You are looking for miracles and divine intervention.
Did you see a parallel in today’s Nigeria? Nigeria has never had it so bad economically, politically, criminally, and socially. Some female students are still university students because of income from prostitution. Their only hopes for economic and spiritual salvation are the religious houses.
There was a brief civilian interregnum from 1979 to 1983. The all-knowing but really uninformed and uneducated military, seized and terrorized the nation for another 16 years, from 1983 to 1999. Education continued to decline because of continuous industrial actions by university lecturers. If you graduated in 8 years from a 4-year program, it must be by divine intervention or a miracle. No industries were built, infrastructure continued to deteriorate.
The second Obasanjo regime from 1999 to 2007 spelt the death knell for meritocracy in Nigeria. Prior to Obasanjo, if you worked hard and acquired a university degree, certain perks awaited you- car allowance, housing allowance, relocation allowance, and a good pay package. Obasanjo without instituting a credit system, monetized all benefits for a few in the legislature and upper echelons of the civil service.
Obasanjo did not improve Nigeria’s infrastructure and spent his second term plotting to be a lifelong leader in the mold of Robert Mugabe.
The new graduates were left hanging dry. If they were lucky to find a job, salaries were two to six months behind. This is a fearful situation. It became increasingly difficult to commute given the dirty, smoky, rickety buses that ply our urban areas. These can break down at any time without warning. Commuting by taxi is an open invitation to bankruptcy. To preserve your job, you must acquire a car by hook or crook.
The second hand or Tokunboh culture developed. Hitherto, Nigerians bought new automobiles. Rickety, polluting, and ancient automobiles from Europe and America flooded the Nigerian automobile landscape contributing to air pollution and global warming. The world is one and any pollution created in one location will eventually become global. Europe and America take note.
Corruption that was subterranean and discrete in the 60’s, ?70’s, and 80’s became institutionalized and blossomed from the 90’s. There were agreed rates for everything from a traffic infraction to multimillion Naira contracts. Policemen are known to shoot commercial operators of motor vehicles if they refused to part with the mandatory 20 Naira bribe. Without those allowances, which were repaid in installments, workers had to accumulate large hordes of cash by bribery in a short period of time to buy bicycles, motorcycles, and automobiles for transportation. Once you start on this bribery journey, the path becomes slippery. Practitioners of the act do not quit once their basic needs are met. Supposedly, underpaid civil servants own a good chunk of the real estate in Nigeria.
Money not needed for immediate use was stashed away in foreign bank accounts. Politicians, judges, and civil servants are all guilty of this economic sabotage. The recipient countries use the money for investment and development purposes. Nigerians without those cash outflows enjoys high interest rates and capital deprivation.
Meanwhile, politicians and their families are insulated from the economic hardships. Politicians see the churches as a voting block as well as avenues for thanking God for lifting them out of the abyss called Nigeria. When you succeed, God has answered your prayers and you forget the hard work, attitude, and perseverance that made you succeed. These nouveau rich occupied the front pews and front mats in religious houses and are very magnanimous in showering donations (tithes) on religious houses. Their business accomplices were not far behind. In America, it is the military-industrial complex but in Nigeria, it is the politico-business complex. Billionaire business people in Nigeria belong to AGIP (Any Group In Power).
The religious houses continued to flourish in the state of fear created by the political class. Different fears were created. Fear of unemployment. Fear of hunger. Fear of substandard education. Fear of darkness. Fear of death by Boko Haram. Fear of no water. Fear of exploding jetties and pipelines. Fear of kidnappers. Fear of Plane Crash. And fear of amu robas (armed robbers). Raji Fashola adds the fear of deportation from Lagos. Fashola as Governor of Lagos deported deaf and dumb Yoruba beggars and lunatics to Onitsha in the middle of the night because every beggar in Lagos is Igbo. He forgot that Igbos do not beg. Lagos was developed with Nigeria’s collective wealth. The homeless and lunatics start taking refuge in religious houses out of the fear of deportation.
You take away peoples’ fear by providing infrastructure, education, jobs, and security. If Raji Fashola and the political class cannot deliver, please allow the pastors, babalawos, dibias, alfas, imams, spiritualists, and ritualists to sell miracles of hope to the people. In the North East where Islam holds sway, the absence of churches has turned fear and discontent into Boko Haram. The South prefers religious houses to Boko Haram. Raji Fashola conveniently remembers to include dibias but overlooks alfas and babalawos!
Fear flourishes in a state of uncertainty. The Naira may hit 500 to one dollar before the end of the year. What is the government’s plan for solving this problem? The Honorable Minister should have given us his plan for solving the fear of no electricity created by his and prior administrations instead of discussing freedom from fear, which his ministry is one of the creators. Fear does not suddenly grip a people but is the result of government’s acts of commission, omission, and neglect. When the right government arrives in Nigeria, fear will become history.
Africastallestman will now dissect and counter each of the Honorable Minister’s argument point by point. Gullible Nigerians will applaud his lecture but nothing will change. Fear will continue to be pervasive, human sacrifice will continue, and more religious houses will continue to be built. Meanwhile, the only indigenous automobile assembly in Nigeria shuts down!
Next, Fashola’s speech shall be dissected paragraph by paragraph.
This is the greeting amongst students on the campus of the University, and it has endured after graduation and stayed with the alumni; decades after graduation.
May this greeting endure also for all of you who graduate today, and may you fulfil your destiny of greatness as products of a great institution and citadel of learning.
That this university is great is beyond argument now.
The evidence of this abounds in the human capital supply she has produced for Nigeria in fulfilment of the objectives of founding fathers. It is a rich store of personnel, not only in quantity, but defining in quality.
In all spheres of Nigeria’s developmental endeavour, there is a representative of great UNIBEN, not only in a participatory role, but also in a leadership role that is setting worthy and commendable examples.
The boys and girls of yesterday have become the men and women who define the developmental character of our nation and they are waiting for you all to join them to play your role.”
The UNIBEN that Raji Fashola attended is not the same UNIBEN of today. It is no longer great.
“Therefore, I intend to start my interaction with you today by telling a story.
Many years ago, sometime in 1983, in a Philosophy classroom, a lecturer was telling his students about the theory of evolution, based on the Big Bang and atomic perspective of our evolution. He charged them not to believe things that were not demonstrable by evidence.
He taught them about cause and effect relationships of man’s existence and that everything was ultimately traceable to Matter – something that can be seen.
The students it appeared seemed to enjoy this explanation of life and their own existence; the problem was that it debunked their understanding of faith, religion, and God.”
‘They had grown up believing, as Christians and Muslims, that there is God. But they could not see him. How were they going to resolve this matter of ‘Matter’ and science on one hand, God on the other hand.
This lecturer professed no faith, and did not believe in God, or so the students thought, until one fateful morning when one of the students sighted the lecturer walking out of church after a Sunday morning service.
Bewildered, confused feeling misled or deceived by a teacher who told him not to believe where they did not see or could not prove, (and this in the student’s mind extended to God) and to see the purveyor of that view walking out of church, with Bible in hand, was the biggest betrayal that was not going to pass unchallenged.
The student walked up to his teacher, quickly conveyed his courtesies of “Good morning sir” and the following conversation ensued:
“What are you doing there sir? You came to church?”
“Yes,” answered the teacher. “I worship here every Sunday.”
“You believe in God?”
“Yes I do.”
“Why have you been deceiving us?” “How have I been deceiving you?”
“You taught us to believe that God does not exist since we cannot prove it,” the student said. “No. I did not. I believe in God,” the teacher replied.
“Mv faith is different from mv job. Your school is training you to become lawyers.
“They have employed me to develop your minds to question and challenge things. To seek knowledge, never to be easily satisfied.
“To think, and to challenge the existing order, to drive change and never to settle for the path well-travelled.
“To dare and to dream, to seek new ways of doing the same thing, because as lawyers, people’s fates will be defined by choices you make.
“Their lives will sometimes depend on your abilities, as will their businesses or their marriages. That is my job.
“Whether you believe in God or not is not my business. That is your personal choice.”’
Neither the Big Bang Theory nor Religion can prove the existence of God.
Raji Fashola is right. Belief in God is a personal choice powered by faith and fueled by prayers. Also, your God may not be my God.
Successful nations keep the business of God and nation building separate and they do not belong to organizations espousing one religion such as the OIC (Organization of Islamic Conference).This created fear amongst Christians.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, that is as best as I can recall this event.
The school where this event happened is where we gather today. The great University of Benin. The faculty that offered the course in Philosophy is the Faculty of Law.
The lecturer was either Greek or Cypriot. His name was Theodoropolous. I was the student in question.
That encounter shaped my life in many ways; and even if I say so, I am the better for it having gone through it.
If I had to choose a university again, it would be University of Benin.
It is that experience I had that I feel bound to share with you today as you leave the University.
If I successfully connect with only one of you, I believe the effort will have been worthwhile.
I doubt if there is a single expatriate lecturer in UNIBEN today.”
The policies of Fashola and his political class have degraded university education in Nigeria.
Parents who cannot afford the fees in America and Europe are sending their children and wards to Ghana for a good university education.
Raji Fashola loves UNIBEN but his son attended The University of Wales. Is Fashola fearful of our educational system or is he being hypocritical?
“That is why I have titled my intervention: “FREEDOM FROM FEAR, CHOICES BEFORE THE NEW GENERATION”, in the hope that I will challenge you to take control of what happens to you and what happens around you. I say this because there seems to be an
increasing manifestation of our collective surrender of our individual choices and free will to divine intervention and the possibility of endless miracles.
We are now in the realm and reality of constant expectations of miracles and divine intervention. Superstitions have taken over reason and logic. When we pass examinations, win football matches, conduct successful elections, or achieve any feat, we seem all too frightened and unsure of ourselves to take credit for even the most modest of successes attributable to our efforts.
The first thing you hear is God did it.
For the avoidance of doubt, I believe in God, and only He can question my faith.
But I also believe He gave us a lot of free will.”
The political class created fear in Nigeria by institutionalizing graft, greed, incompetence, nepotism, tribalism, and murder, into Nigerian politics.
Since politicians cannot deliver, the masses have turned to religion for succor. Religion solves problems by divine intervention and miracles.
Once you mortgage your life to religion, you attribute all your successes to God and failures to the Devil. Superstition is an African genetic disease that cuts across religions, tribes, and countries.
God-given free will is an unproven quantity that justifies all types of misanthropic behavior since God can only punish miscreants in the afterlife.
The other religious nonsense is that you cannot judge people. If this is true, why are the different religions not advocating for the elimination of courts and judges?
Labeling someone a sinner, pagan or unbeliever is judgmental.
“Regrettably, we have surrendered our capacities and abilities in a frightful way to FEAR, that we have become victims of some confidence tricksters who deceive, disentitle and prey on our fears and frailties in ‘gods’ name. Every man and woman of substance now has a Pastor, Imam, Spiritualist or even a witchdoctor or Dibia who is responsible for telling them what to do, when to do it, in a way that diminishes his abilities and surrenders his talents and free will to divine intervention or spiritual consultation.”
When politicians such as Fashola abdicate their responsibility to the people, Pastors, Imams, Spiritualists, Witch Doctors, Dibias, Alfas, Babalawos, and Ritualists, take over.
These political actors create the fear environment that the religious actors, witch doctors, and confidence tricksters take advantage of.
Gainfully employed citizens, do not need a babalawo to tell them when to report to work or use their talents. They are already using them.
When there is fear of unemployment, hunger, and death (by Fulani herdsmen, Hunger, Hired Assassins, Ritualists, Armed robbers, Terrorists, and Kidnappers), the religious actors sell hope, divine intervention, and miracles to the hopeless, disillusioned, and disenfranchised masses.
There is a direct correlation between poverty and houses of worship or hope. As poverty increases, religious places increase and vice versa. Prosperity is an effective antidote to religious fanaticism.
“Many people are disappearing and are being murdered in a crazed quest for human parts because some who have been entrapped in fear and superstition, believe that you can make money through ritual sacrifice.
Nothing can be further from the truth.
Human parts are tissues, bones, muscles, and all that, and they have no place in the materials used to manufacture money.
There is nothing Divine in money making. It is entrepreneurship, production, and hard work. The teaching of science as espoused by Theodoropolous tells me that money is a product of man and not a product of God.
It is manufactured in a place called a Mint, by a process of printing, using special paper, ink, engravement and embossment, to make it difficult to fake or counterfeit.
When we play a football match and get to half time, which is a few precious minutes to quickly refresh, renew and re-plan in the dressing room, we instead gather to pray, on the field, in a huddle that the whole world is still trying to fathom.
We waste the precious time that is allotted for tactical review, and return to the second half, singing and praying, “He is a miracle working God” in search of divine intervention.”
Human sacrifice is superstitious. More amazing is the fact that the petty trader who became successful through hard work is made to believe that butchering a child will turn him/her into a multimillionaire.
Ardent practitioners of the various religions in Nigeria will not hesitate to offer human parts to their dark god to make more money. On worship days, these subhuman animals are found occupying the front pews or sitting on the front mats.
When poor folks observe the rich murdering and dismembering humans for ritualistic purposes, they automatically infer that the rituals enriched them. The true situation is that you have to be wealthy to order human parts.
Coming to money, there are some cretins who believe in money doubling. The money doubler is usually a wretched individual. This con artist hoodwinks his/her patrons that his/her own money cannot be doubled.
Doubling the con artist’s money will cause God to disanoint the trickster. Really!
Gullible Nigerians readily imbibe the nonsense because superstition is engrained in our genes.
Football teams are successful because of talent, teamwork, and coaching. If prayers have any role in football, Saudi Arabia will win the World Cup every four years. Muslims pray five times a day.
Arsenal, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Real Madrid are not successful because of prayers. I agree with Raji Fashola on this one.
When the result is unfavourable, it is blamed on witchcraft. Is witchcraft more powerful than prayers?
Then, there is the case of Sunday Oliseh who quit as National Coach because of charms being deployed against him. This man should be permanently banned from coaching.
Since Nigerians believe in this charm nonsense, why can’t Nigerians use it to win the World Cup? Or is the white man’s no charm, more effective than our charms?
“The truth is that we have done well when we prepare and done badly when we do not. Sometimes of course, working hard does not always bring the expected results but it is better than not working hard.”
We will do well when our politicians and administrators butt out of the team selection process. Allowances, salaries, and match bonuses are paid on time. Football administrators are jailed for hijacking team bonuses. The 2016 Olympic Football Olympic Team stranded in Atlanta, hitchhiked to Brazil only to start begging for food money. There is something called logistics and moral support. The current Sports Minister is clueless. To add maggots to the already festering wound of sports mismanagement, the football administrators were bent on stealing the monetary gift of a Japanese benefactor. Reason: The Japanese plastic surgeon is a crook and Nigerian health administrators are saints.
“Yes, God is a miracle worker. I believe, but he is not an unjust God who rewards those who make no effort at the expense of those who do.”
Miracles are the result of hard work, luck, and in Nigeria, whom you know (connections).
“I once listened to a sermon broadcast on Television, asking people who are indebted to step forward for prayers that will make their debts disappear.
It frightens me. It does not make sense to me. Debts are accounting, matters of credits and deficits. They do not vanish.
It is people who live in FEAR who fall prey to such teachings and become victims of misery from poor choices.
I urge you to free your minds from such fears.”
These religious fraudsters are preying on the fearful masses who may have taken loans to provide the basic staples for their families. If you provide them with jobs, they will not be tithing the little they have to these religious criminals, in the hope of having their debts disappear miraculously.
“There are many teachings about freedoms. Freedom from want, Freedom of Associations, Freedom of speech, freedom of choice (including the choice of leadership by voting at elections) and many others.
But the least expressed freedom, is the freedom from FEAR, which in my view is the most important.
A mind taken over by fear cannot express free will and will therefore not fully optimize or benefit from the other freedoms.”
In Nigeria, there is no freedom from want, freedom of association, freedom of speech, or freedom of choice in a supposedly democratic country. The political leadership is using the security apparatus of the nation to silence the people they are supposed to protect. Only fools and the mentally disabled would fail to fall in line or risk silencing up to and including permanent silence (death).
The Attorney General of the nation was killed in broad daylight and the killers are still at large. Express your free will and end up in Kuje, Kirikiri, Abakaliki, Kaduna, or Calabar Prisons. Ask Yara’dua, Awolowo, Kanu, or Abiola about free will?
“For example, we have seen that elections are conducted in other parts on the basis of polls, campaigns, analysis of human behaviour rather than any occultic or sacrificial offering. Candidates who wish to win elections must persuade people to agree to their messages and promises, and seek to change the minds of those who are unpersuaded, by understanding what they want and taking steps to address them.
Those who may not be initial converts can change their minds, as we have seen in our own President who finally won after 3 (THREE) unsuccessful attempts.
For those who do not know, let me share with you some of the things that President Buhari did to win the last election.
A poll was conducted across Nigeria and administered to 20,000 Nigerians as a sample, with each person answering 60 (sixty) questions administered face to face.
That meant that the poll had to analyse1,200,000 (ONE MILLION, TWO
HUNDRED THOUSAND) responses on what Nigerians wanted in the 2015 election.
The top 3 (THREE) were security, corruption, and economy, which was to form the core of candidate Buhari’s campaign message that produced President Buhari. This is how to win elections.”
President Buhari won the 2015 election because the Yorubas decided once again to play Alimi, the traitor. They formed an alliance with the Hausa-Fulani for selfish reasons.
The support of the White Hall and White House were very instrumental to Buhari’s emergence as President. The denial of Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) to a large number of voters in states viewed antagonistic to Buhari was orchestrated by the Prof. Jega led INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission).
There is no difference between the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) and APC (All Progressive Congress). The last time Buhari lost, a lot of lgbo Youth Corpers were killed in the North. Buhari, after his baboon and blood speech instilled fear in the populace. He employed fear (Fear of Buhari) and threatened that heads will roll if he didn’t win.
Compare to Trump: “If I don’t win, it is rigged.”
When the President failed to probe his corrupt backers and abolish the security vote provision in the constitution, his change mantra became only a mantra less the change.
People will not be hoodwinked again in 2019. A genuine third party is needed to sanitize Nigerian politics. The main stumbling block is that those on the sidelines are busy praying to become major players and continue the vicious cycle of fear.
“Polls are of course not fool proof. They can be manipulated or misinterpreted by those who analyse data. They can also be misunderstood.
– Hillary leading but had over 60% Trust deficit.”
Secretary Hillary Clinton should have started fighting the corrupt label from day one in 1996. The Right (Democrats) needs a lesson in dirty fighting.
“If Secretary Hillary Clinton can accomplish all she did as a corrupt politician and all the saintly politicians do not have an iota of accomplishments to their names, there should be a Constitutional Amendment mandating that only corrupt politicians can run for political office” – political commentator.
“Let me tell you another story related to me. This is the story of the ram.
A friend related to me how his mother had a bad dream concerning his well-being.
The dream was related to the mother’s Imam. His response was that there had to be a sacrifice.
I interrupted by asking if the sacrifice involved buying a ram and he said yes.
Seeking to know how I knew. My response was that lleya (the Muslim festival of Eid-El-Kabir) of Ram sacrifice was 3 (THREE) weeks away and (at the time) any trickster who could not afford one would find foul or fair means to get a ram even though Islam does not make it a matter of compulsion.
Whilst I am not passing any judgement on the Imam and any other man of God, because I cannot question their faith, the coincidence was just too uncanny. Yet I agree I may be wrong. However, I do not see how sacrifices are solutions to dreams.
Dreams are scientific events occurring as a result of the Rapid Eye Movement during sleep at a stage when our brains are most active.”
Dreams occur during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. There are two competing hypotheses about dreaming.
1. Dreams are necessary to dissociate emotions from our memories. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the science-behind-dreaming/
2. Dreaming is necessary to supply the cornea with oxygen.
Dreams are always connected to our fear, thoughts, and aspirations and religious actors are experts at misappropriating dreams for their financial gain.
“Let me reiterate again that I have no quarrel with faith. What I seek to advocate is the lack of FEAR, and the resort to faith out of conviction rather than as a result of FEAR.
Fear takes choices away, and choices can and must be the product of conviction.
If we pursue our choices with as much conviction as we pursue our faith, we will certainly be a more prosperous society.”
Faith is the avenue by which the fearful masses overcome fear. Do you want them to abandon their security blanket? This is possible only when you provide a fear-free environment.
Nigerians have no choice of electricity, no choice of water supply, no choice of roads, no choice of communications, no choice of health care, and no choice of education. Give them choices in those areas and watch fear dissipate.
“Let us remember, that at least the two dominant faiths are not original to us. They are inherited. The propagators of the faith have made them personal affairs and not public ones. I have attended meetings in the West and in the Middle East and not on one occasion have
these meetings been started or ended with prayers.
Meetings represent public undertakings and places of work and productive undertakings to deliver prosperity.
When those people have worked hard for the week, they go on Fridays and Sundays to their places of worship and their homes to offer prayers, for God to bless and prosper the work of their hands.
Sadly, back home, the head of Governments, heads of ministries, and businesses, devote early mornings at work to prayers with their staff while productive man-hours tick away, they do the same at home and on weekends, we socialise.
In effect we spend a lot of time praying and socializing.
How can this lead us to prosperity? If this is not faith influenced by fear, I do not know what it is. If you visit many construction sites where the Chinese are employed as contractors, you will find that they work on Sundays, but we who have unemployment challenges, do not often work on Sunday.”
Faith in Nigeria is used for political ends. When Presidents patronize and court the friendship of religious actors during an election, there is a real concern for democracy. There is also the fear that a Muslim President such as Buhari will lslamize Nigeria. The Vice President of Nigeria is a pastor!
The President of Nigeria once knelt before a Mathematician turned Pastor to be blessed before an election.
The Heads of Governments, Heads of Ministries, and Heads of Businesses who advocate and lead morning prayers are also the most corrupt and most evil and may harbor human skeletons in their closets.
I have seen Muslim security personnel take off their protective shoes, spread a mat on the ground and pray while on security duties. There are Muslims in the British and American security forces and they dare not engage in such religious practices.
During his inauguration, President Muhammadu Buhari kept foreign dignitaries waiting so he could pray. He may have missed a conversation that would have prevented this recession. Only in Nigeria will Christian traders force non-Christian traders to pray while they shut down the market. Immediately after praying, they would dupe the next customer.
Why would a Muslim take off time to pray 5 times a day while on duty? Why don’t American and British Moslems engage in the same practice?
Minister Fashola, this is one of the main reasons for our backwardness. We do not separate religion from state. Governments, to the tune of .billions of Naira, sponsor personal pilgrimages with a large proportion ending in private pockets.
Raji Fashola, you appear to have a problem with a work-free Sunday. If working on Sundays, will make Nigeria, a secular state, go ahead. We can have Fridays and Saturdays as work-free days. God never named days. The names are man-made.
“We have invested a worrisome amount of money in building places of worship compared to what we have in building factories, businesses and schools.
This is worrisome compared to the investments I see in businesses and schools that outstrip investment in places of worship in the West and Middle East.
Recently, while driving along a road of not more than 5 (FIVE) kilometres in a Nigerian city, a colleague and I took an unplanned census of building types and this is what we counted:
a) 1 laundry outfit for washing and dry cleaning clothes (Job place)
b) 3 clinics for healthcare (Job place)
c) 2 petrol filling stations (Job place)
d) 1 bank branch (Job place)
e) 4 shopping outlets (Job place)
f) 1 eatery (Job place)
g) 1O religious houses (Worship place)
As you go around your states and neighbourhoods, I urge you to do a similar count and tell your neighbour what you see.
Again, I reiterate, I do not criticise worship, but I am challenging you to think through the choices you will make.
We will not pray our way out of recession, we will plan, and produce our way back to prosperity and out of recession and you are the freshest, youngest, and most energetic workforce we will have to work with.
You are the new batteries to power the engine of growth of our country.
Your choices must be clear, free from fear, not reckless but driven by analytical thought, questioning, and probing and ultimately determined by convictions.”
How many religious houses are in lkoyi, Lekki, and Victoria Island? How many religious houses are in Mexico City compared to London? Poor Mexico City is teeming with religious houses but rich London is not.
Karl Marx first realized that, “Religion is the opium of the people.” President Barack Obama said, “That rural voters cling to guns and religion.” Chidiogo says, “That the poor use religion as a cushion to absorb the deadly body blows inflicted on them by the politicians and their affluent sponsors.”
Provide employment opportunities for the people especially the youth and observe as the number of these religious houses dwindle rapidly. The most religious countries are also the poorest. Poverty creates religion.
Karl Marx was right when he called religion the opium of the people. He was wrong on communism. When you create fear by state policies, the people turn to religion for security and the religious actors are ready to oblige.
Religious houses are a measure of poverty. Reduce poverty and religious houses disappear. Muslims risk beheading if they change denomination, so they turn to terror to express their discontent. Without supplying the name, you are describing a Southern City and could be Benin, Uyo, or Lagos.
Most of these graduates will be unemployed and will turn to crime, religious or otherwise as a means of livelihood and survival. Non-provision of infrastructure by your ministry will stifle their entrepreneurial talent. You do not produce Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg without infrastructure.
“In order to test the consequences of choices based on faith influenced by fear, I advise you to look at the world map and 2 (TWO) Island nations who are situated on the Northern Hemisphere.
I will not tell you their names. You find that out. But I will tell you they are close to each other. One believes in God and works hard. The other one is the home of voodoo and spends all time practising this.
If you follow their history, the first one is prosperous and the second one seems to have made a permanent contract with poverty.”
Raji Fashola, I will forgive your analysis because you are a lawyer. The first nation is a darling of the West. The second nation is the first black nation to have defeated the West (French) in history. Their victory was attributed to the Devil because the black man is inferior to the white man. http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/01/13/haiti.pat.robertson/
The West has imposed an unwritten embargo on that country since independence to punish it for its victory. When migrants from this country are apprehended by the US Coast Guards, they are forcibly sent back home but other Caribbean migrants can settle in America.
This oppressed country turned to religion for succour. Fear and poverty created Voodoo. Voodoo did not create poverty. They practice Voodoo in Brazil and thev are not poor.
“This can be changed if and when they make the right choices.
While still on this matter, let me speak about traditional medicine as distinct from divination. Traditional medicine, from herbs, roots, and other endowments of nature have their place of pre-eminence in the assurance of our wellbeing and good health.
I cannot say the same thing about divination and sacrifices.
We must choose to work our iron ore to produce steel and build skyscrapers, machines and tools like others do instead of worshipping the god of Iron.
We must use engineering to manage and control flooding and erosion.
We must probe the treasures of our forests and depths of our oceans as bastions of possibilities that we must manage and dominate instead of worshipping the god of the sea.
If we continue to fear the sea, oceans, and waters we will perpetuate the practice of sacrifice, instead of undertaking the enterprise of understanding; and dominating them for energy and transport.
We must approach our rock formations as treasure troves of building materials like marble,
tiles and granite rather than treat them as totems of salvation that require animal sacrifice. We should stop deifying the moon and stratosphere beyond the visibility of our eyes out of fear.
Instead, we should develop the courage and resolve to send men and women to land a spacecraft there.”
Nigerians can do all of these and more if you provide electricity, water, roads, education, communications, food, health care, and meritocracy to Nigerians.
These are all achievable in an atmosphere of superstition which you have mislabeled fear. Japanese are superstitious but they excel in science and technology.
The pervasive fear in Nigeria is man made by the politicians, elite, and business people. An individual such as Alhaji lndimi is awarded oil blocks without any bidding. He exploits the oil and endows a second rate university in Florida, USA. Meanwhile the people whose oil he is exploiting are being slowly suffocated to death by pollution. Who would not be fearful in such a situation?
Hungry, fearful, and oppressed people do not aspire to go to the moon. It takes one day to go from Onitsha to Enugu, a distance of 103.7 kilometers. The Honorable Minister supervises this road. How can someone go to the moon when he cannot go to Enugu from Onitsha in one hour?
Does the Engineering lab at UNIBEN have the basic equipment? How many engineering papers have emanated from this University in the past 20 years?
There will always be a place for religion, stupidity, and superstition, in humankind. However, the problem is engrained in the African gene. African professors at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are still deadly afraid of the village witch while performing Nobel Prize work at the institution. Would you classify them as fearful?
“I fully understand that some of you, who have been raised in an environment dominated by your fear, may have been adversely affected by it.”
Government created the fear and only government can remove the people’s fear.
“But let me assure you that freedom from fear is not the same as courage. Instead, while fear is an emotion, freedom from it is the ability to overcome it by refusing to surrender to it.
It comes from developing an ability to question things, to challenge the existing order and create a new order.
It has been done before. It requires us to know our choices and beliefs and dispense with culture that is not dynamic.”
Security forces are murdering the peaceful agitators for Biafra who are free from fear. Their fearless leader is incarcerated despite lawful orders for his release. As a lawyer you should resign your appointment if your boss is acting in wanton disregard of the law. These agitators are questioning the arrangement called Nigeria where marginalization is institutionalized. They are questioning the existing order and want a new order.
You should set the example of freedom from fear by telling President Muhammadu Buhari to obey legal orders. The President cannot be lawless.
“That is why twins survive today. We stopped killing them and turned our backs against a Philistinic practice that was masquerading as a culture.”
Human sacrifice is part of the history of all mankind. The Yorubas ended the killing of twins before Mary Slessor came to Nigeria. The lgbos and lbibios would have ended twin killing just as the Caucasians, Aztecs, and Mayans ended the practice without divine intervention. http://www.livescience.com/1594-early-europeans practiced-human-sacrifice.htmI
“If you surrender to fear, people less educated, less intelligent, and less qualified than you will take over your minds, your homes and your decision making powers.
Many of such people are confidence tricksters who will prosper at your expense by preying on your fear.
Therefore, let me say to you that while your education may not be perfect, while there may be challenges, there is room to improve on it, because your education does not end here.
Indeed, your education has just started.”
Less educated, less intelligent, and less qualified people have already taken over. It is called quota system or National Character. The fear of losing a job opportunity because of your tribal origin, language, religion, and qualification is indeed fearful.
The confidence tricksters and religious actors prey on this fear by promising great reaches and opportunities if you can part with meager savings.
“What you have learnt in the controlled environment of university classrooms will be subject to the test of real life situations.
How you improve and educate yourself depends on how you use your minds.
For example, do you simply repeat and reaffirm what you hear people to say simply because they are highly placed and supposedly intelligent?
Do you verify it yourself before repeating it to others?
Do you ever ask yourself if those people could be wrong? Yes, they can be. We are all flawed. Do you ask yourself whether those you quote without question even read as much as you do? Do you think in terms of these words: “lmpossible”, “Improbable,” “Unlikely”?
If you do, please stop it. They are symbols and signposts of fear.
Almost everything that was once thought impossible, improbable, unlikely has happened.”
Good advice, but there is still room
for “Impossible”, “Improbable,” and “Unlikely.” it is impossible, improbable, and unlikely for your money to double by magic, for a charm to make you invincible, for a charm to win a football match for you, for witches to fly, or for a human being to turn into a goat.
Expressions of such impossibilities, improbabilities, and unlikelihoods are the beginnings of wisdom.
“Men and women now fly thousands of Kilometres in the sky. They eat, sleep, and even now shower on the Airbus A380, an engineering feat delivered by engineers of Airbus and Boeing who started out life like you, as young graduates like you.
There are now driverless cars, and men have landed on the moon and have communicated back to Earth on missions driven by freedom
from fear, sheer dedication, hard work and an indomitable spirit that refused to surrender to divination, but persevered against the odds of failure before success was achieved.
But these men and women who have freed their minds from fear are not done. They are pushing to send men to Mars – The Red Planet, they are looking for cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases.
This will be the work of science, research and engineering driven by freedom from fear, not by prayer, or sacrifice of fetish to some inanimate deity.
How do you free your mind from impossibility, improbability, and unlikelihoods?”
These are technological advances that are impossible, improbable, and unlikely to be achieved in Nigeria given the state of our infrastructure and education. The other vices of marginalization, national character, corruption, nepotism, religion superstition, and poor leadership will make it impossible for Nigeria as presently constituted to become a major technological player in the world.
“The answer is simple. Remember always, that those words are negatives. Replace them with positive thoughts and actions.
This is what frees your mind from fear and helps you to choose, to see solutions and to look for
opportunities, instead of dwelling on and surrendering to problems.”
Positive thoughts on a hungry stomach will hasten your death, Thoughts needs energy. Provide the infrastructure and watch what the human mind can do. The epileptic power supply supervised by your ministry has fried many hard drives in Nigeria. Billions upon
billions of innovations have vaporized with those failures.
“If you focus on crime and its burden, you may lose the opportunity to focus on crime management strategies like more policemen, crime detection methods, employment and training of judges .
Indeed, as they say, if you see every problem as a nail, the only solution you might evolve is a hammer.
So, please look for the positive angle of a difficult situation, because there will be one, if you look hard enough.
I urge you to free your mind from fear, reach for the skies, choose by conviction and not by fear; trust in your abilities and God given talent, take responsibility, work hard and pray if you believe.”
Policemen, employment, and training of judges are governmental functions . Crime detection methods can be a private-public partnership. The government has not created an environment for innovation and does not reward innovation. You stand the risk of having your innovation stifled or attributed to someone else if you are of the wrong tribe or religion.
“Yes, Sango is the god of lightning and thunder, but all the sacrifices made to Sango has not generated 1 (ONE) kilowatt of electric power.
Electricity is produced by using nature’s gifts, such as gas, water, solar and wind, harnessing their capacity through turbines made from steel to serve our energy needs, not by making animal sacrifices.
I will conclude by urging you to look for the book titled “Start Up Nation” by Dan Senor and Saul Singer, it would provoke your thinking as it did mine.
Congratulations on your graduation. May the wind be behind your sails as you set forth in the journey of life.
May you fulfil your true promise, and may you be free from fear so that you can make good choices in your contribution to our national development.
Thank you for listening.”
Sango and the other gods have no place in this discussion. We have an abundance of sunlight, water, wind, gas, and engineers to produce electricity. I hope that you will improve the electricity supply using clean renewable sources during your stewardship as the Hon. Minister of Minister of Power, Works, and Housing.
Being The Convocation Speech Delivered By Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, Minister of Power, Works, and Housing, At The University Of Benin On The 25th day Of November 2016
Being a Rejoinder Delivered By Anonymous, PWD, UTC, MON (Member of Nigeria) on November 30, 2016, At The University of The Internet.