By Gbenga Osinaike
Former dean of Faculty of Science Ahmadu Bello University and President Gospel Unlimited, Professor Durojaiye Adegboye has observed that the two groups that have not allowed Nigeria to disintegrate are the Church and the Yoruba nation; warning however that Nigeria is sitting on a time bomb if the present structure is allowed to persist.
He made the observation at the annual convention of Fellowship of Christian Ministers Nigeria on July 31 at the All Saints Anglican Church, Yaba Lagos.
The Fellowship of Christian Ministers is a body of preachers from all denominations. The group has been in existence for about 100 years.
Adegboye who was the main speaker at the convention which attracted about 200 participants delivered a paper titled: Nigeria: Progress unto fulfilment of God’s purpose.
He lamented that the church has not been playing its role very well in the emancipation of the country noting however that if not for the church and the Yoruba nation, Nigeria would have been history.
“The Yoruba nation has been at the centre of resolving the crisis in Nigeria. If not for the Yoruba nation the 1967 civil war would have been the end of Nigeria. The war failed because the Yorubas did not support it. The Yorubas are accommodating. Many of those who made it big in Nigeria made it in Yoruba land. There is the Yoruba wisdom that is helping to hold the structure of Nigeria together. Unfortunately, the Yorubas do not understand the strategic role God has placed them to play in Nigerian just as the church also do not understand. It is not for naught that Jesus calls believers the salt of the earth. But the salt is not making the desired impact by not influencing the polity.
Adegboye, a foremost missionary evangelist in Nigeria with over 50 years in ministry traced the history of political parties in Nigeria noting that the early political parties like the National Congress for Nigeria and Cameroun, the Action Group were formed by Christians. “But today, Christians are scared of politics. The way to impact the system is to prayerfully get involved.”
On Nigeria, Adegboye said, “it is not proper to say Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe and his contemporaries were founding fathers of Nigeria because those people were young when Nigeria was formed. Nigeria was formed in 1914 but Azikwe was born in 1904, Obafemi Awolowo was born in 1909. While Ahmadu Bello was born in 1910. So we can’t call them founding fathers of Nigeria because they were very young by the time Nigeria was formed”
He however noted that the formation of Nigeria had nothing to do with God. “What is happening is that God is only taking advantage of the formation of Nigeria to do his will. It was not God who formed Nigeria. The country was formed by the colonial masters for their selfish economic and administrative interest. Nigeria was formed by the British for the Fulani caliphate. Thus the Fulani hold the ace for the future existence of Nigeria. We must appreciate that Nigeria was forced on us. There was no time there was an agreement by all the over 645 nations in Nigeria to come together to form Nigeria.”
Quoting the late Dele Giwa who once said Nigeria is an experiment in the impossible, Adegboye said, “From available facts and statements credited to the British colonial masters Nigeria was formed so that the south can serve the north. The colonial masters did not consult with the south when Nigeria was amalgamated. The discussion was between the caliphate and the colonial masters. The colonial masters practiced indirect rule in the north because they enjoyed total cooperation from the established emirate system in the north. The British were able to conquer the whole of the north just with about 200 soldiers. There was unity within the Sokoto Caliphate. Since the British were primarily interested in raising funds they used the emirate system to collect their taxes. The British did not touch the culture of the north. But in the case of the south they employed direct rule.”
The former university don however noted that with the present arrangement called Nigeria it would be difficult for the nation to get it right. He believes if the entire structure is not dismantled for a more participatory structure that will accommodate the interest of everybody the future of the country cannot be guaranteed. The right thing to do is for us to insist on a restructured Nigeria before any election in 2019.”
He observed that with the present arrangement, it will be difficult for any meaningful achievement to take place in the country. “The way things are going we may not make any headway. The Fulani have to be ready to loosen their grip on Nigeria. If they continue to insist in being at the driver’s seat of Nigeria, it would only be a matter of time when the whole arrangement called Nigeria would crumble.”
He recalled that Lord Lugard once said Nigeria would reach a compromise about its nationhood after its first 100 years of existence. “The British did not expect Nigeria would survive its first100 years that is why experts were making postulation that Nigeria would seize to exist in 2015. The arrangement when the country was formed is that the south will generate the income that would sustain the north. Nigeria was formed for economic purpose to favour the north”
He proposed a structure where every nation in Nigeria would have a say in the polity. “As much as possible the centre should be made unattractive. The six regions can have Vice Presidents that will be in charge of the regions while the centre will only concern itself with international matters and national security. With such arrangement the regions will self-determine how they would be governed and there will be less agitation for the centre. Such arrangement will make it possible for all the tribes that were hitherto unknown and neglected to have a say in governance because they will participate more in the politics of their regions.”
He challenged the church leaders to begin to work towards bequeathing an enduring legacy for the coming generation noting also that the main task of the church is to win souls.
“As it is, it is difficult to fulfil God’s purpose in a bad country. Nigeria was born in iniquity and nurtured in iniquity but God is taking advantage of the forced union to achieve eternal purpose. So the church must rise to the task of soul winning.”
He noted that whatever the church does, as long as souls are not being won to the kingdom would make no sense. “Our coming to church is to keep ourselves warm. The money we contribute and all the material things we buy in church are to make us comfortable. They have nothing to do with God. What is important to God is souls that are won to his kingdom. If we don’t win souls we are not relevant in God’s arrangement.”
He then pleaded with the church leaders to embrace vision 20:20 which is a derivation from the book of Acts chapter 20 v20 where Paul talked about teaching from house to house. “In our programmes house to house evangelism should occupy a prime position. We should reach out to the lost and bring them to the knowledge of Christ.”