New music, old dance

‘When the music changes, so does the dance’ This is an adage that serves as a reminder  of importance of awareness to the changing world.

 

There is a lot of assumptions made on behalf of Nigerians, most of which were not true representation of what Nigerians stand for or genuinely believed.

For about two weeks now, there has been discussions about secondary school curriculum and how Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) has been deliberately merged with Religious and National Values by the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council (NERDC) while Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK) still maintains its status as a stand alone subject.

Regardless of the purpose of the proposed amendment in the curriculum, any conversation around religion always get attention of Nigerians.

The news going around was that the changes was meant to islamise Nigeria – I still do not understand how this could possibly be believable in Nigeria.

Why is all the fuss? What is wrong with replacing CRK/IRK with Religions and National Values?

 

Nigeria top pentecostal pastors were not left behind, they reiterate how important it is that we keep CRK in the curriculum and of course they jazzed up their message to make people think that is all that we needed to lead a happy/fulfilled life.

I have nothing to say about these pastors drumming on this non issue – all of the three big names mentioned grew up in a Nigeria when we had fewer churches on our streets. Now, with more churches, more religious preachings, people are fed with false hope, distractions from reality on the streets with promises of wealth and eternal home as if there will be a separate heaven for Nigerians and they are the gatekeepers.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has this to say:

“it would lead us to a godless nation with violence and all forms of ungodliness as the order of the day” – the statement was credited to CAN president, Rev Samson Ayokunle.

Thinking on the CAN president’s statement – which part of Nigeria is ‘godfull’ today? Funny people – Nigeria is so ‘godfull’ that northern Nigeria had to leave CAN to form a separate body last year citing corruption in the top office as their reason for leaving to create their own more representative group of Northern Nigerian Christian Association (NNCA). 

Like all subjects, periodic reviews are important to see how to best get important message across to learners. NERDC were appointed to do specific jobs, we all can see the influence of religion in our society – why must we continue in the same old way and wishing for better times?

In this case, I thought instead of CAN and top religious leaders speaking on behalf of everyone, why not encourage NERDC to do a nationwide or south-wide survey to get figures on what people are thinking about religious studies in secondary school?

Deut 17:6  says  “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses…”

I did CRK in the first three year of secondary school, I still have a picture of my teacher in my mind’s eye – if the course was not compulsory, I would not have sat in that class.

Everything I remember about bible teachings today are from home and involvement in church activities. It is parents’ responsibility to teach their children religion of choice.

A few people I spoke with on the subject agree that Nigerian students likely to benefit more from religious studies being merged with national values, might even awaken people to the reality on ground as opposed to outward proclamation of religiosity that leaves many reciting verses that bear no resemblance to the life on the streets.

If I had to raise my children in Nigeria today, I’d rather get them to study Religious and National Values where they are exposed to a religion of their choice as well as how that fits into today’s Nigeria realities.

The outcry was to get people thinking Nigeria is about Them Vs Us however, in reality southern Nigeria education is heading towards downward spiral with too much emphasis on religion and far less on other very important subjects that get people employed for today’s world.

School is meant to open minds to all possibilities not to further create needless division/isolation.

We are at a different time, we need to get comfortable to dance to the rhythms of today.



Categories: Education, Nigeria, Politics, Religion

Tags: ,

11 replies

  1. Dear Folakemi,
    Much as I use to enjoy your piece and I don’t miss reading anyone of them each time you post them, I wish to say categorically that I am disappointed in this your latest post and to me its that you don’t understand the concept of the issue you are trying to defend.
    If I understand you very well to you it is normal if NERDC remove CRK from school curriculum and retain IRK as long as CRK is merge with Religious Values, if this is so then you have missed the mark.
    Much as I agree with you that it is the duty of the parents to teach their wards religion may I let you know that studying the subject also in school will go a long way in inculcation moral and spiritual values in the children and by the way why not remove IRK and merge it with Religious Value after all what is good for the goose is good for the gander.
    I don’t blame the CAN body and other top Christian Leaders who opposed vehemently with this obnoxious agenda, for your information Turkey was formally 100% Christian nation but today it is 98% Muslim nation and this happened as a result of this kind of subtle way of Islamisation. If the Christian did not say anything today the worst will follow.

    Like

    • Thank you Ademola and thanks for reading my posts, I genuinely appreciate this.

      It is okay to disagree with my take on this curriculum issue, Nigeria needs all kinds of viewpoints to arrive at the best one for the nation.

      I am not a ‘fan’ of CAN or any of our celebrity pastors – they are no different from the ‘other’ in strictest sense – the only difference is that enough of us have been exposed to education to see that life is better when many people can think for themselves.

      The new curriculum includes both CRK and IRK and then National Values to make a subject.

      And of course IRK as another stand alone subject- this is the argument of CAN and Pastors – I am not too worried about this because with all the IRK, we still manage to elect a governor who thought (probably still thinks) meningitis is as a result of fornication.

      My point is that we will never win if we decide to fight on religious grounds,we can see what that has done to us already in the south.
      We will have a more aware and forward thinking citizens when we choose a more progressive option with more balanced views to values and morals in relations to spirituality and today’s world. This will help us to understand that it is best to choose whoever is representing us based on competency and full understanding of what lay before us as opposed to fighting over religion.

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  2. Dear Folakemi,

    I like your general open-mindedness but in Nigeria, and ON Nigeria, the old quote that many attribute to America’s President Jefferson while some doubt it of eternal vigilance being the price of freedom – or some similar words – is always handy.

    If the Nigerian govt wants to merge Xtian religious study with some nebulous new curriculum creation, WHY DOESN’T IT MERGE ALL RELIGIOUS STUDIES UNDER THE SAME UMBRELLA?

    And why, as had been the practice for ages doesn’t govt leave the old way of public schools offering both CRK with Islamic studies so that stidents can choose?

    By the way for non-Nigerians who read your blog, it is unconscionable for a government to remove the study of History from school curriculum but the Nigerian govt atop which sit RULERS WHO REIGN at central and state levels rather than lead by offering leadership – just did that. Those POTENTATES are Moslems as well as Christians which shows that Nigeria’s problem is not only religion-driven but also by rudderlessness.

    Nigerian govt has been at it – not leaving well, alone in the matter of religion – for a long time, no thanks to the fact that the country has been led by Northern Muslims as per British Colonial legacy chaotic design.

    Nigeria was forced into the OIC, the Organization of Islamic Countries, a very divisive issue that brought a lot of strife. In Nigeria for many years, Christians have been slaughtered by Islamic extremists even when Muslims outside the country go on rampage as far away as Northern Europe about somebody who “insulted” Prophet Mohammed. The killings often get reported across the world.

    In such a country, one would expect government to tread softly in matters of religion but it’s never the case. This is why those in the country’s Christian communities cry wolf when they are sure they see one coming.

    I won’t be surprised if Nigeria caves in to the threat of Saudi Arabia to cut Hajj numbers of intending pilgrims from African countries that do not go along with the gang-up against Qarta in the name of being against “funding terrorism” by stripping the tiny country of its sovereignty. Most people in the world conversant with the fountain from which terrorism in the world has sprung know the claim of Saudi, Egypt and the Emirates’ states is a situation of the pot calling the kettle black.

    Yeah, Nigeria owes billions to external lenders and local banks for amounts that include paying salaries BUT sends more pilgrims to Mecca annually – at subsidized rates – than almost any other country in the world. The population of close to 200 million is about evenly distributed for the two main religions apart from millions of our people who belong to religions of our ancestors.

    Already, Senegal has cancelled diplomatic relations with Qarta, an apparent capitulation to Saudi foreign aid and religious fanaticism. How many more star-crossed African citizens ruled by despots, misguided, visionless and religious fanatics would soon follow Senegal’s decision is a question that we cannot hold our collective breath for the answer to start.

    On this subject, Dear Folakemi, I do not see those crying out in Nigeria against such a stupid, uncalled-for action as not warning – AGAIN – a step that is in line with Nigerian govt’s continued assault on the country’s supposed secularism.

    Sincere regards,
    TOLA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mrs Adenle, thank you for weighing in. I appreciate and respect your opinion, actually we are saying the same thing, the difference is that I see way out differently.

      There are countless of examples of what has happened that are unfavourable to most Nigerians irrespective of our regions.

      The way Nigeria has been running is a lot clearer to me that even 2 years ago.
      My argument is that just because some northerners hide behind the veil of religion/tribe to systematically keep majority of people in a terrible economic, health social ruins should not mean that southerners must follow suits.

      In the south we have a choice to reject what was done to the north in the name of religion to us.

      As we can see in the north, only poor people suffer/die. And in the south today, the only group of people likely to suffer from religious imposition are those in public schools too.

      Pilgrimage issue is a good example, northern Nigeria has been using fund meant for public schools and infrastructure for this trip for decades, which we can all see as misappropriation of funds, result is Boko Haram.

      Instead of learning from this atrocity southern leaders invented Jerusalem pilgrimage as well – both Mecca + Jerusalem now get special forex rates for $ at the expense of good roads/infrastructure.

      I do not in any sense support public fund for en mass tourism.

      We can not fight extreme views with another equally extreme views, we need people who can think ‘right’. I have given up on thinking northern extremists/tribalists are going to change their views because we make noises, they would not. However, we can make sure that we are not going to mirror image of bad decisions.

      Our job in the south is to make sure our representatives don’t come back in 2019 presenting someone like Buhari leaving people with no choice.

      Religious + National Values to my mind is a better option for Nigerian students as a whole. As it stands today most SW schools are only going to teach CRK anyways, if they add National values to it, great.

      Like

      • Dear Folakemi,

        Thx v much. Actually, the only area I responded to is the idea of scraping CRK while keeping IRS; other area of meddlesome by the ” federal” govt were only used so that non- Nigerians can have a bettr understanding of these issues.

        Sincere rgds,
        TOLA.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I see. Well, CRK was not scrapped. Both CRK and IRK are part of the revised version that includes NV.
          Oh well, I suppose I have not seen enough good reasons to emulate what is being viewed as privileged options of having IRK on its own.

          Like

  3. One Religion on a national level may not be possible as each being harbor their own respective faiths. In my lil red do, we have 4 national ethnic groups and we purport interfaith religions. With religions, it is hard to force its ideals on anyone. There must be freedom of choice and what reasonates with one’s beliefs. I truly wish for Nigeria, good or better leaders always and putting its people as its priority always. With blessings always and Garfield hugs☺

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s true, Nigeria can’t be one religion on the national level – it will be a chaos, well more than it is now.
      Having said that, arguably, our constitution reads more like Q’uaranic verses (tough being us :)) – we can’t beat that by imposing another extreme views from another religion.

      I think the new review is meant to allow more freedom of choice for school kids, grow up to think for themselves.

      Thank you for good wishes. I am sure Nigeria ‘Think Tank’ are studying your leader, Lee Kuan Yew drawing inspiration from how you managed to stay so well-balanced.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fola, I think what you said “School is meant to open minds to all possibilities not to further create needless division/isolation” is so true.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

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