" ITREALMS: Nigerian Christians as 'Useful Idiots' - ITREALMS

Sunday, May 07, 2023

Nigerian Christians as 'Useful Idiots' - ITREALMS

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"My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war." ( Jeremiah 4:19)
Moses Oludele Idowu - Nigerian Christians as 'Useful Idiots' - ITREALMS
"As nothing is more easy than to think, so nothing is more difficult than to think well."
- Thomas Traherne (Centuries of Meditation)
The tragedy of Christianity in our day is that modern Christians no longer think. It is not that they don't think well; but that they don't think at all.

Few weeks ago a Gambian pastor came to Ibadan to hawk his wares which he called "gospel". He promised husbands for the unmarried women, wives for the bachelors, money for the needy... Then he asked them to drop their phones/ handsets, everyone. And true to form they all without exception dropped their sets. The man has since disappeared with more than 50 sets and money from the Land of Oluyole "where thief gets the better part of the owner."

The other day a South African false prophet who just repented confessed that church girls are easy to sleep with than even the girls of the world, because they don't resist or ask questions once a pastor is involved. Not so with unchurched girls.

Thus we have come to a tragic hour in the history of the world. The children of apostles, successors of prophets whose forbears defied lions and stood up to demagogues and tyrants, invented the press, spread literacy and universal education, developed newspapers, encouraged cognition, birthed nationalism, abolished slavery, built schools - alas, the very offsprings of thinkers and Reformers, Puritans, do no longer think. Because their leaders and pastors themselves no longer think well. 

Devoid of any coherent knowledge of History, ignorant of Logic and Philosophy and even Systematic Theology the average modern pastor goes forth, largely as a plague, to raise others in his own image. I would feel ashamed if a foreigner should come in my absence and took the handsets of my members away; I would think that I failed in my duty as an under Shepherd for Christ. 

"Wisdom is justified of his children" but I can't see much wisdom in modern Christianity and in most of what modern pastors do. And their followers are a living testament of this.
Professor Mark Noll in a seminal book provocatively titled "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind" begins with even more provocative sentence: " The scandal of the Evangelical Mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind." We are known for activity, noise, programs etc., but not for thinking or strategic thinking. We embark on actions and a course of action without a thought for tomorrow, ten or fifty year's time or even a century to come.

Here then, is the problem I want to address this morning.
Because Christians often do not think much today they often act as "Useful Idiots." It is this counter-
conversionary process that I want to investigate this morning in this essay.

It is not certain who invented the phrase that has been popularly translated as "useful idiots". It is certain it wasn't Karl Marx. What we know is that Vladimir Lenin used it and Josef Stalin even used it more.

 A "Useful Idiot" is a person who is easy to persuade to do, say or believe things that help a particular group or another person politically..." (Cambridge Dictionary); "a naive or credulous person who can be manipulated or exploited to advance a cause or political agenda..." (Merriam Webster)

Nigerian Christians today are used to crying marginalisation and often express the fear of Islamisation. Yet if the truth were to be told Christians, or politicians pretending to be Christians, created the very situation which made this fear possible. They don't think well about their actions or their strategic interests and they offer themselves to be used for temporary gain and promise of gain or personal benefits. 

The Muslims think of their religion in every bargain or transactions the Christian in public service like antichrists and apostates think only of himself, his immediate family and business interests and security. Even the one you call secularised Muslims would think first of the implications of a policy decision on his religion. Not so for the Christian. 

That is why the Christian public servant is the first to compromise his own religion, values, principles and sacrifice them on the altar of political expediency and rationality. In that case he becomes the quintessential "useful idiots."

It was a Christian, Dr. Yahaya Dikko who formed what became known as Northern People's Congress ( NPC) the doyen conservative instrument of northern oligarchy, thoroughgoing Islamisation and Hausa- Fulani hegemony. He started it but that was all; others hijacked it and used it for their own purposes.
It was Tunde Bakare, "fire-spitting" pastor who as a leader of CPC and a Buhari confidant moved the motion for the fusion of CPC, ANPP & ACN to form the APC. He played major roles in bringing that fusion to being and bringing the hawks together. But what is his reward today for that? He could not even muster a single vote at the primary election and all the promises and secret deals about taking over after Buhari has now hit the rock. His place in APC has now disappeared like soap forms in washing water. He was a "useful idiot." All along the players in this "play of giants" know where they were going and Bakare like many other of his co-travellers were just pawns in their chessboard. That APC has now become in the hands of Buhari a vehicle for thoroughgoing fulanisation and, in the hands of Muslim - Muslim ticket, who knows, possibly a vehicle for full- blown Islamisation. What a fate, for an association created by the motion of a pastor.

Most of the strategists and campaigners who brought Buhari to power in 2015 and swore heaven and earth about him were ostensibly Christians. The Fayemis, Amaechis, Onus, Sobowales, Osinbajos, Sharon Ikheazors, Tam David Wests (who even wrote two books on Buhari.) They were the "useful idiots" who brought this disaster of a government upon us.
It was not long before Buhari began to show them his real agenda right from the first composition of his cabinet when he stacked all sensitive posts in favour of Moslems and the North. By then the eyes of our "useful idiots" opened but it was too late. Then Buhari had surrounded himself with people "he could trust" from the same conservative family of Northern Hegemony including core islamists, fundamentalists and terrorist-sympathizers like Isa Pantami.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu is following the same trail. Again Christians are his front troopers going around the world defending his questionable mandate and creating enemies for themselves. The Dele Alakes, FFKs, Festus Keyamos, Bayo Onanugas, Okes etc. But after the mandate is fully secured I can assure you that not a single of these would make it to his kitchen cabinet. Not even Sam Omatseye, the master crooner of The Nation newspaper who seems to believe in Tinubu more than he believes in himself.

It is at that time he would surround himself with his fellow core Muslims. He did it in Lagos as governor. His kitchen cabinet and inner circle consisted of himself, Rauf Aregbesola, Muiz Banire, Raji Fashola - none of which is a Christian. All the Christians and even PFN agents who railroaded him to power never made it to his inner circle. They were only good as "useful idiots."

And you think he would be different this time? To think that a 70- year old man will change his ways and that he would do something differently this time requires a leap of faith of which I am incapable.

That was the kind of optimism that brought us under the spell of Buhari; the idea that someone above seventy can change or become a born- again democrat when all his adult life he has lived as a dictator and tutored under an authoritarian ideal; an idea that even, strange as it may seem, deceived a Nobelist too.

Rotimi Amaechi is the very archetype of a "useful idiot." As the Director General of Buhari campaign train he tried hard to sell the lie of a reformer in waiting, knight in shining armour.

As minister of transportation he devoted almost the entire budget and even a large chunk of loan to developing Dàura, Buhari's homestead while his own Ikwerre people and Niger Delta region are still battling environmental pollution.

Today Dàura, Katshina State has a University of Transportation. The construction of a superhighway is ongoing from Nigeria to Niger Republic, Buhari's roots at our expense - courtesy of Amaechi and a sleepy Federal Executive Council playing with treason. It is treason to take loans at Nigeria expense to develop a foreign land; it is high treason!

Sometimes Christians betray their own people and a written agreement just for the sake of mere promise of power.

That reminds me of Gov. Okowa of Delta State. He was the one who chaired the maiden Southern Governors Forum where it was agreed that the next President must come from the South. Yet he was the first to jettison the agreement and become a running mate to a northern candidate. All for power.

All the Southeast governors who were present at the meeting and ratified the decision were the first to jump ship and stop attending meetings of Southern Governors Forum.
It is always like that. In 1959, 1964, 1979...they are the first to ratify agreement and the first to jump out. And they are the first to accuse others of betrayal.

In my viral essay, The Coming Collision I did mention that the North was able to form the first Independence government because "some Southern stooges" colluded with them. It is time to now mention names. 

Those stooges in NCNC who scored the highest votes who should have stood their ground and refuse to be compromised brought us into this problem from which we are still trapped today. At the head of them all is our one and only, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe. He might not like it even in his grave and many Igbos would come for me for this but the truth must be told: he played the role of a "useful idiot." 

He had the opportunity to become leader and Awo offered him ( that name most Igbos love to hate) but he preferred to follow instead. A leader who prefers to follow (apologies to Bola Ige) he helped laid a foundation on quicksand of the very first republic and the idea of a nation. Zik of Africa, what came over you? Nkrumah could not believe it; he was devastated. That someone he held in such esteem should act so shallow without a thought for tomorrow or future.

Chinua Achebe was right. The founding fathers of this nation are not great when compared with others of their colleagues in other nations; it is we who call them great. They were not.

In 1979 he had the opportunity in his lifetime to correct the error of 1959 by allying with fellow progressives but he again wasted it. Double dealing. While his party the NPP was meeting with NPN, the northern conservatives about a deal they were also meeting with UPN for another deal. They would later form alliance with the same Northern conservative as a junior partner that Igbos accused of bringing pogroms against their people in the 1960's. I am an eyewitness of this. I have been observing the election since 1979 and been voting since 1983; I know Awo and Zik in person and watched and read their campaign speeches both in 1979 &1983 and so I am talking of what I witnessed - not just as researcher but as a participant historian of the Second Republic. 

So for some of you little kids, 20-30 year old's, who abuse anyone on internet about what you know nothing about, be careful because I would return fire for fire and send you to your father's house for proper breeding.

We can forgive Zik and we must forgive him. What then do we do with his latter- day kinsmen?

Gov. Dave Umahi had no reason to leave PDP where he was welcomed and on whose platform he won election. Yet he carpet- crossed to APC possibly on the promise that power was about to shift to the East. Now no power has shifted to the East from APC, he had only been used - a "useful idiot."

The June12 election was a watershed in the history of electioneering in Nigeria. It was the very paragon of fineness and freeness. But it was scuttled by kill-joys. And who were the men and women mostly used for this purpose? It was the "useful idiots" from among Christians and mostly from the Southeast, the Land of the Rising Sun and Sacred Phyton.

Professor Omo Omoruyi in his book "Tale of June 12" neatly categorises the role played by Igbos such as Arthur Nzeribes, Ben Nwabueze, Clement Akpamgbo, Humphrey Nwosu, Uche Chukwumerije.

Of course all these are Christians too thus confirming my thesis of "useful idiots." The tragedy is that none of these, except Uche Chukwumerije, ended up in Sani Abacha government who was the chief beneficiary of the annulment of the election for which several "Christians" serve as "useful idiots."

This is why I salute Peter Obi. He is charting a different path. He is steering away from the path of compromise to be himself and answer his own name. He doesn't want to be a "useful idiot" to any power or broker. 

Southeast has been waiting for a character like this for years and he has launched a national movement, although that movement still has a lot to learn about social engineering and revolution.

I can go on and fill this space with names from every region and district but I have established my thesis.

It was Goodluck Jonathan, a supposed Christian president who took Nigeria fully to the Organisation of Islamic Congress (OIC) and paid all annual dues thinking that would satisfy Muslim North to elongate his stay in office. But they see him simply as a "useful idiot." 
All his kowtowing with nomadic schools, etc changed nothing.

It was under Yakubu Gowon that mission schools were stolen from the Church by government, a Christian and the son of Christian. It was under him as Chair of Organisation of African Union (OAU) that all Africa nations broke relations with Israel over issues that really doesn't concern us. No Muslim leader will lead a body to severe relations with Saudi Arabia. None.

It was under Obasanjo that the Shariyaland seceded judicially from the union while a military man and general looked on. Unlike Ronald Reagan who threatened the State of Alabama with National Guard if they failed to allow Luther King's birthday as holiday, our own general looked on and pretended not to see.

But when some YORUBAS defended themselves against Northern aggressiveness in Mile 12 Ketu or when the ODI people show their heads he did not hesitate to call the same ruthless force to shoot at sight his own people. "Se bi omo ina la nran s'ina" (It is the child of fire that you send on an errand to fire).

Christians need to learn to think of future in their decisions and decision making and not just immediate gains and temporary comfort like prostitutes. Power is ephemeral. It is the reason today that none of our rulers can work the street alone unaccompanied without security agents.

I have said it before that even though in Nigeria Christians are more educated than Muslims on the average but Muslims think better and more strategically than Christians.

I don't see a Christian contesting for president on the Platform of APC for many years to come regardless of what anyone may say. That vehicle is now lost at the upper level. It is bad if you can't see that.

A Christian who hopes to rule Nigeria must now think of Labour Party or possibly a reformed PDP. Not APC. An idea is lost. That is the importance of thinking proactively.

Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) & Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) do not understand this game. It is far from them. It is one reason I suggested that clergymen should leave these organs and face their missionary assignments and allow professionals - bankers, teachers, doctors, lawyers, writers to take charge. They can then serve in purely advisory role. Even as a trade union it is ineffective. An association that cannot enforce its own order among its leaders. Even when the ink on the ban on Muslim-Muslim ticket was yet to dry some past executives of CAN violated the ban to join the Presidential Campaign Committee of Emilokan in disobedience to their own religious leadership and authority! Why would anyone or politician take such an association seriously?

Sometimes even CAN belittle itself and acts like "useful idiot" as when it offered itself as an enforcement police to shut churches and apprehend pastors during the COVID-19 lockdown.

How about that?
It is time to stop acting on impulse and without thought and planning.

Most pastors today don't read and if they do it is so poor they read worthless things devoid of logic and sound reasoning, product of the same magical thinking that has trapped many Nigerians. And it shows in the way pastors enter into debates quoting the Scripture to people who neither believe in God nor His Word. Because that is the only thing they know; they can't employ Logic, History, Experience etc and other devices that even Paul and Christ used in their days.

And their followers reveal the incompetence of their leaders by their lack of reason like those Ibadan parishioners who surrendered all their phones to a total stranger.

The Lord Jesus said in one of His last statements that the Last Days would bring woes to those who are nursing children or carrying babies. What was he talking about?
He was talking about children in understanding, people who still remain children in knowledge, understanding and the leaders who keep their own people in such condition would suffer much in the days in which we are.
Worse things are coming to people who cannot think beyond present time.

It is for these that Paul warns us:

" Brethren be not children in understanding; howbeit in malice be ye children. But in understanding be men."

Thank you patient reader.

Have a wonderful weekend.

*This essay is dedicated to my brother Hon. Ayo Idowu ( Isin Constituency, 2003-2007) whose birthday was yesterday, April 14, 2023.

*Contributed by Moses Oludele Idowu/ All Rights Reserved.

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