To repair a beehive, you have to make haste slowly

Recently, there was news of the newly sworn in Buhari government approving a special exchange rate of $1 to N160.

Here is the story:

Buhari approves N160 to $1 rate for Christian Pilgrims’ operations

There has been outrage, sarcasm, criticisms. The Buhari government, which got into power by promises of CHANGE from the former for on governance is being roundly pilloried for perpetuating another extant window of corruption and abuse, they posit!.

Here’s a professional cynic’s reaction to the exchange rate disparity announcement:

Naira at black market 240 =$1
Naira at official rate : 197=$1
Naira for pilgrims :160=$1
Things are really looking up.
As least we can now afford to go to Mecca or Jerusalem to cleanse our poor souls.
Change is here at last.

Another said,

Am so disappointed in the CBN Governor when I read about N160.00 for Pilgrims when businesses are purchasing at N241.00. I can bet you that many of the pilgrims will buy from the CBN and re-sell in the black market, cancel their tickets, and make profit out of us all. So so so so so sad.

Sure thing. Whenever there is (government sanctioned) disparity in the exchange rate, you can be sure people would take advantage and pervert the process.

As a proponent of change, numerous watchers of events feel that the new government is perpetuating and keeping open past avenues for sleaze and embezzlement. Clearly, government has no business being involved in religious issues. Nigeria is not under a theocrazy, even if of we are mostly ‘God Crazy’. Sponsoring people on pilgrimages or approving special exchange rate (as the new Buhari Administration just did) is certainly inappropriate. Has always been.

But this is a legacy inherited. A tradition continued from yesteryears. You don’t halt a train the way you can halt a car, government and governance is like the Titanic, and religious matters are potentially explosive. Religion, when mixed with overtones of, or overt politics, is pure dynamite. Politicians will always play religious cards because they know too well (most) Nigerians suspend intellect, reasoning and logic whenever religious matters are concerned.

It is all well and good to say that government should not be involved in religion and religious matters as these are private things. But the truth of the matter is that religion plays vital and critical roles in the lives of Nigerians. In court, you choose what to swear with, when pledging to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but. The President and other. government functionaries swear to uphold the Constitution with a bible, quran, and other religious symbols. Heck, there are religious holidays declared for religious festivities like Eid El Kabir, Easter, etc.

Thus, the special exchange rate brouhaha, for me is not an isolated thing. .To completely clear the Aegean stable of government involvement / intervention religious matters or religion , we may need to do a total package.. addressing some or all the things listed above. But then, this is likely wishful thinking. I doubt this would happen. Simply stated, although the Constitution states that Nigeria is a secular state, the reality is that there is no such thing, as religion plays a huge role in our daily lives, and is a force potent enough (like tribe) to determine who gets to what position at what time. Remember, it is almost unheard of to have a President / Vice President or Governor /Deputy Governor and other key appointments totally devoid of rigorous consideration for the religion those appointees (claim to) practise.

Generally, Muslims marry Muslims , Christians marry Christians.

It would be politically simplistic to pretend that religion does not affect politics and vice versa. After all, a musician sang, religion is politics, and by the law of commutativity, we can safely conclude that politics is also a form of religion, and the two are totally inseparable (even, worldwide ).

Have a look at RELIGION, POLITICS, BUSINESS… THE SIAMESE TRIPLETS to see how religion and politics co mingle.

I submit that, to totally divorce governance from religion in Nigeria as presently constituted may be a difficult task, if not totally impossible.

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