Why the Nigerian Moral Standard is Rapidly Declining against her Increasing Religious Communities

by Uche Onegeria 17 Feb , 2016  

This has been a persistent issue in my mind. It is no secret that in Nigeria, churches pop up every day like those annoying tabs that open on your PC when you watch movies through the back doors online (winks). Or do I say, that annoying friend that shows up that day you wish to have your own personal time or when you just do not want to see any human being ever (Like seriously…Am I the only one this happens to?).

Header Image: Church of England (Wikipedia)

Proposed structure plan for Catholic Church of the
Transfiguration from Gistmania

I know Nigerians (Africans too) are highly smart and intelligent. We all also aware of how bleak our issues are but somehow, we still need someone to tell us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and the churches happily (and lucratively) fill this role.

I will narrow down to the Nigerian situation where even with a large number of churches, our current result proves that religion, will not make our economy better nor improve the people’s morals. It only makes the pastors rich, the people poorer, more desperate and more fastidious about spiritual engagement in churches, which never helped them in the first place. If the church has helped anyone, it is mostly those who are wise enough to nurture not only their spiritual needs but also their psychological and intellectual needs as well.

Bishop David Oyedepo of the Living Faith church
also known as Winners’ chapel. Image from Reuters

Let us face it, most churches preach tithes more than they preach loving our neighbours, common sense and self-development. The Nigerian problem is that somehow, our true standard shifted to the get-rich-quick scheme and sense of entitlement (“Oh, my Uncle is rich and he will pay for the rest of my life”. Then you sit back and take from your uncle like a parasite, with little or no desire to become independent). The lax Nigerian justice system has declined to an extent where many get away with murder, rape, armed robbery and all kinds of heinous and your everyday petty crimes committed in broad daylight (some of our politicians are not exempt here).
So you will ask “So what?” and I say, if you live in a system where it is alright to slap your wife and get away with it or sleep with a married man to look like Jennifer Lopez or even not pay your landlord with no consequences, what will stop the hungry man from robbing his neighbourhood whenever he wishes as a means of his living or a normal young man with sexual needs from just attacking that girl returning back at 9 pm and getting away with it? (I can go on).

It seems people are sinning differently in various forms as their way of life and getting away with it. It has almost become a culture. And it is still these same culprits who will go to your new churches every Sunday and then return back to their “lives” mostly unchanged. I say this is when the churches need to step in and make everyone face the truth about their secret lives (if they really wanted to do their jobs).

We assume that the white man is perfect by default by embodying a great sense of right and wrong. Most of them might do but what I assume helps their system and deters people from slipping into one form of crime or the other is the great justice system they have in place.

Have you ever heard of crime and punishment? Every crime (if caught. and believe me, there are so many ways you can be caught – even when you smartly commit the crime, you will be smartly caught) is followed by a commensurate punishment. Personally, I do not go over the speed limit even when the road is free because there are cops in unexpected intersections, and you will be caught and fined. In this case, unlike the Nigerian LASMA officer (who you will call wicked), the cop who flags you gives you the same treatment as every other person caught, no negotiations, no arguments whatsoever. He writes you a ticket and you go your merry way (or so I say “sad”). This is interesting because the system is organized in such a way that everyone knows the punishment, both you and the cop, so you cannot even cry foul. Why will you negotiate or claim that he is being unfair or wicked when the proof is there in black and white? Singing “Lady Justice is coming for you”

Image from the web
Image from the web

Anyway, you understand what I mean. This is where I expect the Nigerian churches to pick up the slack from the system and try their best (I have not said that they can take over and overhaul the nation’s issues) to help their congregation to see the truth of their real nature. Preach hard work, great work ethic, true self-reflection, drive, integrity, contentment, conscience, the prevalent promiscuity, discipline etc. Implement self-help development, leadership, mentorship programs etc. There is a great wealth of resources in the form of books, audios, motivational speakers that the churches can provide about building one’s true essence to their congregation.

Great way churches can help is to all come together (Catholics, Anglicans, Pentecostal churches, Sabbath, Mosques even etc.) as One Association.

 One church = One Nigeria! If all religious groups can come together, and instead of expanding their individual churches (building more everyday), buying fleets of cars and private planes, they can build schools for the less privileged (not only schools that target the rich families), build roads and libraries, buy a power plant in their various neighbourhoods, build local walk-in clinics, provide constant water supply, provide a local security outfit, buy a refinery even. The list is endless.

This is the only way that the presence of churches in Nigeria will help the masses. Churches are one of the most powerful and influential organizations in the world. And even better, they do not pay taxes. Ever! And if they come together, then they might be able to manage things better and uproot those churches that are up to no good. It is time for churches in Nigeria to give back to the people that have given them for so long.

See these statistics below to help you see how rich churches are (Reuters):

“In 2011, Forbes magazine estimated the fortunes of Nigeria’s five richest pastors. Oyedepo topped the list, with an estimated net worth of $150 million.

He was followed by Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Believers’ Love World Incorporated, also known as the Christ Embassy and popular with executives and politicians, on $30 million to $50 million.

TB Joshua, pastor of the Synagogue Church of All Nations, at the center of the recent diplomatic storm over the deaths in its guesthouse, was thought to have $10 million to $15 million.”

If churches implement one association like I have defined above, they will relieve the stress on the system, provide jobs, and fill a void that would help people focus on what they preach. This is how you help a system that is already crippled. Not by only feeding their spirits. The physical form has to be sound before the spiritual form can effectively receive any form of nourishment.

Nigerians are beautiful people. The country’s situation could transform some people into who they would otherwise not be, especially under better circumstances. See more pictures of their beautiful faces below in church. Images from National Geographic

Thank you very much for visiting my page to read my thoughts. Please, tell me what you think and share with your friends.


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