Archbishop Ignatius Ayau Kaigama has said that it will be very difficult to Islamise or Christianise Nigeria as being speculated by some persons.
In an interview with Vanguard, the religious cleric also spoke about the allegation that President Muhammadu Buhari plans to Islamise the country saying the president denied this when the question was put to him.
Asked about his thought on the alleged islamization plot, the archbishop said: “That is always like antiphon. I remember even when the President was campaigning, one of his addresses to us representatives of the Catholic Bishops Conference, that was on his first attempt at presidency, we asked him this question and he told us that was not true. We asked him that people keep saying that you are aspiring to be President because you have the ambition of Islamizing the nation and working things in favor of Islam when you become President and he told us it’s absolutely not true and we believed him. I think it’s left for him to see that there is balance. This country is divided almost between Christians and Muslims.
Whatever is being done there must be a sensibility, there must be a serious awareness on how to balance some things; is it a distribution of political offices? Is it the armed forces or security agencies and so on? There must be a comprehensive inclusiveness so that everybody should be a part of this country and perhaps that patriotism will begin to develop. But when a southerner becomes a president and just to take care of southerners, we are not one country yet. Similarly, when a northerner becomes President and his priority is just to take care of northerners….We ought to be one nation, one people, one country.
“It is a futile project to Islamize or Christianize the whole of Nigeria, we are over 200 million. God is not unwise to allow diversity. I hope that we can examine our mental, moral revolution.”
“For us in the religious circle, we are promoting orderliness, honesty, hard work and yet the society has more money even by very crooked means. The more you take from government, the more you are given chieftaincy titles and respected in church because you give plenty money. They don’t ask where this money comes from. So we have a huge problem. There’s a need for a drastic change of mentality for Nigeria to assume her rightful position among the advanced countries of the world.”
The religious cleric also spoke about Sharia law saying Christians also have their own laws and that as long it is not forced on those not practicing the religion.
“Sharia is not a Nigerian law. It is an exclusive legal matter dealing with the mosques, and that is a private matter and it affects only Muslims. We Christians have our laws and, for instance, the Catholic Church has the Canon laws and we cannot impose that on any other person other than Catholics. So this is how it should be. Democracy is about all of us put together. But anything that has to do with only a section of the population should be treated as such. Democracy is about promoting good governance, all of us will join hands to make sure it works.
“When people are elected into positions of authority, they should not be thinking about promoting narrow, parochial religious views or sentiments instead of reasoning in doing their work. Whether as a Muslim or Christian, if you are in the position of authority, it’s a call to serve Nigeria. When we get our thinking right and our mentality is correct, I tell you this nation will surprise the rest of the world. What is holding us back is this parochial, self-centred, egocentric, dishonest attitude and the desire to acquire illegally and illegitimately and not serving the common man. We think of ourselves as better than others.”