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Religionists as Merchants of Hate Written by: Simbo Olorunfemi

I have followed, albeit, in passing, the needless and irritating controversy over the years-old changes in the Educational Curriculum at the instance of the NERDC, the agency with the mandate for the periodic review of the curriculum, which some have now chosen to label part of the Buhari agenda for Islamisation of Nigeria.

You just wonder how low some of these elements, spurred by hate, will go in merchandising lies and confusion to trigger strife and mistrust.

Elaborate explanation have been made by people who know on the process that led to the changes, the essence and modalities for implementation, especially by Temitope Ajayi. But as it is always the case, people are not willing to review or change their position on the basis of superior information, rather they will dig in, raise red herrings to muddle the conversation and fan embers of hate.

I occupy a privileged position in one of the institutions that would/should be concerned about a change in the manner being so mischievously presented. It was my business to interrogate the matter back then and I saw it was much ado about nothing. I so reported. Unfortunately, the media has found a way to play down the moderate voice of that institution, electing to orchestrate the minority voices purportedly speaking for the faith.

People are fixated on certain people and they must frame their impressions and positions on the basis of that, no matter how illogical it is. That is the only reason why they will believe an Islamisation agenda is being executed under the watch of the Acting President, given his antecedents. That is the reason why they will not consider those who occupied the relevant offices at the time the changes were recommended, considered and approved.

You have a subject – Religion and National Values, a consolidation of a few old subjects. CRK and IRK are options, which will be taught during the same period, with each student electing for whichever appeals to him. It should be the same examination paper, with students electing in the Optional Section for either CRK or IRK. What is unusual here?

Back then, I think WASC/GCE Mathematics gave students options in one section either to opt for the General Maths or Commercial Maths. Yet, it was still one Mathematics examination paper for all students.

Some have brought in the matter of Arabic, as if that again is a religion. What is wrong with a Christian studying Arabic? What is even wrong with a Christian even studying IRK? Moslems studied CRK in the past. Christians studied IRK back then. Prof. Kole Omotoso, the writer, if I recollect correctly, studied Arabic at the University and he is not a Moslem.

One person, Dr Okolo’s ‘friend’ queried the basis for Arabic/French being made compulsory foreign languages, arguing that it was done in the knowledge that French Teachers are hard to come by and students will be forced, in the absence of French Teachers to settle for Arabic. I might be wrong, but from my experience of searching for one, I would say it might even be easier to secure the services of a qualified Teacher for French at Secondary school level than for Arabic.

Again, this is much ado about nothing. You will be shocked to realise that many of the people raising hell are themselves lacking interest in the Christian faith, which encourages us to speak less, listen more and study before we speak. They cannot be speaking of a faith they so routinely bash as if Christianity is a virus and absolutely of no good to to the people.

Religionists have ganged up with professional mischief-makers and merchants of hate to promote confusion, they might think they are only playing politics, but this is how people set countries up for wars.

Simbo Olorunfemi works for Hoofbeatdotcom, a Nigerian Communications Consultancy and publishers of Africa Enterprise .

Twitter: @simboolorunfemi

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