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Nigeria’s missing $20bn, Okonjo-Iweala, Foreign audits, Religion, Paganism, Yoruba spiritualism, etcetera – Ajetunmobi & Co.

On Thursday May 8, 2014, the Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala reportedly announced, during a debate at the 24th edition of the World Economic Forum for Africa, that the Federal Government had appointed a FOREIGN accounting firm, PriceWaterHouse to carry out a detailed investigations on the activities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). This was sequel to the revelations by the suspended Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Lamido Sanusi that the sum of $20bn was not remitted to the federation account by the NNPC.

 

Yet, according to the findings in the “Report to the Nations on Occupational Fraud and Abuse” published yesterday by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), a US-Based world’s largest anti-fraud organisation and premier provider of anti-fraud training and education, FOREIGN audits are a poor tool for fighting fraud. The study looked at 1,483 cases of occupational fraud that occurred worldwide between January 2012 and December 2013 and concluded that FOREIGN audits should not be relied upon as the primary anti-fraud mechanism. “You can’t put the onus on somebody else to keep your place clean,” said ACFE faculty member Evy Poumpouras, a former U.S. Secret Service agent. To peek over the study, click here “Study: External Audits a Poor tool for Fighting Fraud.”

 

The study appears to bear out the appeal being made to spiritually-inclined to look INWARD for spiritual upliftment. Last week, it was reported that the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  arrested an Abuja Socialite and Prisons Accountant, Imaobong Esu-Nte For Money Laundering. But, one “startling discovery by investigators for which the suspect has failed to provide an explanation, is the nearly N60million she paid in various tranches into the account of Redeem Christian Church of God, a prominent pentecostal church in Karu, a suburb of Abuja. ‘There are instances in which she paid N5m, N7m and N6m into the church’s account.” How could the Church rid Nigeria of corrupt practices if it wittingly or unwittingly feigned ignorance of the “suspect’s lifestyle which was inconsistent with her position as a public servant on a monthly salary of N121, 460 ($751)”?

 

Shouldn’t we then look INWARD for better solutions to social issues, and hopefully also toward the development of the HOME-GROWN SPIRITUAL outlook? A Yoruba proverb says, Òrìṣàtíake,ke,ke,tíkògbo,tíage, ge, ge,tíkògbà;ojú-upópóníńgbé. (The god that one praises, praises, and praises but who does not listen, that one worships, worships, and worships but who refuses to heed, ends up in the streets). That is, if a supposed saviour consistently fails you, discard it and find yourself another. Throughout the ages, every ethnic group had developed its own names, ranks and categories of deities and spirits. Some deities, of course, had special talents for warfare, others revelled in romance or the regulation of comets, volcanoes, wild rivers or stormy seas. Yet other deities had tendencies towards both beneficence and altruism. British rule in Myanmar (formerly Burma) lasted for 124 years. Even so, Buddhism would seem to have a secure place in Myanmar. For, nine in 10 people are Buddhist, as are nearly all the top leaders in the business world, the government, the military and the police. There is sufficient food for reflection here in this circumstance.

AO Ajetunmobi

May 20, 2014

 

Why should any one be taken aback when it is the same Redeemed Church  that Erastus Akingbola formerly of Intercontinetal bank bought  a plane  for?

 

May God save our  country .

Latif

May 21, 2014

 

 

 

No doubt, events all over the world in recent times have shown that religion is a BIG clog in the wheel(s) of economic developments of people, places and nations. Those nations that have succeeded in relegating religion to inconsequential choice(s) of individuals or group(s), have continued to make economic progress in leaps beyond fathomable measures.
In my opinion therefore, religion tolerates laziness and breeds political chaos. Someday, I’ll do a write up on the many evils of LAZINESS.


Adetoye.

May 21, 2014

 

 

In Nigeria, we are part of a culture where much of our explanatory machinery has to do with religious practices, and spirituality. Yet if the condition of being spiritual provides people with honesty, trustworthiness, responsibility and a coherent sense of purpose in their lives, people living in most spiritually-inclined nations might report having meaningful life more often than people in non-spiritualised nations.

 

But a line of research shows that too much religious feeling or belief can harm a society’s economy by undermining the drive for material success. In a study, published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science, involving 187,957 respondents from 11 religiously diverse cultures, to determine the relationship between religion and wealth creation, it was found that religion created “anti-wealth norms” while acting as a “poverty buffer.” The findings were consistent with earlier study, “Religiousness and Happiness in Three Nations: A Research Note,” published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, which concluded that “religiousness is not always a blessing.”

 

It is no coincidence, therefore, that while liberal, religion free countries tend to be happier, most religious states are the least happy. For example, in World Happiness Report 2013,  the top five countries out of 156 countries surveyed, are less spiritualised Denmark (1st), Norway (2nd), Switzerland (3rd), Netherlands (4th), and Sweden (4th), while  countries with excessive religiousness, including US (17th), Nigeria (82nd) are far behind.

 

This is not meant to malign Islam: A Yoruba proverb says, Awoníní kọjá àlùkùráni (Possession of charms is more efficacious than carrying a Qur’an). That is, a sure medicine is preferable to faith in religion or spirituality. Instead of relying on religion or spirituality to drive our economy, our politics, and the fine principles of justice and equal treatment for all persons in the country, Nigerians today must endeavour try to create their own meaning via their identity and self-knowledge.

 

AO Ajetunmobi

May 21, 2014

 

 

 

 

I’m amazed that people repeatedly confuse ”religion” with ”religion with dogma”; it’s

the latter that is WRONG. To avoid this misunderstanding, I prefer using the word ”teaching”

in place of religion. Every human spirit has the free will to accept or reject teachings by the prophets and the Sons of God. However, I advise against worshipping of gods and goddesses as these are servants of our one God. Indeed, those whose inner eyes are open will tell us that present day pagans are worshipping demons brought into beings through evil human thoughts, as the god and goddesses that are faithful servants of our Almighty Creator would have withdrawn from the view of the idol worshippers.

 

A.G. Falade

May 21, 2014.

 

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2014. 8:50 p.m. [GMT]

 

 

 

It is totally wrong to call the religion of our own people paganism  just because it was  given that name by the white people who came with the motive to steal our things, including the art to honor these gods.

 

I am sure if our rulers in Nigeria are made to swear on Ogun, Oya … they would be  afraid to loot our treasury whereas they swear on the Quaran and Bible and turn round to loot. We all remember how office-seekers, including governorship candidates were taken to shrines to swear to oaths.

 

Latif

May 22, 2014.

 

 

 

A sweeping statement was made by Prof Falade in his last email (below) to the effect that “those whose inner eyes are open will tell us that present day pagans are worshipping demons brought into beings through evil human thoughts…” I’m not quite sure if the statement was made to measure Yoruba indigenous spirituality against other faiths in order to determine its orientation and to locate where, how and why it differs from the so-called ‘pure’ faiths. Whatever the answer might be, I think a nuanced understanding of the word “pagan” is required there o explicate and describe its many facets.

 

What is Pagan?

 

The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology (2003) derives Pagan from “Latin paganus, rustic, peasant, citizen, civilian, non-Christian (in Christian literature), non-Jewish, from pagus (rural) district.”  Similarly, the American Heritage Dictionary (2001) defines Pagan as “one who is not a Christian, Muslim or Jew,” again, noting the word’s derivation from the Latin term paganus, meaning “country dweller.” On these definitions, the Pagan is thus  depicted principally as a person who is an unorthodox believer, i.e., not Christian, not Muslim, and not Jewish or the person who does not worship the right god, the god of the monotheistic religions.

 

However, it is interesting to note the use of word paganism to describe any non-Christian or non-biblical form of deity did not originally serve as a religious designation in ancient Rome; this only came later, after the Christianization of the Roman Empire and the progressive prohibition of all other religions. In other words, the exercise in negative classification of the pagan is rooted in periods of religious wars and persecution in European history, when the difference between officially sanctioned belief and officially condemned heresy could sometimes mean the difference between life and death for persons charged with religious crimes by state-supported religious authorities.

 

For even earlier origins of this animosity toward the unorthodox believer, we must go back to the Bible to contemplate one of the terms often given as a synonym for Pagan: idolator. In the  Old  Testament or Hebrew Bible, those  who worshipped deities other than  Yahweh, the God of the Hebrew  tribes, were seen  as foolish  worshippers of empty idols, a practice  that  was condemned in the  strongest terms.  (See Exodus 32:28).

 

From such biblical foundations, the term idolatry became synonymous with evil and perversion. The biblical injunction against the “idolatrous” worship of non-Hebrew deities carried over into Christianity, with certain exceptions made for images of Jesus, Mary, and the saints. That is, Christianity too has kept alive the flame of the god and goddess through Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. Anyhow, the prohibition against religious images was carried over with more thoroughgoing rigour into Islam, with calligraphic illustration of passages from the Qur’an providing an alternative form of nonfigurative religious art in mosques and elsewhere.

 

Furthermore, when Christianity spread across Europe and beyond, Christian leaders tended to view the worship of non-Christian deities as an abomination to be corrected by all necessary means.

 

Yet, as I’ve noted somewhere before, every age, every ethnic group, has had its deity; differing only as human conceptions of deity differ, but known under different names: to the Norseman as Odin, to the Egyptian as Osiris, to the Phoenician as Baal, to the Babylonian as Belus, to the Persian as Ormuzd, to the Hindu as Brahma, to the Greek as Zeus, to the Roman as Jupiter, to the Arab as Allah, to the Jew as Jehovah, and to the Yoruba as Olódùmarè (the one who has the fullness of everything). To underscore the status of Olódùmarè amongst the Yoruba, one Yoruba proverb says: Eégún ṣé-é jó; òòṣà-á ṣé-é jó; ti Olódùmarè-é yàto. (A masquerader can be set alight; a smaller deity can be set alight; God the most High, though, is a different matter. That is, only God, the most High is beyond peril at the hands of humans.

 

To recap, it should be understood that the word Pagan only became a term of religious definition in the fourth century, after Christianity had been established as the dominant religion in the Roman Empire following the 312 CE battlefield conversion of the Emperor Constantine and the relocation of the imperial capital from Rome to Constantinople. And, as noted above, the word was derived from the Latin pagus, which originally denoted a rural area in ancient Rome. A “paganus” or pagan, was therefore simply a person who dwelled in a district away from the city-essentially, a peasant.

 

In the light of the above, unless there is any evidence to disprove this assertion that the term “Paganism” did not originally serve as a religious designation in ancient Rome, but only became so later, after the Christianization of the Roman Empire and the progressive prohibition of all other religions, we must all desist fromd not originally serve as a religious designation in ancient Rome, but only became so later, after the Christianization of the Roman Empire and the progressive prohibition of all other religions, we must all desist from always making pejorative remarks, in writing or speech, about Yoruba traditional spirituality.

 

AO Ajetunmobi

May 22, 2014

 

 

 

One never ceases to be amused by two major entanglements which weaken exchanges by Yoruba (let’s limit it to them for now), scholar class intellectuals? First is the total dependence on Western sources even when they are drawing on their own roots. Second is as a consequence the near total absence of freshness to analysis . The result is Scholasticism with a small (s).

 

In this debate or gyration on the P word or P bomb, one must ask why an ocean of ink is needed to react. I choose not to say DEFEND, Yoruba conception and perceptions on matters of faith. Sadly the comments and commentaries I have read are self tripping and self inferiorising. Why, for example, does Yoruba religion need to be wrapped/qualified as TRADITIONAL, but not Christianism,Judaism, etc?

 

One’s  hope is that one day a few bright and original African minds will emerge to burn out and purify the sludge or African scholars be produced to undertake original, fundamental and basic research for delivering unapologetic or clear-headed exhibition, rendition and re-presentation of the ideas and thoughts of great and grand minds and peoples like the Yoruba, (ORUNMILA in particular) who, without stumbling on the art of writing, have produced as much high thought, concepts and thought systems as the so-called PEOPLE OF THE BOOKS, before whose routes, present day Yoruba scholar class intellectuals stutter.

 

Pagan, paganism, like many words and terms that have come to us through the violating  and frightened “world conquerors” only and usually have meaning in Leavist terms as designed tools or instruments, in this case, for defeating/neutralising and PSYCHOCULTURAL DAMAGING contending and competing values, often with ruthless violence.

 

An understanding of this leaves all victims of Judeao-Christain,Greco Roman and the current WENA intellectual and material oppression with one major course and path to competitiveness … .like the Asiatics …

 

FIND AND ACQUIRE WENA MODERNISM , THROUGH THE UNWAVERING PURSUIT OF THE TWO Rs of Weberian thought … RATIONALITY AND ROUTINISATION.

 

The Japanese, now the Chinese … next, the Yoruba? Yes we can.

 

Tao

May 22, 2014

 

Tao, What is your stake about this topic been discussed?

Prof  Fabunmi, the son of the great late Odole of Ife,  Pa Fabunmi , kindly look into the archives of the old man and give us his opinion.

 

AbduSalam , thanks for this piece.

Opawoye

May 22, 2014

 

 

Before the arrival of  the imperialists on our continent, and in particular our Motherland , our people  were engaged  in one kind of religion or  another . In AbduSalam’s  piece, he indicated  that there were  different religions in different parts of the world .
How on earth  can the Christian  by force claim that they  are the only group that knows the true God ? Orunmila,  etc  worshipped by our people was, and remains as relevant  in the past  as Christianity to the Europeans when they all accepted Christianity.
Opawoye
May 22, 2014.
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