An illuminating article recently published in the Nigerian Sun tellingly demonstrated the essence of big Pete Akinola’s approach to Christian problem solving: division. “Split Nigeria: Gaddafi’s comment should be re-examined” reads the headline, and even those home-schooled evangelicals listening to some kind person reading them my posts should be able to work out what follows: a proclamation from GAFCON’s man of piece and unity declaring that “although the Libyan leader was not a friend of Nigeria, the import of his comment should not be lost on all”, and that comments accredited to Gaddafi, in which Bedford’s favourite camper argued Nigeria should be divided along North-South Muslim-Christian lines in a similar manner to that which has worked so well in the region now known as the India-Pakistan border, were “indeed divine”.
“I support one Nigeria”, said the Mercedes-owning man of the people, “but we have to discuss our continued existence as a nation.” And, My Beloved Sinners, if that little rhetorical flourish doesn’t remind you of His Grace’s approach to the Communion nothing will. If a relationship isn’t working, the GAFCON response is to threaten to leave. Don’t seek to work things through, and never agree to disagree; just split, divide, and make sure you walk away from the break with more assets than the other guy.
There’s no denying the challenges confronting those who would see Nigeria a united and peaceful country bound together under the rule of law are very great indeed, probably even greater than those faced by the Archbishop of Canterbury in his own attempts at performing the ecclesiastic equivalent of herding cats – particularly since most clergy don’t own machetes, or consider kidnapping a legitimate means of supplementing their stipend. Nor can even one as learned and wise as myself honestly claim to have all the answers to ingrained political unrest (although for a first class ticket to Geneva and a suite in a five-star hotel by the lake I’m as prepared as the next United Nations advisor to dishonestly claim otherwise), but there is one question concerning the Nigerian political tensions with which I can be of assistance: when Big Pete asks “Where are the murderers and arsonists that caused mayhem in all the crises we have been having in this country?” the answer’s simple. One of them has just retired, and will be living in a duplex given to him by the Church of Nigeria, in Gudu, a district of Abuja.
I’m Father Christian and I teach the Bible.