Let’s go to Ghana
SIR: The first time I was in Ghana was 2008, thereabout. Thanks to Dr. Emiola Nihinlola, a Baptist Pastor, and current President of the Baptist Seminary, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Nigeria. I got the impression that many Ghanaians wanted Nigeria to use her enormous human and material resources to improve life in the West African sub-region, the rest of Africa, and the world at large. I was almost weeping that quite on the contrary, Nigeria is a weak giant, made so by dishonest, self-centered leaders who profess to be Christians and Muslims. They claim to be the only people who know God, and they demonise adherents of African Traditional Religion (ATR) as worshippers of gods/idols. The English people have God and gods, but the Yoruba know only one Supreme Being, called Ọlọ́run-Olódùmarè, and there is nothing like ọlọ́run-olódùmarè in the diminutive. Under Him and to Him is subject all other beings, spiritual and physical (absolute monotheism).
My second journey to Ghana was a sojourn of 12 calendar months, except for two or three brief visits back to Nigeria. I was hosted by University of Cape Coast, Ghana, as a member of the Masquerade Team. We displayed masquerade as embodying African ancestors, and religion as an abode of prayer and joy, rather than rivalry, conspiracy, and a means of exploiting people, divide and rule, etc. Ghana was chosen, because although many Christians and Muslims tug against ATR over there as well, the Ghanaian constitution expressly accommodates African culture, such as in saying that every marriage must start with the cultural breaking of kola and pouring of libation, so to say. Yes, many Pentecostal Christians are resisting that constitutional mandate. They disrespect their own ancestors/ancestresses.
Prof. J.S. Pobee’s biography of Kwame Nkrumah made me to know I have a lot in common with the first President of Ghana. He was an ex-Catholic seminarian; I am an ex-Catholic priest. Then he became “a non-denominational Christian” like me. The principles of Jesus coincide with African principles. For instance, Jesus did not emphasise religion, but love of God and neighbour, mercy, compassion as “weightier matters of the Law.” He didn’t demonise polygamists.
• Pius Abioje,
University of Ilorin.