THE NIGERIAN RELIGIOUS MINDSET
Sometimes when someone begins to question our religious status quo, the response one would often get would be something like “this guy is either backslidden or is not a Christian at all”.
However, I want to challenge a widely spread notion that we have and spur us to begin to look at things from a whole new perspective. So since I have your attention now, let’s begin.
Of course you do know that when we say “only God can save Nigeria” then we are indirectly saying that the reason Nigeria is the way it is right now is because God hasn’t done something that He is supposed to do. But how correct is that notion? Is it really true that the reason Nigeria is where it is today is because God hasn’t made that move to save her yet? This might be the reason behind the high level of religious involvement in Nigeria then.
Just in case you are not very familiar with the religious terrain in Nigeria, let me paint the picture for you here. Statistically speaking, there are at least 80 million Christians in Nigeria today.
The Institute of Social Research of the University of Michigan in the United States once carried out a study about Christianity and church attendance around the world. It was discovered that Nigeria has the highest rate of church attendance in the world! I mean Nigeria beats every single nation you can imagine in terms of how faithfully and judiciously her citizens attend church meetings.
Of more interest is the fact that this is a record the country has faithfully held from as far back as 1990 when the survey was first carried out until the last recorded one in 2013. That is about 23 years of consistent and faithful religious devotion! Hmmm! How interesting!
Nigeria boasts of some of the largest church auditoriums and Christian gatherings around the world today. We have the likes of the Faith Tabernacle at Ota, Ogun state that seats about 50,000 people (besides overflows) and still runs multiple services every Sunday. Not forgetting the fact that the construction of another 100,000-seater auditorium is under way right now.
We have the annual Holy Ghost Festival of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) that also attracts millions of worshipers into a single location. In fact, the RCCG is currently constructing an arena that would be three kilometres wide and three kilometres long! That building is estimated to accommodate nearly twelve million people in a single gathering.
This is not to mention the ultra-modern auditorium of the Catholic Church of Transfiguration in Lekki, Lagos that cost a whopping $14 million to build. Or the National Ecumenical Center in Abuja seating about eight to ten thousand people at a cost of N2.6 billion ($20 million) as at the year of construction.
Noteworthy also is the fact that Nigeria also has a national mosque situated right on the independence avenue, across the
National Christian Center. The facility costs a humongous sum of money and it houses a religious school, a library and a conference hall as well.
The Salvation Ministries aka Home of Success led by Pastor David Ibiyeomie is also constructing her 90,000-seater capacity auditorium now however that is not all. Dunamis International Gospel Center led by Pastor (Dr.) Paul Enenche and his wife are presently constructing a 75,000-seater capacity auditorium. The Mountain Of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) is equally erecting her 500,000-seater capacity auditorium at the moment.
These are just a few of the several examples we could cite. So, am I against the crowd? Of course not. I am only painting the picture of what is obtainable in our nation for you. I have only mentioned these specific examples to give you an idea of how much Nigerians are attracted to religious gatherings and prayers week after week.
Untold thousands and hundreds of thousands of Nigerians get up early enough to attend services as early as 6am on Sundays. Many of them stay in churches for countless hours if not all day on Sundays. Several millions of Muslims also troop to the mosques and worship places on Fridays and other days as well.
It is in Nigeria you will find that every single day of the week is a day of church activity. From Monday prayer meetings to Tuesday bible studies and then Wednesday Mid-week services to Thursday worker’s meetings and Friday all night vigils. Then on Saturday, they return for rehearsals in preparation for Sunday services and then still be bewildered with meetings at the end of Sunday services.
Where else in the world do people attend services on Monday mornings? Where do you find people having as much religious holidays as we do in Nigeria? Where else do people have prayer and fasting programs stretching over a 100-day period with faithful worshipers showing up every day after work? What about fortnight prayer meetings that hold from 7am to 4pm on Mondays and has workers, students, skilled laborers and other professionals in various fields of life in attendance?
To be continued Tomorrow, don’t miss it.
Excerpts from the book Only God Can Save Nigeria: What A Myth.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja.