If My Father Was The President. By: Dr Bolaji O. Akinyemi

Before Independence, colonialism and Christianity were conjoined twins. While the British held sway, Christianity was promoted as the religion of the State, not because the British loved Christ nor His Cross, but it was serving the same purpose it did Islam. Before the arrival of the British, it helped to subsume the faith of the people in African deities and subjugated them to their Master’s whims and caprices.

Of advantage in the colonial Government were the Anglo denominations of Anglican, the Methodist and other Missions of Britain origin though the Catholic Mission of Rome had their place of honour as they still do.



Two critical areas of health delivery and education; obvious need of a primitive society at that time were of course largely provided by Christian Missions. 

Mostly affected were registering wards in colonial schools which were often owned by missionaries though supervised by relevant colonial education board.

To get your wards into schools was more or less a baptism into the Christian faith. This blatant abuse of the rights of Muslims to their faith at accessing health delivery and educational  services agitated the coming of Islamic Missions into Nigeria. Though largely disadvantaged at that time a long time projection into our future is today yielding fruits. The forceful enforcement of hijab by Kwara State Government led Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is a clinical example of how nepotism is revealed by beasts in power showing lack of respect for the right of others. Kwara’s hijab crisis is a timely intervention interpreting President Buhari’s silence of body language to Sheikh Gumi who is helping our Commander in Chief to separate of his soldiers into religion corps of Christian and Muslim. The Governor like Gumi seems to prefers easy identification of pupils and students incase Gumi’s forest dwellers comes visiting Kwara. They won’t have to take 210 students away only to know that just one like Leah Shuaibu should be held.

Among the early victims of religious persecution was my father, named Nasir by his father who had converted from traditional Ogun worship to Islam. Little Nasir has to adopt the name Babatunde in order not to add a Christian baptismal name, which was a precondition to accessing education which his heart so yearned. 

October 1st 1960, our Independence was gotten from a mono religious non ethnic inclined British Government.  A new nation was born without a new national ideology; given our multi ethnic society with diverse religion. 

Several activities led to the independence, one of which was a mock Dubar, held on September 30th 1960, a day before independence.

The Caliphate flag was handed over to the Sultan of Sokoto as part of activities marking the independence ceremonies in the city that will become the capital of Northern Nigeria and the seat of the Mafia’s; Kaduna.

The “Caliphate defeated the Colonialists” and the flag of Uthma Dan Fodio taken from Attahiru the Sultan of Sokoto in 1903 at the British conquest was returned. The Jihadist Arabic inscription; “victory belong to Allah” thus became the confession of all Nigerian soldiers, and the “faith” of all Nigerian irrespective of tribes, tongue and trust.

A central ideology debasing ethnicity to its community and keeping religion out of Government seemed the way to go, but this conspiracy will seal the fate of the new nation to Jihad. Such understanding is the reason for a constitution which is neither here nor there. But the new independent Nation was so naive to probe what was handed to her. A religious time bomb was hidden in the banquet of independence the Queen handed to Abubakar Tafawa Balewa!

It won’t be too long before the sound of the tickling bomb will be heard from our banquet of roses of hope, but they lacked the courage to chat a new course for her, away from the direction of her colonial masters. This has been her undoing; the forces responsible for her rising and falling.  

The Cross being the symbol of the faith of Christianity which of course can’t be separated from our colonial influence has lost out of power. The details of the sweeping force of Islamic activities and mission who though got to Nigeria through the North were outsmarted by the British who gained Government control of Niger Areas; later to be called Nigeria. 

The determination to model her government after her colonial mentor has seen the Caliphate using the Crescent to push the Cross into oblivion. The Cross though in the hands of natives has never given up the hope of getting back the control that come with being the faith in power.

Her first coup in 1966 was tainted by ethnicity and religion. The counter coup was to settle the score of same. The kindled fire that followed was fanned into an inferno by the cross currents winds of ethnicity and religion; a civil war that burnt the South East region to ashes and left the entire nation ravaged. 

1966, the year of the coup, I arrived the home of Nasir Adesina Babatunde Ogunseye on a Friday Afternoon on the 5th of August that year. Thus born a Nigerian, of Yoruba race, Egba by tribe and Ake by nationality, an Ogunseye by family identify of Agbole Olokuta, Adedotun and a Bolaji by personal identity. Failure to detail our identity is one of the many confusion bedevilling Nigeria.

Today 11th March 2021, is my father’s 90th birthday celebration. I am compelled by retrospect to reflect on if my father was the President of Nigeria, a standard six certificate holder, with Rapid Results College in Secretariat Administration. His limited education not withstanding, his leadership of his family at best can be a model for Nigeria. A Muslim married to a Christian, I grew up knowing humanity should be are choice when in conflict of religions.

I still remember vividly how he took me to Oke Ado, hopping between Baptist Bookshop and Odusote to buy my books in 1979 to prepare me for Christ Apostolic Church Grammar School Iperu Remo. He bought 2 units of each book, knowing full well how careless his little Akinyemi could be. He was responsible enough to prepare for it to my face. That was a turning point for me. I became responsible not to need the spares kept. That singular experience prepared me for fatherhood and leadership as a strength to the weak and not a subjugation of persons needing lifting. The reason I have learnt to accommodate the weak doesn’t mean you are weak. I don’t intend to wash my family’s dirty linen outside, though all family’s have theirs and are keeping them from the glare of the public. It’s practically impossible for me to raise my hands against a woman not to talk of my wife, because my father never did, but the lion in the gentleman were seen at occasions when as security officer of his family he needed to shield us from evil. If only my father was the President, I can imagine how secured I will feel, because his commitment to waving of all threat against his family exudes for us the confidence in the first President I ever knew.

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