Osun Dress War: Promoting Religious Bigotary | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Osun Dress War: Promoting Religious Bigotary

Posted: Jun 21, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

By Ogaziechi Nnedi

“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed

creature, the heart of a heartless world

and the soul of soulless conditions.

It is the opium of the people”

  • Karl Mark. 


The past week has seen Osun state making headlines with vivid even if heart breaking pictures of students dressed in various colours and styles of clothes normally identified as religious attires. The dress styles were those of all religions; Christianity, Islam and Traditional African religion.

The story is that an Osun state High Court had earlier given a judgment legalising the use of hijab by Muslim students in public schools. That led to a reign of some coats of many colours in Osun public schools thereby setting the mood for what many see as an avoidable implosion- religious war.

The voices of the traditional religion practitioners have not been heard but some students have been seen dressed in some traditional costumes and some even comically appeared with some masquerade costumes.

Nigeria is a Federal Republic. It is supposed to be guided by a constitution. According to the Nigerian Constitution, Nigeria is a Secular state.

For this drama to be playing out in an Osun state that the last time Nigerians heard about them was when the workers were protesting about unpaid areas of salaries is quite tragic.

What is happening in Osun, truth be told, is a failure of governance and puts a question mark on the kind of advise the education Ministry that is supposed to supervise schools give to the governor. Someone is supposed to do a research on why schools use uniforms at some levels. For children in Osun schools that had enjoyed wearing their uniforms and co-existed happily to now be made pawns on the chessboard of the government and parents whether Christian, Muslim or Traditional Religionists in a twenty first century world should sadden hearts.

Without trying to dabble into the legalese or semantic interpretation of the judgement of the High Court, it should be recalled that what made the judgements of the late Justice Oputa profound was because he gave law a human face and refused to be a larky of the positive school of thought that saw law as the command of the Sovereign that must be obeyed.

At the country’s return to civilian democracy in 1999, some states in the North introduced Sharia law. Analysts are still divided on whether there is a relationship between this move and the Boko Haram insurgency. Today we look back and count our gains and losses.

That the Osun government allowed the socio-cultural/religious supremacy battle about the right dress code for students to even get up to this disgraceful level is a clear pointer to the fact that some Nigerian leaders lack a futuristic and productive vision for the children of this nation.

No matter the fire service approach adopted to douse the tension, the psychological, educational, spiritual and social damage done to the young impressionable minds (students) by the incidents might never be totally cleared from the psyche of those directly and indirectly involved.

No matter the arguments of people bent on turning the schools into an extension of religious worship centres, school uniforms are designed for a purpose.

School uniforms create a sense of uniformity, sets the mood for academic work removed from the normal and further has a psychological impact that fosters discipline.  

If we must destroy the few platforms that still hold some glimmer of hope for promoting some form of bonding across tribes, creed, ethnic nationality and social class, then we are doomed.

One would have been happy if both the Osun state government and some of the CAN members were expressing concerns over the state of infrastructure and the need for improved training for teachers and teaching methods rather than the needless bickering over what to wear to school. In a sense, it does reemphasise how vain some Nigerians can be over religion which in most cases are exploited for political reasons. There is a frightening lack of piety in the ways certain religious irredentists camouflage religious practice just for selfish purposes.

The Osun state government must rise up to the occasion and do the needful no matter how politically incorrect it might seem to starve off sustained mutual suspicion and division along religious lines arising from this extremely avoidable impasse.

The Secularity of the country which the constitution (which the governor swore to uphold) provided for is for a purpose and of higher socio-political good. We must not be seen to be sowing seeds of religious bigotry that would potentially ruin the future of the innocent children who by the way ought not to be defined by the religions chosen by their parents.

In a world ruled by ideas through education, the education system must not be polluted with any religious bigotry in any form. The government at all levels should focus on the development of the Nigerian child in an environment of mutual respect for each other and each other’s choices and beliefs.

Leaders should learn to treat religion as a personal affair and not continue exploiting different religions for purely political reasons giving credence to Karl Marx’s assertion about religion being made an opium to blind some suffering masses around the world. Our children should be insulated from such shenanigans as we are witnessing in Osun state.








Comments (1)

  • Jun 21, 2016 at 10:50 am LatestNewspaper

    BUY ANY BRAND OF RICE IN LOWER RATE #9,500 OF ANY BRAND CALL MR SHEGUN ON 08065831712 or 08082456695 FOR MORE INFO CHECK OUT NEW PRICE BELOWRoyal umbrella=#9,500 Gold=#9,500Royal stallion=#9,500Otunba=#9,500Rising sun=#9,500Special rice=#9,500Mama Africa=#9,500Royal crown=#9,500 Ade Brazil=#9,500Elephant Gold=#9,500Super eagle=#9,500PJS=#9,500Tomato rice=#9,500Caprice =#9,500WE DELIVER TO ANY STATE IN NIGERIA

Comments are closed.