Our leaders prey when the people pray – Osundare


Foremost scholar and poet, Professor Niyi Osundare, has said that the relationship between Nigerian leaders and the people is that of preying and praying.

According to him, many of the leaders are fond of preying while the people are made to be busy praying.

The New Orleans, US-based acclaimed poet noted this in a statement on Friday, in which he seeks to dissect the question of Nigeria’s retrogression.

He notes, “I have been both saddened and bewildered by the way our people so characteristically throw science and rationality out of the window in their daily lives as well as their deliberations on matters of grave national importance.

“In all things, domestic and public, personal and political, our dealings are dominated by a disregard for scientific reasoning, and a preference for ostentatious, and often venal religiosity. And how truly ubiquitous our piety has been!

“Our rulers pray before they pillage the nation’s treasury; they pray before rigging the electoral polls; they pray while perpetrating these acts; they pray when the deeds are done. Then they ‘give thanks to the Lord’ for aiding their exploits and prospering their schemes. And we, the people, chorus a sheepish ‘Amen’ while praying to the Good Lord to keep blessing them with renewed strength.

“Do you still wonder why the vehicle of Nigeria’s progress is in reverse gear, throttled, top-speed, towards the Middle Ages by ‘leaders’ who prey while the people pray; leaders whose grand superstition has become the alternative science of a country famous for its aversion to logic?’’

“The so-called school education has not been able to save us from this calamitous malaise. In fact, the more college degrees we acquire, the farther we tend to be from rational, independent thinking, critical cogitation, clarity of thought, and creative scepticism.

“Nigeria’s underdevelopment is no surprise, for we do not seem to possess the mindset, vision, values, behaviour, actions, and practices of a people who understand what development really is, the way it is achieved, and how it is sustained.

“It should have been clear to us by now that miracles never build a nation nor are citizens ever elevated above their dehumanising poverty through a mindless reliance on magic and accidental fiat.”