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The Need for African Traditional Religion in Nigerian Basic Education Curriculum

Nigeria has a diverse religious and ethnic population, each with its own rich and distinct cultural historical events. Religion is important in many Nigerians' lives because it defines their worldview, beliefs, morals, and identity. The prominent religions in Nigeria, however, are Islam and Christianity, which were brought to the continent of Africa by foreign missionaries and colonialists. These religions have mostly overshadowed indigenous religious traditions of diverse ethnic groups, which have been decreasing for decades and have been replaced by Christianity or Islam, depending on the religion.

There has been a growing trend in recent years to incorporate ATR into the Nigerian curriculum. This movement's advocates argue that ATR is a vital part of Nigerian culture and legacy, and that kids should be able to learn about it. They also contend that ATR could impart to pupils vital moral and ethical principles, as well as a variety of skills.

The indigenous religious traditions, known collectively as African Traditional Religion (ATR), are not homogeneous or monolithic, but rather reflect the African people's richness and complexity. These traditions tend to resist the categories and concepts of Western religions, and is "Monopolythiestic" in nature, this means the worship of a universal creature through different channels, with a supreme deity or creator God, such as, Chineke, Osanobua, Ubangiji, Tamunu, Abasi, or Olodumare in different Nigerian dialects as the universal creator, and also a multitude of other deities,Ogwugwu, Amadioha, in Igbo language and Orisa, Olukun, in the Yoruba language etc as the channels. Ancestors, spirits, divination, magic medicine, rituals, festivals, morals, and ethics are also acknowledged by ATR.

ATR is not only a religion, but also a way of life that incorporates all areas of human existence, including social, political, economic, and environmental concerns. ATR promotes among its followers a sense of community, solidarity, harmony, fairness, and respect for nature and elders. ATR also gives many Africans who have experienced from colonialism, enslavement, racism, subjugation, and oppression a sense of identity, dignity, and pride.

Nonetheless, despite its importance and profundity, ATR has been neglected, relegated, and marginalized in the Nigerian educational system. Religious education in Nigeria dates back to the nineteenth century, when foreign missionaries established mission schools to promote Western education and Christian conversion. Many Nigerian leaders benefited from the missionaries' free education, which became the foundation of Nigerian nationalism and independence. However, indigenous religious traditions were suppressed and denigrated as pagan, primitive, or superstitious as a result of this. However, by the early 1940s, a nationalism movement led by Chief. Herbert Macaulay, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Mbonu Ojike, Chief Anyawu Iwunna, Mazi B.A Orji, Mazi K.O Onyioha, and others had developed, and their efforts had brought ATR to national prominence.

Following the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, the federal government took over schools founded by religious groups since education was viewed as a large government initiative rather than a private company. The administration also implemented a national curriculum aimed at encouraging national unity and integration among the country's many ethnic and religious groupings. However, this curriculum did not fully reflect Nigeria's religious plurality. As required subjects for primary and secondary schools, the curriculum solely contained Christian Religious Knowledge (CRK) and Islamic Religious Knowledge (IRK). ATR was not offered as a subject or even as a choice for pupils.

This kind of situation has persisted despite several requests and petitions from various groups for ATR to be included in the curriculum. The removal of ATR from the curriculum has a number of detrimental consequences for Nigeria's national growth and integration. For starters, it denies many Nigerian pupils the chance to learn about their indigenous religious traditions and culture. Many young Nigerians may feel alienated or ashamed of their roots as a result of this, leading to a loss of identity, self-esteem, and confidence. Second, it denies many Nigerian students the opportunity to appreciate and respect their country's religious variety and pluralism. This can lead to ignorance. This can foster ignorance, intolerance, prejudice, and conflict among different religious groups in Nigeria. Third, it neglects the potential contribution of ATR to Nigeria's social,

economic, political, and environmental development. ATR can offer valuable insights and solutions to most of the challenges facing Nigeria today,

such as poverty, corruption, violence, insecurity, and environmental degradation.

As a result, we propose that the Nigerian government include ATR in the curriculum as a subject or as a choice for pupils.

This will not only be fair and just to the millions of Nigerians who practice or identify with ATR, but it will also be advantageous to the nation-building and integration of Nigeria.

Students will be able to comprehend, accept, and respect their own and other people's religious traditions and cultures after learning about ATR.

They will also be able to apply some of ATR's concepts and values to their own and group development.

The Centre for African Spirituality call on other Traditional Religious groups,

such as Nzuko Odinala, Godian Religion, Nkuzi Odinala, Ezumezu Odinala Igbo Global Outreach, Yoruba Isese, Southwest traditionalist movement

and others, to put pressure on the government through the Federal ministry of education to give this proposal an accelerated attention.

We also call on all Nigerians who value their cultural heritage and diversity to support this proposal.

We believe that this is a step towards making Nigeria a truly secular state that respects and protects the rights and freedoms of all its citizens regardless of their religious affiliations.

We believe that this is a way of honoring our ancestors who have passed on their knowledge, wisdom and legacy to us.

We believe that this is a means of empowering our children who will inherit our future.


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When President Muhammadu Buhari who campaigned vigorously using the anti-corruption fight as a strategy came to power in 2015, he promised to "kill corruption" completely, one of the most pressing problems facing Nigeria. He quickly launched an anti-corruption campaign, arresting, prosecuting, and persecuting some selected high-profile individuals, mostly members of the opposition party, and allegedly recovering billions of dollars in stolen funds yet to be accounted for.

However, eight years down the line, there is little or no evidence that Buhari's war on corruption has had any real impact. Corruption remains very rampant indices in Nigeria's political history. Some critics argue that Buhari in himself is fantastically corrupt and does not have the political will to fight corruption. they point to the fact that he has not been willing to prosecute some of his allies who have been accused of corruption.

Barely 5 months after the earlier renovation of Aso Rock Presidential Villa in 2014/15, President Buhari upon inception of office Budgeted 3.5B for the renovation of the aforementioned project. Before the election of President Buhari in 2015, he promised to make his assets declaration public but breached the promise he publicly made to the Nigerian people.

Before being elected to power in 2015 President Buhari called the subsidy regime a fraud, few weeks after his inauguration, he acknowledge that there is a subsidy and has since then borrowed to pay the subsidy, very recently Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed announced that the Federal Executive Council received $800M from the world bank to share to 50Millon Nigerians as palliative before petrol subsidy is removed in June 2023, she went further also to state that in 2023 alone the federal government has budgeted #3.36 trillion naira to take care of petrol subsidy till mid-2023, what a fantastically corrupt regime?

Sunday Darie the sports minister on the other hand announced that a total of 21 billion naira will be needed to renovate the national stadium in Lagos. As if that was all, the Aviation Minister announced that he had commissioned 10 firefighting trucks for the airports at the cost of 12 billion Naira, which translate to 1.2 billion per truck. This is unbelievable and it happened and still happening under the watch of whom many Abinitio believed that he has come to fight corruption.

In 2015, the government of President Muhammadu Buhari took a $2.1 billion loan from China Exim Bank to finance railway projects, only God knows where these projects were.

In 2016, the government obtained a $1 billion Eurobond from the international capital market to fund its budget deficit, which practically meant borrowing Money to share or basically for consumption.

In 2017, the government secured a $3 billion loan from the World Bank to finance infrastructure projects, which are nowhere.

In 2018, the government took another $2.8 billion loan from China Exim Bank to fund the construction of the Lagos-Ibadan railway project, which is yet to be completed.

In 2019, the government borrowed $2.5 billion from the World Bank to finance various development projects, and Nigerians are yet looking out to find where these projects were situated. In 2020, the government secured a $1.5 billion loan from the World Bank to support the country's economic recovery efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In April 2021, the Nigerian government received approval from the World Bank for a $1.5 billion loan to support the country's economic recovery efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August 2021, the Nigerian government received approval from the National Assembly to borrow $4 billion from external sources to fund infrastructural projects in the country.

It is important to note that some of these loans were taken for specific projects, and the Nigerian government has never been transparent in its borrowing and loan repayment processes which is an aberration to some constitutional provisions and the monies borrowed so far can't be juxtaposed side by side with the number of projects on the ground.

Our National Budget under GMB was padded, stolen, and missing, and no details since after the passage in 2016, the ICT Ministry budgeted 1Billion for office furniture presented by Buhari to the National Assembly, till date no one is facing trial for this monumental fraud, however, perpetrators are rewarded with either juicy position or more contracts.

Under the watch of "Saint Buhari", An Ex-Governor stole over N70B from a failed monorail project, and GMB rewarded him with a Ministerial post and almost allowed the same Individual to succeed him, what a country.

In all, there are several reasons why Buhari's anti-corruption campaign has failed.

First, the campaign has been characterized by a lack of accountability and openness. There have been claims of corruption inside the anti-corruption agency itself, and Buhari has refused to disclose information about the sums that have been recovered.

The campaign has also been picky. Buhari has concentrated his attention on his political rivals while disregarding corruption allegations implicating his allies. Additionally, inside his political sphere, President Buhari oversaw the worst election ever held in Nigeria, which was overseen by Professor Mahmud and INEC.

Third, the campaign has been ineffective. Many of the high-profile officials who have been arrested have been acquitted or have had their cases dismissed. And even when convictions have been secured, the sentences have been light.

As a result of these failures, Buhari's anti-corruption campaign has lost public trust. A recent poll found that only 15% of Nigerians believe that Buhari is doing a good job of fighting corruption, whereas the rest believe otherwise.

The failure of Buhari's anti-corruption campaign is a major setback for Nigeria. Corruption is a major obstacle to development, and it is one of the main reasons why Nigeria remains the world's poverty capital with over 133 million Nigerians living below the poverty line.

corruption is a major problem in Nigeria today, it hurts the economy, the government, and society as a whole. Aside from President Buhari's weak dispositions, several factors contribute to corruption in Nigeria including weak institutions, lack of transparency, a culture of impunity, poverty, etc.

If Nigeria is to break the cycle of corruption, it needs to build a strong and independent anti-corruption agency that is free from political interference. It also needs to create a culture of transparency and accountability, and it needs to ensure that all Nigerians are treated equally under the law.

Until these things are done, Buhari's war on corruption will continue to fail even as he has less than a week to go.

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