The Hijab Controversy: Nigerians playing with fire, travelling on the path of foolishness again, by Isaac Ochegbudu


In the past few weeks, there have been a series of happenings surrounding the Hijab controversy in Kwara State.

From the war of words to a physical confrontation last week, seeing the incident and its byproducts so far, the assertion of Karl Marx on religion is substantiated.

The postulation by Marx that “religion is the opium of the masses” will forever be true, especially in Nigeria.

Since I was born, I have witnessed a series of religious escalation and manipulation of religious issues which have caused the social formation called Nigeria great harm.

There is no doubt that religion is one of the major problems of Nigeria, not because of the dictates of these religions but those who practice it. Sadder, it is Christians and Muslims who are always clashing.

I’m not interested if Hijab is allowed in schools or not, but my major concern in this piece is the continuous foolishness of Nigerians on religious matters.

We tend to be intoxicated with religion, that it clouds our sense of reasoning, then we make decisions that later land us in regret.

The Hijab issue in my view is a little problem that can be resolved easily but sadly the situation is manipulated and escalating every day. The war of words, insults, accusations, hatred, religious ignorance displayed from both sides is nonsensical and frightening.

Even those who are supposed to have a neutral stand and halt the situation, have further intensified the situation.

More badly, the government has failed woefully on the matter as usual. The inability of government at all levels in Nigeria to resolve issues among parties is a constant phenomenon. They only end up doing more harm than good in such situations.

It is so sad that both Christianity and Islam which both claim to be a religion of peace have always been in antagonism with each other and resorted to a non-peaceful approach in resolving issues between them.

Making utterances that are capable of setting society ablaze, instead of finding ways to solve these problems. Sadly, so-called intellectuals have ventured into this religion manipulations, fanaticism and bigotry too.

The inability of the government, religious bodies, and their leaders to resolve simple issues but allow for the manipulation and escalation of such issues have set the country ablaze several times, leading to the destruction of lives and properties.

We are all aware and witnesses of these incidents in past years, so I don’t need to mention these sad incidents one after the other.

Nigerians have always followed the same path in resolving issues, which in turn lead to the reaping of bitter fruits.

Knowing how sensitive religious issues are in Nigeria and past sad experiences, it is expected that the government and citizens of Nigeria learn but sadly, we haven’t learned and are not ready to learn. We prefer to always follow the old path of regret.

Sentimentality beclouds our sense of reasoning that we don’t look at the long-term effects of our actions and inactions. It also makes us blind to the immediate sad past experiences.

I have always decried sentimentality to be our major problem in Nigeria, thus I said this in one of my articles:

“Sentimentality blocks our sense of reasoning, it makes us blind and it makes us become enemies of ourselves. More serious, even within our ethnic groups, we are always against ourselves because of religious sentiments, and in our religious groups, we are against ourselves because of ethnic sentiments.

“We are just so divided and scattered in all ramifications. What is wrong with Nigeria? When are we going to realise this common enemy? When are we going to learn from the happenings of the past and its blows? Maters of national interest, security, politics, religion, social interactions, etc., are all sentiment-based.

“Members of the same ethnic group attack and harm each other because of religious sentiments; members of the same religion attack and harm each other because of ethnic sentiments. It is appalling how Nigeria degenerates every day!

“Nigeria must break away from the shackles of sentimentality.”

Is it not funny that the Yorubas who were a few weeks ago united on an ethnic ground are now fighting each other on a religious ground?

It’s so sad how Nigerians allow themselves to be foolishly manipulated on ethnic or religious grounds and later end up in regrets.

It is very important for the government, citizens, and religious body to know that, so far on the Hijab controversy, they are playing with the same fire of the past that have consumed a lot.

It is better for us to put the fire off reasonably now before it becomes an uncontrollable inferno just like in time past and we end up in regrets.

Nigeria has a lot it’s facing now and we can’t afford to add another problem.

We shouldn’t add insult to our already painful injuries!

Isaac Ochegbudu can be reached at or 08106194657, 09047416032.


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