By Fatai Olugbade*
I am a Muslim, at least by virtue of religion affiliation. As a kid, I grew up in a small township of Iworoko in Ekiti State, a beautiful rural community with a population largely predominated by Christians and Traditional worshippers. Out of every fifty, about one was an atheist; therefore to say that everyone that lived there had a ‘god’ to serve is a valid argument.
Save me the fallacy of hasty generalization.The bottom-line remains that they all co-habited in a peaceful, serene and orderly environment in which the dwellers never argued about the dividing factors of religion, ethnicity or origin.They capitulated rather on those uniting factors of having same Nationality, same ancestors and serving same God. Everyone held it a duty to be their brother’s keepers.
Those that maim, lynch or cast aspersions upon the Christians under the disguise of religion incongruity has gotten it all wrong. Those are not the values with which I was brought up as a kid.Those are not Jihad. They are not the teachings of Islam. They are madness. They are sin. They are condemnable.
As a grown Muslim, my debut public relationship with a Christian body was in August 2011, a period within which my immediate family was in a critical financial situation. I was only 18 at thetime and a newly admitted student of the Federal University of Technology Akure. Upon my admission into the institution, I was required to pay some urgent fees totaling about N60,000 only.
As little as it might sound in your hearing,it was ‘war’ before my family could gather half of the said amount. I was at the verge of forfeiting the admission. The payment deadline was fast approaching. I wept helplessly. My mother did
same. My very good brother rallied round the entire extended family. Some mocked him. Some contributed according to their individual capabilities. Some told him stories of how much indebted they themselves were or how their own children slept on empty stomachs the night before.
I was demoralized. I was afraid too. Suddenly, I received a text from the Living Word Revival Assembly Inc., a church of God located in Ikoyi Lagos. Earlier in the year, I had participated in an extra-mural class organized by the social
responsibility department of the church in which all young boys and girls seeking admission at that time were not only extensively tutored in English Language and mathematics (the general prerequisite for admissions into Nigerian Institutions of Higher learning) but also were adequately taught national values and indispensable human morals, ethics and character.
I and about 300 other young folks were beneficiaries of this gesture. I was allowed to participate not minding that I was ‘Abdul-Fatai’. We were only about 3 Muslims out of the almost 300 participants. Furthermore, I was unanimously selected to be the captain of the class. I delivered the valedictory speech at the end of the program. I had also emerged 1st and 2nd positions in English language and mathematics respectively in the tests that were conducted.
Owing to this feat, the church had pledged to sponsor my first year in any university of my choice in the world. Then, FUTA was my choice. I was skeptical about the church’s willingness and sincerity since I was neither a member of the church nor even a Christian. So, when I received the sudden text message to be present at the church’s congregation the following Sunday,I was aghast, flabbergasted and stood in a five minutes frozen tableau!
I told my family of the development. We went there together and to our utter surprise, I was given the same amount of One Hundred and Fifty thousand Eight Hundred and Ninety naira (N150,890.00) which I had informed the church was capable of efficiently sustaining me through my first year in the University. I was given in cash.
Not in cheque or promissory note. The money came as a ‘bailout’.My family was relieved and I could pursue my academics with greater vigor. Hope was temporarily restored. The Christian folks had helped a poor little Muslim boy with strong desire to get an education. They had helped me. Ever since then, I had a changed orientation.
To further underscore the tolerance of the Christian folks around, just yesterday my very good friend, Babarinde Oluwatosin Mercy ( O’tosin Babarinde ) invited me to the sent forth ceremony organized in honor of the graduating students of the Redeemed Campus Fellowship (RCF, FUTA). I honored the invitation and I received a warm welcome by them at the event.
As a matter of fact, they all knew I was Muslim, but they still fed me with big ponded yam, exotic juice and other refreshments before we proceeded
to the Dinner and Award night organized in honor of the graduating students of the School of Environmental Technology where I was surprisingly presented with the award of the Most Popular graduating Student.
I thank them and I thank the entire Christian community remain a very proud Muslim that acknowledges the kindness of our Christian brothers and sisters. Till my last day, I will not kill a Christian or any human for that matter. There is no reason why Christians must die, especially in the hands of the Muslims. We all are God’s children.
What do you think?
*Abdul-Fatai Olugbade is a final year student of the Federal university of technology Akure (FUTA ) and a former sug presidential aspirant..