Church taxes – and more, in today’s news round-up with Cheta Nwanze

by Cheta Nwanze


….our boys in khaki have been returning us back to the dark days of the dark goggled one. Consignments of newspapers are being withheld from the populace on an all too regular basis these days, for rather superfluous reasons,….

And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute? He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers? Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee.

The above passage, Matthew 17:24-27, is probably one of the least referenced portions of the Christian book worldwide. I do not remember hearing it in a Nigerian church, and the reason is quite obvious to me. Maybe I’m being cynical, but I’m almost certain that the page which contains that passage has been torn away from Pius Odioko’s Bible, hence his insistence that churches should not pay tax. You see, back in 2007, the PDP government started a conditional cash transfer scheme through the churches and mosques. The scheme died because allegations promptly surfaced about pastors and imams, err, using the bar for everything else but distributing to the poor. Let us for a brief moment let us consider a little talked about fact: churches, and mosques, are meant to be a bastion to teach the Nigerian people about accountability. A tax, on churches, mosques, pastors and imams, will force them to declare their income. This will lead to questions about, how that income is made, and more importantly, what it is spent on. Such as personal iron birds. Being that the images on our naira notes are not the images of either pastors or imams, I’d have expected Mr. Odioko to open his good book to Mark 12:17…

But it is not just religious figures around these parts that are naughty. Why, our boys in khaki have been returning us back to the dark days of the dark goggled one. Consignments of newspapers are being withheld from the populace on an all too regular basis these days, for rather superfluous reasons, and well, some believe that the order is coming from the Prez, I think not. It’s all well and good to talk about depriving the populace of access to info, but there is something more sinister here: if the Presidency did not know about this, then, we must ask ourselves, is someone within the chain of command acting on his own “initiative”? What does that portend for our democratic experiment?

My friends at EiE are hosting a charity auction in Lagos on Sat June 14th @ 6pm to raise money for their voter education/awareness campaign: RSVP – Register| Select | Vote | Protect. They have 2 tickets to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a photo shoot by Kelechi Amadi-Obi and 1hr time slots with Wole Soyinka, Fola Adeola, Mo Abudu, Leke Alder & Ibukun Awosika to auction. Tickets are N25k! To support them, send email to [email protected]. Thanks!

Bits and Bobs

For a country that keeps raising its shoulders about foreign investment, what we are doing to the $8 millions Half Of A Yellow Sun is beyond reason. As an example, the movie X-Men Days Of Future Past created 15,000 jobs in the Montreal area, and has already made $600 billions in hard cash, only three weeks after its release. It cost $200 billions to make.

NIMASA claims that its pig in geostationary orbit has been of help to the Ghananese. Why it can’t help our boys in khaki to find the Chibok babes is anyone’s guess.

Maybe it can’t help the boys in khaki because asides seizing newspapers, they are being naughty in other ways: they are brushing agberos.

Which brings us to the question of why the khaki boys are so mad. Maybe it is because their superiors will get away with, err, naughty behaviour.

Right of Reply
Chidi Odinkalu wrote,

Your Dapo Okubanjo may wish to investigate his version of Nigerian history and ethnography when he says “it’s sad but true that no where in Nigeria would people not raise eyebrow if they suspect that a ‘non indigene’ is eyeing the government house.”

Who is an indigene? To cite a few examples: Ibrahim Shekarau, immediate past Governor of Kano State is a Bura from Yobe State. One of his predecessors, Senator Sabo Bakin Zuwo was Nupe (Niger). Indeed, also in Kano, “Kwankwaso” village, from where the current Governor gets his name, is a settlement that derived its name from a pioneering Igbo trader, “Okonkwo and Sons”, and is today dominated by people many of whom trace their ancestry to south-west Nigeria.

Alhaji Yahaya Abdulkarim, elected the Governor of Sokoto State in 1992-93, is the descendant of Yorubas. The people of Sokoto voted for him because they were convinced he’s one of them. The first Rhodes Scholar from northern Nigeria, the late Dr. Tajudeen Abdulraheem, is the son of an Ogbomosho man from Funtua in Katsina State.

Scratch your history and you will find, for instance, as Dr. Hussaini Abdu discloses in his book, Clash of Identities: State, Society and Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Northern Nigeria, that “Yoruba traders had lived in Zaria since the 18th Century.” Assuming he’s right, that precedes the Jihad and the establishment of the Sokoto Caliphate. So, whose indigenes are their descendants?

Dapo Okubanjo wrote,

I thought i won’t be able to contribute to the Ambode issue, but it seems all comments here are sentiment based, first i am a core Ibadan man not a Lagosian, as i was never born nor bred in Lagos nor even claim to be from any other state except Oyo.

But i will not go against anyone that wants to claim Lagos as far as such person never claim to be from another state, never register to vote in another states, if you are born, bred and does business in Lagos and all the while you always claim to be from Oyo despite the fact that you are a Lagos tax payer, then why should you suddenly change your state to Lagos because you wanted to contest a post? Does that make all previous claims and documentations tying you to Oyo invalid? Since there is no state Naturalisation procedure in Nigeria, ‎so the only way to verify your state is through previous documentations, in this regard, i can conclude that Ambode’s opponents really got him, and another issue is lying about his ancestry, that he came from Edu royal lineage, he shouldn’t have lied that far!

Nigerians are so tied to their ancestral states that it now hunts them wherever they live in the country, if you need to embrace a society you live in, you better embrace it fully now, when you deny such society once, it will come back to hunt you, what you sow is what you reap, you can’t eat your cake and still have it.
Meanwhile, even if I buy the whole of Lagos today, i can’t still be their governor, because I have left so much paper trail that linked me with Oyo state, just like Ambode, and my opponents will find that, it can’t all disappear into thin air.

Hassan Awodi wrote,

Time was when we had technical colleges. Now you wouldn’t find any functional one. What about the compulsory intro tech in junior secondary schools? I don’t think we even have the teachers to teach the students.
Take a look at our builders and you immediately see the trouble we are in. They can’t do simple measurement. Measurement is carried out with their eyes and hands! It’s horrible but it’s what it is right now. Our mechanics are trial by error ones. No detailed fault analysis and the big shops that offer one are insanely expensive and at times they are also ignorant.
Sorry about my rants. You touched on an area that I’m really passionate about. Have to cut it here.



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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