BEYOND RELIGION AND CULTURE: The state governments and anxious authorities devious to stop prayers at assembly devotion in primary and secondary schools across the country would have my trophy. I want them not to rescind the idea, because prayers and religious matters were supposed to be personal things. But regrettably, we have been bamboozled into accepting any norm we grew up practicing without asking a question. It behooves the authorities to understand that the foundation on which prayers in such organisations were formed was orchestrated to further the political and dominating approach with which the founders – the missionaries – who founded them used in conscripting people into one believe-system of “One God”, which was somewhat coercive. The people were not left with an option to choose their personal belief-systems even when they had one, but that of those who taught them in schools and elsewhere. At the schools assembly grounds, you find out that most of the students might not be in the mood for such mantra called prayers, but had no option. And when we look at it, I’m yet to understand what the students pray for, when each and everyone has personal need that should be communicated personally between the person and his or her ‘God’. All the prayers this country had rendered have never changed the country to attain a Utopian one. Rather, people were always deceived to clasp their hands in prayers, inlure of clasp their hands in working. Anyway, we continue to erode ourselves of human intelligence for religiosity. Hence, we continue to breed a brood of children tailoring on blind faith, climbing millions of mountains and trillions of deserts looking for ‘God’. And when they could not find ‘God’, they begin to create ‘God’. Prayers in schools are not only part of relics of colonialism, but also, a height of autocracy owing to the fact that not all people pray the same prayer, the same way, to the same source. Some don’t even believe in prayer, and somebody or group wants to water down prayers down their throats. Hooey!
-Odimegwu Onwumere, Poet/Writer, Rivers State.