It is extremely difficult to speak on religious matters. Not as if it has stopped me. Nigerians love their religious leaders. They call them Daddy and Mummy.
When you juxtapose that with our reverence for our parents, you see the difficulties in accepting that they are human.
So, we allow them get away with many things. Like we allow our politicians and our bosses. The whole society is partially a mess, because we refuse to demand accountability from those above us or those we revere.
I expected religious leaders to resist CAMA. Most run empires, spend money collected as they like and are unaccountable to attendees or members. Trustees are usually family members or pliant persons. GOs and such want to be God: unquestionable. But they are not.
Any organization that runs on gifts and donations must be accountable. It does not matter what you call the gift: offering, tithes, Zakat or first fruits. You can’t be lord over such funds. It’s public money. God does not spend money or need it. And there is nothing wrong in supporting missions for expansion.
When I used to attend a church that collected money from the congregation to build a university, my expectations were that the university would belong to the church. When I found out that the church itself is a sole proprietorship with the university an extension, I felt duped and defrauded. I was a student then and I contributed from my food allowance. “Nkan se mi”
Why would a faith-based organisation be scared of accountability? Why should it be worried that applicable laws to strengthen governance is wrong? What have they got to hide? What is hidden?
That’s why many of them ran afoul of the laws in Western nations that have rules. Most breached the codes and attempted a replication of one man empires above transparency and accountability.
Many will read this with anger that their Daddies or Mummies are being criticised. Well, you will not be lining behind them at the pearly gates. Salvation and worship is not Corporate but individual.
There is faith and there is the society. It’s the job of government to protect the society. Yes, I know there are still things to sort out. Do not remind me!
*Adigun, a policy expert and public analyst, writes from Abuja.