Sunday, February 7, 2021 2:00 pm
By Tunde Asaju
Recently (it appears) my children went to the mailbox and returned with an envelope for me. Embossed on it was the address of the Church I attended before Covid19 forced me to keep staying home since last year.
It is my #taxreturn2020. The church is accountable for my contribution for that year and it is a tashere money as they say here, since I do not work or earn income. But it is the umpteenth time that this Church I now attend has proven that your gifts to God are counted on earth.
This is why it is very inspiring to give! You give to God’s work, God’s servants on earth take cognisance of your gifts, they declare those gifts to the #GovernmentofCanada who, if I were to be a citizen or a permanent resident, write me a cheque for my loyalty to God.
You Nigerian Christians – please when was the last time your church/mosque give an account to your government of the Tithes and Offerings/Zakat that you pay? I know the answer – NEVER!
Here is a paragraph from the accompanying letter printed on green paper –
Dear Tunde Asaju,
Thank you for donating to the ministry of the…..In this year of the COVID pandemic, your financial support has been more important than ever before. Despite lockdowns, social distancing and limited church occupancy for in-person gatherings and services. The…. was still able to proclaim the Gospel in Ottawa and around the world. This year, through your giving, the Lord enabled us to provide virtual services to thousands each week, make hundreds of calls to shut-ins and seniors, and equip our church for the new COVID protocols. Among several new initiatives, ….was able to start a new Radio Ministry “Encounter the Truth” broadcasting to Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver.
By God’s Grace our giving pattern continued much the same as in previous years, as many switched over to giving online and others made a special effort to use one of the many means available. The Apostle Paul reminded the church in Corinth to emulate Christ in our attitude towards giving. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, he became poor, so that through his poverty might become rich” 2 Corinthians 8:9.
Enclosed is your ….2020 Income Tax Receipt…Attached is the Contribution Statement indicating the giving designations. Please save this document for your tax records as confirmation of your donations during this period…”
With slight exceptions, religion in Nigeria is the quintessential 419. The only thing you guys know is – Happy New Month, My Year of Success…and the asinine wishes of your super rich pastors who take your funds (and your women) and give nothing back. They owe no allegiance to state, nor do they do anything tangible for you.
I won’t stop criticising until God takes my final breadth. Because whether we like it or not, Nigeria must be better. Indeed, in this year, I will be doing Tik-Tok videos on how a good country should look like. When we criticize your government and its institutions, its not because we hate her, its because we want her to progress.
-Tunde Asaju, multilingual journalist, writes from Ottawa, Canada