Ile-Ife, NIGERIA — It was the hour of prayer.

I saw Muslim brothers and sisters rush for prayers. The males filed into the mosque after the order of ablution, and the females did the same from their own end.

Minutes into prayer, I saw Abubakar from the window opening of the mosque. He was a young boy of about 7 years, judging from my thoughts. Abubakar had refused to make the necessary bow after a series of prayer. He continued that way until an older person beside him (possibly his father or brother) looked sternly at him. With his hands clasped to his forehead, Abubakar reluctantly made the next bow.

As I write, I recall the Christian setting where we grew. There were services and vigils we refused to attend. Prayers seemed too lengthy, and pastors looked wicked. In cases where we did attend, we were “bribed” with biscuits (cookies). Morning devotions were dreaded because the time was always exactly that point when the “sleep becomes interesting.”

In our society today, the child has to conform to every kind of
religion into which he or she is birthed. As we have seen in the above illustrations, the natural and herbal man (who is largely
traditional) also has his child in this conformity case. Until the
end of his life, such a man has to bow and pour libations to some god every morning, or as the case may be.

The question before us lies in the truism of these supernatural beings who have tied us by birth to their worship. In certain cases, the growing child swerves to another religious inclination just like a façade clears off. But then, what makes the rest who stick to religion do so?

I am a Christian, and so I would hand down this baton of Christianity to my offspring. A Muslim or a traditionalist would most likely do same unless such parent has, in the course of study, become a subscriber to the school of thought that children also have a right to choose their own religion (of course, they do).

Whichever case it is, the tradition of religious conformity that wires our society is a large one. The child would, in 80 percent of a random survey, rather conform than switch religions.

Nelson Vincent Ayomitunde is a law undergraduate of the Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.