Godianism from Nigeria
With the advent of Christianity and Islam in Africa, the native beliefs of the indigenous people of the Black Continent began to transform and take on new forms. An “oyibo mentality” developed among Africans, which means perceiving reality through the prism of the white man and feeling hostility towards their own religious and cultural roots. This, in turn, gave rise to the formation of new movements that called for a “return to the roots,” that is, the revival of native African beliefs and the restoration of their dignity. It was against this background that Godianism was born in eastern Nigeria.
At the beginning of the 20th century, Nigeria was a British colony. In 1945, the country saw a general strike by workers who demanded a wage increase. After assurances from the colonizers that their voice would be heard, the workers suspended the strike. But when the deaths of several Nigerian workers employed by the United Africa Company in the city of Burutu (southwestern Nigeria) occurred in 1948, they immediately resumed it. In November 1949, miners in the city of Enugu (eastern Nigeria) joined the strike. Bloody clashes with police ensued, leaving 21 dead and dozens injured. To commemorate the victims on January 13, 1950, more than 30,000 Nigerians gathered at a municipal stadium in the city of Aba (eastern Nigeria). Together they prayed to God for independence for Nigeria. At that time, the National Church of Nigeria was also established, uniting Nigerians in their struggle to free themselves from the yoke of British colonialism. KNN members rejected the Christianity imposed on them by the colonizers, in which they saw the source of their misery. Nigeria gained independence in 1960, and in July 1962, at a conference of KNN members held at the University of Enugu, the KNN was transformed into a worldwide organization called the religion of godianism. Kama Onu Kama Onyioha (1923-2003) was elected as its leader, an office he held until his death.
A universal religion for the whole world
The new organization abandoned the fight against Christianity in favor of calling for the peaceful coexistence of all world religions. This included the unification of all traditional African religions. And all under the principle: “Live and let others live.” So the goal of godianism became the restoration of harmony throughout the world. Onyioha pointed out that it was important to develop common ethical principles based on respect, tolerance, love and justice between all religions and cultures of the world. He argued that this could not take place without first unifying traditional African religions. To do this, he believed that a common essence should be extracted from African beliefs to meet the needs of all Africans. Onyioha indicated that it was necessary to conduct research on indigenous African beliefs. In his opinion, they should be dealt with only by indigenous people of the Black Continent, as they are reliable representatives of traditional African religions and are positive and unprejudiced towards them.
A common God
The source of the philosophy of godianism lies in the traditional beliefs of the Ib people, from whom the Onyioha originated. According to them, the first humans, male and female, were created in the image and likeness of a Supreme Being named Chineke. The Chinke God wants the unification of followers of all existing religions in the world and peaceful cooperation between them. He is not a passive god who, after creating the world and man, stopped taking interest in his creation. Every human being has received from Chinke a personal spiritual guardian named Chi. Thus, every person carries a particle of God within him and is in constant contact with him. Hence, every religion has its origin in godianism, because its founders also maintained personal contact with God. Onyioha concluded that the common denominator of all the world’s religions is precisely this contact, and God is simply called differently depending on the culture. Hence the religion of godianism proclaims that each person has the right to worship God in his own way. And intolerance of any religion violates basic human rights.