Religion and politics in Nigeria
However, Nigerian politicians frequently use religious affinity as a way to the presidency should alternate between a Christian and a Muslim. Christian-Muslim Relations in Nigeria We can observe intimate connection between the three. The importance of religion in Nigerian politics is thus well. The town of Jos illustrates Nigeria's religious and political divide ahead of " However, I will make a choice between that Christian leader and a.
Under the new political dispensation, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, a caliphatorial prince, became the premier of the northern region, the de jure political leader of northern Nigeria, while the Sultan of Sokoto remained the de facto leader of the Muslim community in the north.
This unorthodox arrangement, by caliphatorial standards, created a gulf between the two personalities, as Islam hitherto provided political legitimacy to the political leader in the caliphate. This motivation led him into an ambitious Islamization campaign in the region and beyond, he allied with the Arab Islamic world in the process, attracting praise from that region as a champion of Islam and drawing millions of dollars from there in support of the faith in Nigeria.
In addition, the Islamic faith became a source of political patronage. For northern Nigerians, therefore, attainment of political power as well as advancement in the Public Service and the Military were intricately tied to Islam and association with the faith. Thus de jure, religion was separated from politics, but de facto, it remained a veritable source of political legitimacy in the north before the end of the first republic.
Between Secularity and Spirituality: Situating the Nigerian State A.
The terms secularity and secularism have undergone intense scrutiny by various scholars, institutions, or groups seeking to conceptualize distinctions and impose definitions on the terms. Although scholars have established a distinction between secularity and secularism, these concepts are commonly regarded as meaning the same thing: The words derive from the Latin, saeculum, which means both this age and this world, and combines a spatial sense and a temporal sense.
In the Middle Ages, secular referred to priests who worked out in the world of local parishes, as opposed to priests who took vows of poverty and secluded themselves in monastic communities. In all of these instances, the secular indicates a distancing from the sacred, the eternal, and the otherworldly. In the centuries that followed the secular began to separate itself from religious authority. In terms of typologies, the soft and hard correspondingly moderate and strict variants of secularity and secularism have been identified.
Kosmin used the historical divergence between the French and American revolutions to construct the theoretical divergence between soft and hard secularism. According to him, the French revolution, which was anchored on a joint struggle against despotism, religion, the monarchy, and the Roman Catholic Church ie the French Jacobin traditionwas unreservedly antagonistic to religion and therefore promoted atheism.
In fact, the majority are liberal religionists. For the soft secularist, religion is properly a private lifestyle option, which must not threaten liberty and social harmony in a differentiated and pluralistic society. On the other hand, soft secularism safeguards guarantee the right to freedom of worship and religion to all persons, both leaders and the led, thereby protecting the rights of religious minorities.
Such a soft secularism, therefore, seeks to significantly reduce religious influence in public life, while at the same time guaranteeing freedom of religion and conscience to individuals and groups in the private realm. A nation state could therefore adopt the hard strict variant of secularism or the soft moderate form. Nevertheless, in such systems religious symbols and connotations are commonly used in public institutions, while religious beliefs are widely considered a relevant part of the political discourse in many of these countries.
This is true of the United States, for instance, where religious sentiments are brought to bear on issues of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex marriage, etc. Thus even the soft or moderate conception of secularism is vehemently opposed by religious organizations as a threat to spirituality and a gradual recession to atheism.
Accordingly, a middle-of-the-road approach which seeks the limited integration of religion into the public realm what I refer to as moderate or concessional secularism 63 is hereby suggested as the most appropriate strategy.Nigeria's Plateful Of Problems Caused By Politics, Ethnicity & Religion, Rtd Capt Umar Analyses Pt.4
Is Nigeria a Secular State? Anyone saying Nigeria is a secular nation does not understand the meaning of the word secular.
Nigeria elections: Mixing religion and politics - BBC News
There is nothing secular about the Nigerian nation since whatever we do will always put Islam and Christianity in the fore front. On the one hand, the Nigerian Christian community, particularly its leadership, has consistently held the view that the divine state has universally given way to the secular state, where the temporal secular ruler enjoys full autonomy as ruler with no control from religious or spiritual authorities. If you want to bring religion in, let it be after office hours.
It seeks to undermine Islamic values, supplant the Islamic laws with those of its own and deface the sanctity of the Muslim society. Afterwards, an evaluation of these laws is made against the de facto relationship between religion and the state.
This analysis attempts to isolate what ought to be from what is the actual relationship between religion and the Nigerian state. The starting point, therefore, is to identify the characteristics of secularism in a constitutional democracy.
Wing and Varol exhaustively circumscribed the attributes of secularism in the following passage: First, in secular regimes, sovereignty belongs to the nation and not to a divine body ….
Second, religion is separate from the State in a secular government. Third, a secular government is neutral towards all religions. As such, the regime cannot have an official religion and does not protect one religion over another. Likewise, all individuals, irrespective of their religion, are equal before the law. Fourth, a secular regime requires the education and the legal systems to be secular. The legal system does not contain laws based on religion, and the education system is based on logic and science, not religion or dogmas.
Fifth, a secular government requires freedom of religion and conscience. Thus, secularism does not mean the absence of religion from society. Individuals are free to exercise their religions and manifest their religious beliefs in both the private and the public sphere.
On the basis of these characteristics, therefore, the following queries are appropriate: Where does sovereignty reside in Nigeria—in the state or in a divine body? To what extent are Nigerian laws insulated from religious dogmas? Is the Nigerian state neutral and fair in its dealings with all religions? Are Nigerian legal and educational systems independent of religious dogmas?
Does the Nigerian constitution guarantee freedom of religion and conscience? Does the Nigerian state adhere to the principle of religious pluralism respect for all religions?
Small missionary movements were allowed to start up, generally in the s, after the middle belt was considered pacified. Each denomination set up rural networks by providing schooling and health facilities. Most such facilities remained inalthough in many cases schools had been taken over by the local state government in order to standardize curricula and indigenize the teaching staff. Pentecostals arrived mostly as indigenous workers in the post-independence period, and in the s, Evangelical and Apostolic Pentecostalism were spreading rapidly throughout the south western and middle belt, having major success in hitherto Roman Catholic and Protestant towns of the south as well.
There were also breakaway, or Africanized churchesthat blended traditional Christian symbols with indigenous symbols. Among these was the Aladura preyer movement that was spreading rapidly throughout Yoruba land and into the non-Muslim middle belt areas.
Missionary work[ edit ] Apart from Benin and Warriwhich had come in contact with Christianity through the Portuguese as early as the 15th century, most missionaries arrived by sea in the 19th century.
As with other areas in African continent, Roman Catholics and Anglicans each tended to establish areas of hegemony in southern Nigeria. After World War Ismaller denominations such as the Church of the Brethren as Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a NigeriaSeventh-day Adventists and others worked in interstitial areas, trying not to compete.
Although less well-known, African-American churches entered the missionary field in the 19th century and created contacts with Nigeria that lasted well into the colonial period. Offshoots of European denominations[ edit ] African churches were founded by small groups breaking off from the European denominations, especially in Yorubaland, where such independence movements started as early as the early 19th century- influenced by American and British missionaries in early s and stimulated by the great revival of the s.
Notable among the new- springs of were such Protestant Pentecostals as the Christ Apostolic Church - an offshoot of USA based Faith Tabernacle which swept through the Western Region and complimented by the likes of the Celestial Church and the Cherubim and Seraphim Church which were indigenous autonomous springs. A number of indigenous denominations used Biblical references to support polygamy.
With political independence came African priests in both Roman Catholic and Protestant denominations, although ritual and forms of worship were strictly those of the home country of the original missionaries. He brings them out from darkness into light. But as for those who disbelieve, their "Auliya"' [supporters and helpers] are 'Taghut' [false deities and false leaders], they bring them out from light into darkness.
Those are the dwellers of Fire, and they will abide therein forever. Qur 'an, Surah 2, The Holy Bible also states: Let us not therefore judge one another anymore These two verses from the Holy Qur 'an and the Holy Bible tend to come out clearly that the principles of obeying 'onto you your religion and onto me my religion' can help to make the world a better place for the human race.
Another example is the mode of dress that is similar across the religions. Hijab as a mode of dressing is influenced by a religious culture which provides symbolic interaction. Muslim women and Christian Nuns wear Hijabs to symbolise their faith and religion practice. Symbolic interaction is a process where an individual tries to anticipate an opponent's move so as to adjust his own behaviour accordingly Mead The theory also contends that interactions among people are most likely to occur if all participants feel they are profiting from the relationship Schaefer and Lamm For instance, it can be rightly stated that the understanding and bonding amongst the CAN members in Nigeria have somehow assisted them to checkmate the JNI Islamic conversion campaign and the differences within their various denominations.
Freedom does not come cheap and it cannot be taken for granted. Maturity of any nation can be seen from the people's interest in learning the fundamentals of the Constitution, her democratic practice and her ability to convert such learning experiences into 'not merely agreements but Understanding the Constitution is a part of regular military training and it needs to be extended to civilian educational outfits to help them appreciate why secularism, as entrenched in the Constitution, must not be violated in the spirit of national security.
Understandably, in the political sphere politics can be mixed with religion, but the professional military does not ignore the historical fact that the bullet never discriminates who to kill in respect of religious inclination, and therefore allows her personnel to practise the religion of their choice, thereby keeping faith to religion secularity in Nigeria.
This is a part of the military bonding process too. The military table of organisations also includes Chaplain Services which cater for Muslims, Catholics and Protestants of all ranks, meaning commissioned officers and soldiers.
On every Friday of the week at 12 noon, the Muslims are allowed to go for their congregational Friday Jumaat prayers, while the Christians go for Bible reading. However, Sundays are free to both Christians and Muslims not on duty, who are free to go for either worship or rest. Those who die in service are laid to rest according to their religion and faith.
As of date the military does not have a Chaplain section to cater for traditional religion worshippers, since there is no written doctrine.
However, for oath-taking purposes, on enlistment of such soldiers or for the commissioning of officers into the armed forces, they are allowed to use a bayonet in the place of the Holy Bible or Qur 'an. By so doing, all members of the armed forces are given equal treatment in all religious matters. In this manner military ethos, discipline and values are maintained.
The idea of duplicating religious outfits for businesses, as a way of accumulation of wealth found in the civilian setting for fighting spiritual wars, are alien to the military forces. In her spiritual warfare manual, Browncautioned Christians to be careful not to blindly follow any teachings they hear, otherwise they themselves will fall into the trap of practising witchcraft. This same caution also needs to be extended to the Muslim faithful in the face of self-labelling Islamic terrorist groups, whose ideology is completely at variance with the teachings and practice of Islam; a religion of peace.
By the mids, there was widespread government takeover of religious schools in Nigeria. Some people believe that Nigeria would have become a religious state non-secular state if government had not totally taken over education institutions and religious bodies then. Yet, there are some others who believe that the takeover of schools was a great mistake 2 and a violation of the principle of secularism entrenched in the Constitution. This latter opinion became the basis of agitation for schools' return to previous owners in line with the adoption of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, in which Section 38 2 says: No person attending any place of education shall be required to receive religious instruction or to take part in or attend any religious ceremony or observance if such instruction, ceremony or observance relates to a religion other than his own or a religion not approved by his parent or guardian.
The situation was further reinforced by Section 38 3which expresses disapproval of a situation that will infringe on anybody's religious belief or jeopardise it. Obviously, the need to respect the fundamental human rights of the individual or group of citizens, tops the reasons why people clamour for the return of formerly taken over religious and private educational institutions. This position was further driven home in Section 38 3 that says: No religious community or denomination shall be prevented from providing religious instruction for pupils of that community or denomination in any place of education maintained wholly by that community or denomination.
Amended Federal Republic of Nigeria Constitution44 By these provisions in the Constitution, education in Nigeria automatically fell into the concurrent list as stated in the Constitution. This means that governance at Federal, state and local government levels, as well as the private sector of the economy and also non-governmental agencies, have roles to play in moving education forward at policy formulation level and in financing it.
So, it was easy to return such takeover schools to private and religious bodies, as there had been no compensation from Federal Government during initial forced acquisition.
Religion in Nigeria
This situation further opened doors for religious, private or community organisations who meet the minimum standards set forth by the Federal Government for the establishment ofprivate schools to apply and set up schools, thereby closing the gate of government monopoly on providing all-round education to Nigerians.
In particular, the Constitution allows religious denominations to maintain wholly educational institutions for pupils of the community to spread their religious cultural diversity. The impact has been great in creating more educational institutions for the rapidly growing population that would have otherwise been illiterate.
Government set up an Inter-religious Council as an avenue for interaction with stakeholders in order to effectively moderate the enforcement of secularity, and to advise the President on ways and means of alleviating violence amongst religious communities. Similarly, Muslim and Christian Pilgrims' Boards were set up too.
Amidst these orderly forms of control, the tax payers' money is directly being spent on religious affairs, contrary to the law of the land that forbids the government from becoming involved in such affairs. When viewed from another angle, such intervention is of national interest and also a way of providing a level playground for every citizen to help in checking the numerous preachers now surreptitiously downplaying the sanctions of heaven in favour of 'a new-fangled theology of prosperity and revelry' Maduekwe There have been too many religious riots in Nigeria Yesufu ; Zahradeen According to a Federal Government15 report, there were more than 33 violent religious riots before the Kano religious riot of Kukahnotes that before the Kano religious riot there was the Kaduna State religious riot.
Sharia debate in the Constitutional Assembly ofand its subsequent adoption in year 2 in some states in the north, took place with total disregard to the constitutional provision of separation of religion from state. The pilgrimage ceiling of 20 Muslims and 1 Christians by the Buhari administration in the eighties, was also seen as another threat to non-Islamic religion West Africa 6. In other words, these experiences have made people to be edgy about religious issues.
The resulting volatility led to frequent crises capable of destroying any nation's peace, human rights and good governance. For instance, the African continent is witnessing human tragedy in the Central African Republic where citizens of one religious denomination are destroying citizens of other religious faith Human Rights Watch