RELIGION AND POLITICS THE NIGERIAN PERSPECTIVE

RELIGION AND POLITICS THE NIGERIAN PERSPECTIVE

As far as Religion is concerned in Nigeria, Religion has gone beyound being a mere concept but to an indispensible phenomenon. According to Adigwe in his book politics and law, Religion have become an important factor in political discourse. One should not mistake the fact the influence of Religion is just limited to politics but also its power influences virtually all other aspect of life. Well it should be made clear that Political power has the tendency to affect economic prosperity, social relation, educational advancement, and the psych of the society. It should be noted that as far as Religion is concerned in Nigeria and Africa at large, we have just three dominant Religion which includes African Traditional Religion, Islam and Christianity.

All these religions and their ideologies have a way of exacting their influence on politics. According to research, the traditional religion as it where, is a systematic reflection of their socio cultural orientation, history and legacies on elemental forces. And this in turn will produce a belief in a supreme cosmic power that created heaven and earth.

With this in mind, the traditional politics of any Nation especially those from Africa has a strong linkage to belief in theocracy. For example, the Yoruba speaking people of Nigeria, Oba (king), the political leader of the people, is only holding his political office in trust for the Supreme Being called the Olodumare. And again, before an Oba who is to hold a political office is appointed, the Ifa Oracle who happens to be the supreme being of the Land must be consulted for that Oba to be approved. No wonder it was asserted by Laguda, 2008 politics and religion in traditional African society are intertwined and interwoven and as such they both have a direct influence on each other. But this is a very big challenge because as at this stage in our calendar the 20th Century we should not be talking about this.

If there is any form of dictatorial government i have read and seen in my life is Islam. It dictates and governs the totality of the people’s life and culteure from cradle to grave. The Muslims as it where have a way of interpreting political interest, economic considerations, social values and interaction by given it an Islamic interpretations based on the Holy Quran, the prophetic practices and other sources of laws that is very much recognized in Islam.

As it where every state are to practice and induct this parttern of These virtues into their socio-political structure of any Islamic state. In the earlier times when Ilsam was introduced, the Prophet Mohammed was the spiritual leader and also the political leader. These where the kind of political education they had. In fact, democracy was far the worst government that could be practice there. People had thought that after the Prophet’s death, such a pattern would die off but instead, it emmerged through the Caliphs and still held on to the same
practices up till this very day. The cahnge in the political atmosphere has not changed Islamic believes on politics in fact it encourages Muslims believers to hold on to its principles by allowing the Holy Quran and the Sunnahto be their only guide. Now i see the exact reason why Akintola 1997 concluded by saying that Islam allows for a spiritual relationship between religion and politics. Some Authorities like Abubakar 1984 in his writing said that that Islam is a way of life, that dictates the political ideology and practice of the people. But though many muslims, Islam is a total way of life which is so so correct in their sight that they believe to be very relevant and integral to politics, law, education, social life, and economy. They preach against circular education or form of politics.

Well for the Christians according to Laguda (2008) especially those in Nigeria they would rather not get involved in politics but one fact still remains that Jesus Christ as it where did not discourage political participation for the faithful because the Bible said, if a rightepuse man rules, the people will be filled with Joy. So go out there and vote the righteous. However, Lte’s not take Laguda’s argument for granted though is unconvincing due to the fact we have some Christians who fully are involved in politics and that have won political seats as governors, senators and honourable in Nigeria.

For those who could remember Judaism, which according to many provided background to Christianity, the God of Israel, known as Yahweh, is the God of war and that could be be gotten from (Josh. 6:20), economy (Ex. 16),obedience and moral virtues (Num. 21:4-8). Research have shown that in Judaism, Yahweh the God of all creation is all in all in the Judaic traditional thought, religion and politics. In the Apostolic age as it was known then, the Church did witness an effective interplay between religion and politics whereby the pope of England or Rome or Germany where the political heads of the day. So when the interactions tends towards negative end, the Apostles or religious heads often adopted Christian practices to solve the problem as the church spiritual leaders.

There was a time during the Costatine and post Costantine Era where the emperor used machinery of the state to promote Christianity. In fact this was the time men witnessed the most sufficient interaction between religion and politics in human history. The negative effect of this was that Christianity became so politicized, and the politics of the day so much marred the progress of the church during this era. If you study the teachings of Jesus Christ and that of Paul, they both encouraged political process and respect for those in political offices, because these ones are representatives of God (Matt. 22:17-20).

From the above explanations, we could see that the three main religions in Nigeria, have in one way or the other effectively complemented each other. Because as the Divine creature played the religious role, human played the political role. Based on this, not just that teh both paly different roles but that both religion and politics has been based, not only on the involvement of the Divine being in the activities of man as regards politics, but also in man following its ethics and principles.

We have heard political scientists call man a political animal. This only mean one thing that man as a creature cannot without politics as well as religion in our everyday life. So for those who think they can shy away from politics are just being ignorant because in one way or the other, man practices politics and religion. And because it is very difficult to do without them in our daily routine, we tend to politicize religion and religionizing politics. No wonder did Adogame asserted that in Nigerian politics is characterized chiefly by “politicization of religion and religionization of politics” (Adogame, 2006). But if this isn true and it is true, then we have a situation already because when these two concepts are mixed together, the religion lose its sanctity and politics will become more dirtier.

We can draw example from Nigeria’s postcolonial state system. Lets see the capture and control of state power by a self-centred, and divided political class that strategically used religion and politics to divide the people which have been termed the divide and policy, they also used it to consolidate and extend their control over resources and power in Nigeria’s emerging capitalist formation as at then. What a shame.

From the above explanation, it is abundantly clear that Religion and politics are two factors that have in one way or the other changed the political atmosphere of our country. Form me, i would prefer a total overhauling the of the political system thereby calling for a better political education among the populace no matter where one finds himself. The Christians should be educated politically that politics is not a dirty game rather it is those who are dirty if allowed to play the game soils it but if the righteous rules, the people will live in peace.
The Muslims on their own, should not see themselves as been the ones born to rule.

RELIGION AND POLITICS THE NIGERIAN PERSPECTIVE

Your ads will be inserted here by

Easy Plugin for AdSense.

Please go to the plugin admin page to
Paste your ad code OR
Suppress this ad slot.

Speak Your Mind

*