RESEARCH CENTER FOR POLITICAL AND STRATEGIC STUDIES
MASTER IN STRATEGIE, DEFENSE, SECURITY, CONFLICT AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT
UE: QUESTIONS D’ACTUALITES
POLITICS AND RELIGION IN THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
MBILA DAVID RENE
POLITICS AND RELIGION IN FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA
Nigeria has a population of over 149 million(roughly one in six Africans) with a population growth rate of 2%. Nigeria had a 2008 HDI ranking of #158 and a 2008 CPI ranking of 2.7, an improvement over its recent extraordinarily corrupt ratings. Religion wise, The three dominant religions in Nigeria are traditional religion, Islam and Christianity with the following shares : 50% Muslim, 40% Christian, and 10% indigenous. All thesereligious ideologies allow for interaction between religion and politics It is believed that the intensity of the religious identity is one of the highest in the world. At the same time Nigeria is cited on top of political violence in Africa, topping South Africa and other democratizing countries. In fact, political and religious violences are common phenomena in Nigeria. Obviously, these areencouraged by internal and external contradictions in the nation's political and religious system. Usually, violence erupts as a manifestation of high joblessness of people, the youth.
The fact that politics deals with power acquisition and allocation of resources, the instinct and urge for political violence become an inescapable reality in social engineering. Although, violence in Nigerian politicssometimes seems to possess liberating and redemptive value, corruption, poverty and high rate of illiteracy promote the culture of political violence in Nigeria. However, amongst these, the relationship between Religion and Politics has been proven to be the cornerstone of violence at least as powdered by all belligerents. The questions raised are: who are the belligerents, what are the motives,are they only political? religious? or both ? or even none ? The core objective of this paper is to try some answers to these questions.
This document is parted into two main section, the first discusses the dynamics of politics vs religion relation in general and in Nigeria in particular. This first section will help the better understanding of the second section that focuses on certain factorsinfluencing the violence in Nigeria, as it is clear that violence is the results of a mix of factors stemming from the poverty to the governance failure. We conclude our work by some recommendations on how religion and politics can positively interact in a pluralistic society like Nigeria.
I - DYNAMICS OF POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS RELATIONS IN NIGERIA
A- Definitions and generalities of therelationships between religion and politics
For a better appreciation of the objectives of this paper, it is perhaps good for us to attempt definitions of the two key terms: religion and politics.
Religion: for the purpose of this paper, we will consider a sociologically based definition from Emile Durkheim. He defines it as: A unified system of beliefs and practices which unite into one moralcommunity called a church all those who adhere to them. The definition is a clear reference to organized religion to the exclusion of the primal or oriental religious ideologies. It also suggests a religious origin to socio-political associations with their set of rules and regulations. However, it tends to indicate that religion cannot relate with other institutions in the society since it is amere “moral community” which might restrict its adherents to its tenets thereby limit their socio-political interaction.
Politics : Politics is about the acquisition of power and the use of such power. The Oxford Dictionary of Words defines politics as “matters concerned with acquiring or exercising power, within a group or an organization. It can be also considered as the struggle for power of...