Religion And Politics In Nigeria


Religion And Politics In Nigeria, A Study Of Jos South LGA Of Plateau State


Religion forms part of an individual’s identity and in turn influences the world in which they live in. This study investigates religion and politics in jos south LGA of plateau state and demonstrates that religion and politics are two inseperable realms since humans are both material and spiritual beings.
This chapter provides insight information on background, problem statement, objectives, research questions, hypotheses, research justification , literature review, theoretical framework , research ,methodology as well as scope and limitations of the study.

1.1 Background to the Study

All religions have multiple denominations and sects that vary greatly geographically and culturally. In respect to politics and governance with reference to Christianity, the Old Testament shows the relationship between the church and the state as one that is closely linked. Prophets such as Samuel, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah and Nathan acted as God‟s messengers challenging the political leaders of that era. While in the New Testament ,Jesus‟ words: “Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar and unto God what belongs to God.”2 Have been interpreted to mean religion and politics are two seperable realms. Islam blends politics with military might for instance jihad is a religous and  political  slogan  that  suggests a violent course to make others submit to the Islamic faith.
Religion plays a key role in global politics .The current order of International system where nation-states are the main actors was largely shaped by the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia. The treaty ended the 30years of war in Europe which was triggered by religious domination by the Austrian-Hapsburg Empire resolve to impose Roman Catholicism on its Protestant subjects in Bohemia3. The war involded Catholics and Protestants fighting each other in European states including: Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark. The Treaty resolved that each state could keep its own religion without outside interference and also separated religion and politics by stating that all states will no longer be governed by religious leaders.
Religion has been used globally as a political tool for various reasons and in most instances to gain and retain political territories. The Ottoman empire(1300-1922) which was inspired by Islam and Islamic institutions existed for such a long period for only three main reasons: incorporating Islam in its state structure with the Sultan being regarded as the protector of Islam as well as the Islamic ideology of increasing muslim territory through Jihad. Finally the millet system was adapted of  which each religion was allowed to elect  their own religious leaders and enforce their own religious rules example Jewish millet and Orthodox Christians millet. The Sultan exercised control over these areas through the elected leaders5.
The Facist regime in Italy used religion for political advantages. The Facist Italy under Benito Mussolini signed the Lateran pact with the Roman Catholic church which granted Vatican City statehood and placed it under Church law, by the same token, catholic was recognised as Italy‟s state religion. This was aimed at influencing the Roman Catholics to accept a facist government by also persuing ideas of the church by making swearing in  public a crime, disapproving  the use of contraceptives and wanted to outlaw divorce in  Italy6.
The 21st  Century has witnessed the a surge in Islamic movements that use violence to achieve to instill fear and some sort of retaliation for issues that they have been violated.

1.2 Statement of the  Problem

Religion plays a vital role in the binding and supporting a society. This study observes that religion is an integral part of humanity and hence a key variable in the politics and governace of Plateau state As a democratic state, Nigeria guarantees the freedom of worship to all religions and no one is to be discriminated on the basis of the religion they profess. Nigeria  is a secular state, but in the practice of politics and governance in Nigeria  are religion and politics two seperable or inseperable realms?

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The main objective of the study is to examine religion and politics in jos south LGA of plateau state

Specific Objectives

  • To investigate the nexus between religious and political tussle in Jos South Local government Area
  • To examine and provide attainable recommendations to curtail the issues of religion and politics in Jos

1.4 Research Questions

  • What is the link between religion, politics and governance Jos?
  • Are there any attainable solutions to the problems on religious and political violence in Jos?

1.5 Significance of the Study

  •  Academic Justification

This study adds to the existing knowledge on religion and politics by demonstrating that religion is not only concerned with the spiritual well being of people but it also impacts on their political lives and behaviour hence alters governance in Nigeria
The study observed that religion is a key aspect that should always be considered in the formulation of government policies relating to politics and governance in Nigeria.This may also be applicable in other African states.

  • General Public Justification.

By collecting information directly from the people and different religious organisations, this study provides a precise impression on how religious convictions impacts politics and governance in Nigeria .

1.6 Definition of key terms and concept

Religion- Religion is the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power especially a personal God or gods
Governance – The way, mode, or coordination of governing through formulation of policies and adherence to them
Politics – This is an antagonism between contending interest clusters for supremacy and governance .This is achieved through individuals exercising their democratic right in an election.


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