1.1 Background to the Study
Nigeria is a country with the
conglomeration of states with different people, cultures and religious
backgrounds. Nigeria comprises Christianity, Islamic and traditional
religions. The adherents of three religions, especially Muslims and
Christians are often engaged in conflicts, leading to lose of lives and
property. Hardly will a day pass without the two religions engaging in
one conflict or the other. The religious scenario in Nigeria has assumed
a violent dimension, leading to suicide bombing, loss of innocent lives
and property. The area that is most affected with terrorists attacks is
the defunct Northern region. That is, the North and the area called
today Middle-Belt of Nigeria today. Even if there is a seeming peace,
the relationship between Christians and Muslims is marked with mutual
suspicion and distrust. These religious crises are more rampant in the
Northern states and they sometimes bring about reprisal attacks in
Eastern states of Nigeria. The reprisal attacks by Christians in Eastern
Nigeria are directed to all the Northerners without distinction of
religious affiliation. That is, both Christians and Muslims are victims
of such attacks (Dzurgba, 2006). The Northern Christians particularly
suffer death casualties at every twist of events. They loss lives in the
Eastern part of Nigeria during reprisal attacks. This ugly situation
calls for reflection on education as one of the possible measures of
preventing religious conflicts and insecurity in Nigeria.
With over 400 ethnic groups belonging to
several religious sects, Nigeria since independence has remained a
multi-ethnic nation State, grappling with the problems of
ethno-religious conflicts. Ethnic groups and religious intolerance have
bought about the recurrence of ethno-religious conflicts. Major
motivations behind most religious conflicts are economic and political,
for, as one scholar puts it: in the struggle for political power to
retain the monopoly of economic control the political class instigates
the ordinary citizen into mutual suspicions resulting in conflicts.
Colonialism did not cause the primordial conditions that generated
conflicts between Christians and Muslims, but it made them worse.
Indeed, colonialism established the basis for using identity politics as
a means of accessing political and economic resources. Consequently,
religious differences come to worsen political crisis. From the early
1980s, religion has been making increasing in-road into the political
development of Nigeria, in spite of the official legal status of the
country as a secular state. This is a status accepted by the majority of
Nigerians, and it is clearly laid down in the constitution. Nigeria is
at the moment experiencing major challenges. It is one of the fastest
growing nations with a population that doubles every two and a half
decades. Access to higher education and healthcare is limited. Poor
infrastructure and weak leadership deficit have also conspired to impede
the development of the country.
Attempts to entrench democratic rule and
good governance have been truncated prematurely over the years since
Nigeria gained her independence. The reasons are not farfetched. For
instance, the attitudes of the political class are often devoid of basic
religious moral principles which are pivotal for democracy and better
initiative for good governance to flower. Religious moral principles are
inevitable for or present nascent democracy and good governance to
strive as it is in advanced democracies of the world (Akintola, 2007).
Good governance and democracy have now been seen as a household name in
Nigeria but it is unfortunate that our understanding of the concepts is
very shallow. Orhungur (2005) postulated that a civilian government
cannot claim to be a democratic unless it produced true good leadership
that offers freedom for the citizenry to elect their leaders. Denial of
this by any nation that truly aspires to practice democratic rule must
revisit its religious values to make sure that it is in line with the
demands of democracy.
In conclusion, in order to
foster religious harmony and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria, it is
therefore pertinent to lay a solid foundation for a democratic culture,
whose operators are fair to all irrespective of their circumstances. In
essence, politicians, public officials and political office holders must
be those who are not necessarily detached from religion, but who have
the understanding that religion is in itself a tool for peace, progress
and sustainable development. Such leaders would work to address the
challenges of our history, the challenges of socio-economic
inequalities, and indeed, the challenges of building vibrant and strong
institutions for democracy and sustainable development.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Religious and ethnicity have been used
as a cover to claim political representation and opportunities.
Invariably, most politicians could hold at anything in the struggle for
power, damning the consequences. In this regard, political differences
have ignited many sectarian crises. It is therefore essential to free
religion from the grief of dark forces either as charlatans, religious
bigots or unfortunate political jobbers. In a bid to control religious
intolerance in Nigeria, we must ensure that causes of disharmony are
squarely addressed. In my view, the democratic system of government
could undertake this exercise. However, in this regard, the capacity of
democratic institutions must be strengthened to ensure that unpatriotic
and mediocre politicians are cleared out. This study there seeks to
investigate religious harmony and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria.
1.3 Research Questions
The following are some of the questions which this study intends to answer:
i) what is the prevalence of religious harmony among the three religions in Nigeria?
ii) what are the factors that constitute to religious harmony and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria?
iii) what are the impacts
of the government towards fostering religious harmony and sustenance of
democracy in Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to
give assessment of religious harmony and sustenance of democracy in
Nigeria. The specific objectives include:
i) to evaluate the factors that constitute to religious harmony and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria
ii) to assess factors that constitute to religious harmony and sustenance of democracy in Nigeria
iii) to inquire the
impacts of the government towards fostering religious harmony and
sustenance of democracy in Nigeria
1.5 Significance of the Study
The research will be conducted with the
respondents who practice any of the three major religions (Christianity,
Islam and African traditional) in Nigeria. It will enable us to
understand their views on good governance and it can be achieved. It
will as well contribute to good governance and national unity in the
area Political science.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study will be carried out with
religion leaders, politicians, students, and social scientists in some
selected states across Nigeria.
1.8 Limitation of the study
The study will be faced with a lot of
challenges and one it the problem of finance. There is not going to be
enough funds to print questionnaires and to also transport the
researcher to meet the desired respondents. Another one is time; the
researcher is currently busy with the demand of his academics. A lot of
assignments are available for the researcher to do and coupled with his
desire to read and learn at the same time. These are the major
challenges of this study.
1.9 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Religion: a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance
Harmony: agreement or concord.
Sustenance: the maintaining of someone or something in life or existence.
Democracy: a system of
government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a
state, typically through elected representatives.