A lot of you die hard religion fanatics will call for my head after reading this article but i want you to take a step back and reason with me .When l talk of religion in Nigeria, l am going to base this article much on Christianity and Islam as it plays a major role especially in . Almost all countries in the Southern Africa are believed to be Christian nations; this is confirmed when swearing in presidents that a priest and a bible are used. We also swear in people using the bible in courts and basically use various pastors when its elections time. What however boggle my mind is apart from these areas mentioned; we do not really use Christianity and Islam or our religion in politics.Yes Politics is a dirty game that people would not want to see a man of God being part of but does that mean we can use them for political gains or whenever we feel we need them? Many politicians use the church as a platform to campaign, to air their political agendas and usurp, as it were votes of Christians. Take before the last elections we saw our Current President and a host of other politicians heading to Christian Coventions and receiving prayers to the thunderous applause of the populace, the same populace who groan under the current economy ,had it been just an innocent visit to a church, why politicize it? This was one way for them to gain popularity amongst Christians, to come across as caring and endearing person.More recently, The Zimbabwean Prime Minister got married this past weekend. An ordained Pastor ministered at his wedding but Christianity does not approve of polygamy. He is married already to his estranged wife, should a Pastor then administer this wedding? But because he is a Prime minister, a Pastor can be used to his advantage.So for politicians it is safe to say, most are Christians only when it is beneficial to them, when you stand to gain votes. During election time, politicians are more inclined to want to be associated with a particular church denomination, but when is it enough? Is it therefore correct to say, religion that is churches is only a tool used by politicians like television and radios to spread their “word”? That religion has no place in politics except when necessary for politicians? Maybe that is democracy, freedom to be whatever you want to be and whoever you can be regardless of who you use or don't use along the way. What is important is the end result; Christians get to vote as well so, sway them with the best means possible.I am not saying Christians are gullible to be used in this way but lets face it, it is happening in most areas especially in countries that are Christian nations.
Religion and politics must be kept separate. Religion is meant to unite people with similar beliefs into a ‘moral community’. Politics, on the other hand, is meant to unite all people of a region into a single community, regardless of personal beliefs and practices. Thus, when the two are mixed, the results are bound to be disastrous. Politics and religion play important roles in the way people live and societies operate. One is meant to regulate social behavior so that man can coexist peacefully and gainfully, while the other regulates individual behavior and the belief of a higher power. One question that many tend to ask is: Should the two be mixed? And if they are mixed, would the mixture be like manna from heaven or a powerful poison that burns everything it touches? Religion and politics have been bound in a passionate love-hate affair almost from the very beginning of history
Politicians have been quick to embrace religion too, turning up at churches and mosques, raising constituencies among their religious peers and allying themselves with specific Pastors and Imams. Unfortunate, nothing positive has emerged from the mix of politics and religion, either by way of economic growth, improved standard of living, reduction in unemployment, reduced corruption, improved infrastructure, or improved security of lives and assets. Consequently, it is not out of place finding Nigerians pointing accusing figure on religion as the root cause of the state of affairs in the country. The question this paper seeks to address is this – Is religion to blame for the woes of Nigeria?
Written by Femi Shine with credits to News 24 and Open Mind Foundation