The thrust of this work, “Influence of Religion on the Nigerian Democracy” discussed the impacts of Religion on the Nigerian society which is being run under democratic governance. Historical research method was used in this thesis. The data collections, among other sources, were comprised of two major sources: primary and secondary sources. These data collections were analysed socially, critically and descriptively. It was found that positively, religion was credited with the following: the provision of African identity and political unity, curbed of evils, uplifting the human development of the society through education and health care sectors and other developments. Above all, it rehabilitated, restructured and reconstructed the society especially during and after the Nigerian civil war. Religion was and is still responsible for the following: some of the crisis in Nigeria, social instabilities, some irremedial evils, economic stagnation, derogation of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, insecurity of lives and property and the apparent shaky condition of Nigerian secular state. By these implications, it appears that religion has failed in its function in Nigerian society. In conclusion, the researcher advocated that religious personnel should endeavour to live out practically ethics of their religion. Ultimately, some synergies of actions are absolutely required between religious bodies (particularly between Christianity and Islam) and largely between religion and government in the society. This filial collaboration will enhance attainment of true democracy and more positive impacts of Religion in Nigeria. 








1.1       Background to the Study

1.2       Statement of the Problem

1.3       Objective of the Study

1.4       Significance of the Study

1.5       Scope

1.6       Methodology

1.7       Definition of Related Terms



2.1       Formal Education

2.2       Health Care and Life

2.3       Infrastructure and Agriculture/ Horticulture/Development

2.4       Spiritual and Pastoral Services

2.5       Social Influence of Religion

2.6       Destruction of Cultural Values

2.7       Disunity, Disintegration, Competitions, Corruption & Materialism

2.8       Riots, Violence, Wars and Squabble

            Summary of the Literature Review



3.1       Religious Influence on the Nigerian Democracy

3.1.1    Spiritual Impact before Independence

3.1.2      Spiritual Influence of Religion at a Glance

3.1.3    Cultural Influence

3.1.4    Prophetic Role

3.1.5    Individual’s Influence (Impact)

3.2       Political Influence of Religion on the Nigerian Democracy

3.2.1    Religion and Concscientization for Civic Duties

3.2.2    Religion and the Making of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (i.e Religion as the Super Structure)

3.2.3    The Use of Religious Belief (Politicization) on Nigeria’s Democracy

3.2.4    Religion: Monitoring and Sanitization of Election in Nigeria

3.2.5    Use of Religious Concept and Sentiments by the Nigerian Politicians

3.2.6 Religion as an Agent of Division on Nigerian Democracy

3.2.7 Other Influences of Religio-Political Unrest (Riots)



4.1       Political Impact of Democracy in Nigeria

4.2       Educational Impact of Democracy in Nigeria

4.3       Impact of Democracy on Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

4.4       Social Impact of Democracy in Nigeria

4.5       Economic Impact of Democracy in Nigeria

4.6       Impact of Democracy on Infrastructure

4.7       Impact of Democracy on Agriculture

4.8       Security Impact of Democracy in Nigeria

4.9       Impact of Democracy on Transport and Tourism



5.1       Social Influence of Religion on the Nigerian Democracy

5.2       Educational Influence of Religion on the Nigerian Democracy

5.3   Economic Influence of Religion on the Nigerian Democracy

5.4       Moral Influence of Religion on the Nigeria Democracy

5.5       Health – Care influence of Religion in Nigeria

5.6       Agricultural Influence of Religion on the Nigerian Democracy



6.1       Summary of the Findings

6.2       Contributions to Knowledge

6.3       Recommendations

6.4       Suggestions for Further Research

6.5       Conclusion





1.1       Background to the Study

            Nigeria is the largest country of the black race in the world. It is also the most multi-religious among the countries in Africa. This is in line with the view of Akumu et al (2006:3) who opined that, “Nigeria is the most populous African state and one of the world’s most ethnically diverse societies being made up of over 250 ethno-linguistic groups.” The Nigerian ‘ethnic nationalities’ before the amalgamation, in 1914, comprised two separate geo-political zones: Southern and Northern protectorates. These two geo-political zones which constituted the ‘One Nigeria’ consisted of various cultures each with different traditional religions. Makozi in Okere (1988:9) asserted that: 
Nigeria as one entity was born in 1914 when the two protectorates of Northern and Southern Nigeria were amalgamated by Sir Fredrick Lugard. The name “Nigeria” derived from the River ‘Niger area’ was proposed by Miss Flora Shaw in an article she had written as a press correspondent to ‘The Times’ in January, 1897, that is fourteen years before the amalgamation.
            One would then be right to say that Nigeria as a country is an artificial creation of Lord Lugard. The “artificiality” in making up the country is a fundamental problem besetting Nigeria as a state in all facets of life (religiously, economically, politically, geographically, and so on). The various cultures with different traditional religions influenced governance in Nigeria tremendously, especially on the negative side. Logically and traditionally, each culture with its inherent religion, has some peculiar doctrines. These cultures had already been operating by different types of governance. For instance, the Igbo race within the South East zone was strictly under democratic rule, while the Hausa/Fulani race was ruled by the system of oligarchy or strictly indirect rule. These different ruling methods which were merged together created a lot of problems. The worst of it all was the merging of the two ccompeting religions (Islam and Christianity) inherently existing in different areas under the canopy of two different geographical locations (North and South). The emergence of these two foreign religions (Islam and Christianity) with the already existing traditional religions coupled with multi-populous nature of the country has made, and continues to make, both positive and negative impacts on the democratic governance of this giant country-Nigeria. Diara in Achunike (2011:162) stated that:

With well over 145 million inhabitants, Nigeria is unarguably the most populous African nation. After independence in 1960, Nigeria was to run a full democratic government, but military dictatorship unfortunately sprang up and took more than 30 years of the country’s 50 years of existence as an independent nation. Nevertheless, the country is today considered a democracy, having held general elections for four republics of four years span each – 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011 – uninterruptedly.
            At independence, the pioneer leaders (Founding fathers) chose the system of democracy as the system of governance for Nigeria. Atubi (2011) attested that: “the founding fathers of this country created a democratic system that separated church from state so that, as a country, we could avoid the slippery slope of getting into the business of telling people what to believe”. It suffices to note that the reality of democracy could not be achieved under this circumstance (the coexistence of the three different religions as well as the multi ethnic groups). According to Udeh (2011: Oral Interview) “one concrete reason for the failure of democracy in Nigeria is the attitudinal nature or logical concept of each religion regarding governance (democracy) coupled with different ethnic rationale”. A prime reflection goes to Islam.
            Islam has different ideas altogether about governance. For Islamic culture, there is no separation of religion from governance. This concept was clearly buttressed by Ali (2002:81) who stated that:
Muslims believe that their religion, Islam, is a complete way of life which has made copious provisions for all facets of life: practices, social involvement, economic undertakings, political participation, technological innovations, legal phenomenon and religious beliefs.
If one should reflect on the above, it is pertinent to say that Islamic religion is one with all the sayings above including political participation and governance. This concept is contrary to the belief of Christianity: “give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God”. For the Islamic religion, adherents of non Islam are referred to as infidels. This means that such infidels cannot go to heaven not to talk of ruling or having a say in the human society. For Moslems, it seems that only their adherents can rule and can exercise governance. Manchilla (2003: np) confirmed this statement when he said that:

Muslim recognized that “he (the leader or ruler) must be a Muslim” and the main reason they gave was that if the ruler is not a Muslim, he is unable to rule because he does not have the knowledge of Islam. If he is not Muslim, he doesn’t have any idea, he does what he wants according to his own religion, he doesn’t know what Koran says. If he is not Muslim everything is different. Islam is a complete way of life, so if he is non-Muslim completeness is not there..... 

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