Religion and Ethnic Politics; Enemies of Democracy in Nigeria – By Comrade Omaga Elachi Daniel

402 congratulates Nigeria on her 58 Independence Anniversary, hopes for greater achievements

Religion and Ethnic Politics; Enemies of Democracy in Nigeria – By Comrade Omaga Elachi Daniel

Political discussions in Nigeria are hardly made without bringing religion or ethnic inclinations to bear. The different religions and cultures, out of which we derive our values and heritage, are the things that define us a people. However, if we do not separate these factors from governance, they may as well constitute our own destruction. Majority of the developmental challenges we are faced with as a nation since independence may not be entirely because of individuals or the political party in power but basically because we are polarized along ethnic and religious lines.

These divisions most often give rise to self-centeredness and quest for superiority which graduates into shear hatred and fervent desire
to decimate each other. This is the situation we are faced with right now in our country where issues like the ravaging fulani herdsmen era,
militancy and emerging IPOB struggles are being greatly politicized.Religious, regional and ethnic sentiments from politicians
and their supporters often characterize election campaigns and in most cases are responsible for post-election violence in the country.

Sometimes in solitude, those atrocious memories of the 2011 post- elections violence relive in my mind. I would walk around my county
neighborhood hearing some of the comments that instigated crises in some parts of the country and those that would have caused baboons and dogs to be soaked in blood in 2015. With the many agitations, expectations and anxiety already mesmerizing the 2019 general
elections, Nigerians need to seek the face of God now than ever so that democracy will not elude us in the nearest future.

The sad truth is, religion and ethnicity have taken over our polity. For fear of being labeled a traitor, people shy away from speaking out
against anomalies in government policies or public office holders because they are either bounded by a particular religion or ethnicity.
If the passions of sentiments and nepotism which had already been inflamed in our politics are not discouraged, another civil war may be
inevitable.  History must not only be recounted, it must be allowed to direct the future positively. It must be indicated, however, that such
possibility can only become a reality when we fail to learn from our own history and that of other African countries.

To remedy the malady of sentimental politics in Nigeria, a holistic approach of equitable distribution of power, developmental projects
must me prioritized and this is what true democracy should be about. The seriousness or sluggishness with which this issue is tackled can
extinguish or aggravate the problems of insurgency, militancy and the calls for secessions across the nation. Also, the media have the
responsibility of making sure that they are very circumspect in their reportage. It is not every inciting speech or report that must be
aired, no matter how exciting it makes the programme to be. We must promote our unity in diversity. The strength of every nation depends
on how united her people are. Our diversity must not be used by politicians as a tool to bring about our adversities. Rather, it
should help us see each tribe as unique in her own ways. When this culture is imbibed, the sense of superiority will be destroyed and we
will continue to coexist peacefully as one nation.

Comrade Omaga Elachi Daniel is the Executive Director, Beyond Boundaries Legacy Leadership Initiative.




Religion and Ethnic Politics; Enemies of Democracy in Nigeria – By Comrade Omaga Elachi Daniel


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