RELIGION, POLITICS AND NIGERIA’S GOVERNANCE CONUNDRUM
Keywords:lopsided political appointments, Nigeria’s secular status, politicization of religion
Religion and politics have been recognized as inseparable in both theory and practice given the level of influence they exert on each other, especially in the developing democracies across the globe. This relationship is made particularly complex by the intricacies inherent in the politicization of religion. An investigation of the extent of the interconnectedness and the attendant consequences for the society indeed formed the basis of this study. Data for the study were collected from documentary sources; media commentaries and scholarly inputs on religion, politics and governance, while analysis was conducted using the content analytic approach. The study further adopted functionalism as its framework of analysis. It found that religion is a very emotive issue in the Nigerian polity with far-reaching implications for the corporate existence and survivability of the Nigerian State, and that it is crucial for encouraging political participation, promoting democratic values, norms and aggregating distinctive political interests in Nigeria. The paper, among other things, recommends the upholding of Nigeria’s secular status, commitment to the tenets of true democracy and de-emphasizing of political appointments along religious or ethnic lines with a view to enthroning good governance in the country. The paper concludes that religion has not promoted good governance but has instead motivated violence, electoral fraud, lopsided political appointments and cries of marginalization.