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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Religion and Political Turbulence in Nigeria
Author:Ibrahim, Jibrin
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Nigeria
African religions
Religion and Witchcraft
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
Muslim-Christian relations
Abstract:Colonialism set in motion the delegitimation of traditional religions, thereafter castigated as 'paganism', and the rapid implantation of Christianity in Nigeria. These developments have led to the evolution of political strains and conflicts between Nigerian proponents of the two rival universal religions, Christianity and Islam. After discussing contradictions between paganism, Islam and Christianity, and accompanying syncretism, the author examines fundamentalism within both Islam and Christianity, and the problem of factionalism within both religions. He then turns to a discussion of the 'manipulation thesis'. As an effective weapon of social mobilization, religion was bound to play an important role in what Nigerians call 'the distribution of the national cake', and hence the debate that arose over the politicization of religion. The manipulation thesis posits that religious differences are amplified as part of a wider strategy for the acquisition of political influence. This form of manipulative politics is very dangerous because it sets in motion a process of brinkmanship that poses serious threats to the very existence of the Nigerian State. The author uses three events to illustrate his argument: the May 1988 uproar in the Constituent Assembly, the June 1988 crisis at Ahmadu Bello University, and the attempted coup d'état in April 1990. Notes, ref.