A Note of Warning To The Advocates of Religion In Politics

by Fatai Alimi
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Nobody is saying religion is not useful in building a nation. Of course, it is. But what we are saying is using religion as a decoy to curry political favour or relevance is an aberration to our constitutional democracy.

As a matter of fact, Religion is useful in building homes, out of which fine men and women of thoughts are made. It builds and laces their minds and reasoning with the fear of the Almighty, and teaches them love, selflessness and how to be compassionate. All of these great teachings and lessons become useful when they get into leadership positions to do things rightly.

But bringing religion in itself into politics only breed more division than we may imagine. It polarises the nation and messes up our peaceful coexistence. The extent of damage it could bring should better be imagined than experienced. Politics, most especially in advanced societies of the world, are better practised without religious colouration.

Nigerians are born into tribes before religion was introduced, making the promotion of religion in politics awkward and detrimental to nation building. You may claim, like my good brother Bola Ibitoye, that theocracy exists as a form of government, but I challenged him to show me one heterogenous nation of the world which has prospered on theocracy and I will agree with him.

Religion is our private and individual relationship with our creator. We should simply leave it at that. The moment we begin to make several of our demands based on religion; the moment we begin to infuse religions into our liberal walks of life, we may end up dragging our nation into the point of no return; into the point of an unimaginable division.

The gap that ethnicity has created among us will get even wider with religious division. It will drag us into such a pitiable level that even the people of the same ethnicity won’t see themselves as one again: a Yoruba Muslim will see a fellow Yoruba Christian as a threat, and even an Igbo Muslim will consider his fellow Igbo Christian as a competitor. Nothing could be more dangerous! And this is why some of us are speaking up against this dangerous propositions.

How do we describe a situation where some Yoruba Christians now see their fellow Yoruba man, a Tinubu who has worked with many Christians like Fayemi and Osinbajo and used his political platform to elevate them without considering their religion, and who has married a Pastor and lived with her for 40 years, as a threat based on their own religion. Nothing could be more unfortunate! It is an example of how dangerously religion can divide us.

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