If Nigeria must progress, we must completely eradicate religious sentiments/tribalism By Richard Odusanya

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Nigerians must reject politicians whose favourite pastime is a resort to weaponizing ethnic and religious sentiments.

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By Richard Odusanya.

@Richard_Odusanya is 9News Nigeria special guest writer on Politics, Africanism, African Emancipation and Humanitarianism
@Richard_Odusanya is 9News Nigeria special guest writer on Politics, Africanism, African Emancipation and Humanitarianism

If Nigeria must progress, we must completely eradicate religious sentiments/tribalism and unite the centrifugal forces into forces of Nigeria beyond ethnic and sectional sentiments in the choice of candidates into public office. Unity is the ability to pull towards a common goal at a given time.

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Religion, ethnic and tribal divides are common amongst most Countries of the world, but weaponizing Ethnicity is more prevalent in 3rd World Countries where leaders take advantage of tribal sentiments to appeal to sectional support.

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Nigerians are notoriously religious, as exemplified by the numbers of the adherents of the dominant religion. However, the danger comes when religion is mixed with politics.

Religion by its very nature and content appeals not so much to reason. It’s a heart matter and carries with it huge emotions.

Meanwhile, religion has been traditionally defined as a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Because reli-gion and politics are always changing and adapting, the foundational ideologies of the relation-ship between these two entities are continually challenged, reimagined and modified.Against this background, I opined that our ever vibrant citizens will see reason why we cannot afford to fail. Hence, the Nigerian story of weaponisation of religion which has been characterised by the manipulation of historical narratives between Christians and Muslims, and the setting of ethnic groups against each other over the years.

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Most Muslims in northern Nigeria have continued to re-echo sentiments of the old caliphate (1804-1903), which views Christianity as a foreign religion that is tied to colonialism. This has fed from a false notion that one religion is superior to the other. In my view religion is a man made and driven by the desire to explore the possibility of pleasing our creator, the most high God.

Flowing from the foregoing, I reckoned that weaponization of religion and ethnicity is a menace to democratic values, social stability and peace. As a matter of fact, it is the foundation of anarchy and destabilization.

Therefore, as a nation destined for greatness we should resist the temptation of exhibiting intolerance, extremism, exuberance and spreading falsehood. After all, the forthcoming election is not a do-or-die affair; rather, it is God who gives power to whoever he pleases.

Sadly, It was former President Olusegun ‘St’ Matthew’ Aremu Obasanjo, who during the 2007 electioneering campaigns, told us that the elections were a “do or die affair”. He was determined to install his own successor and nothing was going to stand in his way. The beneficiary of that electoral heist, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, did acknowledge the tainted nature of his mandate during his inauguration.

He proceeded to set up the Justice Uwais electoral reform committee that was charged with the responsibility of bequeathing on the nation a better electoral system.

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Unsurprisingly, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party and a major beneficiary of politics of ethnicity and religion promoted by the proponent of do-or-die politics, his mentor the balogun owu.

Peter, inherited many of the traits and attributes of his benefactor and has fully deployed the instrumentality of do-or-die politics by weaponization of religion and ethnicity as exemplified by the activities in the Lagos rally of the Labour Party tagged,

“Mega rally” it signposts the beginning of politics with bitterness which must be discouraged at all cost. Peter Obi is one of the 18 candidates seeking Nigeria’s highest office in the 25 February polls.

For the record, I am one of the few citizens of our beloved country Nigeria with unparalleled and nationalistic mindset; an Ijebu-man by reasons of providence, from the South-west Nigeria; an Igbo-man by birth and marriage. Born by a Northern mother of the blessed memory. I daresay that I am a miniature map of Nigeria.

Today, as a special day in my life, I rededicate the rest part of the journey of life in pursuit of humanitarian , emancipation and the African Renaissance – so help me God.

Conclusively, Nigerians! "Shine Your Eyes" elections is not 'do-or-die' and government is not magical. 

Obviously, the election results of June 12th 1993, Nigerians saw the best in our citizens as we all went out to vote peacefully regardless of same faith ticket and devoid of ethnicity. By June 24th 1993, we also saw the worst of our leadership as the elections were annulled.

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LEADERSHIP IS A CATALYST FOR CHANGE.

#NigeriaDecide2023: Weaponization Of Religion And Ethnicity

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About Chiemerie William Eziokwu 312 Articles
Eziokwu Chiemerie William 9News Nigeria's Social Media Strategist / iReporter

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