EFFECT OF RELIGIOUS PRACTICE ON THE POLITICAL GROWTH IN NIGERIA: STUDY OF EBONYI STATE



CHAPTER ONE
1.0   INTRODUCTION
1.1   BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

CHAPTER TWO
2.0           REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
          This literature review is meant to affect many areas as regards the research topic under consideration. It is quite obvious, that many writers has written on the issue of influence of religion on political growth or development. Some writers, has really expressed their ideas or view on this issue, without pointing out principle things that promotes influence of religion on the political growth or development in society.

          Religion is an important part of our lives, from birth to death, and commands immense influence in our national politics. Of course there are voices that argue against mixing politics and religion, and others who share the view that polities and religion are inextricable. Chuba Okadigbo was once quoted as saying. “Religion being a matter of individual and faith, must be left where it is, such that our clerics can take care of our souls and religious persuasions, while elected civilians take care of the business of government”.
          In this research work, the literature review will be made under the following – headings. 
(1)     What religion is all about
(2)     What the concept politics is.
(3)     Influence of religion on politics.


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2.1   WHAT RELIGION IS ALL ABOUT
          Religion is such a sensitive issue in Nigeria that one has to tread carefully in discussions to avoid flaring erosion, accusations of taking side or risk being misinterpreted. However, in search of peace, security and prosperity for our country, we must not shy away or get discouraged from exploring truth, for it is the responsibilities of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.
          Smile. Durkheim (1915) saw “religion as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things that is to say, things set apart and forbidden, beliefs and practices which unite into one simple moral community called a church, all those who adhere to them”. Therefore, on this note “sacred” means holy and it is used in describing the character of the supernatural beings such as gods and divinities. It is in this since that the church talks about a sacred or Holy God and  African Traditional Religion talks about sacred or holy divinities, for the church-the church building, musical instruments, pews, pulpit regalia, cups, wine and bread are sacred things. These cannot be used for ordinary purpose because they have been dedicated to God and they become his properties.
          According to Milton J. (1970) “religion is a resistance against death, frustration, hostility, suffering, anxiety and hatred. It therefore entails that religion is a constant factor in human life, through religious behaviour man moves from anxiety to confidence. It is a major source and corner of the values of culture. It is on this point that one can maintain that, cultural, religion is a part of a total prescription, and prescription that safeguard interaction of man in all human society.
          Herbert Spencer (1964) is of the view that “religious beliefs and practices were mistakes and illusions. Religion originated from the people experiences of hope, dream, trances death and environmental objects”.
According to Thomas F. O (1878) asserts that religion is a central element in culture. Religion performs the same social functions which other aspects of culture perform. A consideration of religion as a core element in culture summarizes the human significance of religion. The content of religion may be either in harmony or in conflict with the existing situations or transformations which are in progress in society.
          He out rightly outlines certain characteristics and functions of religion. Religion invents history with aim, purpose and form. Religion is a symbolic transformation of experience. Religion is an instrument for a defence. It provides beliefs and attitudes which help to defend the people against vexing, doubts, anxieties and aggression. These may be generated within individual or societies but they are seen as having been victoriously defeated by supernatural beings. Religion gives a sense of direction as it makes the people perceive, feel, think, act, perform and behave in specifically designed ways.

2.2   WHAT IS POLITICS
          You need to understand how the word “politic” came into use among the individual and communities across Nigeria in particular and the whole world in general. The word “polities” came out of two Greek words Polis which means “city” and “teche” which means an art, a skill or a method. The Greek are the people whose country is Greece, a country in Europe close to North Africa. At the time the word “politics” was coined by the Greeks, the people of Greece did not have a central government as they have today.
          Their country was made up of City States, for instance Corinth and Athens which Saint Paul visited and where he preached the good news of Jesus Christ. Each city was independent and had its government and soldiers. These cities had to go to war against each other as it happened, even in Nigeria. So, the idea of politics was limited to the curatorial area of each city separately. That was the situation in which the word “politics was made. It then implies, that the word “politics” meant, at that time, the art of governing a city.
          Adekunle A. (1976) Stated that the term polities is applied in common parlance to the affairs of political parties and politicians, party conventions and election and voting maneuvering for partisan advantage”.
          Bisi Taiwo (1978) is of the view that “today the word politics is an elastic one. To some authorities, politics is concerned with the ordinary day-to-day activities of community in which we are all personally involved. To other including professor Fasswell, politics has been equated with the study of power or the study of influence and influential. For this research work, politics can simply be defined in three ways.
          First, it attempts to discover the general principles, formation and functioning of government. Secondly, it is concerned with peoples, with the way in which they make decisions and the way in which they reach decisions. Thirdly, it is that part of social science which treats the foundation of  the state and the principle of government: governmental social and economic programmes, international co-operation and a wide range of other matters that are of urgent concern to public officials and private citizens.

2.3   INFLUENCE OF RELIGION ON POLITCS
        Religion is an element of culture and polities is also an element of culture. Both are cultural factor which interact  and perpetrate both the Urban and the rural people. They get at the grassroots of societies and grasp both the young and the old, men and women, the rich and the poor, the literate and the illiterate, the ruled and rulers. The individuals are both a member of a religion and a member of a political party. Where he is not a member of a political party he is certainly a citizen and he is interested in the maintenance of law and order, peace and security, stability and good government.
          For these reasons, he is indirectly affected by politics and cannot ignore political activities. If he pretends to ignore polities, he will at least, be interested in complaining that political actors are doing badly and that government is failing to provide such social amenities that he would like to enjoy. Religious consciousness and political consciousness are two related issues in mind. For him, religion and politics cannot be separated from each other and from his personal opinion, feeling and behaviour. It is in this sense that religion and politics cannot be separated in the life of individuals and in the structure of societies. Religion permeates culture and mediates social structure.
          According to Roland (1968) “the  rise of political sociology has led to the neglect of the religious factor in party affiliation and voting behaviour, as well  made pressure group formation, quite impossible”. Even in non-political activities, human beings strive to attain certain values, namely, dignity, honour, prestige, respect, power, money, property, satisfaction, happiness, right, privileges duties, peace, security, stability freedom of will etc. These values are necessary to every person, but they are often scarce: their supplies are often far short of the demand for them. In some cases, the process of obtaining them could be long and difficult. If every person is permitted to search for these values by using his own personal means, there will be too much tension, and a planned, organized, co-ordinated, directed, controlled and managed society will be completely impossible.
          Therefore to achieve these values through the approved means, religion has a role to play. It provides moral restraints for the individuals. It is in this sense that there can be loyalty and patriotism in politics. This means that religious beliefs and practices help to socialize the individuals, who will substantially, abide by the political laws of society. In this respect the bible says to the individuals “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed and those who resist will incure judgment. For rulers are not terror to good conduct but to bad” (Romans 13:1-3).

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          A cordial relationship between religion and politics becomes evident when political authorities find that religion can be an effective tool in the administration of society. For examples, mass literacy, youth mobilization, the cooling of tensions, appealing for co-operation in assisting political agencies are those duties that religion can be called upon to assist political authorities at various levels. But, this cordiality in their relationship may not be permanent because religion sees itself as having to perform a prophetic role fearlessly to call the political authorities to order on the authority of God.
          However, recent studies in political sociology show that religion still pervasive and powerful in polities. Religion today influences party political affiliation, voting behaviour, pressure group – foundations and external relations Usman, (1987). The fact therefore, is true of a “democratic” country like Nigeria which in spite of its secular status as state, that is separation of politics and religion, yet the authority of God is invoked in the preamble to our 1979 constitution. Also, religion is taught in all state schools, including universities. Religious festivals both for Christens and Muslims are observed as national holidays. Chaplains, i.e. religious functionaries, are employed to serve in the nation Armed Forces and in institution of high learning. Oaths are administered in Courts of Law through the use of the Bible and the Quran or any sacred object. Police officials who take oath of office end with “so help me God our National Anthem and Pledge of allegiance, all bears the name of God.
          Besides, there is strong emphasis on the respect for constituted authority i.e, for the government in the Christian Bible. St. Paul urges religious groups operating within a state, as follows: “let very soul be subjected unto the higher power, for there is no power but of God the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosever, therefore, resisted the power, resister the power of God (Romans 131-2).
          It is therefore required of religious people to be loyal to and to co-operate with those in authority. And it is the place of those in authority to guarantee religious liberty in the land. In this way, religion legitimizes political authority. In summary, though we talked about Nigeria as a democratic and secular state, yet we find there are many areas of co-operation between polities (government) and religion in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

CHAPTER THREE
3.0                                  RESEARCH METHOD
 
CHAPTER FOUR
4.0                     DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS
        This chapter involves the actual presentation of data obtained from the field through the use of questionnaire and interviews based on the three research questions that guided that study.
4.1   RESEARCH QUESTION
Does Influence of Religious Practice on Politics Exist?
S/N
QUESTION
TOTAL
YES
%
NO
%
1
Does influence of religious practice on politics exist

300

210

90

90

10
2
Is there any possible means to avoid influence of religious practice on politics 


300


120


40


180


60
3
Does religion and politics co-exist

300

198

66

102

34
   
       From the above table it is revealed that in item one, 210 respondents, which represents 90% were of the opinion that influence of religious practices on politics really exist, while 90 respondents which represents 10% in item in the table disagreed, item, in item 2, 120 respondents which represents 40% are of the view that there is possible to avoid influence of religious practice on politics, while 180 respondents, which representing 60% disagreed with them.
          In these are tables, item 3, 198 respondents which represents 66% are of the view that religion and politics co-exist in the society, while 102 respondents, representing 34% disagreed with them.
4.2   RESEARCH QUESTION 2
        Does influence of religion promote politics development or growth in Ezza – North Local Government Area Ebonyi State?
S/N
QUESTION
TOTAL
YES
%
NO
%
1
Does influence of religious practices created any practical awareness in the youths of Ezza – North Local Government Area.




300




200




66.7




100




33.3
2
Does religious practice hinders political activities in Ezza – North L.G.A 


300


60


20


240


80
 In the item of the table 200 respondents, representing 66.7% are of the view that influence of religion has created political awareness in youths of Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, while 100 respondents, which represents 33.3% are of different opinion.
          This summary of the data analysis presented in table 2 above revealed that the respondents in item 2 of that table 60 respondents which represents 20% are of the opinion that religious practices hinders political activities in Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State while 240 respondents, which represents 80% disagreed with them.
         
4.3   RESEARCH QUESTION 3 – TABLE
          Does influence of religious practices enhance politician in their political activities in Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
S/N
QUESTION
TOTAL
YES
%
NO
%
1
Does influence of religion affects politician positively in their day-to-day activities  


300


250


83.3


50


16.7
2
Does religious influence assist to reduce breakdown of law and order in the political system in Ezza -  North L.G.A 




300




180




60




120




40

          The summary of data analysis presented in table 3 above, 250 respondents in item (1) one which represents 83.3% are of the opinion that influence of religion affect politicians positively in their day-to-day activities, while 50 respondents, which represents 16.7% unanimously disagreed with them.
          From item 2 in the above table, 180 respondents, which represents 60% are of the view that religious influence assists to reduce breakdown of law and order in the political system in Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State; while 120 respondents which represents 40% are of different view with them.

4.4   SUMMARY OF FINDING
        From the data analysis based on the research work or study on the influence of religious practices on political growth in Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State the following findings was observed:-
(1)     It was revealed that, religion is an element of culture and politics is also an element of culture. Hence, both religion and culture are factors which interact and penetrate both the urban and the rural people. They get at the grassroots of societies and both grasp both the young and the old, men and women the rich and the poor, the literate and the illiterate, the ruled and rulers. That individual are both a member of a political party and a member of religion.
(2)     That a cordial relationship between religion and politics become evident, when, political authorities find that religion can be an effective tool in the administrator of societies. For example, mass literacy, youths mobilization, the cooling of tensions, appealing for co-operation in assisting political agencies are those duties that religion can be called upon to assist political authorities at various levels.
(3)     That, if the authorities, understand the, role of religion, the prophetic role will be in invited and their opinion will be bought for seeking solution for the problem they have defined in their prophetic criticism-constructive critism. This will help to strengthen and even to improve the relationship between religious authorities and political authorities in Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
(4)     That, Nigeria is a democratic and also secular state, yet, it was revealed that there are many areas of co-operation between politics (government) and religion in the country – Nigeria.
(5)     That with the growth of industrial civilization, democratic governments and the emergency of pluralistic societies, religion is no longer the undisputed source, soul are goal of human political activities.

CHAPTER FIVE
5.0   DISCUSSIONS OF FINDINGS, EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATION AND SUMMARY
5.1   CONCLUSION
5.2   SUMMARY
5.3   RECOMMENDATIONS
5.4   LIMITATION OF THE STUDY 
5.5   SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER STUDIES


REFERENCE
Adekunde S. N. (1976) The many faces of Religion and society New York Paragon House Pub.
Abwla. L. (1974) West African History Ado-Ekilah Omoaye Standard Press.
Bisi M. O. (1978) Groundwork of government of west African: Ibadan Pub.
Durkheim .A (1997) The Sociology of Religion Ibadan: University Press.
Herbert .S. (1964) Political Idea in Modern World New York Noble INC.
Maduabum. O. (1999) Society and Religion Education Enugu Pub. & Agbani Rd. Enugu.
Milford. D (1965) Sociology of English Educational Ibadan Dept of Adult Education NN Press
Milton. J.Y. (1970) Faith and science in Unjust World, Genera Pub. INC.
Roland. P. (1968) African Religion and Philosophy London: Heinemann.
Thomas F. O. (1966). The Sociology of Religion Englewood Cliffs Hall INC.
Usuman .M (1987) manipulation of Religion in Nigeria 1977-1987, Kaduns: Vanguard Printing Press PLC.



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