1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Religious socialism is the belief that Christianity stands for a structure of society which will enable men, women, old and young to live and work together in unity as brethren, and that competition is not a universal law. Thus, religion/Christianity has proved to be a bed-rock and a tool for peaceful co-existence, through her preaching against coup-detat, tribalism, ethnocentrism, sectionalism corruption as well as initiating religious dialogue for an understanding of one another faith; and by organizing conferences and workshops to enlighten the people to reduce their socio-economic and political tension.
The missionaries therefore utilized education as an effective tool for evangelizing Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi state. This was the effort that was very much responsible for the local government area manpower development. Christianity via education has therefore enlightened the generality of the Ezza-North society, Christian and non-christians alike. Establishment of primary, secondary schools, churches and health centers in the area are develop beyond expectation.
Religion according to Durkheim (1997) is a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things, uniting into a single moral community all those who adhere to those beliefs and practices. This shows that mangers of religious group share common concern about the unknown and unexplainable things in the world. That is, man is in atmosphere of uncertainty, insecurity and incompletion and is led to attribute things that cannot be supernatural things.
The history of Christianity and its influence upon human societies, according to Abiola (1974) the Portuguese made their first contacts with Benin, the capital of the present Edo state in 1485. Those various contacts were made for various purposes viz: to meet the demands of the better trade on the Gold Coast, to study the political system of government of the kingdom and most importantly of all, to spread Christianity to the land not yet acquired by most power. From the beginning Christian religions has gone hand in hand with biblical teaching. The principle of parental responsibilities for youths the motivating power of love, the necessity of literacy, the unity of all truth in God and other principles basic to Christian education have biblical sources.
By and large, the study of religion shows that religion has been used as instrument for social changes. The reformation era of Amos, Micah and Isaiah reminds the Jews of their religious obligations for the socio-political and economic lives of their communities. For a society to experience dynamic and real changes in its political order, such a society must have come into contacts with Christian religion, the Apostle were accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6) this was made possible by their teaching and preaching acquired through contact with Jesus Christ himself the founder of the Christian religion.
Milton J. Yinger produced a functional definition of religion. He defined religion as a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life. It is the refusal to capitulate to death, to give up in the face frustration, to allow hostility to tear apart one’s human association Sharf (1970:32). According to him, religion is a resistance against death, frustration, hostility, suffering, anxiety, despair and hatred. According to Sharfs view, it entails the conclusion that religion is a constant factor in human life.
Thomas F. O. Dea (1966. p. 27) asserts that religion is a central element in culture. Religion performs the same 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 existing situations or transformations which are in progress in society.
According to Milford E. Spiro, religion is defined as an institution which consists of culturally patterned interactions with culturally postulated supernatural beings. In his view religion is an aspect of social groups and a component part of their cultural heritage. As a result religion features are acquired by means of enculturation.
Thus, religion is a major source and concern of the values of culture.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Influence of religious practicing on the political growth as the researcher has early stated that religion has been used as an instrument for social change in any given society or nation. Religion has a place in the lives of every nation, Nigeria included. Therefore irrespective of the faith or denomination, religion when truly practiced in its truest form and spirit, has been and remains sacred. The researches also pointed out that it plays a vital role in purposeful leadership, community building, social juristic, law and order, peace – making, reconciliation, spirit of forgiveness and the healing of wounds, be it family or personal/political issues in Ezza – North Local Government Area Ebonyi State.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main aim of this study or research work is to investigate the influence of religious practice on the political growth in Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi state. To be précised, the study equally finds fit the target of achieving the following objectives.
(1) Does religious practices influence political growth in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.
(2) To what extend does religion influence the political activities in Ezza-North.
(3) What are effects of religion on political growth.
1.4 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY.
This research will lead to a greater understanding of the key role religion played in political development in Ezza-North local Government Area of Ebonyi State. It will also help or helps to present order in their political activities.
1.5 SCOPE OF THE STUDY.
The study of influence of religious practice on the political growth is delimited to Umuezeokoha Community, Oriuzor Community, Umuogharu Community, Oshiegbe Community and Ndiegazu Community in Ezza-North local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
1.6 RESEARCH QUESTION
1. Does influence of religious practices, on political growth exist?
2. Does influence of religious practice on politics promotes political development or growth in Ezza-North local government Area of Ebonyi State?
3. Does influence of religious practices affects politician positively in their day-to-day activities?
2.0 REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
2.1 WHAT RELIGION IS ALL ABOUT
3.0 RESEARCH METHOD
This chapter discusses the method employed by the researcher in carrying out the study. It is discussed order the following sub-headings: design of the study, area of the study, population of the study, sample and sampling technique, instrument for data collection, validation of the instrument method of data collection and method of data analysis.
3.1 DESIGN OF THE STUDY
This design can be referred to as descriptive survey. This design, according to Maduasum (1999), is one in which data are collected from a relatively large number of people or items considered to be reprehensive of the whole population of group. He asserted also that descriptive survey is concerned with description of events as they are area of the study.
The area of the study is Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The Local Government consists of parents, party ward – delegates, at local and state levels teachers, counselors, tradition rulers Rev. Fathers/Pastors, and youth leaders.
3.2 POPULATION OF THE STUDY
The population of this study comprised of all party ward delegates, state party delegates, counselor, traditional rulers, headmaster/mistress, principals of secondary schools, Rev. Fathers/Pastors and youth leaders from Umuezokoha community, Ndegazu community, Umuoghara community, Oshiegbe community Oriuzor community and Oharugo community.
The population is three hundred (300) persons muezeokoha community has fifty person, Umuohara community has fifty person, Ndieuazu community has fifty persons, Oshiegbe community has fifty persons, Ohanugo community has fifty and Oriuzor community has fifty persons.
3.3 SAMPLE AND SAMPLING TECHNIQUE
The population was sampled using simple random technique. The total number of the population was (300) three hundred fifty person was drawn from each of the six communities which constituted Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The researcher deemed it fit to use 30% of the size, which represent 30% of the target population.
3.4 INSTRUMENT FOR DATA COLLECTION
Instrument for data collection in this study was a structured questionnaire adopted by the researcher as well as personal or oral interview. However there were structured as to elicit the relevant information needed for the study. Consequently, the questionnaire has both content and faces validity as it was structured with different opinion to answer the question which will help in carrying out the research with the help of the project supervisor.
Furthermore, as regards the administration of the questionnaire, the researcher employed the used of hand delivery method, in fact, all 300 copies of the questionnaires distributed came back successfully and carefully filled.
3.5 VALIDATION OF THE INSTRUMENT
The draft was first presented to the project supervisor who made necessary correction as regard the language content and sentence structure. The instrument was also presented to two senior lectures in the department of Arts and Social Science Education and other two lectures in Measurement and evaluation at Ikwo College of Education Abakaliki.
These lectures retted each items in term of sentence structure and adequacy of the instrument. Based on their comments and suggestions, some of the original items was dropped. Therefore the view and suggestion of these experts were incorporated in the final questionnaire.
3.6 METHOD OF DATA ANALYSIS
The data collected were analyzed by the research, through the use of mean and frequency distribution table. Frequency destruction table were developed while mean computed. The mean were calculated thus:
Where x = mean
Z = sum of
F = frequency
N = total number of score
A cut – off point of 2.5 was used as the decision rule. A mean score up to 2.5 was regarded as positive, while mean score below 2.5 were considered negative. This cut – off of 2.5 was obtained by adding the sum of the normal rating value divided by the number of rating items.
Strongly Agreed (SA) = 4 point
Agreed (A) ________ __________ 3 point
Strongly Disagreed (SD) _______ 2 point
Disagreed (D) _________ 1 point
Then mean (grand) x = 10/4 = 2.5
The decision rule is that which is equal or greater then 2.5 was accepted as after affecting the variable under investigation. Any means that was less than 2.5 was rejected or did not affect the variable under investigation.
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
4.2 RESEARCH QUESTION 2
4.3 RESEARCH QUESTION 3 – TABLE
4.4 SUMMARY OF FINDING
5.0 DISCUSSIONS OF FINDINGS, EDUCATIONAL IMPLICATIONS CONCLUSION, RECOMMENDATION AND SUMMARY
The research focused on the influence of religious practicing on the political growth of Ezza – North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Three hundred respondents comprising all party ward delegates, state part delegates, counselor, tradition rulers headmaster/Headmistress, principals of secondary schools Rev. Fr. Pastors and youth leaders from the Communities in the Ezza-North; were interviewed by using the Questionnaires.
The researcher discovered that influence of religion practicing on the political growth of has created a lot of positive impact of the political development in Ezza- North Local Government Area.
It was discovered that, actually, religion and politics co-exist. That, there is no possible means to avoid influence of religious practice on polities.
The study was focused on the influence of religious practices on political on the growth in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, for successful research work to be carried out, three purposes were formulated to guide the study thus
(1) Does influence of religion practices on politics exist.
(2) Does influence of religious practice affects politician positively in their day-to-day political activities.
3. Does influence of religious practice promote political development or growth in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Three research questions were also formulated to guide the research work. The research question include-:
(1) Does influence of religious practice on politics exist.
(2) Does influence of religion promote political growth or development in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State
(3) Dose influence of religious practice enhances politicians in their political activities in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The design employed in the study was descriptive survey. The population of the study was three (300) hundred person or respondents. Due to the population size the researcher deemed it fit to use 30% of the total population.
Data collection was through structured questionnaires. Data was analyzed on individual items using means frequency and standard deviation.
Based on the research work or study on the influence of religious practices on political growth or development in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. The following recommendations were made.
- That based on the finding the positive social charges which Christianity or religions practices has brought into society, it is recommended that the teaching of Christian religion be made compulsory for Christian students up to senior secondary school level of Nigeria educational system.
- That religion being an important part of lives from birth to death and commands immense influence in our national politics it is therefore recommended that government at all level should organize seminars and workshops aimed at enlightening the masses on the positives associated to religious practice as it affect our lives.
- That it is recommended that religious people should be loyal to, and to cooperate with those in authority. And that it is place of those in authority to guarantee religious liberty in the (and. In the this way, religion legitimize, political authority.
- That government should strongly maintain what is documented in the Nigeria constitution, which state that “government shall not establish i.e. adopt any religion as a state religion.
5.4 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The limitation of the research work were as follows:-
1. It was discovered that man hardly succeeds in an act. Hence things have got so repulsive that some even take their answers and so did not give true opinions on the items providing extreme difficulty for researcher to elicited information from such respondents.
2. In most cases, distance disposition of the respondents and materials made the work pose much trouble in appropriate cover of research scope. This was again aggravated by lack of financial assistance as it proves essential commodity in a research engagement.
3. Reluctance and inability to fill in a appropriately by the respondents were also militating against the research, though in spite of all set backs, the researcher kept a look on success which was the research target.
4. Limited time available to the influenced the finding
5.5 SUGGESTION FOR FURTHER STUDIES
Based on the findings and limitation of the study other researchers should address the following areas, which demands for further research work to be carried out.
1. The singular fact that the want of knowledge is insatiable, makes no researcher work complete in itself therefore the researcher is suggesting that more study be undertaken on the influence of religious practices on political growth in Ezza-North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
2. It is also suggested that, this type of research work should be carried out in other States, Federal, private and other schools of higher learning involving larger population. Thus, a study involving the entire country will enhance to promote effective and cordial relationships between politics are religion.
3. Further research on this study will at long run reduce religious conflicts in Nigerians and its implications on Socio-economic in National system of government.