The literature review cut across democracy, religion, religious conflicts, ethno- religious political strives, and the effect religious beliefs have on the growth of democracy, false religious practices hampering democratic ideals.
            Abraham Lincoln (1863) defined democracy as “the government of the people, by the people and for the people”.

            According to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English language, democracy is “government by the people or their elected representatives, a political or social unit governed ultimately by all its members.
            Edward Burnett Tylor (1871) defined religion as “The belief in spiritual begins”.
            William James (1902) defined religion as “The feelings, acts, and experiences of individual men in their solitude, so far as they apprehend themselves to stand in relation to whatever they may consider the divine”. By the term “divine” James meant “any object that is godlike, whether it be a concrete deity or not’ to which the individual feels impelled to respond with solemnity and gravity”
            Emile Durkheim (1912) defined religion as a “unified system of believes and practices relative to sacred things”. By sacred things, he meant things “set apart and forbidden”. Sacred things are not however, limited to gods or spirit. On the contrary, a sacred thing can be a “a rock, a tree, a spring, a pebble, a price of wood, a house, in a word, anything can be sacred”.
            Jibrin Ibrahim and Toure Kazah- Toure (1999) opines that there has been an explosion of political and religious conflicts in Nigeria since the return of democracy in May 1999. The expectations that the departure of military rule would reduce arbitrary rule, allay fears of ethnic and religious persecution, consequently reduce political tension and conflict have not happened yet. On the contrary, the number of conflicts has been increasing and their spread has been widening. As the level of violence grows, their locations are becoming more provincial and the consequence is that political, ethnic and religious tolerance has been declining dramatically.
            Jibrin Ibrahim (1991) argues that the usual explanation for the growth of ethno- religious conflicts in Nigeria is that one majority group or the other is monopolizing power. A closer appreciation of the political situation in the country will however reveal that it is simplistic to continue to assume that the steady decline of political and religious tolerance in the country is a direct result of the political domination of the country by one or even three hegemons. The Nigeria political elite have been involved in an intense struggle to have access to what has been called the national cake. In that process, patterns of political domination are constantly being transformed. The most significant sociological variable in Nigeria over the past twenty years is the astronomical growth of the level of religiosity in society.
            Laura Huber (2012) states that ethic tensions are often connected with religious relations and conflicts as certain ethnic groups generally identify with a specific religion. Conflicts that may begin with an ethnic issue can easily take on a religious character and vice verse. In the north, the predominant religion is Islam which is practiced by the majority Hausa-Fulani ethnic group. According to the United States department of state, muslins account for about 50 percent of the population of Nigeria. In the southern eastern region are Igbo where Christianity is the major religion and southern western section is the Yoruba’s with a mixture of Christianity and traditional beliefs. Great diversities still exist within these religions. For example, both Sunni and Shia muslins live within Nigerian. Similarly, various members of Christian denominations such Roman catholic, Anglican, Baptists Methodists etc exist throughout the country.
           Aguwa Jude C. (1997) believes that religious affiliations in Nigeria and historical memories of domination and oppression create a deep seated fear among Nigerians that their rights and religion will be violated by their fellow Nigerians. This sense of insecurity has been cultivated and manipulated throughout Nigerian’s history.
            The United States national intelligence council (2005), revealed that religious strife in Nigeria could lead to military take over of power. Olusegun Obasanjo, former president of Nigeria, dismissed it as spurious and the authors of the reports as ‘prophets of doom”.
            Pastor Ladi Thompson (2008); initiator of Macedonian Initiative (MI) and researcher on religious terrorism, raised a similar alarm in his publication to that of Untied States national intelligence council that terrorists (religious terrorists) had infiltrated the country. 
            Gwamna Dogara Je’adayibe and Amango kudu A. (2012) wrote in their publication “sliding towards Armageddon: revisiting ethno religious crisis in Nigeria” that Nigeria has witnessed violent ethno-religious crises since the exit of democracy in 1999.The democratic space seems to have provided the launching pad of these crises. Today, the term “ethnic-religion conflicts” has become popular due to its religious and ethnic underpinnings. We seem to be heading towards a precipice of unpleasant consequences.
            Amango Kudu al stated in “sliding towards Armageddon” that ethno-religious crisis in Nigeria have presented many challenges that border on security. What we are witnessing according to them through these crisis is a transfer of aggression from one grievance to innocent Nigerians. For example, in the Jos crisis, the Hausa –Fulani have been piqued against Christians instead of confronting plateau state government in order to resolve their areas of disagreements.
            Rev. Fr Kukah (2010) writing on the politics of the second republic (1979-1983) and the success of the NPN in the election that took place while citing Louis Cantori’s work, noted that apart from having the great advantage of old politicians, or because of it, the NPN displayed a great sense of political ecumenism. The NPN has perfected this trick of pragmatic politics during the first republic, when, in some constituencies where it knew its chances were slim, it backed Christian candidates rather than Muslims. The NPN managed to expand this strategy in 1979, that at that election, it succeeded in moving through the middle belt and other non-Muslim minorities states with ease of a combined harvester, picking up the ripe votes on its way to victory. While many watchers or participants in those elections could have disagreed with this argument, it nevertheless helps to explain the connection between religion and politics in a particular context- Nigeria’s complex political terrain.
            Louis Cantori (1998) wrote that in 1993, Chief MKO Abiola and Alhaji Baba Gana kingibe, the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) were both Muslims. But Nigerians regardless of their religious inclinations voted for the joint Muslim ticket. In fact, most Christians did not support the Muslim/ Christian ticket of Alhaji Bashir Tofa and Dr. Sylvester Ugoh. But following the nationwide resistance against the annulment of the June 12 presidential election, religion was exploited to keep the people divided by General Ibrahim Badamogi Babangida, himself a Muslim. Since then, religion and ethnicity have been manipulated by vision-less ruling elite to confuse the masses and divert their attention from the crisis of under development in the land.
            Olisa Agbakoba (SAN) (2001) noted in the forward to the book – the fundamental right to religion, “In the midst of the search for democratic norms to stabilize the new democracy, religion ferment is brewing”. Essentially, the core principles that formed the underlining foundation on which most religious are based include truth, moral uprightness, love and the unity of all mankind, among others. Some contributors to the debate on the role of religion in the building of Nigerians democracy have feared that the prevailing conscious deviation from these principles by religious leaders and adherents might soon lead to the extinction of religion as an agent for propelling social change. Even among religious leaders themselves, concerns have been expressed that the replacement of love, truth, oneness and unity, which had been the roots on which all faith had been based, with vices such as self-centeredness, lies and falsehood, greed and hatred bred by fanaticism, had eroded the respect that was once accorded religion and religious leaders.
            Late Archbishop Benson Idahosa (1997) in his speech at the second biennial conference of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria held in Lagos from February 11 to 13, 1997 quoted by Ananaba, stated that through the conference the Pentecostals in the country should be able to identify the genuine ones from the non-genuine ones and to say to the government, “these are whom we are and these are not ours… false prophets, money extractors, gamblers, money doublers that are wearing cassocks are suckers of the public and are not priests. Noting that such imitating shepherds are everywhere, the PFN president urged government to “help locate these men that are using tricks to suck people and get money from ….those who are selling prayers, government should get them arrested. Those who are doubling money in the church, government should get them arrested.
            Late Archbishop Benson Idahosa (1997) also asserted that the advent of democracy has worsened the above situation as it has elicited the concerns expressed by him. The situation today is such that some religious leaders directly engage in large scale corrupt practices through various subtle means or encourage the governing class in the act of loathing public funds. Just as the political leaders in the country have failed to imbibe democratic principles which preach fairness sand equity, they have found allies among the country’s religious leaders who assist politicians that have stolen the people’s mandates to conduct thanksgiving service in their worship places as a way of “thanking” God for making it possible for them to rig, elections. Why should respected men of God join in celebrating, and even lead, a ceremony to mark the robbery that has been perpetrated in the polling stations and other places connected with the process of electioneering? Under normal circumstance, religious leaders should only adhere to the truth and follow the path of honour and righteousness, but with due respect, there is a common deviation from this virtue among most of our religious leaders. Quite a large section of the populace have lost confidence in leaders who represent various faiths in the country for the failure of the religious leaders to support what is right at crucial times rather than lining behind corrupt politicians who deny the people the benefits that are associated with democratic governance.   
            G. A. Akinola (2009) of the Department of History, University of Ibadan in expressing displeasure at the negative impact of religion on Nigeria democracy highlighted that “the neo-Christian unabashed identification of God with mammon has reduced the teaching of Jesus to a hankering after material success, including the acquisition of power and influence, often at the expense of the lives and happiness of others. Since a quasi-blind faith in the new doctrines is guaranteed  a solution to all problems, may evangelicals cultivate or affect a blank optimism, whose effect is comparable to that of a narcotize merely “believing” and declaring that all is well, without a reinforcing and pragmatic ethnic, is yet to produce lasting results, especially in the ness that pervades the country today.
            As Akiatola observed, “the wider significance of punctilious religious observance, devoid of basic humanity, is constantly manifested in recurrent sectarian riots and upheavals, particularly in northern Nigeria. Even the most highly educated of the latter are starkly ignorant and lacking in creativity with respect to bringing the teaching of Jesus to bear on societal problems. This is surprising since they are ill-informed about, or prejudiced against their own culture. Their imported doctrines, which promise a panacea to all mundane problems, serve only to keep a hid on popular discontent, to the advantage of reprobate rulers. The latter, perhaps in appreciation neither tax the churches, nor inquire into the fortunes they make in the enterprise of commercialized evangelism.
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