November 28, 2022

Irewole Alli

The root of the English word, religion (latin religiō), according to the philologist, Max Müller in the 19th century, was originally reverence for God or the gods, careful pondering of divine things, piety (which Cicero further derived to mean diligence).

Going further, Friedrich Schleiermacher in the late 18th century defined religion as das schlechthinnige Abhängigkeitsgefühl, commonly translated as “the feeling of absolute dependence”.

His contemporary Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, disagreed thoroughly, defining religion as “the Divine spirit becoming conscious of himself through the finite spirit.”

Edward Burnett Tylor defined religion in 1871 as “the belief in spiritual beings”.

Politics on the other hand, is the set of activities that are associated with making decisions in groups, or other forms of power relations among individuals, such as the distribution of resources or status.

Definition of politics according to scholars:
According to Harold Lasswell, it’s “he who gets what, when, how.”
David Easton: “the authoritative allocation of values for a society”
Vladimir Lenin: “the most concentrated expression of economics”
Bernard Crick: “a distinctive form of rule whereby people act together through institutionalized procedures to resolve differences”
Adrian Leftwich: “comprises all the activities of co-operation, negotiation and conflict within and between societies”
Manjunath Hegde: “the power, to rule the people”To attain power.

Apparently, its arguable from the above that, religion and politics are not the same. Judging from their definitions, etymologies and characteristics. Also, the State is instrumental to politics and the church; mosques and other places of worship are instrumental to religion.

However, in Nigeria, there is a place of contact for religion and politics, the constitution of Nigeria which is synonymous to politics. This point of contact in Nigeria of today, is the reason for the criticism against Muslim/Muslim ticket having to do with the president and vice president of Nigeria. Freedom of religion, applications of religious law and the right to religious education among others has reference to the constitution and they are lingering religio-political issues in Nigeria.

Therefore, having president and vice president of same faith can indeed be a bothering issue.

Nevertheless, the use of faith to control people’s mind in multiple religion country like Nigeria can be catastrophic. According to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, he argued that “faith and state should be kept separate” as “the most sinister and oppressive states in the world are those that use God to control the minds and actions of their populations”, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Although, Muslim/Muslim Ticket is religiously biased and enough to be worried about, because an extreme form of religious political action, is religious terrorism. Islamic terrorism for example has been evident in the actions of the Islamic State, Boko Haram, Taliban and Al-Qaeda, all paraticioners of jihadism.

Yet, there is a need for more rational approach. The agitation against it must be done meticulously with Prudence and without sentiment and prejudice, for peaceful co-existence.

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