RELIGIOUS POLITICS AND VOTING PATTERN IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF FOURTH REPUBLIC ELECTIONS
1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
In life today, many things come with a pattern. In fashion designing, designers follow a pattern, also shapes in mathematics comes with a pattern, same way with many other variables in life’s endeavors. Also in voting, there is a clearly and a visible pattern that electorates follow knowingly or unknowingly in determining who to vote for and who not to vote for.
Voting pattern has a great impact on the outcome of elections but there are some certain factors that determines voting pattern by electorates. In the United States for example the main factor that affects their voting pattern are “Race, Ideology i.e. liberal, moderates and conservative, also party influences voting pattern.
Coming now to the Nigerian polity, the major influential to the voting pattern are Tribe, Party affiliation and Religion, others variables are minimal. Religion brings about problems even at the stage of conceptualization. All kinds of articulation that correlate to worship of forces or spirits do not have the same characteristics; this occasioned use of family resemblance definition accommodates all unqualified as religion, which in “strictusensu” need not qualify.
Religion is a reality, though it is enigmatic and an elusive subject; hence, it defies a universally acceptable definition. Perceptions of scholars about religion vary. Lucretius said (as cited in (Mukozi, 2009)) Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum (such where the lengths) of wickedness to which religion could persuade human nature to go.
In the same vein, Voltaire insisted “crush that monster, religion and set western man’s spirit free for pursuing this glorious enterprise of raising his culture to Olympian heights” Durrant (1920). For these scholars and those of their likes, religion is a hindrance to human self-actualization. There is no doubt that religion can be viewed in this light when it has been turned into an ideological tool or else, why did Karl Marx see it as the opium of the people. A palliative used by the leaders to hold the masses in check.
In the hand of a villain, religion can be a cog in the wheel of progress and massaging of the ego and dehumanization of the people, while in the hand of a “saint” it becomes an instrument for humanization. For Ejizu (2011), man’s value system and attitudinal orientations are basically the functions of one’s religious belief. Man as an individual is subject to a God who has created him Makozi (2009).
For man, the content of religion shapes the individual’s life in society, regulates his relationship with other human beings and is at the root of political order for the fact that it gives legitimacy to civil law and forms of sovereignty. We can hold at this point that religion can become a double-edged sword. In short, it can become a paradoxical instrument in the hand of a few or even the state. Politics is derived from the Greek root “polis” which means city state. Implicitly is the idea of governance in the word “polis”.
For Onyekpe (2012), “politics is about the control and exercise of power”. Madu (2013) sees it as “an integral feature of man’s social existence and interaction”. In the understanding of Ejizu (2009), it is a dynamic process whereby human and other human resources are managed, directed after due mobilization to ensure the enforcement of public policy and decision in the bid to regulate social order.
Some scholars use the term politics in an appropriate sense: the struggle for power and the actual exercise of authority and power. Vastly speaking, politics encompasses every phase and areas of life in society, for it is essentially about governance. Philosophy etymologically speaking is love of wisdom. Philosophy has the good, the beauty and the truth as it objects (Ogugua, 2010); we can say without fear of contradiction that philosophy is a search for the truth.
Jesus Christ did say that he was the way, the truth, and the life, so one could add that philosophy was the way and life at least as a pointer such as must X-ray morality and values expressed by Christ Jesus. Is it not this truth that philosophy is concerned with that made Socrates posit and the famous philosophical dictum “man know thyself”? The scriptures made it too clear that the truth would set us free. Philosophy is a path to knowledge and wisdom. Bacon has been presented to have said that knowledge is power. Knowledge is a path or a step to wisdom. Only the one who knows himself and has himself under control is wise.
To be wise is to know what one knows, and to know and appreciate that one does not know everything and to make efforts in the bid to know more about reality and life, and live this knowledge. Or else why did Plato tie knowledge to virtue? Madu (2013) states. Therefore, in a way, knowledge and its application within one’s existential situations sets one free.
In other words, knowledge is synonymous with the truth. There is no doubt that possession of knowledge will assist one to identify the “why”, the “how” and the “what” of things. But we beg to disagree with Madu that knowledge is synonymous with the truth and that applying it within one’s existential situation sets one free. We ask how knowledge of money in the bank, knowledge of the strength of security in the bank and knowledge of the shift run in the bank make one’s plot to break into the bank to “help” himself set the said person free?
So at this juncture, we relate the “know yourself” injunction to the Nigerian society (state). In fact, the existence of the web of relationship among men for mutual intercourse presupposes equally the feature of estrangement and strife among men. In this paper, we attempt to point out the root causes of the problems bedeviling our nation as a result of religious politics and voting pattern in Nigeria.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Since the return of democracy in 2014, Elections in Nigeria are marred with a political behaviour of rigging, the manipulation of religion, ethnicity, regionalism and nepotism as observed by Olayode (2015), Metumara (2010), &Rufa‟I (2011). Voters are voting during elections based on their affinity with leaders that belong to the same religious groups, ethnic cleavages, region and other sentiments.
Elections were marred with the culture of rigging, malpractices, intimidation of both voters and opposition, use of violence and political thuggery most especially by the ruling party using the power of incumbency. This at times invited military to overthrow the civilian regimes. This process leads to many Republics in the country emerging and disappearing constantly.
The history of Presidential elections in Nigeria which took place ten times; twice during the First Republic, Twice during the Second Republic, once in an Aborted Third Republic and five times in the present Fourth Republic is characterized with impunity, religious bias, ethnicity, regionalism, tribalism and rigging.
Voting pattern is mostly based on the above qualities instead of issue-based campaign and elections. The political behaviour of voters is that of having their votes casted on those whom they belong to the same ethnic, religious and regional affiliation even if the other candidate is better and has an outstanding record of better performance.
1.3 AIMS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The major aim of the study is to examine a religious politics and voting pattern in Nigeria: a case study of fourth republic elections. Other specific objectives of the study include;
- To examine the voting pattern in Nigeria fourth republic elections.
- To examine religion as a factor in election voting pattern in Nigeria
- To examine the influence of religious politics on voting pattern in Nigeria during the fourth republic elections.
- To examine the factors that affects individuals voting pattern.
- To examine the relationship between religious politics and voting pattern in Nigeria.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What are the voting patterns in Nigeria fourth republic elections?
- Can religion serve as a factor in election voting pattern in Nigeria?
- What is the influence of religious politics on voting pattern in Nigeria during the fourth republic elections?
- What are the factors that affect individuals voting pattern?
- What is the relationship between religious politics and voting pattern in Nigeria?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: There is no significant impact of religious politics on voting pattern in Nigeria during the fourth republic elections
H1: There is a significant impact of religious politics on voting pattern in Nigeria during the fourth republic elections
H0: There is no significant relationship between religious politics and voting pattern in Nigeria.
H1: There is a significant relationship between religious politics and voting pattern in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study would enlighten relevant stakeholders such as, political parties, candidates and civic society organization, on the influence of religion on voting pattern in Nigeria. The study would also be of immense benefit to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in developing further studies on the subject matter.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The study is restricted to religious politics and voting pattern in Nigeria: a case study of fourth republic elections
LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
- DEFINITION OF TERMS
Voting pattern: is a form of political behaviour exhibited by electorate. It’s the systematic study of the voting patterns of the electorate of a given constituency in an election which provides insight into the sociology of the voters, factors that influence their voting patterns and the direction of their votes.
Election: involves the choice of persons who are to exercise authority on behalf of the people. It is a democratic means by which people choose their representatives or rulers. It allows the people to choose between two or more alternatives. Elections are held in every sphere of life where all the people cannot be directly involved such as clubs, churches, schools, professional associations etc.
Religion: the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
INSTRUCTIONS AFTER PAYMENT
- 1.Your Full name
- 2. Your Active Email Address
- 3. Your Phone Number
- 4. Amount Paid
- 5. Project Topic
- 6. Location you made payment from