By Bosun Obafemi
Religion is a way of life and worship of a supreme being. This has to do with the belief in worshipping and praying to a superhuman controlling supernatural power.
There are five notable big religions among several thousands in the world having millions of adherents. These include: Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism. According to Wikipedia, the total number of religions in the world is estimated to be 10,000 but 84 percent of adherents are affiliated to the notable five mentioned above.
In Nigeria, Christianity and Islam are the domineering religions having over 90 percent of Nigerians as acclaimed devotees – considering along the nominal, semi-nominal and highly religious members.
Politics, on the other hand, means the act of carrying out activities that have to do with making decisions among individuals or groups of people with respect to the distribution of power and resources.
It should be noted that politics is involved in every human interaction or relationship because of the inevitable personal interest and aspiration.
Religious teachings of Christianity, Islam and Traditional
In Nigeria, there are three major religious groups: Christianity, Islam and Traditional; of which the first two are embraced by majority of Nigerians.
All three religions are known for aligning and preaching about the importance of a good relationship with God or a god who is believed to possess divine characteristics worthy of emulation for the attainment of peace, safety, daily provision and possibly, after death benefits.
Each religion has doctrines as a template for behaviour which are spelt out in a written form. For example, Christian doctrines are documented in the Holy Bible while that of Islam is in the Holy Quran. For the Traditionalists, it is believed to be in parts. All of these books profess goodly characters and abhor evil practices in any form.
Juxtaposing the actual teaching in these Holy Books to the real encounter with most adherents has revealed a deep disconnection. And this has made it possible for anybody to hide under religion to advance personal agenda. Bible (Numbers 22:10-41), Quran (Surah Al-Munafiqun – 1-11)
Politics in the eye of human rights, equity, fairness and justice
The 1948 United Nations declaration of human rights spelt out 30 rights and freedom every person is entitled to as a human being. These include: the right to life, the right to freedom of expression, the right to liberty, privacy, education and political right among others.
The intention of this declaration is to uphold the doctrine of equity, fairness and justice in the course of daily interaction between the people and the state and generally within and among the people themselves (UN Article of Human Rights Declaration, 1948).
These rights have been incorporated in every drafted Nigerian constitution and the 1999 constitution is not exempted. However, successive governments have related with the people in violation of these rights either by military or civilian. The experience of Nigerians has been of the two folds. First, the denial of the people to choose their own choice of leaders. This is in the case where elections are massively rigged to deny preferred candidates, or through the staging of military coup. Second, the unfaithfulness of the political class in fulfilling electoral promises by engaging in corrupt practices. This corruption also pervaded the military era (e.g., Abacha Loot). Common Nigerians have indeed been constantly pauperized.
This style of administration of government has created a big gap between the poor and the rich. In fact, the middle class has almost fizzled out. Preferential treatment has been the order of government in allocating state resources. The judiciary has also become part of the rot. How do you explain a scenario where a common man who stole whatever was worth five hundred thousand naira was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, sometimes without an option of fine; while a considered high profile individual in a place of authority of trust who stole billions of naira is not only granted bail during prosecution, but finally sentenced to two years imprisonment with option of paying few millions of naira as a fine after being found guilty. That is the case of travesty of judgement in Nigeria.