HomeLUMINAvol. 20 no. 1 (2009)

Religious Space in the Nigerian Public Sphere: Its Burdens and Prospects

Jacob Kehinde Ayantayo

Discipline: Religion, Sociology, Politics



It is sociological truism that public sphere discourse is multidimensional and multidisciplinary in content and context1. Relating it to Governance in Africa to which, it is closely knitted, we notice that more often than not an average political scientist across the globe does think that African public sphere particularly political spaces are primarily characterised mainly by political smartness, ingenuity, manipulation, strategising, calculating, harnessing of good political manifestoes, consistent campaigns, simple foresightedness, formulation and effective execution of political policies among other factors2. But this is not absolutely the case in Nigeria3 where religion is always a factor in her public sphere. This remains constant in spite of the belief in some quarters that religion is redundant in the modern age. Therefore, those who belong to such school of thought even advocated for the death of religion4. In Nigeria, this obvious fact has not received much academic attention in governance and public sphere discourse, hence the justification of this study which, surveys and discusses the content, intent and context of religious spaces in Nigerian public sphere as manifested in sacredizing, sacrilegizing andcolourizing of politics and election, interpreting of political manifestoes, voting patterns, choosing of candidates and party leadership, swearing of oath of office designing and executing political policy from religious points of view, to mention but a few. Attention is also paid to the implications of the above variables for promotion of political ethics and ideologies in the modern Nigeria.