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Conflict of Ideologies in Nigeria

By Kingsley Chibuike

December 1, 2016

There is the need to stress that at the root insecurity, distrust and mutual suspicion in Nigeria are the conflicts between liberal democracy and Sharia ideology. Nigeria was established as a nation upon the principles and practice of liberal democracy. According to the Willink’s Commission Report of 1958: “The whole structure of the proceedings leading to independence is based on the belief that Nigeria meant to follow the road of liberal democracy and parliamentary government and to base part of the structure on the opposite assumption is to invite government to do their worst. But if the road is followed (liberal democracy and parliamentary government), votes will count and in the last resort it is votes that will win fair treatment for minorities.”

Bearing in mind the huge ethnic, cultural, religious and racial diversities in Nigeria, it was deemed necessary that an all accommodating ideology would be required to ensure justice, equality, and fairness for all the divergent groups in the nation. Unfortunately, a group is known as “Islamists” has been working surreptitiously, over the years to supplant liberal democracy with Sharia as the “source of legislation” in Nigeria, over and above the Constitution. The present day state of global Islam makes it imperative for a distinction to be made between Islam and Islamism. While Islam is a religion, Islamism otherwise called “political Islam”, is a set of ideologies that holds that Islam is not only a religion but a political system”.

As a political system, Islamists insist that Islam is meant to dominate the environment in which it is practised. In a sharply divergent society like Nigeria, any attempt to implement the principles of Islamism portends great danger for the nation. The various military government of Nigeria, starting from the regime of Murtala Muhammad in 1975, did not hide their preferences for the imposition of Islamism upon Nigeria.

The military changed the status of Nigeria and commenced attempts to make the nation an Islamic nation first by making it an OIC observer and thereafter to full membership of the organisation of Islamic conference (OIC). Later, Nigeria was made a member of the Islamic is clear to the NCEF that since the amalgamation of 1914, the Islamists have been in control of Northern Nigeria, while the majority of Christians were in the south. READ ALSO: Dogara asked me to pass Sharia bill quietly – Hon Salame The military government of General Babangida merely extended Islamism to the south of Nigeria by Nigeria’s full membership in the OIC.

Thus, in 1981 the race to make Nigeria an Islamic state was accelerated. Evidently, this ideological competition between liberal democracy and Islamism has not helped Nigeria concerning development, progress, peace and security and the reason can be found in the conclusions of several thinkers that liberal democracy and Sharia are not compatible. For Islamists of a radical disposition, like the influential Egyptian activist Sayyid Qutb, “Democracy and Islam are simply incompatible“. The British, in their characteristic divide and rule policy, left Nigeria with democracy.