Political Islam: Fundamentalism and the Politicisation of Religion in Nigeria.

Political Islam refers to the belief that Islam as a religion has a guiding political doctrine and clearly stated injunctions about how state and society should be ordered. It involves an avowed commitment and dedication to the establishment of an Islamically ordered society based on the principles of the Islamic law, Sharia. In the last three decades, Nigeria has remained a theatre of violent ethno-religious conflicts from the Maitatsine uprising in Kano, Kaduna, Plateau to the more recent Boko Haram insurrection in Bauchi, Borno, Yobe and Kogi states, the narrative has been that of wanton destruction of lives and property with grave consequences for national stability and development. This study examines the interface between religion and politics in Nigeria. The purpose is to determine whether political Islam plays any role in promoting non-sectarian politics in Nigeria as well as whether agitations for political Islam and the politicisation of religion has any correlation with the rise of religious fundamentalism and its attendant violent confrontation with the Nigerian state. In a historical and analytical manner, the study argues that the upsurge in religious fundamentalism and the consequent violence are not unconnected with the character of the Nigerian state, nature of its politics, the character of the ruling elite, ineptitude and incompetence in governance, economic mismanagement, unbridled corruption, mass illiteracy and the generally unfavourable government policies which have impacted negatively on the generality of the people especially in the northern part of the country. The study reveals that both Islam and Christianity have been enmeshed in local politics from inception and that there is the ‘enemy perception’ between Muslims and Christians in the Northern part of the country and this has a history of deep seated feelings of ethnic rivalry, marginalisation and domination such that religion is often used to promote these non-sectarian interests and sentiments. The study submits that unless the country embarks on fundamental political restructuring such as the devolution of power and the creation of a more balance federalism, prudent economic management, mass literacy, employment creation to reduce the high level of poverty as well as a commitment and sustained war on corruption, violence against the state in the name of religious fundamentalism may go on unabated in Nigeria.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Lagos.
Religion , Political Islam , Politics , Growth and Development , Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Political science::Peace and development research
Ashiru, N.O (2014), Political Islam: Fundamentalism and the Politicisation of Religion in Nigeria. A Thesis Submitted to University of Lagos School of Postgraduate Studies Phd Thesis and Dissertation, 199pp.