Focus 2023: Religious Bigotry, Spiritualism And Ethnic Jingoism

Religions are belief systems that relate humanity to spirituality. Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are. While the word religion is hard to define, one standard model of religion used in religious … Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories.

Furthermore, religious activities and ideals are found in political platforms, business models, and constitutional laws, and have historically produced rationales for countless wars. Some people adhere to the messages of a religious text to a tee, while others pick and choose aspects of a religion that best fit their personal needs. In other words, religion is present in a number of socially significant domains and can be expressed in a variety of different levels of commitment and fervour.

In the simplest sense, religion describes “the relationship of human beings to what they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual or divine”. It is usually accompanied by a set of organized practices which foster a community of people who share that faith. As discussed above, belief is a broader term and it also includes “commitments which deny a dimension of existence beyond this world” therefore, the focus of every Nigerian in the coming election 2023, is to vote for a President that is Pan-Nigeria, someone who is not an ethnic jingoist or religious bigot.

Unarguably, belief is a state of the mind when we consider something true even though we are not 100% sure or able to prove it. Everybody has beliefs about life and the world they experience. Mutually supportive beliefs may form belief systems, which may be religious, philosophical or ideological. If a religion teaches or allows one to hate another religion; if it uses fear to teach or inculcate its doctrines, then it’s time to dump it and embrace spirituality.

In contrast, spirituality means different things to different people; it does take into account a belief in a higher power or say something bigger than ourselves along with a determined search for greater meaning. Consider this: some people may regularly attend a place of religious significance. Others may choose to meet to walk outdoors or even take part in social action projects, by way of seeking enormous inspiration from nature or humanity.

Similarly, spirituality is the broad concept of a belief in something beyond the self. It may involve religious traditions centering on the belief in a higher power, but it can also involve a holistic belief in an individual connection to others and to the world as a whole. Spirituality is not a single path or belief system. There are many ways to experience spirituality and the benefits of a spiritual experience. For some people, this might involve the belief in a higher power or a specific religious practice.

On the other hand, ethnic jingoism, an attitude of belligerent nationalism, or a blind adherence to the rightness or virtue of one’s own nation, society, or group, simply because it is one’s own. The term is the approximate equivalent of chauvinism (in one of its meanings), originally a French word (chauvinisme) denoting excessive or irrational patriotism. The term apparently originated in England during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–78, when the British Mediterranean squadron was sent to Gallipoli to restrain Russia and war fever was aroused.

Flowing from the above, we have a situation right now – in the making – that has capacity to further questioned our ‘Nigerianess’ and increase our fault-lines. It is obvious that a particular presidential candidate’s message is resonating among our vibrant citizenry, particularly in the Southern part of the country and youths demography – which may not necessarily achieve the desire objective, because the driving spirit is purely inspired and motivated by emotion and sentiments. Sadly the danger inherent is the ethnic and religious coloration that has been introduced to the campaign.

Interestingly, Nigeria, a multi-ethnic and religious nation, has different tribes with different cultures, different religions with different belief systems and different persons with different orientations and opinions. Our diversity is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing if we understand the most fundamental of human rights — respect for all individuals as equals.

Instructively, through inter-ethnic marriage, one can enjoy the business-oriented nature of the Igbos, leadership spirit of Hausas and intelligence and knowledgeable nature of the Yorubas. However, our diversity will be considered a curse if it creates repulsive irritability among us. Particularly, in our current political journey towards 2023 – given the ethnic and religious coloration that a particular presidential candidate has taken.

Unfortunately, we are no longer what we were, the family chain has broken down. If our present generation slit each others throats, burn down each others houses, call each other names and throw insults and hate speeches on social media and display all forms of resentments despite the fact that we attended the same school, grew up together and befriended each other irrespective of our identity, what do you think would happen in the run up to the 2023 general elections and years to come now that there is absolutely no mutuality among us? As long as we continue perceiving things from our own perspective only, we are doomed.

If it is true that the future of our nation rest on the shoulders of our youths today, then the world we all dream for our children and their children after them will forever be a mirage. In conclusion, permit me to appeal to the consciences of our fellow compatriots and in particular leaders of faith among whom I have respected fathers in faith, to tone down on their respective messages regarding 2023 and nationhood.



Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI

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