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2023 Presidential Elections: Nigeria In A Religious Crossroad

The Nigeria general election of 2023 has been described as a pivot in the nation’s history that will shape the religious trajectory and dynamics in many years to come. The top three contenders for the presidential seat deliberately or in deliberately exude religious connotations that their supporters gravitate towards. 

The candidate of the APC and his Vice are both Muslim, the candidate of the PDP is a Northern Muslim different from the APC who is a southern Muslim and considered “less Muslim”. The candidate of the Labour party, a Christian, gathers supporters who are Christian sympathizers. These religious leanings are feared to have roots and consequences on Nigeria’s peace and unity in the near future. The Voice Magazine captures these dynamics in its January-March 2023 edition below. 

"Nigeria, from every indication, is at a pivotal point in its history," they opine. "The election in 2023 will determine whether the nation grows as an entity or continues to disintegrate." 

"Such is their growing confidence in winning that northern Islamic political groups and fundamentalists have fielded both presidential and vice-president. 

"If successful they may then ‘push for an Islamic state as has been championed by radical groups such as Boko Haram, Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), Ansaru, and militias devastating Christian communities in central Nigeria.

The call by southern regional ethnic groups for cessation is yet another growing development.

Overshadowing these challenges are the persistent attacks against predominantly Christian communities in the Middle Belt region. In 2022 alone it was reported that more than 6,000 Christians were killed and around 17 villages destroyed by Fulani militias. There are currently more than two million internally displaced people in Nigeria.

"Kidnapping for ransom," the Voice Magazine pointed out, "has now become the major money earner for terrorist groups while victims of rape and people living with disabilities due to the attacks continue to grow among the Christian communities. Hundreds of thousands of children in these Christian villages are either unable to go to school or cannot access any good education."

The magazine added that the elections in February and March (for president, governorships, and membership of the assembly and senate) may well determine whether the agitating groups support nationhood or pursue independence either peacefully or violently. 

Even if the Labour Party presidential candidate, who is a Christian, wins The Voice Magazine believes he may not be able to govern effectively because of the grip the northern elites have on the country.

This grip is demonstrated in the confidence that northern Islamic political hegemony pushed for both presidential and vice-presidential candidates in the ruling party to come from their fold and got it.

The call to restructure the Nigerian constitution becomes the key factor for the nation. Unless Nigeria is structured and the constitution was rewritten to give every region its autonomy and identity, minority groups, who are predominantly Christians, will continue to be persecuted and live as second-class citizens to the Muslims whose ultimate agenda, the Voice Magazine, believes is to make the nation an Islamic state.

Whichever way the 2023 Presidential Election goes, Nigeria is a nation in need of prayers. And a miracle. 

Culled from The Voice Magazine

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