Religion Has Too Much Influence on African Elections: A Case Study Of Nigeria Elections: Razak Kojo Opoku Writes

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Razak Kojo Opoku
Razak Kojo Opoku

Tinubu of the ruling APC has officially been declared the winner of the 2023 Presidential election of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Tinubu polled 36% placing first, Atiku polled 29% placing second, Peter Obi (“the Social Media President”) polled 25% placing third, Rabiu Kwankwaso polled 6% placing fourth and the remaining presidential candidates together polled 2.7%.

Bola Tinubu Ahmed is a Muslim from the South West part of Nigeria and Kashim Shettima is also Muslim from the Northern part of Nigeria.

Since 1999, all major political parties have been presenting either Christian-Muslim Ticket or Muslim-Christian Ticket aimed at achieving a broad support across the Country. Until 2015, the population of Muslims and Christians have always been 50% and 50% respectively. In 2015, the Christians population of Nigeria dropped to an estimated figure of around 48.1%, reduced to 45.9% in 2022/2023.
The Muslims population in Nigeria maintains at 50% in 2015 and further increased to 53.5% in 2022/2023.

Maybe, the statistical analysis of the Muslims and Christians population in Nigeria largely influenced the decisions of Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to elect Muslim-Muslim Ticket for the first time in the history of the Country’s multi-party democracy, violating an unwritten accepted convention against presenting the same religion presidential tickets, and it is an important convention that helps to ensure religious diversity and national cohesion.

Many Nigerians and non-Nigerians heavily criticized and condemned Tinubu’s decision to go with the Muslim-Muslim Ticket. It was such a serious POLITICAL RISK that Tinubu took. Almost 90% of the Christian Community in Nigeria including powerful and leading Pastors/Bishops in the Southern Nigeria especially in Lagos and Abuja openly condemned and campaign against the Muslim-Muslim Ticket of Tinubu.

Bishop David Oyedepo, the General Overseer and Founder of Living Faith Ministries also known as Winners Chapel International justifying the disappointment of the Christian Community in Nigeria reportedly stated that “we will soon have a Fulani-Fulani Ticket and we will soon have a Hausa-Hausa Ticket, We will soon have a Yoruba-Yoruba Ticket”.

It is important to point out that, Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups but the most populous, dominate and politically influential ones in terms of quantum of votes are:
1. Hausa and Fulani(29%)
2. Yoruba(21%)
3. Igbo(18%)
4. Ijaw(10%)
5. Kanuri(4%)
6. Ibibio(3.5%)
7.Tiv(2.5%)

Muslims and Christians dominance have largely been influencing Nigeria Elections since multi-party democracy was restored in Nigeria in 1999.

1. 1n 1999, PDP won the Presidential election with a Christian-Muslim Ticket.

2. In 2003, PDP again won the Presidential election with a Christian-Muslim Ticket.

3. In 2007, PDP won the Presidential election with a Muslim-Christian Ticket for the first time. This may due to the years of excellent performance of Obasanjo’s government and 50%-50% respective population of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria at that time.

4. In 2011, PDP won the Presidential election with a Christian-Muslim Ticket just like they did so in 1999 and 2003. Again, in 2011 according to data, it was 50%-50% of Muslims and Christians in Nigeria at that period.

5. In 2015, PDP lost the Presidential election with a Christian-Muslim Ticket.
In 2015, the Christians population in Nigeria has reduced to 48.1% and with Muslims still maintaining their 50% population.

6. In 2019, PDP lost the Presidential election with a Muslim-Christian even though, the Muslims in Nigeria at that period were almost 53.5% and Christians were 45.9%. This is because the APC also presented a Muslim-Christian Ticket and Buhari as a Fulani has the full support of his tribesmen who are also a dominant tribe in Nigeria.

7. In 2023, PDP has lost the Presidential election with a Muslim-Christian Ticket. This is largely due to the Muslim-Muslim Ticket of APC and current population of Muslims in Nigeria, 53.5%.

However, the All Progressives Congress(APC):

1. In 2015, won the Presidential election with a Muslim-Christian Ticket.

2. In 2019, won the Presidential election with a Muslim-Christian Ticket.

3. In 2023, has won the Presidential election with a Muslim-Muslim Ticket for the first time in the history of Nigerian elections and multi-party democracy.

Tinubu, popularly and widely known as the “godfather of Nigerian Politics” took a very risky decision of Muslim-Muslim Ticket, received all the condemnations and attacks from the Christian Community and opposition parties yet still went ahead to decisively win the 2023 Presidential election of Nigeria. This is a very historic victory and unprecedented. Tinubu has proven to be indeed the godfather of Nigerian Politics

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