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Ethnicity And Religious Sentiments by Hassan Idris

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Hassan Idris
 Ethnicity And Religious Sentiments : The Major Treat to Nigerian Social Structures.

I would like to start my piece with the quotations of two prominent social thinkers, which are Mahatma Gandhi and Maya Angelou's.

"In reality, there are as many religions as there are individuals; but those who are conscious of the spirit of nationality  do not interfere with one another's religion. If they do,they are not fit to be considered as nation". ( mahatma Gandhi).

"It is time for parents to teach Young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength".( Maya Angelou's).

However, it is of paramount important to note that Nigeria is a pluralistic society. Whereas, an American heritage dictionary of English language defines pluralism as " a condition of society in which numerous distinct ethnic ,religious or cultural groups coexist within one Nation.

 While pluralism to Otite( 1990:2), Pluralist society is a society that is characterized by coexisting  but distinct cultural diversities and compulsory social institutions which determines and guide the individual and group behaviors of the incorporated peoples.

From the above definitions, we can understand that; Nigeria is an ethnic and pluralist society with divers ethnic groups and religion differences since its inception as  Nation in 1960.

 On the other hand,ethnic group maybe described as a collection of people who share the same myth's of their origin,the same language and the same cultures( collections of symbols, rituals and mores). Members of a particular ethnic group are conscious of their own identity by being able to identify other groups that do not share the same traits mentioned above.

 Correspondingly," Emile David Durkheim " defined religion as a unified system of beliefs and practices relative to sacred things,I,e things separate and profane, which unite into a single moral community. ( Durkheim 1915:957).

Furthermore,there is no doubt that one of the Major problems of modern day Nigeria is that of crisis of identity, ethnicity,religious sentiments and consciousness which is often triggered by primordial loyalties, religious bigotry and forces of centrifugalism.

Consequently, so many ethno-religious conflict and counter conflicts has took place and are still taking place in Nigeria.Besides, the catalyst of such conflict is religious and ethnic differences. For examples, the concurrent massacres in the name of the so called 'Herdsmen' in Benue state was geared by ethnic sentiment. Also,the Jukun-Fulani unrest in Taraba is also influenced by Ethnicity and cultural differences.
Ethno-religious differences conflicts has brought about all these multiple conflicts in Nigeria particularly In North-eastern part of the country, which heightened identity,religious consciousness and contests has become more volatile today.

 Thus,today religion has been demonized as one of the negative forces of conflict mobilizer and the catalyst for hatred in Nigeria.

To captivate, ethnicity and religious sentiments are the Major  treat to the Nigerian social structures. Therefore, religion has fail its function in Nigeria. Religion is an institution design to bring about peace and spiritual serenity among people, but unfortunately the reverse is the case in Nigeria.

In conclusion,if these issues are not checkmate sociologically and realistically, then it will not be possible for Nigeria to develop, rather it would remain stagnated.

          ©Hassan Idris
A young writer from Ahmadu Bello university, Zaria Nigeria.
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