Why governments should recognise religion’s role in governance
The need for governments at all levels to critically observe the role of religion in governance has been stressed, with optimism that dealing with various religious beliefs in fairness, equity and balance would engender peace and stability in the polity.
The Islamic Welfare Foundation (IWF) in a communique issued at the end of 2018 Conference on Islam in Nigeria (COIN) held at Crescent University, Abeokuta, said Nigerians are a very religious people and they desire that their different religions reflect in both the private and public lives, hence governments should recognize the role of religion in governance.
It stated: “While much of Christianity had been embedded in Nigeria’s legal and social fabrics since the colonial era, it is not the same with Islam. This is what causes agitation among Muslims who feel short-changed by the system. Equity and fairness in the Nigerian nation as well as trust and mutual understanding between the people, will be enhanced if a level playing field is created for all religions in the affairs of the nation.
“This is the only way Nigeria would evolve as a truly multi-religious nation as against her present status as a nation dominated by the religion of those who colonised the country. Our national creed going forward should be, “equal opportunity for all” it stated.
The group however implored religious leaders to promote ethical values, urging them to always seek balanced, transparent and patriotic intervention in national issues as religiosity and patriotism are mutually reinforcing.
The coneference which paraded speakers like Judge Abdul-Jabbar Bola Ajibola, Alhaji Sarafa Ishola, the Baba Adini of Yoruba Land, Edo and Delta and Mallam Yusuf Ali, Professor Ishaq Lakin Akintola and Reverend Clement Taiye Omidiora, appraised of the current situation in Nigeria regarding Islamic theocracy and modernism.
It was however observed that there is no contradiction between theocracy and modernism as both share common values such as freedom, peace, progress, morality, good conscience and good governance; the two major religions in Nigeria, Islam and Christianity, support theocracy and both uphold its applicability in contemporary Nigeria; and that Islamic Theocracy once governed some parts of Nigeria to the admiration of both local and international observers.
The group therefore recommended that advocates of Islamic theocracy should better propagate the idea by codifying what it entails and promote same through mass enlightenment and education.