The world’s 2nd most religious country is Nigeria. Up to 95% of the people in Nigeria are either Christian or Muslim. The remaining 5% identify as either Traditionalists or Atheists. So religion obviously plays a huge role in the life and decisions of a typical Nigerian. The decisions could range from which primary and secondary schools we attend, what family we get married into or which region we go to University in. Nigeria is comprised of over 370 tribes and has a concentration of Muslims in the North and Christians in the South.
The religiosity in Nigeria does not reduce how corrupt the system is. It hasn’t stopped tribalism, classism, and oppression by the members of forces. Every 1st of October, we celebrate gaining independence from the British colonialists, but we have next to nothing to show for what we are celebrating. Since this independence, things have actually gone from being ‘okay’ to being ‘bad’.
Nigeria was more systemized and beautiful during colonial times and a few years after gaining independence. I can say that the okay days were the first few years after Independence and after the civil war. The days of Nnamdi Azikiwe and Tafawa Balewa respectively. Even in subsequent administrations, Nigeria thrived well and the economy was in good shape. Our fathers and mothers worked hard with a united mind to put aside religious, political and tribal bias to build a promising republic.
They were all interested in building the young independent nation to develop and become an eminent and successful nation in the world. There was no segregation, disunity, or upset for personal or regional deification. We led the world in producing and exporting groundnuts, cocoa, rice, and many other agricultural products, Nigerian Airways was actually a thing, there was constant electricity and Nigerians didn’t need to apply for visas to travel to the UK.
Nigeria with all her religiosity does not have the best economy in Africa and is not the country with the least corruption. Religion and tribal tensions caused the civil war and even years after that, there is still widespread tribalism in the country. Some Muslims don’t like Christians and vice versa and every once in a while, they clash.
The discovery of oil in the country didn’t just bring wealth, it also brought spillage, corruption, ethnic conflicts over rights to oil wealth and of course, the federal government neglecting her people while embezzling as much as they can.
Let me try to compare Nigeria with a country like South Korea. According to this Wikipedia page, 56.9% (as of 2015) of South Koreans have no formal religious belief. The rest are either Roman Catholics, Protestants or Buddhists. South Korea is currently one of the most advanced countries in the world.
They have companies like Samsung, Hyundai, LG, etc. They’ve made a lot of progress since the end of the Korean civil war despite not being as religious as Nigerians, who have been independent since 1960, have oil and are super religious.
For a country that is so religious, I’m amazed that Nigeria isn’t one of the greatest countries in the world right now.