The relationship of Politics, Corruption, and Poverty in Nigerian Democracy is complicated and overwhelming. Politics is linked to corruption because of unfaithful political office holders. Corruption is Nigeria’s biggest challenge because a huge portion of the populace lives in abject poverty despite the country’s enormous resources. On May 10, 2016, the trending news on most medias was the comment of Rt. Hon. David Cameron, the then Prime Minister of United Kingdom, who described Nigeria and Afghanistan as “fantastically corrupt nations” in a conversation with the Queen, as reported on BBC.

Corruption and poverty induced by politics would self-destruct the nation if not eradicated. It is undisputable that there is no moral fibre of any worth in the conduct of public affairs in Nigeria. The evil has permeated every facet of life corrupting the people. This has led to endemic poverty, social chaos, and anarchy. This paper examines the relationship between politics, corruption, and poverty. It analyses the effects and implications of corruption and poverty on the society and recommends ways to prevent corruption and reduce poverty in Nigerian democracy. The paper also outlines the various hindrances to the nation’s development and the responsibility of stakeholders. The solution lies in a total paradigm shift towards good service and transparency of public servants and political office holders.

Key Words:    Politics, Corruption, Poverty, Nigerian Democracy, Public Servant, and                              Paradigm Shift.


This paper is divided into four major portions including the Introduction. The second part examines Politics in Nigerian Democracy; the third part looks into the twin issues of Corruption and Poverty, and the fourth part identifies stakeholders’ responsibility. The Nigerian political scene today is the accurate description by Isaiah in chapter 59: 3-15 of the state of affairs in Judah before the Babylonians destroyed it about 550BC.

Nigerian politicians are like Tsunami destroying every fabric of righteousness in the society. Nigerian democracy is governed by politics of centredness, absolute selfishness, self-empowerment, and destruction of people. It is indeed necessary for medical researchers to examine the brain of an average political leader in Nigeria if it is working clockwise or anti-clockwise to determine the sanity level because most politicians seem insane by their greed and excessive ambition.

The poverty of the people in the midst of enormous resources could be linked to the prevalent corruption in the country. Most public officers are involved in stealing of resources that could have been used for infrastructural development and creating wealth for the masses. Previous studies on this topic have revealed that corruption is a major hindrance to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.[1] To address the issue of corruption in the country, anti-graft agencies were established: Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Act (ICPC 2000); and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Unfortunately, these two bodies are at times used as political tools against opponents rather than fight corrupt officers. EFCC 2012 report indicated that the citizenry’s quality of life is negatively impacted on by the high rate of corruption in the country. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the percentage of people living in poverty increased from 27.2% in 1980 to 46.3% in 1985, dropped to 42.7% in 1992 and then increased to 65% in 1996. By 2010, the poverty level was at 69%, indicating that about 112.47 million Nigerians were living below the poverty line.[2] The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) programmes and initiatives have an expectation of lowering the level of poverty in Nigeria. Based on MDGs projection, the poverty is expected to fall to 37.5% against the original target of 21.35%.[3]

The standard of poverty estimated at 2010 was 62.8%,[4] but the projected estimate of 37.5% in 2015[5] was unrealizable. The macro and micro economies of Nigeria at present in the absence of any reliable data is the worst so far with Nigeria economy in a recession based on the streets observation. The International Monetary Fund projected a contraction of 1.8% for 2016. The Federal Government while not officially contesting the IMF estimates still clings to the faint hope that “the economy will show recovery in the last quarter of 2016.”[6] Alongside the high rate of poverty is a high rate of corruption. There are many instituted cases of corruption on-going in Nigerian Courts being prosecuted by the EFCC. Mega corruption has grown to a level of impunity in the last two decades, with the country being variously rated as the most corrupt in the world.[7] No arm of government including the Judiciary is free of corruption, which shows a total lack of honesty.


Most mortals are passive or active politicians. It is in politics that human nature is chronicled and x-rayed for others to view. In Nigeria, politics is bedeviled with many lies, violence, and character assassination. It is that of opportunities and circumstances of seeking immediate advantage with little regard to principles or ultimate consequences. This has led to social chaos and anarchy known as political conflict. Political emotions are sometimes pathologically intensified when scores of the same political party experience it. And these emotions turn into violence associated with politics. Nigeria is currently divided into 36 states and Abuja, the federal capital territory. The number of Local Government Areas is 774.

Nigeria got its independence from Britain on October 1, 1960, and became the Federal Republic in 1963. Political development in Nigeria began with the annexation of Lagos in 1851 by John Beecroft on the instruction of Lord Palmerston.[8] The reason according to Dzurgba was to promote British trade in the “Niger Country.” In 1923 Herbert Macaulay founded the first political party, Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP). The qualifications for contesting election into the council then were residence and income as required by the Clifford Constitution that excluded northern Nigeria from the legislative council. 21 years after NNDP, Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe formed the National Council of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC) in 1944. Richard Constitution of 1946 included northern Nigeria and created three regions namely western, eastern, and northern with headquarters in Ibadan, Enugu & Kaduna respectively. Seven years after NCNC, Chief Obafemi Awolowo formed the Action Group (AG) in 1951. In the same year 1951, Sir Ahmadu Bello founded the Northern Peoples’ Congress (NPC). Regional Houses of Assembly were established in each of the three regions. Each of the political founders became elected as a premier of his region. Federal elections were held in 1954. This was the beginning of the nationwide political mobilization that moved to the rural areas. Individuals or groups of individuals at one time or the other have formed political parties. Of recent the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), and a faction of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) merged to become ‘All Progressives Congress {APC}’ the current ruling party and the main rival of the ‘Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP)’ that ruled the country for the last sixteen years.

Overview of Political Conflicts:

The Second World War influenced the political development especially in the 1940s and 1950s, which decisively stamped both national and local affairs. The political socialization was extremely ethnicised and religionalised and produced ethnopolitical chauvinism and fanaticism. The resultant effects are ethnicity, propaganda, intolerance, and violent confrontations. In Nigeria, politics use religion as a tool of political trade and this relationship between religion and politics has become a major interest in the polity of the country.

Nigeria was divided into three regions: the north, the east, and the west on January 01, 1947 when Richard’s Constitution was put into force. The northern region got a house of representatives and a house of chiefs, while the eastern and the western regions each got a house of assembly. The three regions local populations were represented in the regional houses of the assembly that had only consultative status. Each region sent representatives to the legislative council in Lagos, which was the only body with legislative functions.[9] Richard’s Constitution was under severe attack no sooner than it was put in place because each region believed the other region obtained more power under the Constitution and each craved more influence in the legislative councils. This led to series of constitutional conferences which later produced a new constitution; the Macpherson Constitution that came into force in 1951. Under Macpherson constitution, the three regions got a higher degree of autonomy. Macpherson constitution broke down just one year after its introduction. The fundamental conflict was over Nigeria’s independence. Late Chief Anthony Enahoro from southern Nigerian, a member of the House of Representatives at the time moved a motion for independence in 1956, which pitched members against each other. The northern Nigerian members opposed this motion as they did not see themselves sufficiently equipped with the locally recruited administrative staff and therefore fear the Western-educated southern Nigerians would dominate them.[10] The breakdown of Macpherson Constitution led to two constitutional conferences in London in 1953 and in Lagos in 1954, which produced a new constitution.

The main difference between this new constitution and that of Macpherson was the distinction between the powers of the federal government and the regional assemblies. The outcome of the 1953 and 1954 conferences led to the eastern and western regions obtaining internal self-rule in August 1957. In March 1959, the northern region got self-government within the federation. The whole Federation became an independent state within the Commonwealth in October 1960, and a new constitution was passed. The northern-based party ‘Northern People’s Congress (NPC)’ gained a parliamentary majority and Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa became the first prime minister of independent Nigeria. During the first three years after independence, the federal government was an NPC-NCNC coalition, despite the conflicting natures of the two parties. NPC was regionalist, Muslim and aristocratic; the NCNC was a bit nationalist, Christian, and populist. The three regions had dominant parties: the northern region was dominated by the NPC, the eastern region by NCNC, and the western region by Action Group (AG); however AG was weakened because of divisions within the party that reflected cleavages within the Yoruba Society. The loss of stability in one region gradually affected the political structure of the whole country and stirred violent conflicts.

The leadership of the AG that formed the official opposition in the federal parliament split in 1962 due to the escalated rift between AG leader, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo and Chief S. L. A. Akintola, the prime minister of the western region. There are variants of actual causes of the rift, but the clear ‘cause’ was that Awolowo favoured the adoption of democratic socialism as party policy that will transform AG into the inter-regional party and would draw support across the country from educated younger voters, whose expectations were frustrated by the unemployment and rising cost of living. But Akintola preferred to retain the support of conservative party elements who were disturbed by Awolowo’s rhetoric by calling for better relations with the NPC and an all federal party coalition that would remove AG as the official opposition. The supporters of Awolowo that were obviously the majority expelled Akintola from the party. The governor of the western region demanded Akintola’s resignation and named a successor recommended by AG to head the government. Akintola immediately organized a new party, the United People’s Party, which pursued a policy of collaboration with the NPC/NCNC government in the federal Parliament. Akintola’s expulsion in May 1962 sparked bloody riots in the western region called with e meaning ‘burn everything in sight, humans, property and so on’; street protesters killed many people and property were destroyed. This brought the government to an end as rival legislators introduced violence to the floor of the regional legislature. The federal government declared a state of emergency, dissolved the legislature, and named a federal administrator for the western region; the administrator placed many Action group leaders under house arrest. Balewa, who also reinstated Akintola as prime minister of the western region, lifted the state of emergency later. The Action Group contested the legality of this action in the courts, but a retroactive amendment to the western region’s constitution was quickly enacted to validate Akintola’s re-appointment. Balewa told parliament, events had overtaken the legalities of the case.

Meanwhile, Awolowo with all sorts of trump-up accusations including evidence linking him to a conspiracy to overthrow the federal government and some Action Group leaders were put on trial for treason. Awolowo was found guilty and along with seventeen others sentenced to ten years in prison. Anthony Enahoro, Awolowo’s chief lieutenant who had been in Britain, was extradited, convicted of treason and was also imprisoned. The creation of the mid-western region re-opened the agitation for the internal restructuring of Nigeria. The attitudes of the major parties were geared towards the formation of new states with the pretext that such creation will cater for minority aspirations. The NCNC advocated self-determination for ethnic minorities but within a unitary state. The AG supported multi-state, federal Nigeria and wanted the restoration of the northern Yoruba in Ilorin to the western region. The NPC opposed separatism in the north region and reached out to the minorities in the middle belt region. The United Middle Belt Congress promoted the separation of the middle belt from the north of the country. There were serious riots in Tivland in 1960 and 1964 as a result of this agitation. Also, the Ijaw and Efik-Ibibio ethnic groups proposed that the coast between the Niger Delta and Calabar should become a new region to end Igbo dominance in that area. With all the agitations only the mid-western region achieved formal approval, and a plebiscite in 1963 confirmed the creation of the region. A new political coalition, the Midwest Democratic Front (MDF) was formed by leaders of the Action Group and the United People’s Party (UPP) to contest the mid-western region election with the NCNC. During the campaign, the UPP accepted support from the NPC, and this angered many AG workers that they withdrew their support from MDF in protest and some of them joined the NCNC. In the 1964 elections, the NCNC won with a landslide victory. The power of regional sentiment manifested itself in elections by restricting political discourse to local issues, discouraged regional compromises and granted the region with larger population more political power. The political rivalry of Nigeria’s regional parties was accentuated by ethnic competition for control of the political machinery and the economy as the presence of British was receding.

The political jockeying for political supremacy in Nigeria by the major ethnic groups intensified political agitation by the minority ethnic groups to end political domination. The political tensions between ethnic groups did not subside in spite of elections. Elections did not offer solutions to the problems of Nigerians because the wholesale importation of the concept of the Western political system based on the majoritarian democracy did not guarantee the protection of ethnic identities, avoidance of political domination and deterrence of economic marginalization.[11] In January of 1966, young army officers mostly of Igbo ethnic group overthrew the northern dominated government of Nigeria, killed the prime minister, a northerner, and took control of the government. In July 1966, a group of northern army officers’ revolted against the new administration headed by an Igbo and appointed the army chief of staff, a northerner as the head of new military government. In 1967, the military government split the existing four regions of Nigeria into 12 states. The military governor of the eastern region refused to accept the division of the eastern region and declared the region an independent republic of Biafra. This led to a civil war between eastern region and the rest of Nigeria. The war started in June 1967 and ended on January 15, 1970, when Biafra surrendered after over one million people had died. The discovery of Oil in Nigeria exacerbated political tensions in Nigeria as minority ethnic groups, endowed with natural resources, intensified their political agitation to enable them to share equally in the resources of their land. 300,000 Ogoni People in 1993 marched peacefully to demand a share in oil revenues and some form of political autonomy. The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People, ‘MOSOP’ asked the oil companies to start paying compensation for oil spills and damages (environmental remediation). Instead of addressing the legitimate concerns of the Ogoni People, the then Nigerian government executed nine leaders of the group on November 10, 1995. In spite of the executions of the nine Ogoni people including Saro-Wiwa, the agitations for meaningful political autonomy and meaningful resource control have not abated.

The political situation indicates that the political structure and the political system of Nigeria are not conducive to the political and economic aspirations of Nigerians. The inappropriate political structure and the improper political system continue to fuel ethnocentric ideologies in Nigeria. Political tension and religious competition mostly between Muslims and Christians continue to be intense under successive military governments until 1993 when the third republic was aborted with the cancellation of the presidential elections by the army president, Ibrahim Babangida. The annulled 1993 election of the southern candidate Moshood Kashimawo Abiola (MKO) though a Muslim led to a regrouping and mobilization of people under prodemocracy led by the Afenifere Yoruba Leaders opposing the annulment and military government. This political conflict fueled ethnic politics. Babangida stepped aside, left an interim government headed by Abiola’s Yoruba kinsman from the same state but barely three months after; General Sani Abacha toppled him, another military man. Abacha seized power in 1993 and jailed Moshood Abiola, a businessman who won the nullified presidential elections. New elections that would have returned the country to civilian government in 1996 never materialized as he stretched his rule until the end of 1998.

Abacha spent his time in government manipulating election transition process and intimidating any perceived opponents; the tenure of Abacha was tyrannical. He oppressed all opponents and crushed dissents as he repeatedly puts off ceding power to civilians. In May 1998, Abacha called religious leaders of all Faiths to Abuja imploring them to pray for three days so that God will hear the nation’s prayer and moved the country forward. Abacha died mysteriously about two weeks later on a Monday after he had called upon God to help Nigeria. His military successor, General Abdulsalam Abubakar, a major general and defense chief of staff relinquished power to the civilian government of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999. The Obasanjo’s administration presided over another constitution (1999 constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria), which is the ninth since Clifford Constitution of 1922. Till today the ambiguous constitution is in force and receiving attention in the National Assembly for amendments. Nigeria has sustained democratic rule since then, and President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is the 3rd elected democratic president after the Abubakar’s military government. The last democratic election held in April 2015 produced the 4th elected Democratic president Muhammed Buhari the candidate of All Progressives Congress (APC). Power is a great source of political conflict in Nigeria. Political Campaigns are expensive and require solid financial backing for success. The structure of representative democracy that we have in place in Nigeria is complicated; the sheer size and number of our citizens and the nation exerts a high price on its political participants. The system starts at the ward level of about 8,814 wards in 774 local governments in Nigeria. Each party has a ward, a local government, senatorial, state, and zonal executive as well as a national executive, which may include vice chairmen for zones. All of these are supposed to be elected by the party members at various congresses at each level. At all of these levels, candidates for various positions, including local councils and state and federal legislatures, gubernatorial and presidential seats are subjected to internal party elections; for elections as party representatives for different positions. Internal party elections are held to elect delegates to various congresses and conventions, both state and national. While there are minor variations from party to party, the electoral laws and individual party constitutions all reflect this rigorous, very expensive and time-consuming process to ensure representation takes place. This process breeds political corruption.


3.1.      CORRUPTION

Corruption in Nigeria is endemic; it is found in every sector of the society. In the year 2000, Transparency International carried out a survey on the corruption levels of 90 countries, including Kenya, Cameroon, Angola, Nigeria, Côte-d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, India, Venezuela, Moldova, and others. At the end of the ranking, Nigeria was found to be the most corrupt. In 2001, Nigeria was ranked the second-most corrupt nation in the world out of 91 countries, falling only to Bangladesh. This shows that corruption in Nigeria improved by one step when compared with that of 2000. From the same source, in the year 2002, Nigeria has again ranked the second-most corrupt country in the world, after the organization surveyed 102 countries. Nigeria was seen at the bottom, occupying the 101st position regarding Confidence Interval (CI). In 2003, Nigeria received the same ranking, making no improvements from 2003. 2004’s ranking showed a little improvement when compared to the past four years. Nigeria was ranked the third most corrupt country in the world in that year, performing better than Bangladesh and Haiti. That year, 146 nations were surveyed.

The record on the corruption in Nigeria improved in 2005. The number of countries surveyed by the Transparency International was 158. Nigeria was ranked eighth most corrupt. Transparency International surveyed 163 countries in 2006. The results showed some improvement, and Nigeria was ranked the 21st most corrupt country in the world. Among the 180 countries surveyed in 2007, Nigeria ranked 147 on the table along side with Angola and Guinea-Bissau. This result shows that Nigeria was 33rd most corrupt country in the world. An analysis of the anti-graft/anti-corruption laws in Nigeria shows that corruption will continue in spite of the law because the perpetrators do not fear any consequences.[12] In 2012, Transparency International again deemed Nigeria one of the most corrupt nations in the world again.[13] In that year, the country ranked 139th out of the 176 surveyed countries, making Nigeria the 37th most corrupt nation. In 2013, Nigeria ranked 144 out of 177 surveyed countries regarding transparency. The score made Nigeria 33rd most corrupt country in the world that year. The result published by the organization also showed that Nigeria scored 25% out of 100 regarding transparency. In the 2014 ranking, Nigeria is ranked 136 out 174 surveyed countries.[14] The result shows Nigeria was the 38th most corrupt country in the world. With the emergence of a new government in the year 2015, many Nigerians had great faith that corruption in the country will be minimized. In that year, power left the hands of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressive Congress (APC). One of the campaign promises made by President Muhammed Buhari was the massive eradication of corruption in the country. Irrespective of the campaign promises, Nigeria ranked low in transparency and high in corruption in that year. In the year 2015, out of the 168 countries surveyed, Nigeria was seen at the bottom of the table in the category of number 136. This implies that Nigeria was the 32nd most corrupt country in the world in 2015. Nigeria failed when it came to transparency. Corruption in Nigeria has many faces.

There is an on-going trial of about $2.1 billion arms deal. The money, which was budgeted for the purchase of arms in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency, is being investigated with claims of non-utilization. The various forms of corruption include Political corruption; Public Service Corruption; Corruption in the Judiciary, Corruption in Universities and Colleges; Corruption in Police Force; Corruption in Nigerian Football; Corruption in Churches; Internet Fraud Corruption; and Corruption in Custom Services, and Corruption in almost all Parastatals/Institutions. Corruption involves stealing, embezzlement, encroachment, covetousness, conversion, sheer greed, bribery, and so on.

The presidency, national assembly, ministers, state governors, state legislators, local government officers, other public servants including civil servants, ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) at national, state and local government levels, are all involved in the mismanagement of public funds. The private sector, which has carried out capital projects on contract basis at national, state and local government levels, has also been involved in corruption, in the form of kickbacks, non-performance, or over bloated/loaded contract sums. Money laundering is the dominant means through which looted money from Nigeria is taken out to other countries and unknown destinations. The anti-corruption agencies have not been able to win the war against corruption through effective and diligent prosecution of people accused of corruption, thus weakening public confidence and support for the agencies and their efforts. There are legal impediments that frustrate the trial of corruption cases in the country, such as the perpetual injunction granted corrupt politicians against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). There is also a lack of political will at the highest levels of government to reduce corruption. In its Annual Report for 2012, the EFCC observed that:

Corruption in the public sector remains a sore spot in Nigeria’s quest to instill transparency and accountability in the polity. The failure to deliver social services, the endemic problem of power supply and the collapse of infrastructure are all linked with corruption … Unfortunately, the will to combat corruption in all tiers of government is still very weak. In some cases, especially in the states and local governments, the political will to fight corruption is non-existent, as the workings of the polity are intricately connected with corruption activities … It is no surprise therefore that most of the predicate offences to money laundering are connected with corruption within the officialdom. (2012: 10)

Some of the key drivers of corruption in the country are:

  • Officials in the Executive Arm of Government (National, State, and Local)
  • The legislature (National, State, and Local)
  • The judiciary (At all Levels)
  • The law enforcement agency (especially Police Force, and Customs)
  • Civil servants/public officers
  • Federal and State Parastatals
  • Politicians and political parties
  • Private sector
  • The oil and gas sector, and
  • The banking sector

3.2.      POVERTY

According to international standards of poverty, a person is said to be poor when he lives under $1.25 per day. According to World Bank Group, in 2004, 63.1% of Nigerians were poor. In 2010, 68% of the Nigerian population was estimated to be poor. Massive corruption has diverted funds from wealth and employment generation sectors of the Nigerian economy, making poverty reduction difficult to achieve. Many proactive youths remain unemployed. Poverty levels where state governors were found to be guilty of misusing and converting public funds to private use is higher than in states where governors were judicious in the use of public funds. This suggests that if stolen resources were deployed to address the various poverty challenges in these states, the poverty rates would have declined below their present levels. Poverty is highest in situations where Nigerians have the worst education and health indicators – both on service uptake and outcomes. In Nigeria, we have had top-to-bottom programmes like the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP), the Peoples’ Bank, Family Support Programme (FSP) and so on to stop poverty but were not sufficient to eradicate poverty.

Link Between Corruption and Poverty:

The relationship between corruption and poverty has received extensive coverage in academic literature. Researchers from several disciplines, particularly economics, sociology, political science and development studies, have tried to establish the impact of corruption on different aspects of development and human welfare. The World Bank, in its 2010 Report, stated that corruption has a negative impact on economic performance, employment opportunities, poverty reduction, and access to public health and police services. Further, the World Bank[15] observed in a report published in 2001 that corruption affects the lives of the poor through several channels, including the diverting of resources from vital social services that benefit the poor, such as education and health sectors. According to the World Bank, “Poverty is an outcome not only of economic processes – it is an outcome of interacting economic, social, and politics.” According to statistics, the incidence of poverty has significantly increased in Nigeria since 1980. The major indicators of poverty, according to the World Bank, are: lack of freedom of action and choice; lack of adequate food, shelter, education, and health; vulnerabilities to ill health; economic dislocation; maltreatment by public agencies; and exclusion from key decision-making processes and resources in each other and frequently reinforce each other in ways that exacerbate the deprivation in which people live”


Nigerians are all stakeholders and have responsibilities to eradicate corruption and poverty in the land. Specific elected and constituted institutions have specific responsibilities. These systems include Executive Arm of Government, the National Assembly, Anti-Corruption Agencies, Civil Society, Anti-Poverty Agencies, and Development Partners. Most importantly individual Nigerians must be determined for a positive paradigm shift from corrupt practices. ActionAid did extensive research in 2015 on corruption and poverty and reiterated some of these responsibilities in their publication.

Responsibility of Executive Arm of Government:

  1. To organize public enlightenment, education, and training for both public office holders and citizens to reduce the inclination to be involved in corruption.
  2. To pay attention to social provisions especially infrastructural development: Light, Road, Water, and other welfare amenities.
  3. To enact necessary laws and ensure effective implementation.
  4. To ensure the autonomous status of Anti-Corruption agencies and mobilize the institutions with necessary resources to discharge their mandates.
  5. To strengthen the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) to enable it to discharge its mandate in the area of ensuring accountability in the extractive industry.
  6. The Federal Government must have the ‘political will’ to prosecute offenders and eradicate corruption decrease poverty level.

Responsibility of National Assembly:

  1. To streamline, reform, and strengthen the corruption-fighting agencies, in order to avoid administrative conflicts from similar agencies; be cost effective; free from executive and other forms of control; and facilitate optimum performance. Some of the actions to be taken should include merging the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the EFCC and harmonize their activities.
  2. To grant the agencies relative autonomy from the executive and legislature, and funding the agencies adequately.
  3. To remove the immunity clause from the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) in order to deny public office holders the opportunity to engage in corruption and other forms of impunity and escape unsanctioned, and to serve as a deterrent to public officers from engaging in corruption. The specific action to be taken is the review of the 1999 Constitution to make it mandatory for the president, governors, and chairmen of local government councils and other political office holders to be tried in the court of law for criminal offences committed while in office.
  4. To review the extant laws in the Penal Code to increase penalties, which will serve as a deterrent to public officers from engaging in corrupt behaviours.
  5. To review and reform the current tax system as a way of reducing corruption. Many government agencies, especially the gateway agencies, collect money that never gets to the treasury.

Responsibility of Anti-Corruption Agencies:

Many of the corruption-related offences created by the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act are similar to those under the Criminal Code. These include:

  • Gratification by an official
  • Corrupt offers to public officers
  • Corrupt demand by persons
  • Fraudulent acquisition of property
  • Fraudulent receipt of property
  • Making false statement or return
  • Gratification by and through agents
  • Bribery of public officers
  • Using office or position for gratification
  • Bribery in relation to auction
  • Bribery for giving assistance, etc. in regard to contracts
  • Duty to report bribery transactions
  • Dealing with, using, holding, receiving or concealing gratification

EFCC was originally set up to tackle the problems of financial crimes. However, the Commission is also responsible for:

  • The co-ordination and enforcement of all economic and financial crimes laws and enforcement functions conferred on any other person or authority;
  • The collection of all reports relating to suspicious financial transactions, analyse and disseminate to all relevant government agencies;
  • Taking charge of, supervising, controlling, coordinating all the responsibilities, functions and activities relating to the current investigation and prosecution of all offences connected with or relating to economic and financial crimes;
  • The coordination of all existing, economic and financial crimes investigating units in Nigeria.

These provisions, together with the powers conferred by section 7, give the EFCC investigative powers and make it the coordinating agency for the enforcement of the provisions of:

  • Money Laundering Act
  • Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act
  • Failed Banks (Recovery of Debt and Financial Malpractices in Banks) Act
  • Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act
  • Miscellaneous Offences Act; and
  • Any other law or regulation relating to economic and financial crimes, including the

Criminal Code and Penal Code.

In addition to these duties, this paper recommends as further responsibility for the anti corruption agencies the followings:

  1. Building a reliable database on corruption and institute a programme of robust documentation.
  2. Instituting a process of monitoring corruption to facilitate the taking of proactive measures, rather than wait for people to make complaints.
  3. The Code of Conduct Bureau should ensure the compliance of the law with respect to the declaration of assets by public officials and promptly prosecute defaulters.
  4. Mobilising various stakeholders around strategic programmes of fighting corruption in the country.

Responsibility of Civil Society

  1. To strengthen local level accountability; citizens should be at the centre of demanding for transparency and accountability in the conduct of public and corporate affairs.
  2. Civil society organisations (CSOs) should scale up the education of citizens to facilitate the understanding that public funds are not resources for government officials
    but resources for the provision of public good. CSOs should partake in continued advocacy for the passage of all anti-corruption related legislations at all levels.
  3. To advocate for the full and effective implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.
  4. To monitor the compliance with all anti-corruption laws, including the Freedom of Information and Public Procurement Acts, should be undertaken by CSOs.
  5. To undertake advocacy to ensure that states fully implement the Freedom of Information Act.
  6. To engage in systematic monitoring and reporting of advocacy activities.
  7. To drive the campaign against corruption to the grassroots level to ensure that the critical mass needs to achieve traction in the campaign is possible.
  8. To extend sensitization and advocacy efforts related to corruption to the private sector.

Responsibility of Anti-Poverty Agencies:

  1. To introduce social protection programmes and expand social services most especially education (both academic and vocational) and health care programmes.
  2. To establish appropriate economic policies that will promote sustainable growth in vital sectors capable of reducing poverty, inequality and expand employment and entrepreneurship opportunities should be introduced.

Responsibility of Development Partners:

  1. To encourage international support for the fight against corruption in the country using the instrumentality of bilateral and multilateral structures.
  2. There should be adherence to the highest standards of openness and transparency in the granting of aid to the nation and the transfer of resources to agencies.
  3. To support the works of civil society groups, particularly those directed at fighting corruption, impunity and poverty.


There is no doubt about the widespread nature of corruption in Nigeria and that it contributes immensely to the poverty level of Nigerians. There is a hardy pivotal relationship between politics, corruption, and poverty. Therefore a decline in corruption will automatically reduce the level of poverty. It is also a fact that all citizens are stakeholders and are expected to play different roles in eradicating corruption and lowering poverty level. The desired change needs a total paradigm shift in the attitude of individuals and public officers, service delivery, and proactive monitoring and social justice.


[1] Transparency International, 2010; World Bank, 2010

[2] NBS, 2010

[3] FGN, 2010

[4] NBS, 2010

[5] Abdu, 2014

[6] Mrs Kemi Adeosun, Minister of Finance; Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2016/08/nigeriaseconomic-outlook-rest-2016/

[7] ActionAid, Concept Paper 2014, http://www.info.nigeria@actionaid.org

[8] Akpenpuun Dzurgba, Case Studies of Conflict and Democracy in Nigeria, Ibadan: John Archers publishers limited, 2008, 14, 17,                                                                                                   Gadsby, a. et al (eds), Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, 140.

[9] Ezera, 1960, pp.64-81; Dudley, 1968, pp.21-2; Okpu, 1977, pp.145-7 cited in Kastfelt, Niels, Religion   and Politics in Nigeria: A study in Middle Belt Christianity , (London: British Academic Press,    1994), 70.

[10] Dudley, 1968, pp. 22-4; Okpu, 1977, pp. 147-50 cited in Kastfelt, Niels, Religion and Politics in                     Nigeria: A study in Middle Belt Christianity, (London: British Academic Press, 1994), 70.

[11] Nigeriaworld Feature Article – Crisis in Nigeria: The solution is… The United Africa  htpp://www.nigeraworld.com/articles/2006/jan/194.html

[12] O. A. Oyinola, Corruption Eradication in Nigeria: An Appraisal. Library Philosophy and Practice, 2011

[13] M. O. Uzochukwu, Challenges in Nigeria and Solutions on how to resolve them, 2013

[14] Transparency International 2014

[15] World Bank Report (2001: 102)





























Revelation is unique as it combines three distinctive literary types: apocalypse, revelation and a letter. The apocalyptic writings are viewed as revealing heavenly secrets focusing on God’s judgment of the wicked and his deliverance of the righteous. The book as a prophecy is a revelation from God that invites a response of trust and obedience though presented in the format of a letter from John to those Churches in the province of Asia. The book is not just a futurology but also a redemptive, historical and theological psychology for the Church’s thinking throughout the age before Christ’s final coming. John describes the imagery in a cryptic language and symbolism, which are very hard to understand. Eschatology is the primary theology of the book.

The interpretation of Revelation has been a source of much controversy. Some held that it had a message only for the 1st century world; others maintain that the book is a prophecy to be fulfilled totally in the future. Undoubtedly, John spoke to the situation of his day that is also relevant for 21st century churches. The letters to the seven churches indicate a situation of crisis, probably brought on by Roman persecutions of the Christians. From this understanding, John painted a vision of God’s final triumph over evil that has sustained many Christians in later eras. The 21st century Pentecostal Churches in Africa are badly divided by sectarianism and are buried under avalanche of false doctrines that are incorporated in prosperity theology and syncretism. There is no indication through the witness of church members that faith offers any effective defense against sin’s pervasive influence. The church ministers are embroiled in personal empowerment and churches have lost their power. This paper critically examines all these implications along the imagery of the seven churches in Revelation.

Key Words: Apocalypse, Imagery, Eschatology, Prophecy, Prosperity Theology, Syncretism, and Pentecostal Churches.

  • Introduction

Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart in How to Read the Bible, Book by Book[1] refers to the content of the Book of Revelation as:

A Christian prophecy cast in apocalyptic style and imagery and finally put in letter form, dealing primarily with tribulation (suffering) and salvation for God’s people and God’s wrath (judgment) on the Roman Empire.

 John developed significant theological themes in Revelation utilizing O.T. Scripture, Jewish interpretative traditions, and early Christian tradition. Revelation is the only piece of New Testament writing cast almost entirely in the apocalyptic mode. Irenaeus (ca. 180) dated Revelation to the time of reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81- 96[2]). Tradition asserts that the apostle John wrote Revelation during his exile on Patmos. Some scholars do not accept this attribution because of the stylistic differences between Revelation and the other works attributed to John, ‘the Gospel and Epistles’; but John is clearly stated in the greetings and doxology. Four times the author identifies himself as John (1:1, 4, 9; 22:8). From as early as Justin Martyr in the second century A.D., it has been held that this John was the apostle, the son of Zebedee (Matthew 10:2). Revelation is a panoramic symbolic vision given to the Apostle John in A.D. 95 to the seven Churches in Asia (Rev. 1:19-21). In the Book, John interprets the significance of the cross and resurrection for the future, be it near or distant. He declares their meaning for time and history until the end. God is on his throne (chap. 4); Christ has won the victory (chap. 5); God is at work in the midst of apparent chaos (seals, trumpets, and bowls). The true victors are those called out in Christ from every tongue, nation, and people (chaps. 5, 20). Although God’s work in history has been hidden except to eyes of faith, the final stanza will reveal that history has truly been his story (chaps. 17, 20). The victory won in history by the cross will be displayed in history by the return, and God will ultimately be revealed as all in all (chaps. 21, 22). John clearly understands himself and his readers as participants in God’s kingdom. This confirms all that John has said up to this point with regard to the restoration of the kingdom. Participation in the kingdom brings tribulation and, therefore, requires patient endurance.

The Jewish expectation foresaw the future kingdom as a place of peace and plenty. John makes it unmistakably clear that God’s restoration of the kingdom, His fulfillment of the covenant, does not follow the lines of these expectations. John states the deep context of lives of Christians that are members of God’s kingdom, His priestly people; but live in a world whose destructive and dehumanizing values, John sees as Fallen Babylon, a realm of being in rebellion against God. There is no other book of the Bible except the book of Daniel that has been subjected to the vagaries of interpreters as Revelation. The truths in the book of Revelation have their foundation in the prophecy in Daniel. There are two extreme cases, the futurists and the historical but the real method of interpretation must be independent of dogmatic pre-suppositions. Hastings Dictionary[3] says: “Revelation must be interpreted in accordance with the general principles applicable to apocalypses as a form of literary expression”. The literary and critical analyses of Revelation do not coincide. The analysis does not differ fundamentally from that of other writers.

A book on theology of the New Testament written by George Eldon Ladd[4] says the interpretation of Revelation has been the most difficult and confusing of all the books of the New Testament. Several distinct approaches emerged from the history of interpretation. Revelation’s genre is apocalyptic though it has both epistolary and prophetic features. Ladd suggested in 1957 that Revelation be labeled “Prophetic – Apocalyptic”. This may be due to the centrality of prophetic material; both the prophecy and the apocalyptic center on future Salvation for the faithful and certain judgment for the unfaithful. While we may recognize the shadows of contemporary events in the Revelation, we must conclude that the elaborate symbolism of Jewish apocalyptic literature was employed in the interests of a prophetic forecast of the consummation of God’s redemptive purpose.[5] There are four Schools of interpretation of the Revelation. This paper examines the overview of the four: Preterist, Historicist, Idealist and Futurist.

2.0       Keys To Understanding Revelation

The symbolism of Revelation lies with the knowledge of Hebrew theology, the Law and the Prophets, (Isaiah 8:20), and the ancient Jewish culture. Moses’ vision saw the purpose from beginning to end with the coming of the Messiah and John’s vision on the purpose of God (Elohim) from the end back to the beginning. In fact, some future events that have been prophesied in Revelation are repeats of past events. For example, the seven plagues that will be poured out on Mystery Babylon correspond with the seven last plagues that Moses and Aaron poured out on Egypt (Exodus 8 – 12). Many Biblical scholars have tried to interpret the vision of John with various methods, such as the contemporary historical method and the literary-critical method. Scholars now use these man-made methods to try to interpret a divine vision and revelation given to the Apostle John. These methods will not truly explain the interpretation of Revelation because this comes by the Holy Spirit (2 Pet. 1:20-21). The contemporary historical method believes that the Jewish apocalypses are referring especially to the time or era of the writer. This method also believes in the literal interpretation of prophecy and that no spiritual or symbolical method should be used. The literary-critical method believes that Revelation was a series of visions, written at different times and places before and after the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem. Two great scholars: George Ladd and Dennis Bratcher describe the Bible as follows; Ladd’s postulation – “The Bible is the word of God given in the words of men in history.” Bratcher’s postulation –The Bible is God’s word in human words”. Revelation exhibits the conjecture of these scholars. Based on the postulation of Ladd and Bratcher, one can assume that:

  1. Because it is God’s word, the Bible has: (a) ongoing relevance, (b) authority, and (c) testimony to the nature of God.  These cannot be investigated or proven; they are accepted by faith as given, so we cannot study the Revelation from any of these perspectives.
  2. Because it is in human words, the Bible has: (a) historical and cultural particularity, (b) features of human creativity and expression, and (c) concerns common with human existence today.  These can be investigated with various tools; this is the starting point of study. The process of doing so is described by two terms: exegesis and hermeneutics.

Nature of the Book of Revelation

The book as Apocalypse:  An apocalypse is a very specific kind of literature with no modern equivalent. While there is only one OT apocalyptic book (Daniel) and one NT book that demonstrate some features of this type (Revelation), it was a common form of writing in the two centuries before and after the birth of Christ. There are several distinct features of apocalyptic writing:

  1. It arises out of a historical context of great turmoil, persecution, and oppression. The prophets looked forward to God balancing the scales of justice within history; apocalyptic has given up on history and has become so pessimistic of change that it can only see God acting by bringing a radical end to history, destroying all evil, and beginning again with a new world.
  2. It is carefully crafted literature. It was not spoken (like prophetic sermons), but was composed. Therefore, it exhibits certain features of normal writing, such as structure, form, flow of thought, creative use of language, etc.
  3. It is presented in the form of visions, dreams, and other worldly journeys. Several features intend to communicate a sense of mystery, the revealing of secrets long hidden in the mists of the past. Therefore, most apocalyptic writing is written under the name of a long dead person of some reputation (Abraham, Moses, Enoch) who is instructed to keep the book for the “latter days,” which, of course, would be the time the book was actually written. Also, there is often a guide to reveal the secrets or mysteries.
  4. Its images and symbols are forms of fantasy rather than reality, and its language is cryptic, metaphorical, and highly symbolic. These symbols are not drawn from our modern world, but from the language, experience, and cultural “pool” of the ancient world.  The assumptions that underlie the symbols are likewise not those of a modern scientific worldview of the 21st century Western world, but those of the Ancient Near East of 2,000 years ago. Strange multi-headed beasts, weird creatures, dragons, and odd combinations of normal images (locusts with scorpion’s tails and human heads) are common ways of writing. It purposely presents a world that does not exist except as a means of communication.
  5. It is a highly stylized and schematized way of writing. There are neat packages of time and event, all moving in a very ordered way. Sequences of numbers, people, or events are common. Numbers, especially, take on symbolic value, even to the point of ciphering (certain numbers standing for certain letters of the alphabet). There are frequent uses of certain numbers, such as 3, 7, and 12 (and multiples, such as 144,000).
  6. However, simply because writing exhibits some of the features of an apocalypse do not necessarily mean that its message or theology must conform to that genre. That would be to ignore both the dynamic of inspiration (God’s word) and the creativity of the author/community of faith (in human words).   While the book of Revelation is obviously modeled in some ways on the classic form of apocalyptic writings, the message of the book implies something far different than “traditional” apocalyptic writings.

The book as prophecy:  Because Revelation is written in John’s own name, it is related to OT prophecy, perhaps more closely than it is to the apocalyptic. But it is not prophecy in the popular (and incorrect) modern sense of “predicting the future.”  OT prophecy was overwhelmingly concerned with speaking God’s message to people of the prophet’s own time, interpreting God’s will for them in light of the current historical events. The prophets were primarily “covenant mediators,” calling the people to be faithful to God in the midst of the ups and downs of history.

  1. In this sense, Revelation is a message, not for the far future, but for the first century Church whose very existence was being threatened by persecution from both Romans and Jews.  But as a message to the first century church, since we accept it as Scripture, it is also a “word” of God to the church today.
  2. This relation to OT prophecy also underscores the fact that the Book of Revelation is related to a particular time in history, to a particular set of circumstances, and to particular people. This does not mean it is irrelevant for us today; it just means we cannot make it to address the issues we want it to address directly, without first understanding something about what it meant to the early church.

3.0       Approaches To Interpreting Revelation

Any keys to interpreting Revelation must be intrinsic to the text of the revelation itself or otherwise available to the original recipients from their own historical context[6]. The rich and varied cultural context of the ancient world must be the frame of reference for interpreting the names and symbols of the book, but also with sensitivity to how creatively they are used in the book.  The visions and symbols should not be pressed into allegory in which every detail has some meaning; most often the meaning is in the entire vision and its impact rather than every detail. Apocalypses do not intend to give a detailed chronological map of the future; the message is much more historically conditioned, and much more theologically oriented. Rather than a map of the future, it is an encouragement for the present.

The Preterist Interpretation:

Preterist (from Latin preter meaning “past”) holds that through use of symbols and allegory, Revelation deals with events that were fulfilled in John’s time and that it was written primarily to provide hope and comfort to the first century church persecuted by Rome. The symbols are drawn from ancient texts as well as contemporary culture to dramatize the plight of the church and to encourage its members in the face of troubled times. The “beast” (Rev. 13) is usually identified with the Empire of Rome, or a particular Roman emperor. While the book does deal with the future, in this view it is focused largely in the first century, and extrapolates and projects the first century experience of the church into the future. This view gained prominence in the 17th and 18th century as more knowledge of the history of the early church, as well as other apocalyptic writings from the period, came to light. Many modern scholars, especially liberals and those who deny that the Revelation predicts specific future events, hold the preterist view. Preterism understands certain eschatological passages, which are in the future, as having already been fulfilled. All biblical interpreters understand that certain prophecies have been fulfilled, but Preterists differ in that they interpret a greater portion of Scripture as already, have come to pass.

There are different types of Preterism resulting from differences in views as to which passages have been fulfilled and what events they fulfilled. Mild or Partial Preterism[7] holds that most of the prophecies of Revelation were fulfilled in either the fall of Jerusalem (A.D. 70) or the fall of the Roman Empire (A.D. 476), but the Second Coming of Christ is futuristic. This form of Preterism is orthodox and is the most frequent view encountered today. Moderate Preterism has become mainstream Preterism as it appears to be the most widely held version of Preterism today. In addition to R.C. Sproul, some well-known moderate Preterists include Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Gary DeMar, and the late David Chilton (who converted to full Preterism after all his books were published). Full, extreme, or consistent Preterism holds that all the prophecies of Revelation are already fulfilled, that we are currently living spiritually in the “new heavens and new earth” and denies a future bodily return of Jesus. Extreme Preterists believe that “the second coming must have already occurred, since it was one of the things predicted in the Old Testament, which had to be fulfilled by the time Jerusalem was destroyed”. This means there will never be a future second coming, for it already occurred in A. D. 70. Further, there will be no bodily resurrection of believers, which is said to have occurred in A.D. 70 in conjunction with the second coming. Full Preterists believe that we now have been spiritually resurrected and will live forever with spiritual bodies when we die. Full Preterists say, we are now living in what would be called the eternal state or the new heavens and new earth of Rev. 21-22. Proponents of this view include the originator of full Preterism, J. Stuart Russell, Max R. King and his son, Tim, David Chilton, Ed Stevens, Don K. Preston, John Noe, and John L. Bray. The purpose of the book to Preterists is to encourage Christians to endure because their persecutors assuredly will be judged.

The Historicist Interpretation – (The Road Map of World History)

Historicist views Revelation as a symbolic or allegorical prophetic survey of church history from the first century up to the second coming of Christ and this was the view espoused by most of the “reformers”. This view dominated Protestant for centuries. Revelation basically deals with all of human history. The meaning of the symbols is to be found in the events of history. Some hold that the book deals more with the period prior to the present, some see it as unfolding in the present, and some emphasize the future more. The entire book is a symbolic account of the whole scope of world history, with the “beast” identified with various historical figures or people, from the Saracens, to Mohammed, to the Pope, to Adolph Hitler. This view arose in the middle Ages, and was adopted by most of the reformers in the 16th century, including Martin Luther who popularized the idea that the “beast” was the Roman Catholic Pope. In turn, Catholic theologians were convinced that Luther was the “beast.” Historicist view has been largely discounted, as it does not adequately address the prophecy in Revelation. The historicist view is reflected in most of the “older” commentaries including the works of John Knox, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, C. H. Spurgeon, Matthew Henry, Adam Clarke and Albert Barnes An example of a historicist interpretation is the belief that the strong angel of Rev. 10 symbolizes the reformation and that the harlot in Rev. 17 represents the Roman Catholic Church, an interpretation that the plain reading of the text simply does not agree. The historicist system of interpretation understands Revelation as setting forth the major events of Christian history spanning the time of John until the present. Proponents of this method have tended to take Rev. 2-19 including the seals, trumpets, and bowls as well as the interludes, as prophetic of salvation history, that is, the development of church history within world history. This view has also been called the Classicist. The Classicist view interprets Revelation as the symbolic history of the “Church” from apostolic times to the return of Christ and judgment. It denies a literal thousand year reign of Christ, and makes the predictions more general in there application through history. This view can lead to subjectivism and widely differing opinions as to the meaning and fulfillment of the symbols.

The Idealist Interpretation: (Eternal Principles)

The Idealist maintains that Revelation is not predictive prophecy, but a symbolic portrait of the cosmic conflict between the forces of good and evil. In this view, Revelation becomes merely a collection of stories designed to teach spiritual truth. Some refer to this method of interpretation as “Spiritual”. Mounce and Osborne provide a good summary of the idealist approach to interpreting Revelation. Idealist proponents hold that Revelation is not to be taken in reference to any specific events at all but as an expression of those basic principles on which God acts throughout history. The idealist approach continues the allegorical interpretation, which dominated exegesis throughout the medieval period and still finds favor with those inclined to minimize the historical character of the coming consummation. This popular approach argues that the symbols do not relate to historical events but rather to timeless spiritual truths. As such, it relates primarily to the church between the advents, that is, between Christ’s first and second comings. Thus it concerns the battle between God and evil and between the church and the world at all times in church history. The millennium in this approach is not a future event but the final cycle of the book, describing the church age. The Idealist employs allegorical interpretation to reduce Revelation to a symbolic exhibition of good versus evil. The more moderate form of allegorical interpretation, following Augustine, regards Revelation as presented in a symbolic way the total conflict between Christianity and evil or, as Augustine put it, “the City of God versus the City of Satan”. Idealist Calkins summarizes Idealism in five propositions: It is an irresistible summons to heroic living; the book contains matchless appeals to endurance; It tells us that evil is marked for overthrow in the end; It gives us a new and wonderful picture of Christ; and the Apocalypse reveals to us the fact that history is in the mind of God and in the hand of Christ as the author and reviewer of the moral destinies of men.

The Futurist Interpretation: (A Blueprint of the End Times)

A literal reading of prophecy will primarily produce a ‘futurist’ interpretation. Thus futurists interpret Revelation 4–22 as predictive of future, end time historical events preceding during and after the return of Jesus Christ. Futurist usually Premillennial and Amillennialists spiritualize the 1000 years; postmillennialists spiritualize the resurrection which precedes it, millennial kingdom on earth, followed by the creation of a new heaven and new earth. Variations of this view were held by the earliest expositors, such as Justin Martyr (d. 164), Irenaeus (d. c. 195), etc. This futurist approach has enjoyed a revival since the 19th century and is widely held among evangelicals today. The approach to interpreting Revelation that has gained perhaps the widest exposure of all systems of interpretation in recent times is the futurist interpretation. This is a result of a number of seminaries in the recent past, that have championed a literal interpretative approach to all of Scripture within a framework that understands related Old Testament passages and promises involving Israel, and which distinguishes between Israel and the Church. The futurist interpretation is the basic interpretive framework behind the hugely popular left behind series of novels by authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. Futurism derives from the consistent application of literal hermeneutics[8], the Golden Rule of Interpretation, across the entire body of Scripture, including Revelation. Contrary to the claims of many of its critics, it is not a priority view, which is imposed on the text. As evidenced by the testimony of the early Church, futurism is the most natural result of a plain reading of the text and the way that most unbiased readers would understand the book on their first reading. Futurism gets its label from its refusal to see unfulfilled passages as having been fulfilled by approximately similar events in the past. Hence, it holds that many of the events in the book of Revelation await future fulfillment.

4.0.      Apocalyptic and Epistolary Introduction

Apocalyptic Introduction (Revelation 1:1-3)

The full implications of John’s apocalyptic introduction can only be fully grasped when the reality of his vision begins to become clear. For his audience, however, both Jewish Christians, and Gentiles socialized to the Jewish-Christian tradition, John indicates that Jesus is the Messiah in whom God is revealing the fulfillment of His purposes for His people. John also indicates that God’s fulfillment, begun in Jesus, is continuing to be played out according to God’s purposes. Those who participate fully in what God is doing (those who listen and obey) will experience the blessings of becoming God’s people in His fulfilled purposes. The apocalyptic introduction as at today is almost incomprehensible outside the full sweep of John’s vision. The larger vision reveals that God has fulfilled the purposes; He sets forth in His covenant to Abraham (Gen 12:2-3). There, God promised that all the nations of the earth would be blessed through Abraham’s descendants. We will see that the people of God are those redeemed from every tribe, nation, tongue, and people (5:9, 7:9). God has also fulfilled the purposes He sets forth in His covenant with Moses, that His people would be a kingdom of priests (Exodus 19:6). It is clear that in Jesus death and resurrection, the Messiah has made believers a kingdom of priests (1:6). Gentiles are now called to live their lives in the world as members of God’s kingdom and as priests of God in such radical obedience to God (having the Word of God) that they may become like Jesus in the world. To live as members of God’s kingdom is to incarnate the values, perspectives, and relationships of God’s kingdom into our daily living. “To be priests of God is to be agents of God’s redeeming, healing, liberating, transforming grace to a broken and hurting world”[9]

Epistolary Introduction (Revelation 1:4-8)

For John’s audience, steeped in or well acquainted with the Jewish expectations of the restoration of the Kingdom, the epistolary introduction is a profoundly radical statement. John clearly infers that in Jesus as Messiah, God has fulfilled His promise through the prophets to His people to restore the kingdom to Israel. The focal element is that the death of the Messiah has cleansed Israel from her sins and made her God’s kingdom of priests in fulfillment of the purpose of the Covenant (Exodus 19:6).

The authentication of this reality is the resurrection of Jesus, the faithful martyr, the unmistakable sign that the restoration has begun. God’s restoration of the kingdom extends far beyond Israel’s limitation of it to Jews only. We Gentiles have also been incorporated into God’s kingdom as priests. We are now called to live as faithful citizens of God’s new realm of being, looking expectantly for its ultimate consummation in the return of Jesus.

5.0       The Seven Churches In Revelation In the Context of

21ST Century African Pentecostal Churches

Since every church in every age face from its culture similar pressures to accommodate the world’s values, perspectives and life styles, it is then presumed that John’s vision speaks to the church throughout the ages. The historical grounding in the culture of the Roman cities is basic to understanding the messages the churches receive from Jesus. However, each letter to an individual church is to be heard by all the churches. In some sense, therefore, the letters are to all the churches. Since all churches in John’s day would face the same pressures and temptations as the seven addressed, it is reasonable to presume the vision is for them as well. The seven churches are ordered in an interesting pattern of ‘Perfect’ Churches, ‘Problem’ Churches and ‘Perverse’ Churches:

(1) Ephesus                             (2) Smyrna                  (3) Pergamum              (4) Thyatira

Problem                                 Perfect                        Problem                     All Three                  

(5) Sardis                                 (6) Philadelphia           (7) Laodicea

Perverse                                 Perfect                        Perverse

The Church In Ephesus – Revelation 2:1-7

<$M[REVE_2:1]>The Ephesians’ church was working diligently and enduring pressures from its Fallen Babylon context. The church was also very careful not to allow any ‘infection’ from Fallen Babylon to enter its fellowship. They had some kind of test to ensure that no one got into the community, if they were tainted by Fallen Babylon. The church was not denying their allegiance to Jesus and had not become tired of being faithful citizens of New Jerusalem. They were not, however, reaching out to their world with the liberating, healing, cleansing, and transforming reality of God’s grace in Jesus. The church was profoundly orthodox but no longer evangelistic. Jesus praises their orthodoxy, but indicates that the evangelistic failure has the church on the verge of ceasing to be a community of God’s people (their lamp stand is about to be removed). If the analysis of the problem in Ephesus is correct, then orthodoxy and evangelism are the inseparable foci of a healthy church. Both must be kept in dynamic balance. Evangelism without orthodoxy becomes a tolerant pluralism and results in a community formed around diffuse human values and criteria. Orthodoxy without evangelism becomes a cold, harsh legalism and results in a community formed around debilitating “do’s and don’ts. Sound orthodoxy and fervent evangelism with discipleship result in a community of faith whose growing wholeness of life is a powerful witness of the cleansing, healing; liberating life in Christ to a soiled, wounded, imprisoned world.

  1. Smyrna – Revelation 2:8-11

John’s vision makes it clear that faithfulness may result in suffering at the hands of the Fallen Babylon world but how relevant is this for 21st century African Pentecostal churches when more Christians have been martyred in the 20th century than the preceding nineteen. Christians will always be called to account for their faith and the genuine incarnation in their lives. The values and perspectives of God’s Kingdom are always a threat to the dehumanizing perspectives and destructive values of the Fallen Babylon world. Jesus’ word to Smyrna is in sharp contrast to those who proclaim a gospel of prosperity. Laodicea represents a perfect example of a “prosperity” church; in contrast Smyrna from the Revelation’s account was one of the faithful churches, a community of God’s people living out their lives as disciples of the kingdom. The terms associated with this faithful church are not comfortable; suffering, poverty, blasphemy by others, being afraid, prison, being put to the test, facing death etc. These are not terms or experiences that would induce people to sign in for the Christian pilgrimage. Very often we have “domesticated” the Gospel to make it palatable to those of our Fallen Babylon world. It is imperative to be faithful citizens of God’s New Jerusalem no matter what the cost. It is costly to follow Christ and that is why He asked people to carry their crosses and follow Him.

Pergamum – Revelation 2:12-17

Like the Ephesians’ church (2:1-7), the Pergamum church receives praise from Jesus for aspects of its faithfulness. It has even held fast in the face of a persecution in which one of its members was martyred. Like Ephesus, it seems to be a faithful church, living as citizens of God’s New Jerusalem in the midst of the pressures of their Fallen Babylon world. Also like Ephesus, the Pergamum church has problems. Their problems differ from Ephesus. In Ephesus, the entire church seems to be involved in its cold orthodoxy. In Pergamum there are two groups. One group is verging on apostasy with its advocacy of eating food offered to idols and spiritual fornication, participating in the worship of other gods. The rest, who appear not to participate in this activity, are tolerant of those who do. In a culture similar to the present age, where toleration has become the primary virtue, it is easy for the community of faith to ‘Christianize’ tolerance and allows all sorts of destructive perspectives and behaviors into its fellowship. It is evident that the surrounding culture cultivates and promotes toleration as the ultimate level of maturity and caring, no one wants to be accused of being ‘intolerant’. This is even more the case when we consider that Ephesians’- type churches that tend to manifest a brand of intolerance that rightly brings the world’s scorn and ridicule down upon them. If the Ephesian church represents the intolerance of cold orthodoxy, the Pergamum church represents the toleration of mild heterodoxy.

Thyatira – Revelation 2:18-29

Thyatira is the central church of the seven and embodies all the three conditions. Only by highly contrived constructs of history can this be made to be an outline of church history. The first three churches are in the pattern, problem church, perfect church, and problem church. The last three are in the pattern, perverse church, perfect church, and perverse church. Thyatira appears to combine all three types: perfect, problem, and perverse. Not only does Jesus praise them for their faithfulness, he also indicates the constant improvement in all these things (2:19). Some of them, however, are perverse, following the apostasy of ‘Jezebel’. These will return to spiritual impotency if they don’t repent. Some are problematic, tolerating her and her followers. These are the ones who, while they have love, faith, service, and patient endurance, are warned for their toleration of Jezebel and her followers. Some are perfect, not following this false teaching. These are the ones who are exhibiting constant improvement in all things, and of whom Jesus asks nothing more. The more we understand what is represented in these churches, the more we see that John’s vision speaks strongly to the church in every age. In many “mainline” denominations in 21st century African Churches, there is a three-way division. On the one side are those who, at various levels and in diverse ways, seek to live lives of faithful Christian discipleship. These are often labeled “conservatives,” or “fundamentalists,” or “evangelicals.” On the other side are those who, in equal diversity, adopt various apostate or heretical perspectives and behaviors. These are often labeled “liberals,” or “radicals.” In the middle are those who, for various reasons, ally themselves with neither side but “tolerate” the extremes of both sides for the sake of preserving the myth of structural or denominational “loyalty” or “unity.”

Sardis – Revelation 3:1-6

With the exception of a few faithful souls, the church at Sardis is in dire straits. They are so spiritually dead that they are on the verge of having their name erased from the Book of Life. Unlike the previous “problem” churches, repentance is not enough. They need to return to the essentials of their experience of redemption, and once again begin to live out that reality in their life. The crucial problem with the church in Sardis is that they have a reputation for being alive. This church had, “exciting” worship that appealed to the tastes of the culture but was dead to the genuine awe and humility of true worship. It was like a church alive to “entertaining” programs for children, youth, and adults that confirmed the status quo but was dead to the transforming grace of God. Sardis could have been a church alive with “socially aware” attitudes and activities whose deadness sought to legitimize personal and social aberrations rather than witness to the liberating power of God. Was this a church so “alive” with the world’s perspectives, values, and behaviors that it was “dead” to those of the kingdom? (M. Robert Mulholland Jr.). There are many such Sardis-type churches in the world today that are easily identifiable.

Philadelphia – Revelation 3:7-13

Philadelphia was founded either by Eumenes II (197-159 B.C.) or Attalus II (Philadelphos159-138 B.C.) It, too, passed into Roman control through the will of Attalus III in 133 B.C. As the center of a fertile vine growing area, the worship of Dionysus, the god of wine, was one of the major religious expressions. The church in Romania under communist rule was hounded, persecuted, imprisoned, tortured, martyred. Yet it was the church that triggered the movement that ultimately brought down the brutal, dictatorial regime. After the fall of the regime, on the bulletin board of the church that had been at the center of the storm appeared this announcement: The Lamb Won! This church knew what it was to be a Philadelphia-type church, true followers of the powerless Lamb that was slain. Most often, a faithful group of disciples had to withstand not only the pressures of the state, but also the power of a state church.

In the words of Kenneth Leech[10]: “Following the leadership of Jesus, his Church needs to stand as a sign of contradiction and of conflict, affecting and, as it were, upsetting through the power of the Gospel, mankind’s criteria of judgment, determining values, points of interest, lines of thought, sources of inspiration, and models of life which are in contrast with the Word of God, and the plan of salvation”. Always, at some level of its life, the church lives against the grain of its culture. When it does so, it loses the power and prestige that comes with being a supporter of the status quo. There is a powerful temptation to “play the world’s games,” to let the world set the agenda, to operate by the world’s rules so as to be an “influence for God” in the world. If we give up, individually or corporately our positions of influence, prestige, and power in the world, we cannot advance the kingdom of God. But in a kingdom established by a crucified Messiah, life comes through death, victory through defeat, strength through weakness, power through powerlessness. The world today needs more churches like Philadelphia-type.

Laodicea – Revelation 3:14-22

Laodicea church thinks she is rich, has prospered, and need nothing more. Here is a “prosperity gospel” church. What Jesus says to the Laodicean church should give pause to the proclaimers and adherents of the “prosperity gospel.” The Laodicean Church is a Church almost immersed in the perspectives and values of its culture. The norms of the culture have become the standards of the congregation by which they evaluate the church’s life. They fit comfortably and smoothly into the ebb and flow of their world. They do not stand out in the warmth of their compassion for the marginalized, their concern for institutionalized injustice, and their zeal to be agents of God’s transforming grace in their broken and hurting world. They are not “hot”; neither do they stand out in their coolness toward the destructive and dehumanizing values of their Fallen Babylon world, their resistance to corruption, and their refusal to follow the idolatries of their culture. Jesus tells such a church that true “riches” come only through “fire.” On the one hand, this is the fire of God’s holiness that purges the soul of all impurities, refines habits, burnishes behaviors, purifies relationships and enables people to be in the presence of God’s love, truth and grace in the world Jr.[11] On the other hand, it is the “fire” of adversity and opposition that reveals the weakness of our reliance upon our own strength, that probes our dependence upon popularity, power, or possessions as the source of our identity and signs of our success, that drives us into the heart of God and leads us to entrust our entire being to Him. Charles Wesley sings, “Refining fire, go through my heart, illuminate my soul; scatter thy life through every part, and sanctify the whole”. In contrast to the luxurious black garments of Laodicea, Jesus counsels the church to buy from him white garments to cover the shame of their nakedness. Unless Christians are “clothed with Christ”, they stand vulnerable and exposed to the powers of the world’s values and perspectives. The “body” becomes wounded by the manipulations of others. It becomes scarred by rejection, broken by abuses, crippled by destructive relationships, deformed by dehumanizing structures of life. But when clothed with a white garment in a world clothed in black, they stand out. Instead of participating in dehumanizing economic, political, or social structures that marginalize and dehumanize others, they become those through whom God affirms the full humanity of others. G. J. Chesterton said; “the first time he read the Sermon on the Mount, he thought it was all upside down but, on a more reflective reading, he came to realize that it was the world that was “upside down.” Christ calls his followers to a divine way of seeing the world, themselves and others.

6.0       The Apocalyptic Implications of John’s Vision to the

21st century African Pentecostal churches:

Late David B. Barrett in his book[12] claimed that classical Pentecostalism constituted the largest unit in the Protestant family. Today’s Pentecostal is involved in excessive formalism and preoccupation with externals in much of official Christianity rather than stress personal holiness rooted in scriptural-oriented public and private prayer. The 21st century African Pentecostal churches are like Thyatira, the central church of the seven that embodies all three conditions – Perfect, Problem, and Perverse. They are more problematic and perverse churches in Africa. Most of the outward contradictions start from allegations of endemic and audacious corruption, domination, exploitation, oppression, discrimination, marginalization, bigotry, nepotism, occultism, personal empowerment, and leadership power. These variants have allowed intrusions into Christendom in the 21st century wrecking havoc to the Christian faith. Some of the intrusions are listed below; five of them are discussed in details:

  1. Prosperity Preaching/Theology
  2. Seeker Sensitivity
  3. Accountability and Corruption;
  4. Embezzlement and mismanagement of funds and resources;
  5. Leadership and Succession problems in the Church
  6. Lack of peaceful co-existence among various denominations and other religions;
  7. Gender discrimination;
  8. Proselytization and religious propaganda;
  9. Religious fundamentalism and violence;
  10. Religious persecution, violation of human rights and denial of religious liberty;
  11. Religious pluralism and secularism;
  12. Problems of Religious politics and dominance;
  13. Rise of new religions, Cults and Occultism;
  14. Divorce;
  15. Gay/Lesbianism; and
  16. Modern Psychology 

Prosperity Preaching / Theology

  • Prosperity preaching known as prosperity gospel is sometimes referred to as Prosperity theology. The health and wealth gospel or the gospel of success[13] is a religious belief among some Christians that financial blessing is the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations will increase one’s material wealth. Orthodox Christianity understands faith to be total surrender, believe and trust in Jesus Christ, the truth of His teaching, and the redemptive work He accomplished at Calvary, but prosperity preachers and their churches promote a different doctrine. In his book, The Laws of Prosperity[14], Kenneth Copeland wrote:
  • Faith is a spiritual force, a spiritual energy, a spiritual power. It is this force of faith, which makes the laws of the spirit world function. There are certain laws governing prosperity revealed in God’s Word. Faith causes them to function.
  • This is not only faulty but also heretical understanding of ‘Faith’. Later in the same book Copeland wrote:
  • If you make up your mind … that you are willing to live in divine prosperity and abundance, . . . divine prosperity will come to pass in your life. You have exercised your faith.[15]

According to prosperity theology, faith is not a theocentric act of the will, or simply trust in God; rather it is an anthropocentric spiritual force, directed at God. Indeed, any theology that views faith solely as a means to material gains rather than the acceptance of heavenly justification must be judged faulty. There are many reasons the prosperity gospel is damaging the continent of Africa today but this paper examines five of those reasons:

  • It is mixed with occultism birthing cultic theology:

Before Christianity came to Africa people visited witch doctors and sacrificed goats or cows to get prosperity; they poured libations on the ground so the gods would hear their prayers. Today similar practices continue because the prosperity preachers have replaced the Ifa priests. There are stories of church ministers who buried live animals under the floor of their churches to win people’s favour. The people who follow these prosperity preachers are reminded that their promised windfall won’t materialize unless they give large donations of money or properties.

  • It drives greed by fueling self-indulgence:

The prosperity preacher teaches people to focus on getting, not giving. Church members are continually urged to sow financial seeds to reap bigger rewards. In Africa, Christian revivals are dedicated to collecting offerings in order to achieve wealth. Preachers tell their followers that spirituality is measured by their physical prosperity. This greed preached from the pulpit spreads like plague in God’s house.

  • It promotes conceit:

The greedy atmosphere in prosperity churches has produced arrogance and a warped style of leadership. A Kenyan, Gideon Thuranira, editor of Christian Professional magazine, called these men “churchpreneurs.” They plant churches not because they have a burden to reach lost souls but because they see different currencies of the world when they fill an auditorium with chairs. The most successful prosperity preacher is the most dangerous because he can convince a crowd that Jesus died to give you a Lexus, airplane or several mansions. In Nigeria, there are many cases of theses preachers accumulating fabulous wealth and live in opulence as their followers become poorer.

  • It works against the formation of Christian character:

The prosperity gospel is a poor imitation of the true gospel because it leaves no room for brokenness, suffering, humility or delay. Prosperity preachers promise instant results and overnight success; if you don’t get your breakthrough, it is because you are not giving enough offering. Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him; prosperity preaching calls us to deny Jesus and follow our materialistic lusts. Some church ministers are so set on getting rich; they cannot go through the process of discipleship that requires self-denial. Spiritual formation has been jettisoned for materials’ formation.

  • It keeps people in poverty:

The government of Malawi was once under international scrutiny because of fraud carried out by top leaders. The so-called “Cash-gate” scandal is that professing Christians in the administration of President Joyce Banda were implicated. One of these people stole millions of kwacha from the government and hid the cash in a teddy bear! Most people today in Malawi live on less than $1 a day, yet their leaders have been known to buy fleets of cars and huge plots of land with money that was not theirs. Sadly, the prosperity gospel preached in Malawi has encouraged pastors and leaders to follow the same corrupt pattern. As a result, God’s people have been financially exploited. The same thing happened in Nigeria during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan when the president of Christian Association of Nigeria was implicated in the seized cash from his plane by South African government. Jesus described false prophets as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Churches have been growing rapidly in many parts of Africa today, yet sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where poverty has increased in the past 25 years. So according to the statistics, the prosperity gospel is not bringing prosperity! It makes their followers poorer so it is a flawed message!

Seeker Sensitivity:

The attempted integration of self-esteem into Christianity has not only influenced the theology of Christian counselors but has also distorted the mission and proclamation of many evangelical and mainline Protestant churches. Influenced by the Church Growth Movement, church leaders ask the questions: If the people in our community are seeking a sense of self-worth and self-esteem, how can we reach them? How can we be sensitive to the desires of these seekers? How can we produce a Sunday morning service that will allow these poor people with their wounded hearts and victimized lives to go home feeling good about them-selves?; questions with obvious answers. The preaching of the Law, the doctrine of original sin, the confession of sins, the preaching of a bloody cross as the payment for human sin has been forsaken. As a result, in the thinking of many evangelical “Christians” today, Jesus is no longer primarily the suffering Savior who gave his life for the forgiveness of our sins. Rather, it is prosperity preaching; gospel of feeling good about self and be happy. So, instead of gathering together in contrition and repentance, acknowledging sin and hearing the Good News of the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ, Christians today often hear sermons on politics, morals, values, and principles for living the alleged Christian life. The integration of the self-esteem concept into Christianity has produced devastating results.

Accountability and Corruption:

The Bible is good for rebuking and training in righteousness – 2 Tim 3: 16; this verse is no longer used as a guide for accountability and corruption in the house of God. The foundation of Spiritual growth is the understanding of God’s word. Churches grow best as they combine Obedience to the Bible in the context of close ‘Accountability Relationships’ – Galatians 5: 16 – 26. Christians should be known by the good works they do within the community. What service project or act of kindness could you do as an individual, as a group or with others ministries of the church in order to demonstrate Christ’s love in a tangible way?   But in reality, church overseers and leaders push their congregation to bring money called harvest into the house of God without a care to the source of the money. Even some church leaders convert Church funds to personal uses. Congregation becomes leaner but the Pastor fatter. Monetary issue has divided many ministries and some leaders have sold their souls to the devil due to corrupt enrichment. This challenge is for theologians to proclaim to all the teachings of Jesus Christ on wealth accumulation and speak openly against corruption. Church Leaders must be accountable and try to emulate the Master.

Embezzlement and Mismanagement of Funds and Resources:

These social vices have crept into Christendom; the theologians must preach against them and eradicate the vices before they consume the Church.

Leadership and Succession Problems in Church:

Like change in political leadership, change in religious leadership sees it as ‘do or die’ affair. They use blackmail, kill or destroy those they consider as obstacles to achieving their goals. The elections into religious leadership positions are defaced with use of charms, manipulations and verbal assaults that affect the spiritual lives of the church members after elections. Religious leaders use politics and religions as potent tools of deceits for Power. A church that is supposed to be led by the Holy Spirit has put the Holy Spirit in the backbench while inordinate ambition takes over the front row. People are no longer waiting to hear from God or being called by God. Church Ministries are now the alternative to unemployment and retrenchment; and the service of God is being treated like any employment. Spiritualism is no longer in effect; some even resort to consulting Ifa Priests’, Alfas’; use of Talisman and any type of Traditional armour to gain upper hand in the Church of God. There are cases of in fighting throwing overboard the basic teaching of Christ in loving one-another.


John’s vision makes it very clear at several points that all citizens of New Jerusalem started as citizens of fallen Babylon. Through the cross, the Lamb ransomed people for God from every tribe, language, people and nation (5:9). John then sees this group standing before the throne of God and the Lamb and worshipping (7:9-12). Whenever the church forgets that the Gospel is for the world, it forgets its primary purpose in the world. The church is not only the proclaimer of the Good News; it is also called to be the incarnate of the Good News. The Good News for citizens of Fallen Babylon is that there is a way of life, a mode of being, a realm of existence in which healing for brokenness, forgiveness of sin, cleansing of ungodliness, liberation from bondage, and transformation to wholeness can be found. But unless the world sees this reality incarnated in the life of the church, it will have no grounds for believing the proclamation. Therefore faithful followers of the Lamb in African Pentecostal Churches must have increasing endurance in the face of new and ferocious persecutions, to be faithful witnesses to the Good News in the midst of Fallen Babylon.


[1] Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible Book by Book, (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2002), 426

[2] James Hastings, Hastings Dictionary of the Bible, (New York: Hendrickson Publishers Inc 2001), 79

[3] Hastings, 798

[4] George Eldon, Ladd A Theology of the New Testament: Revised Edition, (Grand Rapids,  Michigan, William B.  Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993), 670

[5] George Eldon, Ladd A Theology of the New Testament: Revised Edition, (Grand Rapids,  Michigan, William B.  Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1993, 672. A few interpreters      tried to adapt the Preterist view to a  conservative approach. See A. Pieters, Studies in the Revelation of St. John (1943, 1954); R. Summers, Worthy Is the Lamb (1951). Also see        G. R. Beasley-Murray in The New Bible Commentary (ed. F. Davidson; 1953); that           combines the Preterist and Futurist methods. L. Morris, Revelation (1969); G. E. Ladd,   Revelation (1972).

[6] Fee and Stuart, 209

[7] http://www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/book_of_revelation/commentary/htm/

[8] Http.www.spiritandtruth.org/teaching/book_of_revelation/commentary/htm/ accessed on June   18, 2016

[9] M. Robert Mulholland Jr. “Oral lecture”: West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS), an affiliate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 2006; Revelation: Holy Living in an Unholy World. Michigan: Zondervan Press, First edition (April, 1990)

[10] Leech, 1985, 391

[11] Robert M. Mulholland Jr., “Oral lecture”: West Africa Theological Seminary (WATS), an         affiliate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 2006; Revelation: Holy Living in an Unholy            World. Michigan: Zondervan Press,   First edition (April, 1990)

[12] David, Barret, World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions  in the   modern world, second edition, New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, 1982

[13] Pejorative nicknames have been attached to the theology, including “name it and claim it” and    “blab it and grab it”

[14] Kenneth Copeland, The Laws of Prosperity, Fort Worth, Texas: Kenneth Copeland       Publications, 1974, 19

[15] Copeland, 41



The British Government was not satisfied with Nigeria separate entities, and therefore put forward the principle of amalgamation, a process which was first suggested by Sir Ralph Moor[1] and was followed by the 1898 Selborne committee which investigated the need for amalgamating the different entities of Nigeria of which 194 climaxed the whole process[2]. British bureaucrats imposed diverse constitutions on Nigerians until Nigerians were allowed to participate.[3] Hence, Nigeria was formed by the amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates by the colonial master.

Frederick John Dealtry Lugard, known as Sir Frederick Lugard was the governor general of Nigeria from 1914 to 1919. In 1912, Lugard was the governor of the two protectorates of north and south. His main mission was to complete the amalgamation into one colony, which he did in 1914 and was made the governor-general of the new combined colony of Nigeria. Lugard claimed the north was poor and they had no resources to run the protectorate of the north. That they had no access to the sea; that the south had resources and had educated people. When the amalgamation took effect, the British government sealed off the south from the north from 1914 to 1960, a period of 46 years, the British allowed minimum contact between the north and south because it was not in the British interest that the north be allowed to be polluted by the educated south.[4] Lugard gave the new country ‘Nigeria’ a life-span of 100 years; in his 1914 Amalgamation document, he said any region can secede in 2014.[5] Lugard knew the kind of leaders he was grooming for Nigeria. On page 70 of his book[6] written 12 years after the amalgamation; he said:

In character and temperament, the typical African of this race-type is a

happy thriftless, excitable person, lacking self control, discipline and

foresight. Naturally courageous, and naturally courteous and polite,

full of personal vanity, with little sense of veracity, fond of music and

loving weapons as an oriental loves jewelry.

He continued:

He lacks the power of organization, and is conspicuously deficient in

the management and control alike of man or business but he loves the

display of power but fails to realize its responsibility.


The visualization of the future, which Nigerian leaders had engaged in the last two decades, proved him right on Nigerian “lack of foresight”. Late Harold Smith apologized to Nigerians with a landmark confession[7]

Our agenda was to completely exploit Africa. Nigeria was my duty

post. When we assessed Nigeria, this was what we found in the

Southern region: strength, intelligence, and determination to succeed, well

established history, complex but focused life style, great hope and

aspirations; the East is good in business and technology, the West is

good in administration and commerce, law and medicine, but it was a

pity we planned our agenda to give power ‘at all cost’ to the

Northerner. They seemed to be submissive and silly of a kind. Our

mission was accomplished by destroying the opposition at all fronts.


The major religion in the north was and still is Islam while southern Nigeria major religion was and is still Christianity. The British Administration before the country’s Independence favoured the Muslim elite of northern extraction while the European missionaries aided the southern Christians. Ever since southern and northern Nigeria was united into one state, the different religious orientations of the country’s regions have been inseparable from their political interests and strategies[8]. Since then was the emergence of a new political class from the westernized Christian and bureaucratic elite to oppose the traditional Muslim rulers of the north.

Many themes in Nigerian history shaped contemporary Nigerian politics and society. The Sokoto caliphate in the jihad (holy war) of 1804-8 brought most of the northern region, adjacent to parts of Niger and Cameroon under a single Islamic government. This caused the dichotomy between the north and south and the divisions within the north that was pronounced during the colonial and post-colonial eras. Since 1908, when German engineers first drilled the first oil well in Nigeria, a buoyant, viable industry sprung up. Oil is today the bedrock of Nigeria’s economic development, accounting for more than 80% of its foreign exchange earnings.[9] Nigeria gained independence from the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960 by an act of the British parliament. In 1963 Nigeria became a republic within the commonwealth. Nnamdi Azikwe (Igbo) became the republic’s first president and Tafawa Balewa (Fulani-Hausa) the first prime minister. On January 15, 1966, some young army officers carried out a coup d’etat against the elected civilian Government of sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the prime minister and Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe, the president of Nigeria. Unfortunately the military government of General Ironsi thrown up by the ill-fated coup did not help matters; while accepting that the January 1966 coup was a rebellion did not take action against the plotters. Ironsi promulgated Decree 31 of 1966, which abolished the federal system and established a unitary system of administration in the country. The political and military leadership of northern region responded with a counter-coup that was bloody and unmistakably directed at Igbo officers within the army. This counter-coup soon deteriorated into a complete breakdown of law and order; the carnage of destruction spread to the civilian Igbo population beyond the military barracks. The bitterness of Igbos’ losses provoked the civil war that almost consumed the entire country. The January-July crises thus inexorably killed esprit de corps and military discipline and replaced them with ethnic and social cleavages within the Army.[10]

The counter-coup of 1966 brought in Yakubu (Jack) Gowon into power as the head of state, and commander-in-chief and chairman of the Supreme Military Council, which was created in March 1967. In the face of increased sectarian violence, the eastern region’s military governor, Lieutenant Colonel Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, was under pressure from Igbo officers to proclaim the independent republic of Biafra, which he did on May 30, 1967[11]; some report dated the day 6th July 1967 but from several reports, the date of May 30, 1967 seems to be the right date of the attempted secession. Ojukwu cited as the principal cause for this action the government’s inability to protect the lives of predominantly Igbo easterners. In reality, the conflict was the result of economic, ethnic, cultural, political and religious tensions among the various peoples of Nigeria. Prior to this war there have been civil disturbances in some parts of the country, such as Tiv riots in the mid-sixties, which the police usually quell. The federal government approached the onset of the civil war with a police action because nobody, including the military, expected the war to last longer than six months.[12] The reality of the war however forced the contrary. Two years into the war, the Federal troops made so much progress in defeating the Igbo rebels but France made available to the rebels human and material resources. This scenario was compounded by internal maladministration and mismanagement of operations among the federal military leadership. This enabled the rebels to recapture from the federal army, strategic areas such as Owerri and Oguta, within a not-too-distant range from Port Harcourt. The situation was made worse by the diplomatic recognition accorded the rebel regime by Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Zambia, Gabon and Haiti.

In January 1970, Biafra resistance collapsed and the federal military government reasserted its authority over the area. An estimated 1 to 3 million Nigerians died from hostilities, disease, and starvation during the civil war and more than 3 million Igbos became refugees.[13] In October 1970, Gowon announced his intention of staying in power until 1976. In 1972, Gowon partially lifted the ban on political activity that had been in force since 1966 and permitted a discussion of a new constitution that paved the way for civilian rule. The debate that followed was ideologically charged that Gowon abruptly terminated the discussion. The Gowon regime came under severe attack due to widespread corruption at every level, inefficiencies, crimes leading to national insecurity and lack of economic development. The political atmosphere deteriorated to the point where Gowon was toppled in a bloodless military coup in July 1975 and was replaced by Brigadier (later General) Murtala Ramat Muhammad. Muhammad who was assassinated during an unsuccessful coup in February 1976 and Lieutenant General Olusegun Obasanjo (a Yoruba) succeeded Muhammad. In 1979 Nigeria adopted a constitution under Obasanjo’s leadership based on the constitution of the United States that provided for a separation of powers among the executive, legislative, and judicial divisions. Obasanjo initiated plans to move the federal capital from Lagos to Abuja but this did not happen until December 1991. In 1979, five parties competed in national elections. Alhaji Shehu Shagari of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) was declared the winner of the presidential election and he succeeded Obasanjo as a civilian president of the country. The NPN led by Shagari governed as a minority; there was a lack of cooperation between the NPN-dominated federal government and the 12 states controlled by opposition parties.

On December 31, 1983, the military seized power once again amidst allegations of fraud associated with Shagari’s re-election in 1983; this was the pretext used by a military obviously associated with the ousted government. The leader of the coup d’etat was Major General Muhammadu Buhari[14]; his regime secured public support by reducing the level of corruption, trimmed the federal budget and launched a “war against indiscipline (WAI)” in 1984. In 1985, a group of officers under Major General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida removed Buhari in what could be termed ‘a palace coup d’etat’ from power and took over. The armed forces ruling council succeeded the supreme military council. The entry of Nigeria into the organization of the Islamic conference (OIC), an International body of Muslim states in 1986 generated a lot of controversy in the country. Buhari’s regime had initiated the application, which Babangida allowed to stand. The strong reaction of Christians embarrassed the regime. Babangida remained in power until 1993, when he ushered in an interim national government under the leadership of Chief Ernest Shonekan as a result of the military’s annulment of the election results of June 1993 that was widely acclaimed to be free and fair and was won by Chief Moshood Kasimawo Abiola. In November 1993, General Sani Abacha seized control from the caretaker government of Ernest Shonekan and served as military dictator until his death in 1998.

In 1995, the European union which already imposed sanctions in 1993 suspended development aid and expelled Nigeria from the commonwealth as a result of various records of human rights violations by the Abacha administration. When Abacha died on June 8, 1998, his chief of defense staff, Major General Abdulsalam Abubakar assumed control. He released political prisoners including the former military leader, Olusegun Obasanjo. He permitted the conduct of local government elections in December 1998, state legislative elections followed in January 1999, and the federal legislative and presidential elections in February 1999 which completed the transition to civilian government. Olusegun Obasanjo was elected president on the platform of Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) that won majority of seats in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

There are persistent calls for creation of states in Nigeria and currently, the country is divided into 36 states and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory and 774 Local Government areas. In 2004 religious strife forced the government to declare a state of emergency in Plateau State. Ethnic strife complicated matters in the southeastern state of Benue where tribal warfare broke out in 2001. Also in the oil-rich Niger Delta, there was a regional conflict against the state by the Ogoni tribe and international energy facilities and workers. In April 2007, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua of the PDP won the presidential election and succeeded Obasanjo. After the election, Yar’Adua proposed a government of national unity and in June 2007, two opposition parties, the ANPP and the Progressive Peoples’ Alliance (PPA) joined Yar’Adua’s government. President Yar’Adua died in office on 5th May, 2010 paving way for his vice-president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (a southern Christian) from a minority ethnic group to become the president of Nigeria. In April 16, 2011, Jonathan contested and won the presidential election with a wide margin against his closet rival, Muhamadu Buhari (a northern Fulani-Hausa Muslim). Since then, the country has known no peace due to the insurgency of the Muslim sect, Boko Haram that have been terrorizing Nigerians especially in the north east and Abuja with serial bombings.

A change eventually came on May 29, 2015 to break the sixteen years of PDP democratic rule. APC, an amalgamation of some parties fielded Muhamadu Buhari as presidential candidate against President Jonathan during the April 2015 elections and the party won the presidential election. On May 29, 2015, Muhamadu Buhari was sworn-in as President of Nigeria.

[1] A. O. Anjorin, The Background to the Amalgamation of Nigeria in 1914 in ODU, Ife Journal of

African Studies vol.3, No. 2 (January1967:72) cited in Bamgbose, J. Adele, Nigeria in West

Africa: A Powerful, or Powerless State?, In Asaju, D. F. Ekiyor, H. A. and Lawal, M. O.

(eds) Studies in Nigerian Development , Lagos, Irede Printers, 2006, pp1-14:*.2

[2] J. A.. Ballard, Administrative Origins of Nigerian Federalism in Journal of the Royal African Society,

vol. 70 No. 279, (April1971:333); Okafor, S. O., The Development of Central Legislature in

Nigeria Nelson , (1981:4243); Oshuntokun, J., The Historical Background of Nigerian

Federalism in Bolaji A et al Readings on Federalism Nigerian Institutte of International

Affairs (1979:92) all cited in Bamgbose, J. Adele, Nigeria in West Africa: A Powerful, or

Powerless State?, In Asaju, D. F. Ekiyor, H. A. and Lawal, M. O. (eds) Studies in Nigerian

Development , Lagos, Irede Printers, 2006, pp1-14:*.2

[3] A. Ojo, Constitutions and Constitutional changes since Independence, Atanda J. A and Aliyu A. Y.

(ed.) Proceedings of the National Conference on Nigeria since Independence , (1984:346)

cited in Bamgbose, J. Adele, Nigeria in West Africa: A Powerful, or Powerless State?, In

Asaju, D. F. Ekiyor, H. A. and Lawal, M. O. (eds) Studies in Nigerian Development , (Lagos,

Irede Printers, 2006), pp1-14:*.2

[4] http://www.oregie.wordpress.com

[5] http://www.naijapundt.com/news/by-lugard-1914-amalgamation-document-any-region-can-secede-in

2014 shuluwa date published 29/11/2012

[6] The Right Hon. Sir F. D. Lugard, The Dual Mandate in British Tropica Africa , Edinburgh, London:

William Blackwood and Sons, 1922, p.70 ;http:www.archive.org>eBook and Texts>Cornell

University Library

[7] http://www.haroldsmithmemorial.wordpress.com/tv-interview/

[8]  Niels Kastfelt, religion and Politics in Nigeria: A study in Middle Belt Christianity, (London: British

academic Press, 1994)

[9] http://www.nigeriatoday.com/basic_facts_about_nigeria.html

[10] Alberta, Omotayo, Olusegun Obasanjo: Passing the Torch, (Dallas: Essence Publications & Lagos,

Optimum Press Limited, 2012) , 22.

[11] http://www.Lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Nigeria.pdf

[12] Alberta Omotayo, 22.

[13] Country Profile: Nigeria, July 2008, p.4; http://www.Lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/profiles/Nigeria.pdf

[14] Buhari, a Hausa Muslim has his background and political loyalties tied very closely to the Muslim

North and the deposed government



Nigeria’s ethnic and religious crises have continued unabated causing disunity, extensive damage in loss of lives, properties and dispersal of citizens from their homes. These crises have been compounded by political inclinations. The ethno-religious conflicts have affected the sovereignty of the nation and the paradigm of the citizens into unpatriotic attitude. The scope of violence crystallizes the opinion that the government is culpable when it has the means to stop the conflicts but fails to prevent the violations and safeguard the legal or civil rights of the citizens. The adoption of Islamic legal system known as Sharia into the Nigerian Constitution has increased the insecurity of other religions especially Christianity. Since the late 1970s, religion has become as disruptive as ethnicity in Nigeria. The cultural and religious background of any nation is important to interpret the religious thoughts of the people and what shapes their thoughts.

This paper examines the ethno-religious conflicts that have led to human, economic and physical catastrophe on the nation vis-à-vis the desired attitudinal change. Nigeria as a secular nation is home to many religions among which are Christianity, Islam and Traditional Religion, which leaves it open to serious religious conflicts. Nigeria consists of multiple ethnicities with diverse cultures and customs, which also lead to tribal and ethnic wars at times. The power-hungry politicians are the causes of ‘religionalization’ of politics. This paper looks into the causes of the violent conflicts emanating from ethnic biases and conflagration, human intolerance, religious pluralism, religious bigotry, and structural imbalances. The paper discusses a revolving face of human nature as it concerns human behavioural patterns in ethnoreligious antics. Globalization allows interchange of world views, ideas and cultures but also brings along religious vices into Nigeria. There is a dire need for a formula that can alter and expand the capacity for qualities like love, empathy, justice, peace and harmonic-coexistence in Nigerians. The paper advocates that ‘state of origin’ must give way for State of birth and state of domicile (a minimum of 10 consecutive years) in Nigeria as the desired ‘Change’ to foster true unity among Nigerians.


Key Words: Religion, Ethnicity, Violence, Conflicts, Globalization, Sharia, and Change



Religion is an important cultural characteristic as well as one of ethnic ‘descriptors’ (a critical factor that at times is used to identify ethnicity). In Nigeria religion and ethnicity have been used as potent tools for disunity of the people; hence the need for a ‘Change’ towards unity and peace of communities and the nation. A secular and multi-ethnic country like Nigeria is a hub of volatility for religion and ethnicity crises. Over the years, there have been various faces and changes of the volatile nature of religion and ethnicity induced by fundamentalists. Religious fundamentalists have not changed even though they have become more ferocious in their offensive conducts. They have made religion a force that every government has been forced to take seriously. Armstrong[1] indicated that fundamentalists do not care for democracy, pluralism, religious toleration, peacekeeping, free speech, or the separation of church and state.

In the middle years of the 20th century, it was taken for granted that secularism was an irreversible trend and that faith would never again play a major part in world events. Fundamentalists’ fury according to Armstrong reminds us that modern culture imposes extremely difficult demands on human beings. Fundamentalists see conspiracy everywhere and are sometimes possessed by a rage that seems demonic. Since late 1970s religion has become as disruptive as ethnicity in Nigeria. August 26, 2011 was a sad day for Nigerians as it went down in history as a day that suicide bombing brought the country to an international negative prominence. The Muslim terrorists bombed the headquarters office of the United Nations (UN) in Abuja, killing UN staff, and non-staff[2]. This event was just one of the atrocities of the Islamic jihadist militant sect called Jama’atu Ahlis Sunna Lidda’awati Wal-jihad, which in English means “people committed to the propagation of the prophet’s teachings and jihad” called ‘Boko Haram. The country witnessed its nakedness in security and vulnerability that turned Nigeria into a state immersed in violent conflicts till today. These conflicts lead to human, economic and physical catastrophe on the nation. The Boko-Haram fundamentalists are convinced they are fighting for their Faith, conducting unholy war against secular modernity. Islamic Canon law (Sharia) that was inserted in the Nigerian constitution aided this view.

The president of Nigeria, Muhammad Buhari recently committed Nigeria to the Saudi Arabia-promoted military alliance against terrorism[3] without consulting stakeholders of other religions. Hilary Clinton, as America’s Secretary of State in 2009 said Saudi donors were the largest source of funding for terrorist groups worldwide. According to secret US diplomatic cables leaked by Wikileaks, “Saudi Arabia remains a critical support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT, and other terrorist groups”. It is a grave mistake for President Buhari to conclude that Saudi Arabia is Nigeria’s ally in the war on Boko Haram after another administration dragged secular Nigeria into Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) without due consultation. If Saudi Arabia’s motive is sincere, then Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, and Afghanistan should have been part of the alliance because they are Muslim Countries. This paper examines the various problems associated with religion and ethnicity that have led to violent conflicts among Nigerians. The paper then argues for a common ground that will foster unity among the multi-religious and multi-ethnic polity. Nigeria is home to many religions including Christianity, Islam and Africa Traditional Religion (ATR); which leaves him[4] open to serious religious conflicts. Nigeria consists of multiple ethnicities with diverse cultures and customs, which also lead him to tribal and ethnic wars at times. In several communities ethnicity and religion in the cultural traditional setting are intertwined and have direct influence on each other. The ethnoreligious violence between Christians and Muslims lead repeatedly to the destruction of churches and mosques. Religious paradox[5] is created. It is in this context that religion preaches love and peace, but at the same time approves holy wars as serving the divine purpose of God. Christians engage in violent crusades while the Muslims undertake jihads, and ATR uses their deities as potent tools. Conservativists, Dogmatists, Parochialists and Intolerants, all have aggressive behavior in relation to religious matters. Conservatives reject change and new ideas; Dogmatists impose their ideas or beliefs; Intolerants are not willing to accept the ways of thinking and behavior that are different from their own.




Religion is the activity that appeals to all that is noblest, purest, and loftiest in the human spirit. In essence, it is a way of living to glorify a Supreme Being known as God, Gods, god, or gods. American heritage dictionary defines religion as the belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe and as a personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.


Ethnicity is civilization; a distinguished group in a society that speak same language and from same source or same cultural background and at times share the same ancestors. Ethnic is sharing cultural characteristics: sharing distinctive cultural traits as a group in society. Ethnicity is culturally traditional: belonging to or associated with the traditional culture of a social group. Ethnicity is ethnic affiliation or distinctiveness. Ethnicity in the view of this speaker is a thread that weaves together some people that share common goals, common values, common objectives, culture, traditions; descendants of same ancestral lineage and of common historical background.


Conflict is a combat, struggle or warfare between communities, different ethnic groups, and religious opponents or any other opposing forces especially a prolonged, bitter and sporadic violence to kill and maim people and destroy property. Conflict is a situation or condition of disharmony in an interactional process. Banks claims that a situation of conflict is one in which the activity of one is actually or forcibly imposed at unacceptable costs, materials or psychic, upon another[6]. Banks[7] puts forward required factors for conflicts, which are intensity and salience of the issue at stake, the status, & legitimacy of the parties, the clustering of interests and coincidence of cleavages within a community.


Fundamentalism is to take one’s fundamental rights, beliefs, and opinions to a violent dimension. A fundamentalist is one who rather than tolerate another’s perspective will prefer enforcing his own perspective on others with use of weapons, tools of destruction, and hard lines destructive action. Fundamentalism is described as movement with strict view of doctrine: a religious or political movement based on a literal interpretation of and strict adherence to doctrine, especially as a return to former principles; support for literal explanation in the belief that religious or political doctrine should be implemented literally not interpreted or adapted.[8] Fundamentalists are convinced that they are fighting for the survival of their faith in a world that is inherently hostile to religion. They conduct a war against secular modernity, and have achieved notable results in the course of their struggle.


‘Change’ is to make something different; the act or instance of making or becoming different. The Change here is the contemplation of something different from what it has been towards a future course of unity of purpose that will be beneficial for the nation. Change management[9] has at least three different aspects, including adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change. A proactive approach to dealing with change is at the core of all the three aspects that are in alignment with the thoughts of this speaker.



 Terhembar Nom Ambe-Uva research paper[10] traced the historical background of Plateau state and affirmed that the state is home to over 50% of ethnic groups in Nigeria; although no ethnic group shares 100% of its culture with other ethnic groups. There is a deep-seated religious and cultural diversity in Plateau state. Further clarifying, Ambe-Uva said Plateau State including its capital Jos, is inhabited by Christians and Muslims. While Christians are in the majority, the Muslims constitute a significant minority[11]. He said Plateau is home to several ethnic groups, which fall into two broad categories: those who consider themselves “indigenes” or original inhabitants of the area-among them the Berom, the Afizere and the Anaguta and those who are termed “non-indigenes” or “settlers”, composed in large part of Hausa (the majority ethnic group in Northern Nigeria), but also of southern Igbo, Yoruba and other ethnic groups. Some of the “settlers”, notably the Hausa, have been living in the area for several generations. Neither the “indigenes” nor the “settlers” are monolithic in religious terms, but Christianity tends to be the dominant religion among the settlers[12]. In Plateau state religion ranks only next to ethnic identity; this is evident in the 2008 Jos north local government crisis that began as an electoral dispute but snowballed into an ethnic and religious conflagration. Philip Ostien[13] stated that conflict between “indigenes” of particular localities and “settlers” is widespread in Nigeria; that religious difference compounds the problem. He said the particular locations for indigenes and settlers fight are the 774 local government areas into which Nigeria is now sub-divided. Ostien said the fighting in the end is about access to resources controlled by the federal, state, and local governments, through which 80% of Nigeria’s GDP flows, which are largely derived from oil and gas production in the Niger Delta. He said Nigeria in effect is tending in some respects towards disaggregation into its constituent ethnic and sub-ethnic groups. He asked whether the bundle of ethnic or indigene rights, which unquestionably exists in Nigerian law, extends or should extend to political control of local government areas by local indigene groups, at the expense of other important rights enshrined in the constitution and laws. Isaac Oluwole Agbede[14] said ethno-religious conflicts and violence in Nigeria dated back to pre-colonial era; the establishment of kingdoms (Oyo and Bini) and emirate (Kano Emirate) involved subjugation of neighbouring communities or ethnic groups. He said the Islamisation of most parts of northern Nigeria and some parts of the south areas involved the waging of holy war on the communities or ethnic groups to convert them to Islamic faith. He emphasized that boundaries disputes between adjacent communities or ethnic groups were as old as the history of man; again intra-communal and inter-ethnic/ religious tension and conflicts are intensified by the introduction of slave trade by callous European merchants. The administration’s policy of ‘divide and rule’ deliberately set one ethnic group against the other under the guise of securing the right of each ethnic group to maintain its identity, individuality nationality and chosen form of government. Agbede indicated that under the policy of indirect rule, minority ethnic groups particularly in the northern areas are subjected to the rule of the powerful emirs, and to a large extent, to their religions with unavoidable resultant resentment. He further affirmed that with the establishment of the federal form of government in 1954 and with the three major groups dominant in each of the three regions, a new phase of ethno-religious conflict emerged. He said in order to undo the other major ethnic groups in the power equation each regional political operators supported (if not incited) minority agitation against the majority groups while blissfully ignoring the same agitation within its own region. Agbede concluded that the government must ensure an equitable distribution of the product of collective labour. Only these can bring the much desired conflict avoidance, conflict management, conflict resolution and peace-building in Nigeria. Chris Kwaja[15] said “the ethnic or religious dimensions of conflict have subsequently been misconstrued as the primary driver of violence when, in fact, disenfranchisement, inequality, and other practical fears are the root causes”. He said since communal violence first emerged in 1994, few charges have been brought against perpetrators and no credible prosecutions have been pursued. He claimed the concept of indigeneship inherently divides Nigerians and undermines the democratic form of government that Nigeria aspires to uphold. Eyene Okpanachi[16] indicated that Nigeria is characterized as a deeply divided state in which major political issues are vigorously and or violently contested along the lines of the complex ethnic, religious, and regional divisions in the country.[17]

Osaghae and Suberu[18] stated that Nigeria presents a complex of individual as well as crisscrossing and recursive identities of which the ethnic, religious, regional and sub-ethnic (communal) are the most salient and the main bases for violent conflicts in Nigeria. They said ethnicity is generally regarded as the most basic and politically salient identity in Nigeria; yet in spite of the salience of ethnicity, and the large number of studies that have been devoted to the subject, the exact number of ethnic groups in the country is not known. There is also the fact that ethnic identities and boundaries including myths of common origin are fluid and subject to continuous construction and reconstruction. In the final analysis, it is clear that ethnicity cannot be defined only in terms of categories employed by linguists and ethnographers. The duo claimed that religion ranks next to ethnicity; that in those states that adopted Sharia law in the fourth Republic, religious identity is more critical than ethnic identity and in fact serves to activate ethnicity.

Fawole O. A. and Bello M. L[19] claimed ethnicity; religion and federalism are intertwined and are more likely to be together than being separated. They claimed ethno-religious conflicts do more harm to federalism than good. These conflicts have presented many challenges that border on security and the corporate existence of the country, which is the fundamental reason for the adoption of a federal system. Fawole and Bello affirmed that these crises weaken patriotism, commitment to national deals and true nationhood, giving rise to parochialism, ethnicity and other cleavages, which ‘ethno-religious’ jingoists exploit for their interest and advantage. They concluded that ethno-religious violence retards the practice of federalism in Nigeria; contaminates social relations and undermines the economy of the state. Ethno-religious bigotry in Nigeria according to the duo has become a fulcrum of various forms of nationalism ranging from assertion language, cultural autonomy and superiority to demands for local political autonomy and self-determination. Salawu E.,[20] said the major cause of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria has to do with the accusations and allegations of neglect, oppression, domination, exploitation, victimization, discrimination, marginalization, nepotism and bigotry. He explained that the failure of Nigerian leaders to establish good governments, forge national integration and promote real economic progress, through deliberate and articulated policies, has led to mass poverty and unemployment and as a result has led into communal, ethnic, religious and class conflicts that have now characterized the nation. He said poverty and unemployment therefore served as nursery bed for many ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria because the country now has a reservoir of poor people who warmongers as mercenary fighters. He claimed further that a very important cause of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria is the breakdown of such vehicles of social control that characterizes the traditional African societies such as the family, education, law, religion, and political system that cares for well being of all citizens. Salawu re-affirmed that the malfunctioning of all these important institutions has actually increased ethnic and communal conflicts in Nigeria. He reiterated that the long military intervention in politics encourage and legitimize the use of force and violence as instruments of social change and attainment of set goals and demands. Hence the use of coercion and force in settling conflicts has become a tradition in the Nigerian body politics. Salawu claimed that the ethno-religious conflicts have some connection, with a number of politico-religious developments at the international scene. He agreed that the foreign connection in ethno-religious crises in Nigeria is also evident in the involvement of non-Nigerians in a number of urban insurgencies. These foreigners have been found to actively participate in the ethnic conflicts around the country and particularly in the Northern part between the Hausa-Fulani Muslim hosts and their Christian dominated southern Nigeria ‘strangers’ who reside in their midst. He said the foreign preachers often contribute to the insurgence of ethno-religious crises in Nigeria. He cited the example of 1991 religious crises in Kano that was traced to the plan of evangelist Richard Bonnke’s crusade tagged “Kano for Jesus” and because the government had earlier denied access to a Muslim cleric to preach in the city; serious crises erupted between the Muslim and Christian populations. Salawu in conclusion argued that in spite of widespread of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria, past and present governments have failed to tackle the problem through articulated and well-organized policy actions. He suggested that government should move from conflict resolution to the stage of conflict prevention; provision of adequate and effective security in each state that will respond promptly to any ethno-religious insurgence; establishment of functional and effective platform for ethno-religious leaders where grievances can be discussed before they escalate into ethno-religious crises; involvement of civil society in some critical areas of ethno-religious conflict, and strengthening of some conflict resolution institutions through appropriate legislations. Government should resolve to be pluralistic, representative, and Just in dealing with ethno-religious issues; and above all the government should strive to reduce poverty among the citizens.




The causes of ethnic conflicts include, cultural and social intolerance, ethnic activism or fundamentalism, heterogeneity within groups in a community; discriminatory government policy, homogeneity of ethnic group characteristics, boundaries or/and territorial agitation, and at times group competition or rivalry. There are three schools of thought on the ethnic-conflict debate: Primordialist, Instrumentalist and Constructivist. Proponents of primordial accounts argue that ethnic groups exist because there are traditions of belief and action towards primordial objects such as biological features and especially territorial location.[21] Instrumentalist 
account sought to explain such persistence as the result of the actions of community leaders, who used their cultural groups as sites of mass mobilization and as constituencies in their competition for power and resources, because they found them more effective than social classes[22]. Constructivism is often associated with pedagogic approaches that promote active learning. Jean Piaget
[23] articulated mechanism by which knowledge is internalized by learners and suggested that through processes of accommodation and assimilation, individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences. Constructivists argue that through processes of accommodation and assimilation, individuals construct new knowledge from their experiences by incorporating the new experience into an already existing framework without changing that framework[24].


The adherents of various religions guide their ‘Faiths’ jealously. Conflict arises when some step out of their beliefs’ to insult others. Conflict is not limited to antagonistic or different beliefs or Faith; at times we have conflicts within a group professing same Faith. Religious pluralism (diversity), and religious beliefs are viewed from different perspectives and these give rise to religious conflict within the same congregation, denomination or different religions. In itemized formula not necessarily in order of priority, the causes and sources of religious conflicts are:

  1. Disagreement over interpretation of scriptures, doctrines, sacraments or practices of various religions.
  2. Over-pampering of one religion over others through legislation, policy, resource allocations, and government gifts and patronages.
Leadership in religious institutions leads to controversies and schisms.
  4. Mismanagement of funds by the treasurer, finance committee or the priest or equivalent in other religions.
Acquisition and use of power by religious leaders or religious groups; this may be the power of persuasion or the power of the most cruel violence and terror.


Onigu Otite in his book[25] identified seven likely causes of conflict:

  1. The struggle for land space and the resources available;
  2. Disputed jurisdiction of certain traditional rulers and chiefs, where a 
king of one ethnic or sub-ethnic group claims rulership over people 
belonging to another ethnic group.
  3. Creation of new local government councils and the location of their 
  4. Ethnic and individual or sectional competition over access to scarce 
political and economic resources.
  5. The micro and macro social structures in Nigeria.
Population growth and expansionist tendencies to sustain ethnic bound 
occupations – a type of conflict, popular amongst the users of land 
  7. The perception or disregard for cultural symbols and the “pollution” of cultural practices.




Ethnicity is correlated to nationhood and it is as old as mankind. The word ‘ethnic’ when traced to its Latin or Greek origin means “Ethnos’ depicting nation or race. Nigeria had over four hundred ethnics and many sub-ethnic groups[26] 
existing independent of each other before the colonial rule in the country. Colonialism and amalgamation of Nigeria led to creation of unacceptable boundaries that led to the development of ethnic consciousness thereby making ethnicity a part of the country’s source of violent conflicts. The colonial masters through the constitution and political arrangement bestowed on the country tribalism, ethnic differences and disparities that different governments since then have been battling with. 
Despite various efforts by successive governments to eradicate ethnic violence, the problem persists unabated till today. Some of the past efforts included: creation of more states, ethnic balancing, federal character, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), federal unity colleges, proliferation of local government areas, various formula for revenue sharing policy, and multi-party democracy etc. These efforts have yielded no positive changes because ethnic violent conflict is not abated. Adeogun Adebayo[27] posited that ethnic conflicts could occur within two major typologies:

  1. Intra-Ethnic Conflict: This is the conflict between the same ethnic or sub-ethnic group living within the same boundary or different boundaries.
  2. Inter-Ethnic: Conflicts between two different ethnic groups living within the same geo-political boundary or different boundaries. Various issues such as location of local government headquarters, religion, or/and marginalization could cause such conflict.

It is important to note that some conflicts referred to as ethnic conflicts are really not ethnic in nature. Most of them have nothing to do with ethnic issues or ethnicity. These conflicts arise from religious bias, demographic explosion, politics or struggle for scarce resources. Ethnic identity was heightened and promoted during the colonial times because of the cultural nature of the threat posed by state violence. Later day ethnic conflict is as a result of injustice and environmental destruction, an example is the minorities of the oil-rich Niger Delta. The resultant violence brought the attention of the world on Ogoni. MOSOP succeeded in focusing national attention on the problems of Ogoni; this happened as a result of the violence, repression and resistance associated with their struggle. Hence a new perspective was created to ethnic conflict; the concept of resource control became legitimized and publicly discussed up to the Supreme Court of the country. Ethnic violence has now become a way of attracting ethnic attention to political issues, interests, and becoming relevant in the politics of the land.


Nigeria has experienced a long series of violent and bloody confrontations between the religious groups, especially between Christians and Muslims, causing several deaths of innocent Nigerians. Local conflicts are easily translated into religious loyalties and interpreted within the historical antagonism between Christian and Muslims especially in the north where there is Christian ethnic minority compared to Muslim Hausa-Fulani ethnic majority. Christian groups in the southern half of the country and in the middle belt reacted sharply to what they perceived as a Muslim, northern effort to lay the foundations for an Islamic state. Northeast has the highest number of displaced people as a result of clashes between Christians and Muslims. More than 1,000 people were killed in sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims in Jos alone in September 2001. Many northern states continue to ban or limit public proselytizing, although it is permitted by the constitution. In addition, in many states, government officials sometimes discriminate against adherents of minority religions in hiring practices, awarding of state contracts, and granting of permits and licenses. There is wide spread discriminatory legislation or policies disadvantaging certain religions. Some governments have implemented laws or regulations that favor certain religions and place others at a disadvantage. As Paul Tillich puts it “religion is the substance of culture and culture is the form of religion.[28]” Psycho-cultural theory of conflict shows that psychologically, religious and other cultural contradictions are the basis of conflicts. Faleti[29] argued that psycho-cultural conflicts take long to resolve. In this kind of conflict, passion for the protection of one’s identity, religion and culture overwhelms reason and inflames conflict behavior. The 1970s were decade of verbal wrangling and unruly display; the 1980s and 1990s were known for riots and violence. The Maitatsine crisis in 1980 claimed thousands of lives. By 1980, more than thirty-three cases of religious violence were reported in the north; these incidents spread geographically. Bitter conflicts between Christians and Muslims have become permanent feature of Nigeria’s politics.


Samuel G. Egwu[30] presented a scenario:

Nigeria has demonstrated a very high propensity for the ethnic and religious violence in the past three decades; there has also been a rise in the level of religious fundamentalism, millenarian religious movements of all kinds, and an extreme sense of religious intolerance resulting into numerous cases of intra and inter-religious violence on the other[31].

Matthew Hassan Kukah[32]
 in agreement with Egwu said, most students of Africa political scene agreed on the fact that both ethnicity and religion are the most dangerous threats to the attainment of democracy in Africa. Yusuf Bala Usman added his voice to this contentious religion crisis by stating that:

A series of violent demonstrations, riots and civil uprisings in this country in the last two years, have forcefully made many Nigerians come face-to-face with the harsh reality that religion is being systematically manipulated, by some forces, for specific purposes which are clearly opposed to the unity of the people in this country.[33]

Jos crises since 1994 have religious undertone among other causes of conflicts. 
Mvendiga Jibo et al[34] once declared that “the violent clashes in Plateau are very dangerous because any conflict involving the predominantly Hausa/Fulani with the non-Hausa-Fulani Christians has both ethnic and religious component.” The religious crises heightened in the 1980s, and since then there have been relocation of people based on ethnic and religious borderlines; this in effect has serious implications in future. War-lines are already drawn for potential violent conflicts. Most Christians have fled cities of violent conflicts and the churches that remained have suspended their services to protect their congregations. Major cities in northern Nigeria are patterned along Christian-Muslim divides. In Jos for example, Muslims inhabit Anguwan Rogo, Bauchi Road, and Gangare; while Christians predominate in Jenta Adamu, Kabong, Anguwan Rukuba, and Tudun-Wada areas. These relocations are based on suspicion, mistrust, fear, and open resentment between Muslims and Christians especially in Jos town[35]. The dislocations and relocations as a result of religious conflicts have created socio-economic problems as some people have lost their jobs. Most importantly, the continuous religious crises in Nigeria have conditioned the people to harbor grievances, bitterness, hatred, and mistrust against each other. All religions advocate peace and peaceful interactions; this core teaching has been jettisoned for hatred leading to serious and violent religious conflicts.





Violence is a malady, a syndrome that corrupts all who are engaged in it regardless of the causes. The effects of ethno-religious crises lead to social chaos and anarchy. More than anything else, the greatest obstacle to the nascent democracy is the pervasive insecurity of lives and property, as evidenced by the spate of ethnic, religious, and political conflicts, coupled with the seeming helplessness of security agencies to handle the outflow. Ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria highlight the ‘Conflict Trap Theory’ (CTT). The promoters of CTT are Paul Collier, Ankle Hoeffler, Havard Hegre, Nicolas Sambanis, V. L. Elliot, and Marta Reynal-Querol. As a theory, conflict trap denotes that once a conflict has erupted, it tends to develop a momentum of its own. Peace seemingly becomes elusive and hard to restore; even when peace is restored, it often does not endure[36]. The promoters of conflict trap ascribed the lengthy pattern of a typical conflict to a number of interlocking factors. The varying degrees of conflict factors in Nigeria are due to the fact that the country is secular, multi-ethnic and plural in nature. Conflicts in multi-ethnic societies are vulnerable to the mobilization of ethnic sentiments for the government and the warring groups. In a heterogeneous as well as pluralistic society, divergent opinions in relation to religious beliefs and ideologies, might not allow for a cordial relationship. The struggle for supremacy among religions in the society does not allow for a compromise especially in state policies as it affects affiliations to socio-economic institutions in the globe. The ethno-religious conflicts are not limited to an area; they are spread in the six geo-political zones of the country. The negative interaction of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria is a catalyst for disunity and can easily dismember the state because the outcome is upsurge of violence, which is the most significant factor impending true constitutional democracy. The resultant effect of this negativity is social disintegration.


The disastrous implications of ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria are: wanton destruction of property, high toil of deaths, underdevelopment as a result of destruction of available infrastructures, and a nation in throes of disintegration. Nigeria has become a nation struggling not to become a pariah nation among other nations. The country has lost its tourism potentials and foreign patronage as a result of prolonged religious insurgencies. The struggle for supremacy among religions compromises state policies negatively or positively depending on the side one is. An example of this issue is the membership of Nigeria in the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) and the Sharia bank introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Christians are not happy with the country being drawn into core Islamic association and products irrespective of any economic gains if any.




There is need for a Paradigm Shift in perspective, action, and reaction of the people towards religion and ethnicity. The desired change is the ability to resolve conflicts arising from religion, and ethnicity, without turning violent. Nigerians must speak and act as one nation not from ethnic or religious biases. The viable proposition here for an end to ethnicity conflict is stepping-down on ‘state of origin’ and stepping-up ‘state of birth’ or/and ‘state of domicile’ for at least 10 consecutive years. This is the only way to foster strong unity among the different ethnic communities. Also a culture of tolerance, trust and dialogue in inter-ethnic and inter-religious issues need to be built by all Nigerians. This paper advocates for a change to make Nigerians think nationally rather than ethnically or religiously. If religion influences were underplayed in the rights and privileges of Nigerians, religious conflicts would drastically reduce. At this point, the words of Stanley Samartha may become useful, he noted that “traditionally, religions have been moats of separation rather than bridges of understanding between the people[37], and Stanley concluded that “in spite of peace potential of religions, organized and institutionalized religions have not been able to prevent conflicts or to control religious passions once they have been aroused”[38]. The dictum in religious doctrine of cohabitation is ‘peace’ and all adherents must uphold peace as a choice. The Change Agenda is for a responsive positive solution, which is no other than nonviolent resistance. The nonviolent resistance will usher in, a new dawn for the community and present an environment free of oppression and pollution. The tools for analyzing conflict hang on a tripod of ‘CAB’: Contexts of the conflict, Attitude, and Behaviour of conflicting groups. The contexts (C) are the sources of conflict such as injustice, discrimination, corruption, and ethnic imbalance, political and economic issues, among others. The Attitude (A) is signs of hatred, prejudice, fear, mistrust, confrontational attitude etc. The Behaviour (B) of conflicting people or groups towards each other includes intimidation, destruction, killing, maiming, discrimination, marginalization, displacement, and so on.

The ethno-religious model in Nigeria shows religious/cultural intolerance, and discriminatory government policy contributing to various forms of activism that causes violence. It is a matter for concern that the economic injustice is an inseparable twin of ethnic injustice. The inequalities in status, income, and access to wealth showed more citizens are impoverished; unemployed and poor. The activists (mainly youths) use the sources as excuses for violent conflicts. The advocated change hinges on the theoretical standpoint that the howl for peace in Nigeria is as old as the dawn of history of Nigeria. The allegations of citizenship/indigeneity, native/settlers, victimization, marginalization, religious intolerance, land for grazing for Cattles, resource control, lack of good government, self-rule, and so on.


Religion in Nigeria is politicized. Religion relates to everything including birth, name, education, marriage, business, contracts, travels, and death and so on. Ethnicity is correlated with religion. The major examples of violent ethno-religious conflicts in Nigeria include the Kafanchan-Kaduna crises of 1987 and 1999, the Tiv-Jukun crises in 1998, Zangon-Kataf riots of 1992, 2001; the Kaduna riots of 2000 and the Jos (Plateau) riots of 2001, each claiming several hundreds of lives and generated violent ripple effects beyond Kaduna and Jos respectively.[39] Since 2012, the nation is embroiled in suicide bombing by Islamic terrorists. The pursuit of peace sometimes comes with a stiff price. Love conquers all, love is never defeated; genuine love is the only solution to violent conflicts. Conflict resolution therefore lies in a Paradigm shift towards the fear and love of God. Religious leaders have social, economical, political and spiritual responsibilities to the people. On this cause, they have refused to act to bring everlasting peace to Nigeria by their lack of positive interference and conflict management. It is better to stop a conflict rather than look for ways to resolve the conflict. Martin Luther King’s conviction was:

That any religion that professes concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried.

 Therefore religious leaders must be concerned about the land degradation, unemployment of vibrant and proactive youths, unrest and economic insecurity. This is simply the social gospel. Mahatma Gandhi’s concept was SATYAGRAHA (Satya is truth which equals love, and agraha is force; Satyagraha means truth force or love force). This is in conformity with Jesus’ teachings. This has a great potential in the area of social reform. Gandhi was the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force. Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. Love overrides all things. In unity, man can achieve anything; even the most difficult task. This is like the Biblical Tower of Babel; men can achieve their aim in oneness. The ‘Change’ this paper, advocates as ways out of ethno-religious conflicts are but not limited to:

  1. Transformed human beings (re-engineering of human minds).
  2. Good leadership and good governance by running a transparent government.
  3. Respect for the country’s constitution, especially under the fundamental human rights section.
  4. Addressing the underlining issues fuelling ethno-religious conflicts.
  5. Continuous dialogue, discourse, collaboration, negotiation, and 
  6. Dispensation of love, peace and justice.
  7. Revisiting all the reports of all commissions of enquiries that have been set up 
in the past by the government which have remained in the custody of 
government untouched.
  8. Infrastructural development: government must make uninterrupted electricity 
supply available; rehabilitate the bad roads, and construct new ones; upgrade 
the current dilapidated educational facilities.
  9. Creating jobs for the unemployed to eradicate poverty in the land.
  10. Putting an end to civil, tribal and religious strife by taking a stand at 
indigeneship and nativity of citizens (native and settlers): Many Nigerians are no longer comfortable in areas that are not dominated by their ethnic group because they can be killed under flimsy excuses. Many youth corpers have lost their lives in this way.



  1. Patriotic Gene: this will instill deep patriotism in Nigerians.

With genuine patriotism, bond of true unity shall develop between different ethnic groups and all shall see themselves first as Nigerians. Nigeria is not founded on strong ideals that are the reasons the country is challenged today. Nigerians lack patriotism, hence Nigerians need to go back to the root of all problems, if truly the people want to be one nation. John Fitzgerald Kennedy in his “Inaugural Address” on January 20, 1961 urged Americans to “ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”. This timeless advice is advocated for Nigerians.

  1. Citizenship and Indigeneity: State of Birth to replace State of Origin

The twin issues of indigenous and settlers always cause ethnic conflicts. They must be frontally dealt with by removing ‘state of origin’ in the dictionary of Nigeria and replace it with state of birth. Legislating on the state of birth and relegating the state of origin will truly bond together various ethnic groups of people. State of domicile could be considered if a person has lived in that state for a minimum of ten consecutive years. The country’s constitution needs to be amended to reflect this. It is the only way of stopping ethnic conflicts and foster unity among all people of various cultural backgrounds.

  1. True Democratic Government: 
A developed or developing nation must operate people-driven-democracy and achieve free and fair elections at all levels of governance. Both leaders and followers must uphold the rule of law. A true democratic government leads to Egalitarian Society. An egalitarian society gives everyone equal rights; this is a social philosophy.



Abogunrin, S. O., “Towards a Unifying Political Ideology and Peaceful Coexistence in       Nigeria: A Christian View”, in J. O., Onaiyekan, (ed), Religion, Peace and Unity          in Nigeria, (Ibadan, NACS, 1984)

Adebayo, Adeogun, Ethnic Conflict, Resolution and Management in Nigeria, in In Asaju,   D. F. Ekiyor, H. A. andLawal, M. O. (eds) Studies in Nigerian Development,  Lagos: Irede Printers, 2006

Agbede, Isaac Oluwole, “Dynamics of Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Nigeria”,         Department of            Jurisprudence & International law, Faculty of Law, University of     Lagos, African Centre for Contemporary Studies

Armstrong Karen, The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, New York: The        Random House Publishing Group, 2001

Banks, M., Conflicts in World Society, London: Wheatsheaf, 1984,

Egwu, G. Samuel, Ethnic and Religious Violence in Nigeria, Jos: St. Stephen Inc Book       House, 200

Elliot, Paul, Collier, V. L. Havard H., Ankle H., Marta R. Q., and Nicolas S. I., Breaking    the conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy, Washington D. C., The       International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2003,

Faleti, S. A., Theories of Social Conflict, in Shedrack Gaya Best (ed.), Introduction to         Peace and conflict studies in West Africa, Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 2006

Fawole, O. A., and Bello, M. L, “The Impact of ethno-religious conflict on Nigerian          Federalism”, International NGO Journal Vol. 6(10), (October 2011),

Grosby, Steven, The verdict of history: The inexpungeable tie of primordiality – a  response to Eller and  Coughlan, 1994, Ethnic and racial studies, 17 (1)

Gwamna, J. Dogara, Religion and Politics in Nigeria, Bukuru: Africa Christian       Textbooks ACTS, 2010

Jibo, Mvendiga, Ethnic Groups and Conflicts in Nigeria,Volume 4, The Lord’s       Creations, Ibadan: 2001, p.82 cited in Gwamna, J. Dogara, Religion and Politics            in Nigeria, Bukuru,: Africa Christian Textbooks ACTS, 2010, 8.

Kukah, Hassan Matthew, Democracy and Civil Society in Nigeria, Ibadan: Spectrum         Books Ltd., 2000

Kwaja, Chris, “Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflict, Africa Security   Brief”, A Publication of the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies No.(14/ July    2011) Eghosa, E., Osaghae, and Suberu, T. Rotimi, A History of Identities,  Violence, and   Stability in Nigeria: CRISE, WorkingPaper No.6, January2005,  London:University of Oxford,

Ostien Philip, “Jonah Jang and the Jasawa: Ethno-Religious Conflict in Jos, Nigeria,        August 2009, Muslim Christian Relations in Africa Peace history Society and     Consortium on Peace, Research, Education and Development, Peace and change    Vol 22, No. 1, (January 1997),

Otite, Onigu, Ethnic Pluralism and Ethnicity in Nigeria, Ibadan, Sharpson, 1990

Piaget, J., The Origins of Intelligence in Children, New York: International Universities     Press, 1952; Cognitive Theory of Constructivism, 1967

Salawu, E., “Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Nigeria: Causal Analysis and Proposals for        New Management Strategies”, European Journal of Social Sciences – volume 13, Number 3 (2010)

Samartha, Stanley, “Current Dialogue, World Council of Churches, Geneva” No. 38,          Dec. 2001, p. 16 cited in Gwamna, J. Dogara, Religion and Politics in Nigeria,      Bukuru,: ACTS Bookshop, 2010

Smith, Anthony, Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History, (Cambridge: Polity, 2001)

Tienou, Tite, The theological task of the Church in Africa, Hong Kong: African Christian   Press, 1990,

Usman, Bala Yusuf, The Manipulation of Religion in Nigeria: 1977-1987, Kaduna: Vanguard Printers and Publishers Ltd., 1987

http://www.communityindependentschool.org/pdfs/Constructivism.pdf Accessed on 25   Jan 2013




http://www.academicjournals.org/AJHC @ 2010 Academic Journals

http:/www.hrw.org/legacy/wr2k1/ (Human Rights Watch, 2001), accessed on July 07,       2012

http:/www.hrw.org/legacy/wr2k1/ (HRW, 2001), accessed on July 07, 2012

http:/www.hrw.org/legacy/wr2k1/ (HRW, 2001), accessed on July 07, 2012



[1] Karen, Armstrong, The Battle for God: A History of Fundamentalism, (New York: The Random House   Publishing Group, 2001), vii, xi, 135-317, 365



[2] Those injured included 64 UN staff, 36 non-UN staff and 16 unidentifiable persons according to the          broadcast by various news and electronic media on the day of event.

[3] Buhari’s declaration that Nigeria has joined the controversial Islamic Military Coalition against Terrorism            was made public recently in an interview with Aljazeera cable television.

[4] “Our Fatherland” in the National Anthem is the reference point for the use of “him”

[5] A situation that involves two ideas or qualities that is different.

[6] M. Banks, Conflicts in World Society, (London,: Wheatsheaf, 1984), 100.

[7] Banks, Conflicts in World Society, 100.

[8] http://www.Microsoft (R) Encarta (R) Dictionary on-line, 2009, © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation

[9] http://www.searchcio.techtarget.com, accessed on Thursday, March 10, 2016 @ 2.25pm

[10] Terhemba Nom Ambe-Uva, Identity politics and the Jos crisis: Evidence, lessons, and challenges of good           governance, African Journal of History and Culture (AJHC) Vol.2(3), pp.42-52, April 2010       available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/AJHC @ 2010 Academic Journals

[11] http:/www.hrw.org/legacy/wr2k1/ (Human Rights Watch, 2001), accessed on July 07, 2012

[12] http:/www.hrw.org/legacy/wr2k1/ (HRW, 2001), accessed on July 07, 2012

[13] Philip, Ostien, “Jonah Jang and the Jasawa: Ethno-Religious Conflict in Jos, Nigeria, August 2009.    Muslim Christian Relations in Africa Peace history Society and Consortium on Peace, Research,          Education and Development, Peace and change, Vol 22, No. 1, (January 1997),


[14] Isaac Oluwole, Agbede, “Dynamics of Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Nigeria”, Department of     Jurisprudence & International law, Faculty of Law, University of Lagos, African Centre for        Contemporary Studies


[15] Chris, Kwaja, “Nigeria’s Pernicious Drivers of Ethno-Religious Conflict, Africa Security Brief”, A         Publication of the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies No.(14/ July 2011)

[16] Eyene Okpanachi of department of political science, University of Ibadan in his contribution on Sharia in            Kaduna and Kebbi states

[17] Okpanachi quoting Smyth and Robinson, 2001

[18] E. Eghosa, Osaghae, and T. Rotimi, Suberu, A History of Identities, Violence, and Stability in Nigeria:CRISE, WorkingPaperNo.6,January2005,London:UniversityofOxford,

[19] O. A, Fawole, and M. L, Bello, “The Impact of ethno-religious conflict on Nigerian Federalism”,          International NGO Journal Vol. 6(10), 211-218, (October 2011),

[20] E., Salawu, “Ethno-Religious Conflicts in Nigeria: Causal Analysis and Proposals for New Management            Strategies”, European Journal of Social Sciences – volume 13, Number 3 (2010)


[21] Steven Grosby, The verdict of history: The inexpungeable tie of primordiality – a response to Eller and Coughlan, 1994, Ethnic and racial studies, 17 (1): 164-171, 168

[22] Anthony Smith, Nationalism: Theory, Ideology, History, (Cambridge: Polity, 2001), 54-55

[23] J. Piaget, The Origins of Intelligence in Children, New York: International Universities Press, 1952;     Cognitive Theory of Constructivism, 1967,            http://www.communityindependentschool.org/pdfs/Constructivism.pdf Accessed on 25 Jan 2013

[24] Piaget, 2009, 1-7

[25] Onigu Otite, Ethnic Pluralism and Ethnicity in Nigeria, (Ibadan, Sharpson, 1990)


[26] Adeogun Adebayo, Ethnic Conflict, Resolution and Management in Nigeria, in In Asaju, D. F. Ekiyor, H. A. andLawal, M. O. (eds) Studies in Nigerian Development, (Lagos: Irede Printers, 2006), 15.

[27] Adeogun, Adebayo, Ethnic Conflict, Resolution and Management in Nigeria, in In Asaju, D. F. Ekiyor,            H. A. andLawal, M. O. (eds) Studies in Nigerian Development, (Lagos: Irede Printers, 2006), 18.

[28] Cited by Tite Tienou, The theological task of the Church in Africa, (Hong Kong: African Christian Press,          1990), 24

[29] S. A. Faleti, Theories of Social Conflict, in Shedrack Gaya Best (ed.), Introduction to Peace and conflict           studies in West Africa, (Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 2006), 50.

[30] Cited in J. Dogara, Gwamna, Religion and Politics in Nigeria, (Bukuru: Africa Christian Textbooks      ACTS,  2010), 2.

[31] G. Samuel, Egwu, Ethnic and Religious Violence in Nigeria, (Jos: St. Stephen Inc Book House, 200), 1.

[32] Hassan Matthew, Kukah, Democracy and Civil Society in Nigeria, (Ibadan: Spectrum Books Ltd., 2000),           93.

[33] Bala Yusuf, Usman, The Manipulation of Religion in Nigeria: 1977-1987, (Kaduna: Vanguard Printers  and Publishers Ltd., 1987), 71.

[34] Mvendiga Jibo, Ethnic Groups and Conflicts in Nigeria, Volume 4, The Lord’s Creations, Ibadan: 2001,          p.82 cited in Gwamna, J. Dogara, Religion and Politics in Nigeria, (Bukuru,: Africa Christian Textbooks ACTS, 2010), 8.

[35] Mvendiga Jibo, Ethnic Groups and Conflicts in Nigeria, Volume 4, The Lord’s Creations, (Ibadan:      2001), 82 cited in Gwamna, J. Dogara, Religion and Politics in Nigeria, (Bukuru: Africa Christian  Textbooks ACTS, 2010), 8.

[36] Paul Elliot, Collier, V. L. Havard H., Ankle H., Marta R. Q., and Nicolas S. I., Breaking the conflict    Trap: Civil War and Development Policy, (Washington D. C., The International Bank for       Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank, 2003), 12.


[37] Some Glimses into the theology of Stanley Samartha, Current Dialogue, World Council of Churches,     Geneva, No. 38, Dec. 2001, p. 16 cited in Gwamna, J. Dogara, Religion and Politics in Nigeria,          (Bukuru,: ACTS Bookshop, 2010), 13.

[38] Some Glimses into the theology of Stanley Samartha, Current Dialogue, World Council of Churches,     Geneva, No 38, Dec. 2001, p. 18 cited in Gwamna, J. Dogara, Religion and Politics in Nigeria,          (Bukuru: ACTS Bookshop, 2010), 13.

[39] http:/www.hrw.org/legacy/wr2k1/ (HRW, 2001), accessed on July 07, 2012

Politicization of Religion – Abstract

The NACS Conference starts on Tuesday, October 27, and ends on Friday, October. 30, 2015. I am slated to present a paper titled “POLITICIZATION OF RELIGION”. Here is the Abstract of my presentation:

Professor Dapo Asaju coined the term, Politicization of Religion in the body polity of the state. The evolving paradigm of Religion, & Politics as social dynamics in shaping the development of a nation has become a concern across the globe. Nigeria, a secular country with diversity in terms of tribal, cultural, religious and political spheres is more involved. The overlay of politics on religion has caused major contradictions in geo-political and legal systems. Religious paradoxes provoke politicking, cause controversies in congregations, denominations, and sects; by inference, these impact the nation.
Politicization of Religion negotiates its presence and activity within the national frameworks of governance and human ethics. The culture of the people is intertwined with their religious beliefs and political actions. This paper looks at the consequences of politicization of religion especially the following: culture of mediocrity, coarse cultural traits, religious bigotry, lopsided power sharing, resource control agitation, unemployment, wretched educational system, and ravages of terrorists. The traditional politics of the people has a strong linkage to the belief in theocracy. Political conflict is therefore given a religious interpretation, inspiration, impetus, direction and strength. This paper presents a revolving face of human nature that has created a politico-religious democracy.


Patriotic Gene will instill deep patriotism in Nigerians: With genuine patriotism, bond of true unity shall develop between different ethnic groups and all shall see themselves first as Nigerians. Nigeria is not founded on strong ideals that are the reasons the country is challenged today. Nigerians lack patriotism, hence Nigerians need to go back to the root of all problems. The desired paradigm shift will start once Nigerians start a focused discourse among the multi-ethnic and religious groups. If truly the people want to be one nation. I agree that it is indeed difficult to imbibe patriotism when the nation fails you as a citizen by lack of provision of necessary infrastructure and amenities that encourage good living. John Fitzgerald Kennedy in his “Inaugural Address” on January 20, 1961 urged Americans to ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country. This timeless advice is advocated for Nigerians.
May the souls of those killed by Boko Haram Insurgents rest in perfect peace. May all those Journalists and self-styled human activists that have lost their voices against the terror of Boko Haram regain their voices of condemnation. They were very loud during Jonathan’s presidency yet they are silent on the face of serious carnage under Buhari’s presidency


imageThe popular icon of a witch is an ugly old woman riding across the sky on her magic broomstick and wearing a pointed hat. But as with all mythologies there is an element of truth behind the image. Witches ride brooms, because brooms are magical. Many superstitions abound in Chinese culture about brooms. The use of brooms should only be for cleaning the house, shop etc. Traditional Chinese culture holds that a broom is inhabited by a spirit, thus explaining why it should not be used for games, playing etc. The broom should not be used for cleaning the household gods or altar as this is disrespectful. These objects are cleaned with a cloth or a special small brush. During the Spring Festival, Chinese custom prohibits the use of the broom for three days from New Year’s Day, as it is thought that use of it will sweep away the good luck the new year brings.

A Yoruba ideology forbids beating a person with a broom especially a male. The belief is that a man beating with a broom will be rendered impotent and fruitless. To beat a person with a broom will rain bad luck upon that person for years. The curse can however be lifted by rubbing the part of the body hit several times. The broom should never touch the head: this is very bad luck. In gambling, the spirit in the broom is sometimes invoked by ‘threatening’ it until luck in gambling ensues. The broom is also sometimes used in temple rituals. Here, the person’s whole body is swept with the broom in front of the deities and the broom then beaten. This functions to remove bad luck.

I read the article of Femi Aribisala titled: “APC and the Spirit of WitchCraft“. Aribisala said and I quote: “In Yoruba folklore, it is a bad omen for the broom to stand erect; it must lie on the ground. The taboo is that if it stands erect, it will be used by evil spirits to bring bad luck. The occult design here was fitted for APC electoral purposes. The party used its cultist broom to sweep away good luck from Nigeria in the person of Goodluck Jonathan. This means its success at the polls portends a bad omen for Nigeria.” Unquote

This article sets me on a thoughtful lane on effects and after-effects of use of many brooms during campaign in the country. I was reminded of Festac ’77 that imported many idols into Nigeria; most of them with wicked streaks of destruction, pains, and spirit of poverty. Some of the evil spirits of those wicked Idols are still operating in Nigerian land, sea, and sky spaces till today. With this in mind, I saw reason in Aribisala’s article; even though I do not believe Nigerians have been demonized.

It is time for Nigerians to take a critical look at the myth and reality of brooms and their uses. ACN used brood of brooms as the symbol of the party. The coalition of parties that formed APC adopted this symbol. A choice for a political party symbol is pre-determined for the party looks at a symbol that will make people choose the party. The culture of the people is tied to their theocracy and already, there is politicization of religion in Nigeria. A political party intends to win at elections so the first selling-point to the people is the choice of their symbol. The symbol has a meaning both spiritual and physical. A party’s symbol is more than a design of Arts.

Broom is magical in the world of occult. By definition Occult is: mysterious, secret, hidden, and concealed. In Deuteronomy 18:9-16, the Bible condemns as ungodly all occult phenomenon and practices. The occult seems to deal with:

• mysterious/secret rituals;
• powers beyond the normal human sense; and

• the supernatural realm of demonic forces.

The common list of occult practices would at least include

1. Satanism

2. Spiritism (necromancy)

3. Witchcraft (sorcery, drugs, magic arts etc)
4. Astrology and horoscopes
5. Divination/soothsaying (fortunetelling/palm reading)

6. Superstition
7. Ghosts

There are only two possible sources of supernatural power in the world – God and Satan. Even then Satan’s power (which should not be underestimated) is limited by God. Satan as ruler of this world system and evil age has been given great freedom to work his evil ways. Eph. 2:1-2, 6:10-18; 2 Cor. 10:2-5, Daniel 10:1-21, Ex. 7:8-13; 1 Sam. 16:14- 15, Acts 13:4-12, 16:16-40, 19:11-20; Rev. 9:1-6, 9:21, 22:15. These passages confirm the absolute reality of the occult and of supernatural power – both good and evil.

There is also a lot of deception, trickery, and illusion around, which is man made, but which looks occult. It takes a very discerning, spiritually mature person to tell the difference – 1 John 2: 20-27. For example superstitious people may be because of ignorance, or fear of the unknown or unexplainable or in fact may trust in magic (sorcery-magic arts). There has been an increase in occult activities which has given rise to pseudo (false) sciences such as para-psychology which attempts to explain supernatural phenomena in scientific ways.

Why so much interest in occult?
• Satan is more active than ever in these end-times – 1 Tim. 4:1-2
• The weak, false version of the Gospel preached so often provides ​fertile ground for the occult.
• People are naturally curious about what they cannot explain. Movies ​have popularized the occult and many people are fascinated by the ​unknown “dark” side of life.
• The spirit of Anti-Christ and the deception of sin in the world today ​leads people astray – 1 John 4:1-6
• The occult offers personal involvement in exciting, unusual things.
• The occult promises to fulfill the lusts of the flesh and the mind
All genuine occult practices are sourced in Satan and will be fully manifested in the Great Tribulation period – 2 Thess. 2:5-12; Rev. 13:1- 18.
All occult beliefs and practices leave out the God of the Bible

Since Ancient days, Brooms have been associated with Witchcraft when not used at home for cleaning purpose. Witchcraft refers to the practice of magic arts using evil, black magic powers, drugs, casting of spells, causing sickness and death, etc. It takes many different forms. Historically and traditionally witches and wizards attribute their “powers” to Satan and often pledge their allegiance to him. Witchcraft involves mind and will control. Some witches are either demon possessed people or demons manifested in a human form. That they seem to exercise mysterious evil power is beyond question. Many tribal people have a witchdoctor or medicine man.

Wtchcraft is Satan inspired, demonic activity which the Bible consistently condemns and warns against. For one can easily come under the sinister influence of Satan by playing around with witchcraft. Many Bible passages condemn the practice strongly as being detestable to God – Deut. 18:9-16, and Gal. 5:19-21. I sincerely hope that the brood of brooms that symbolizes APC has no link with the occult as stated by Femi Aribisala in his write-up. Nigerians should pray seriously to be free of any occultist influences. God saves Nigeria. God bless Nigeria.



The Campaign Theme of the then presidential candidate of APC, Gen. Mohammud Buhari during the 2015 election is “Anti-Corruption”. So I agree that he should tenaciously prosecute corrupted people but his focus must not be on corruption alone to the detriment of other areas of governance. Only the macro and micro economies of Nigeria can guarantee employment and welfare services for the people. Buhari’s style of governance since assumption of office is not fully democratic. 100 days have passed without forming his cabinet. He has flouted the constitution in some of the appointments he has made so far by not conforming to the dictates of the constitution. It is sad that some are jubilating on the undemocratic principles preferring dictatorship to democratic process.

A critical analysis of Buhari’s pronouncements in the first 100 days in office is very important. Among these pronouncements are (1) the order to the Ministry of Aviation to re-establish the National Carrier without necessarily weighing the options; (2) taking over from Ghana, the management of the Nigerian airspace in the Gulf of Guinea; (3) stopping the sponsor of pilgrimages to Mecca; (4) charging the wife of the president, Mrs. Aisha Buhari with Nigerian women and youth related issues; (5) implementing Jonathan’s Treasury Single Account in Nigeria for all government ministries, agencies and parastatals in charge of sourcing revenue for the government in accordance with sections 80 and 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended); (6) amending the Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) for the rapid implementation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) report on the environmental restoration of Ogoniland, reflecting a new governance framework comprising a governing council, a board of trustees and project management; (7) retaining, maintaining and improving the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) program as a functional vehicle for the promotion of national unity and integration; (8) shrinking the Directorates of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) from eight to four; (9) appointment of Dr. Emmanuel Kachikwu, as the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation; and (10) the removal of Nigerian Police guiding private citizens, among others.

It is nothing new to inherit an imperfect system. President Obama of USA did and started in earnest to recreate the imperfection to the present level. President Buhari should focus on recreating the imperfection to perfection rather than continue to sing the song of imperfect system. If the system is perfect, he will never have been able to defeat Jonathan. President Buhari should tackle unemployment and security in the nation. Buhari’s corruption probe should start from 2006 to tally with the Senate investigation of EFCC back to 2006. Nigerians are wondering why Buhari is dumping the $182M Halliburton Bribe Scandal and linking it to his fear of Babangida, Obasanjo, Abdulsalami and Atiku, the president needs to be careful about his statements directly or indirectly through his proxies. Of recent, he has made too much callow statements. Barely ten days to his administration Buhari stated that he met “virtually empty treasury” from his immediate predecessor, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. He was immediately cautioned that that Jonathan left over $300billion. The country could not had generated enough resources, if the treasury is “virtually empty”, to get $21m to the multinational force, $23 million to Chad Basin Commission within a short time.

Also his advice to Nigerian Lawyers on their choice of defending looters of Nigeria public treasury, felt short of perception. Lawyers are trained to defend their clients. This statement should have been directed to the Government prosecutors. Nigerian Judges pass their judgements based on what is argued and cited in their courts; though some of them might be corrupt. Buhari’s presidency must build Institutions rather than Individuals, close porous borders and destroy the cankerworm the terrorists have become. Boko Haram insurgency must be stopped quickly. The president must rise above ethnic and tribal configuration. He must deal decisively with the Fulani Herdsmen that are on rampage in North Central especially in Jos killing women and children and ravaging villages.



I must confess that this reminds me of my college days; then I was young, vibrant, highly proactive, a radical, a social activist, a human activist, a feminist defender, and a student union leader.

i am reminiscing on my first time as a columnist. My pen name at the time was the ‘Fire goddess’ and the issues then are still very similar despite maturity. I had a reputation in the College as a firebrand columnist and in those days, my pen stung like a bee. Hopefully this time it will soothe and caress the stress out of my fans. I am not a trained journalist or a graduate of Mass Communications but I love writing and reading.

I anchored Gateway Tourism on JOES Tourism Corner that was focused only on Tourism when I was the head of Ministry of Tourism in Ogun State. I also anchored “Crucible for Gender” when I was the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development. Some of you would have encountered my writings on-line especially on www.nigeria-newspaper.com; http://www.focusnigeria.com/; and www.nigeriaworld.com. My writings are at times political, social, or generally my views on contemporary issues. I have also written and published my own books; the first one titled ‘Pause’ – Talking Sex, God’s Perspective and ’The Man Upstairs’ – unveiling the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. I have other books already edited and will soon be published by God’s Grace.

I must confess that this reminds me of my college days; when I was young, vibrant, highly proactive, a radical, a social activist, a human activist, a feminist defender, and a student union leader. I was also a member of the elitist Datum Club of Yaba College of Technology, a member of the Palm wine drinker club, and a member of the Press Club. I took the pen name fire-goddess in my regular press releases and featured write-ups at the time. It was a vibrant column that the ‘boys’ hate to read for it was perceived to antagonize men and this hurt their male egos. I have no intention of crusading for women for there is nothing to liberate women from. I will bare it all and say it as it is. There will be no hiding under insinuations; white will be white, pink will be pink, blue will be blue, and black will be black. I can assure you of the general interest in this column whether you are a male or a female. This is a column you cannot ignore. This Column will be my views and my reflections. It will also be interactive, indicative, and subjective. Readers’ opinions and feedbacks will be highly appreciated and published. Ask me anything on any subject. I promise to answer you; so let us celebrate the re-birth of “Fire goddess”

Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit……”

To be poor in spirit is to be pure at heart; to be humble in the realization that one is sinful and needs Jesus. For one to live from internal to external as a spiritual person. The expression, the poor in spirit, intends truly humble in perception; those who intentionally become aware of their spiritual poverty, of their ignorance and sinfulness, their guilt, depravity, and weakness, their frailty and mortality; and who, therefore, whatever their outward situation in life may be, however affluent and exalted, think meanly of themselves, and neither desire the praise of men, nor covet high things in the world, but are content with the lot God assigns them, however low and poor. Their humility renders them teachable, submissive, resigned, patient, contented, and cheerful in all estates; and it enables them to receive prosperity or adversity, health or sickness, ease or pain, life or death, with an equal mind. Being thankful in all conditions. Whatever life allots them, they consider as a grace or favour from God. They are happy, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven — The present, inward kingdom, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, as well as the eternal kingdom, if they endure to the end. The knowledge which they have of themselves, and their humiliation of soul before God, prepare them for the reception of Christ, to dwell and reign in their hearts, and all the other blessings of the gospel; the blessings both of grace and glory. They die to self and exalt Christ – Galatians 2:20. Psalm 24 also puts “pure heart” into a category beyond us “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” (Psalm 24:3-5). A pure heart is the qualification for man to ascend to the Most Holy Place – to receive the Father’s blessings and righteousness. Psalm 24 teaches this crucial link between purity and perception. Purity gets you proximity to God and therefore true perception.