ASC-TUFS Working Papers
Online ISSN : 2436-1607
Print ISSN : 2436-1542
ISSN-L : 2436-1542
The 2015 Presidential Elections and Religion in Nigeria
A Comparative Study, from the Jonathan to Buhari Administration
Adama Ousmanou
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2023 Volume 3 Pages 1-28


A simplistic representation of Nigeria characterises the African giant as a country with northern Muslim and southern Christian sections. This regional and religious dichotomy hides ancient ethnic tensions rooted in Nigeria’s colonial past. Since 1999, Nigeria’s democratisation process has exacerbated national divisions during the presidential elections. Thereafter, the zoning system—a mechanism to manage the political tensions among northerners and southerners, between Muslims and Christians, and among the Yoruba, the Ibo and the Hausa-Fulani—was adopted, soon becoming a key characteristic of Nigeria’s political landscape. Additionally, Goodluck Jonathan, as Musa Yaradua’s vice-president, rose to the presidency after the latter’s death. Jonathan’s association with the Christian Association of Nigeria promoted a Christian agenda to fight against what they perceived to be Muslims’ ‘evil’ plans for Nigeria. Through a comparative analysis of the period ranging from the 1999 presidential elections to date, the present study analyses the impact of presidents’ religious affiliation on democracy, development and corruption in Nigeria.

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© 2023 African Studies Center - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

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