The Weaponization of Religion, Ethnicity, and Regionalism in Nigeria: A Call for Change

Nigeria, a country endowed with enormous natural resources and a thriving population, is yet chained by the weaponization of religion, ethnicity, and regionalism. The political class has expertly used these three devils to divide and reign over the populace, allowing them to maintain their power while providing little to no development and advancement. This insidious policy has left the public coping with unemployment, poverty, deteriorating infrastructure, and a future beset by growing debts. It is critical that Nigerians, particularly the youth, rise up to question and demolish these divisive techniques, demanding competence, character, and capacity from their leaders.

Nigeria’s political elite have long recognized that a united populace is a powerful force. To undermine such unity, they have repeatedly exploited religious, ethnic, and regional divides. These differences are not intrinsically negative; Nigeria is a varied country, and that diversity should be a strength. However, when these disparities are militarized, they become instruments of exploitation and tyranny

Religion & Ethnicity Exploited By Politicians

Religion has been used to create deep-seated mistrust and hostility between different faith communities. Politicians exploit religious sentiments to galvanize support, often inciting violence and discord. This not only distracts the populace from the failures of governance but also ensures that critical issues like corruption, unemployment, and poverty are sidelined

Ethnicity is another potent tool. Nigeria is home to over 250 ethnic groups, and rather than fostering an inclusive environment, politicians highlight these differences to sow division. Ethnic loyalty is manipulated to secure votes, and political patronage often follows ethnic lines, leading to nepotism and exclusion of qualified individuals based on their ethnic background.

Regionalism exacerbates these divisions. The political class promotes regional loyalty over national unity, leading to policies that favor certain regions at the expense of others. This regional favoritism breeds resentment and stifles the country’s overall development.

By utilizing these three devils, the political class ensures its continuous power. This deception allows them to draw attention away from their governance flaws. Nigeria’s infrastructure remains outdated, healthcare and education institutions are in chaos, and the economy is weighed down by corruption and inefficiency.


One of the most concerning side effects of this manipulation is the financial burden. Nigeria’s government have borrowed heavily from Western countries and international financial organizations, ostensibly for development projects. However, most of this money is diverted to benefit the political class and their allies. This reckless borrowing has mortgaged Nigeria’s youth, who will bear the brunt of debt repayment through higher taxes and lower public investment on key services.

The Path Forward

The masses must awaken to the reality of their situation and reject the divisive tactics of the political elite. Religion, ethnicity, and regionalism should never be criteria for electing anyone into office. Instead, Nigerians must demand leaders with competence, character, and capacity. This means:

  1. Competence: Leaders must have the skills and experience necessary to manage the affairs of the state effectively. They should be able to present clear plans for economic growth, job creation, and infrastructure development.
  2. Character: Integrity and honesty should be non-negotiable traits for any leader. Nigerians must reject those with a history of corruption and deceit.
  3. Capacity: Leaders should have the ability to bring about meaningful change. This includes not only having good ideas but also the political will and determination to implement them.

I recommend that you enroll in the School of Politics, Policy and Governance (SPPG) where a movement to create unconventional leaders is taking place. Visit

Taking Initiative For The Revolution

The youth of Nigeria must take the initiative in this revolution. They represent the future and stand to lose the most if the existing quo continues. Young Nigerians must unite, educate, and mobilize their peers to demand accountability and good governance. Social justice should be at the heart of this movement, guaranteeing that all Nigerians, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or region, have equal opportunities and rights.

Learning From Successful Nations

To effectively challenge the established quo, Nigerian young should learn how successful nations are founded and the dangers of divisive politics. Recommended readings include:

  • From Third World to First” by Lee Kuan Yew: This book chronicles Singapore’s transformation from a struggling post-colonial state to a thriving global hub, emphasizing the importance of strong, visionary leadership and national unity.
  • “Why Nations Fail” by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson: This work explores the role of political and economic institutions in the success or failure of nations, highlighting how inclusive institutions promote prosperity.
  • “The Bottom Billion” by Paul Collier: Collier examines why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done to help them, stressing the importance of good governance and the dangers of corruption and mismanagement.
  • “The Price of Inequality” by Joseph Stiglitz: This book discusses how economic inequality harms societies and what can be done to create a fairer, more just world.

Furthermore, it is critical to recognize how extreme religiosity can contribute to societal problems. Religion is not inherently harmful and can provide moral guidance and community, but it can also be used to manipulate and control. Karl Marx famously stated, “Religion is the opium of the masses,” implying that religion may be used to pacify and distract people from serious issues.


Religion, ethnicity, and regionalism have been weaponized, eroding Nigeria’s potential like cancer. It is time for the people to see through these misleading techniques and demand more from their leaders. By emphasizing skill, character, and capacity, Nigerians may elect leaders who will prioritize national growth before personal gain. The youth must take up the challenge, forging a new route for governance that promises a brighter, more egalitarian future for all. The first step in achieving this goal is to educate oneself on the foundations of successful nation-building as well as the perils of divisive political rhetoric.

My experience of distance learning has been exciting and enlightening! I have got to know people from various countries and continents.

A few of my friends are also studying, not at the same university or even the same course, but having other friends who I can ‘study buddy’ with or check in, keeps us all determined and on track. Scheduling in catch-up time can give much needed respite without panic. This keeps your goals realistic and manageable.

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