Ethno-Religious Pluralism and Sustainable National Development: The Nigeria Experience
Keywords:, religious pluralism, ethnicity, ethnocentrism, sustainable national development, religious intolerance, destruction of lives and properties.
AbstractEthno-religious pluralism and sustainable national development in Nigeria seem a paradox as well as an unattainable goal. Lives and properties have been wantonly destroyed with unabated zeal without due consideration to our common humanity. Resources that would have lifted the poor and underprivileged to higher levels of existence are regularly wasted in restoring damaged infrastructures. The Nigerian experience appears bleak without any hope in the horizon. This paper examines how these serious but intangible phenomena have bedeviled Nigeria as a nation. The study was carried out in sixteen Nigerian Universities. The research sample was made up of 800 lecturers from sixteen Nigerian University divided into north and south. The sampling technique adopted was the multi staged random sampling technique; data was collected through the use of structured questionnaire administered directly by the researchers and 10 research assistants over a period of 3 months. Two research questions and two hypotheses were designed to guide the study. After coding the data generated from the field using the research instrument, data was subjected to independent t-test analysis. Results obtained show that Muslim staff religious tolerance (15.9>8.2); this produced t-value of 33.9 with a p-value higher than the .05 significance level with 798 degree of freedom, this implies that religious tolerance does significantly influence sustainable national development. The result of the second hypothesis also shows that mean score for north is slightly greater than the mean score for south (11.86>10.73); this produced t-value of 2.41with a p-value higher than the .05 significance level with 798 degree of freedom. This implies ethnocentrism (religious pluralism and ethnicity) has significant influence on sustainable national development in Nigeria. The authors concluded that despite the religious pluralism as is observed in Nigeria, Nigerians can still live peacefully among the different ethnic nationalities and carry out sustainable national development. It was however recommended that leaders should make their followers understand that Nigeria is a country for all of us and as such every citizen has equal rights and privileged to govern or lead and every leader should give equal opportunities to every sector of the country.
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