Genuine national integration in Nigeria has been contentious amidst different religious beliefs, societal configurations (ethnic group and culture) and politics of identity. Religion has been at the center of several burning national questions that transcend state and power, such as the question of secular state, societal integration, ethno-religious mobilization and the identity politics. Since independence, two dominant religions in Nigeria—Islam and Christianity—have been dominant cultures; forces in Nigerian state and power structures through individuals and organizations. Chauvinist politicians, elite and non-elite statesmen have long exploited the power of religion not only to promote their narrow political interests but also to cast a religion-based identity for Nigeria and in turn have damaged its social fabric and prevented a national integration. This article examines the influence of religion on identity of politics of Nigeria and how it impacted its national integration.
Keywords: Africa, Religion, Nigeria, Identity Politics, History, National Integration