In the course of your study of any social science course, you will be tasked to conduct a survey and give an analysis on the information or data collected. This can be a daunting task for students, so I have decided to use a conduct a survey (using Google Forms) and choose a topic of my choice in order to show you how to go about it.

This should only serve as a guide on how to go about it because different research questions has its own paradigm. I conducted a survey on ‘ RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION: HOW IT AFFECTS THE POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF UNIVERSITY OF IBADAN STUDENTS DURING THE 2023 ELECTIONS ’


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The Crux of this study is to evaluate the Influence of Religious affiliation on the choice of candidate and how undergraduate and postgraduate students of The University of Ibadan politically participated in the2023 elections.

The research was carried out using the voluntary sampling survey research method. Thus,an online questionnaire was administered to a sample of 80 students of the University of Ibadan, Oyo state. The study revealed that the majority of respondents were not influenced by their religious affiliation in voting in the 2023 election.

However, a fair percentage (42.5%) agree that religion will affect their participation in future elections.The focus of this paper is to explore the nexus between politics and religion in Nigeria, particularly political behavior vis-à-vis voting decisions and patterns in Nigeria’s deeply divided society. Nigerians,like many Africans, had been deeply religious long before the start of colonial rule, and from its inception the Nigerian state has been influenced by religion.

Thus, the reality in contemporary Nigerian politics during both military era and civilian rule is that religion and religious matters straddle across the polity.

Politics and religion remain Siamese twins conjoined, albeit delicately, and no attempt at separating them has succeeded in developing democracies like Nigeria.

Nigeria has well over 400 ethnic groups and is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world,with some of the ethnic groups bigger than many states in contemporary Africa.

Nigeria’s pluralism is compounded by religious cleavages between Muslims/ Christians in diverse denominations, together with numerous traditional African religions.

However, Nigeria’s constitution guarantees religious freedom which ensures that both Islam and Christianity are recognised, and African indigenous religions are freely practiced.

These religious differences have created loopholes in social relations which relate to problems like lack of equal opportunities in society, discrimination, exploitation, attacks and lack of protection,communal violence and riots, lack of proper representation in civil services and politics, poverty and backwardness’ usually faced by religious minorities

In terms of population, it is believed that the numeric strength of a religious group is a political advantage over other groups that have fewer adherents.

Typically, the pre-election ritual of Nigerian politics relies heavily on the deployment of three main strategies -party politicking, calculated resource redistribution,and manipulation of identities—to enhance their political fortunes.

But while party politicking and strategic use of resources may arguably be the most popular methods of garnering political support,socio-economic factors such as religion, region, or ethnicity also play implicating roles on the pre-electoral behavior of voters especially in a deeply divided country like Nigeria.

It is on this note, this study aims to show how much these socio-economic factors influence students participation in the 2023 elections.

It is important to emphasize that religious tolerance has worsened over the years due to the politicization of religion and the religionization of politics. Beyond the declaration of some states in northern Nigeria as being shari’a states, religious intolerance has manifested in several ways including the escalation of violent religious conflicts, the emergence of fundamentalist groups, the proliferation of Hijab activism by Muslim students in southwest Nigeria, and the obstruction of age-long religious balancing in political posts within religiously bipolar states.

Religious lobbying for candidates has also become more prominent in recent years; the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) overtly supported President Goodluck Jonathan, a move that offered the former access to the presidency, in 2015, the Joint Muslim Forum opted to support any Lagos governorship candidate that supports the use of hijab in public schools.’

The 2023 Elections – the General election specifically – further triggered the religion discourse. The Muslim-Muslim ticket controversy for the APC candidates sparked outrage and the LP’s candidate was accused of publicizing his visits to churches to mobilize ‘christian votes’.

This paper therefore aims at showing the influence of religion on Nigerian students and the implications for national development. The paper also made recommendations on how religion can be used to improve the political life of Nigerians.



For centuries, understanding people’s political choices – or the lack thereof – has been a critical focus of various scholarships. At the core of these studies is the need to evaluate and understand the interplay between these choices and the various sociological factors that make men and shape their decisions. To have a better grasp of the topic of this paper, some key words need to be clarified through their definitions. Hence, terms worthy of clarification are religion, politics and development. Religion has been defined by many scholars from different purviews.

Ugwu (2002) defines religion as “faith and practices involving the relationship between mankind and what is regarded as sacred”. In a more comprehensive manner, Merriam (1980) sees religion as: The outward existence of God to whom obedience, service and honour are due, the feeling or expression of human love, fear or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies or by the conduct of life. (p. 250)

The very decision to support a particular religion or set of principles in a society as opposed to an individual is a political decision. Politics is essentially about good governance and primarily involves the structuring of power for achieving some articulated goals.

Development has been defined variously by scholars. Rodney (1981) sees development as a many-sided process in human history, which at the level of the individual implies increased skill, discipline, responsibility and material well-being.

Nigeria as a nation is religiously pluralistic and religion has been a dominant factor in Nigerian politics especially in this post-independence era. In whichever way one sees religion, the fact cannot be denied of its interaction with politics in Nigeria.

The obvious interplay between religion and politics has attracted the reactions of scholars and what seems the consensus of such reactions is the ambivalent role of religion in the growth, development, and survival of the Nigerian nation ( Sodiq, 2009; Onapajo, 2012; Obiefuna,2018).Fastnow, Grant, and Rudolph (1999) looked at the effect of religion in the House of Representatives in theUnited states to see how religion affected vote choice.

It was found that members’ votes represent both their representatives’ own religious affiliation, and the religious groups within their districts” (Fastnow etal., 1999).

Religion’s influence on broad voting is also notable as we tend to find that generally Evangelical Protestants and Mormons will vote conservatively while Catholics, Jews, and some Black Protestant groups vote liberally (Fastnow et al., 1999). Fastnow et al. (1999) came to the conclusion that religion not only plays a role in the voting behavior of representatives, but also in the decision-makingprocess of the legislature.

Fastnow et al. (1999) determined that religion stands up to the competition of a variety of other theoretically powerful predictors of voting behavior, including party, constituency preferences, and important demographic indicators.

Religion also reflects the party affiliations, votingbehavior, and attitudes of groups throughout the country, thus affecting the legislation brought forth from Congress (Fastnow et al., 1999).Verba, Schlozman and Brady (1995) discuss the importance of church and church related contexts in theformation of civic skills.

While being an active member of a religious community can make one more participatory politically, not all religious groups have the same political empowerment effect. HassanShan (2019) is of the view that religion is a significant component in voting decisions in the Pakhtun society.Religion is assuming a vital job in making socio-political perspectives of the individuals.

Religious parties used the slogans of execution of the Islamic system and that religious groups are the protectors of Islam. These slogans attracted a great number of voters in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Religious organizations have never pretended not to be interested in the affairs of the country as they are, for prayers are organized for leaders and the country as an entity

These prayers are both solicited and unsolicited. Sometime ago, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, enjoined all Nigerians to be praying for the nation (Asemota, 2019). While we are not condemning this, one is concerned about its constitutionality. This request did not appeal to the sensibility of those who believe that most of the problems confronting Nigeria are man-made.

The states of health of the former president, Yar’dua, and the current president, Buhari, engaged the services of many religious personnel, who consistently prayed for their quick recovery.

The interconnectedness of politics and religion entails that any ‘politically favored’ religion is assumed to automatically gain a political and economic advantage over the other, thereby creating a perceived sense of relative deprivation or horizontal inequality that are proven precursors to acts of political violence.

A survey methodology has been adopted for the study. A sample of 80 respondents each was drawn via an online questionnaire using the voluntary sampling random technique, from the general population of University of Ibadan students. The data elicited from the 80 sampled population was used to measure how religious affiliation influenced voting participation, the voting behavior, and present and future implications of this data. Data was quantitatively analyzed using pie-charts, percentages, graphs and tables.

The details of the survey are analyzed below using charts, graphs and tables for presentation of data ( Note the chart and the graph will be in the word document at the bottom of the page, if you are interested.)


No doubt, research involves an investigation geared towards increasing knowledge and providing ideas to solve problems. From this information, coupled with an enthusiastic desire to ensure confirmatory evidence on this study, particularly in the aspect of achieving a greater feeling of certainty for likely purpose of making generalization in the future; the researcher, therefore, consider it fit and essential to make some useful recommendations: Arising from the research findings, the researcher wishes to make the following recommendations:

1. There is a need for religious liberty though this is recognized by the constitution which describes the nation as a secular state. Every religious group should help to encourage religious freedom whereby everybody will be free to seek the truth without any coercion or inhibition.

This freedom of religion was realized very early by the United Nations and was consequently enshrined in the fundamental human rights charter. Absolute religious liberty in Nigeria is therefore a challenge to all the religions being practiced in Nigeria. Religious leaders of the three major religions in Nigeria must seek ways and means to forge forums for mutual understanding, collaboration and dialogue independent of government interference and political manipulation.

2. The analysis pointed to the nuanced nature of how religious beliefs intersect with political preferences,emphasizing the importance of understanding the complexities of identity and ideology in the context of contemporary university environments. The survey results underscore the significance of addressing the multifaceted factors that contribute to students’ political behaviors, including the interplay between religious values, societal influences, and personal convictions.

They also highlight the need for further research to explore the underlying mechanisms that mediate the relationship between religious affiliation,political participation, and voting tendencies among university students, providing valuable insights for educators, policymakers, and researchers aiming to cultivate inclusive and informed political discourse within educational institutions.

3. A key problem in this data analysis is human nature / behavior- as reflected in the responses:Implementing a mixed methods approach combining quantitative and qualitative research methodologies can offer a more comprehensive understanding of complex political phenomena. By triangulating data from diverse sources, such as surveys, interviews, and case studies, researchers can gain a deeper insight into the multifaceted nature of human behavior and decision-making in the political realm.144.

The foregoing results show that albeit very slim, religion remains a visible factor in voters’ choice for the 2023 elections. It also proves another vital point – a crucial point that almost made religion invisible in the data. The more educated the citizenry, the better they are able to make informed electoral decisions in the polity. Manipulation of religion is antithetical to Nigeria’s democratization, and the country’s nascent democracy can be nurtured only when voters are neither coerced nor manipulated by extraneous factors like religion.


Interestingly, the survey highlighted a contrasting trend concerning the impact of religion on students’ voting choices. While religious affiliation appeared to have a limited influence on students’ overall political engagement, it notably affected their preferences when casting votes.

The data revealed a strong correlation between specific religious beliefs and the political candidates or parties supported by the surveyed students. This trend suggests that religious values and ideologies continue to play a crucial role in shaping the voting decisions of university students, even when their direct engagement in political activities remains independent of their religious backgrounds.

I hope this analysis will be able to guide you on your own research. If you have any other questions, you can drop it in the comment box or mail me directly tolucop55@gmail.com for quick reply. I always like to be of help.

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