chapter  2
14 Pages

Vox Dei, Vox Populi

Pentecostal citizenship and political participation in Nigeria since 1999
WithAsonzeh Ukah

The chapter offers an examination of the transformative capacity of the Pentecostal-charismatic movement in Nigeria. Historicizing the growth of Pentecostal-charismatic churches in the country since 1999, the chapter positions religion as a central vehicle of change throughout sub-Saharan Africa, bearing significant ramifications for African politics, society, and economy in the process. In the Nigerian case, a decade and a half of active political engagement of Pentecostal-charismatic churches has had an impact. However, the analysis shows also how although Nigerian Pentecostalism offers a form of political activism that transforms both civic practice and behaviour, this activism has the potential to be ‘over spiritualised’ in the sense that where Pentecostals in public office fail to execute Spirit-inspired programmes and transformation, the devil, rather than the individual, takes the blame. The chapter concludes highlighting the risk of Pentecostal institutions and their leadership failing to foster enduring practices of responsible and accountable citizenship in contemporary Nigeria.