Faith in a Fourth Religion as Intrinsic in the Sustainable Socio-Economic Development of Nigeria
Okpalike, Chika J. B. Gabriel; Obiekwe, Ngozi Josephine

This paper understood faith as one of the elemental characters of religion, whereas religion is both of essence in the African environment and definitive of the African person. It is composed within the background of Nigeria; recognizing three major religious movements – Christianity, Islam and African Traditional Religion. Created in 1983 by the United Nations, the Brundtland Commission in 1987 defined Sustainable Development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs". The West which through the years had confiscated the prerogative of setting the program of global development had since then given this definition an empiricist interpretation. The world and we have been conversant with the dimensions of Economy, Environment and Business, whenever the issues of Sustainable Development is discussed or investigated. A religious dimension had been somewhat silent. Yet the position of John Mbiti and A. G. Leonard on the primacy of religion in African life is a perennial truth. Therefore a religious perspective in the Sustainable Development of Africa in general and Nigeria in particular may not be dispensed with. That religious perspective that is central, according to this paper, is Faith. This faith is at the same time affective, cognitive and volitional; having an object, term and hope. Obviously the models of faith employed in this paper are religious models. In this paper, Nigeria is a super-structure; understood as the singular object of this faith at par with divinity. The Nigerian Constitution and other Laws and Regulations that sustain its corporate existence together make up the terms of this faith while the content of hope is Nigeria-as-designed for progressive development today and tomorrow. Unless Nigeria becomes our God; unless our laws become our creed; unless our anthem and pledge become our covenant, the Nigerian project of Sustainable Development is a farce. The aim of the paper is to construct a solid foundation for the erection of the Nigerian project of Sustainable socio-economic Development through faith which is an element of religion; with veritable raw materials extracted from existential mines of attitude, values and spirit that could be properly called African and Nigerian.

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