Zamfara's high poverty rate despite starting Sharia law in 1999 is an example of how religion cannot necessarily work in politics. Those playing the religious card in politics are not better than everyone else. Just because it is a democracy however, people who play the religious game to get into politics still have to be given a chance. Religion should not be used as a means of acquiring power because it never brings good results. Zamfara state which has the highest level of poverty in Nigeria despite being the first one to start the implementation of Sharia law in the country in 1999.
I think the ability to give these groups a chance, you know people come and say they want to establish Islamic law, and they are elected. Give them four years, after sometime people find out that they have not improved education, they have not put food on the table, they’ve not provided healthcare, they vote them out.
So long as you don’t give them a chance to try and succeed or fail, you have a myth of people being denied an alternative, that would make their lives better. I think the mistake that many people make is that they simply don’t have the patience to wait four years. We have had it in Nigeria; people came and said they were implementing Sharia. It’s a matter of time for people to realise that this is all deception, this is all politics, this is not religion; it is about politicians appropriating religion as a discourse for getting into power.