“Sharia or Death”: The Mass Mediated Hegemonic Rhetoric of Theocratic Populism in Nigeria’s Muslim North
This paper explores the genealogy and contours of theocratic populism in Nigeria’s Muslim North from 1999 to2007. It examines the mass-mediated rhetorical articulations of Islamic theocratic populist politics in the region while laying bare its motivations in a religiously plural polity such as Nigeria. It argues that the introduction of Sharia laws in Nigeria’s Muslim majority northern states was a populist response by a traumatized hegemonic power bloc in Nigerian politics — which had hitherto taken for granted its right to dominate the social and politicalspace —to regain its political and discursive high ground against an emergent, competing power bloc. Through an exploration of archival materials, the paper unpacks the rhetoric of the narratives between an entrenched but traumatized Muslim northern Nigerian hegemonic bloc, which had lost political power, and an embryonicyet ascendant hegemonic power bloc from the Christian south. It also showed that although advocacy for Sharia evaporated after the northern Muslim elite regained its lost political power in 2007, it inspired the emergence of the Boko Haram terrorist group that has murdered tens of thousands of people in Nigeria.
World Complexity Science Academy Journal