Critical praise for Ebenezer Obadare’s new book on Nigeria’s ‘political’ pentecostalism

Jacob Olupona, a professor of Africa’s religious traditions at the Harvard Divinity School, says Ebenezer Obadare’s latest book “is the best work on religion in Nigeria that I have read in recent years”.

Pentecostal Republic: Religion and the Struggle for State Power in Nigeria by Obadare, a professor of sociology at the University of Kansas, US, is due for release on October 15.

“It will have a profound impact on African studies, religion and sociology,” Apena said in his review.

The 240-page book is described as the “first comprehensive study of the complex and often incendiary role played by religion in contemporary Nigerian democracy”.

Simeon O. Ilesanmi, a professor at Wake Forest University, described it as a work that combines “theoretical sophistication with an elegant analysis of a complex cultural phenomenon… Obadare is a brilliant writer whose passion, conviction, and deep knowledge of Nigeria’s political and religious terrain comes across vividly and persuasively.”

It is an “excellent and provocative analysis of political Pentecostalism in Nigeria”, Nimi Wariboko, author of Nigerian Pentecostalism, said.

“A brilliant exposé of the central role of religion, particularly Pentecostalism, in Nigeria’s political landscape. The narrative is gripping and the insights compelling. A must read for any student of religion and politics,” said Allan H. Anderson of the University of Birmingham.

Obadare, who holds a PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science, is also a research fellow at the Research Institute for Theology and Religion, University of South Africa.

He is co-editor of the Journal of Modern African Studies. He is also the author of Humor, Silence, and Civil Society in Nigeria (2016), editor of The Handbook of Civil Society in Africa (2014), and co-editor of Civic Agency in Africa: Arts of Resistance in the 21st Century (2014).