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FACT CHEK: Do Muslims Make Up 65% Of South-West Population?

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The Director-General of the Asiwaju Tinubu Presidential Campaign Organisation, Adebayo Shittu recently made a claim that Muslims make up 65% of the southwestern part of Nigeria.

The former Minister of Communication made the claim when he appeared on AIT during an interview on Tuesday, 19th of July.

The Punch reports that Shittu made the claim while justifying the decision of Tinubu to pick another Muslim, Alhaji Shettima from Borno state as his running mate in next year’s general election.

Many Nigerians including the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN and Christian members of the APC, led by a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, Senator Abbo, Dogara among others kicked against the decision.

While justifying Tinubu’s decision, Shittu insisted that the population of the Southwest were predominantly Muslims.

“In the South-West of Nigeria, the Muslims constitute an average of 65%,” of the population, he said.

When asked if his claim was based on fact or projection, he said, “I don’t tell lies. You can investigate. Do your research.”

Who Are The People That Live In The South West

The Yoruba-speaking people are found in the South West in states like Ogun, Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Oyo and Ekiti states. They are also found in parts of Kogi and Kwara states.

Do Muslims Make Up 65% Of South-West Population?

The last Nigerian censuses that gathered data on religious affiliation were those conducted in 1952 and 1963 and it was managed by the British Census
Superintendent in 1952 and by the Federal Census Office in 1963

In a paper published by Philip Ostien titled, ”Percentages By Religion of the 1952 and 1963 Populations,” the 1952 Census shows that areas in the present-day states of Ekiti, Kwara, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo showed a slightly larger Muslim (43.3 percent) than Christian (38 percent) population.

There was a turnover when the 1963 census which was the last population census that included information on religious identification in Nigeria, percentages of Yoruba Muslims and Christians were 46.3 percent and 45.5 percent respectively, roughly equal.

The table below shows the Western region of Nigeria which is now referred to as the South West:

While both censuses were criticized for distorting regional population numbers, there has been no suggestion that the numbers of Muslims and Christians within individual regions were manipulated.

Since there are presently no data to counter the above submission, it is safe to assume that the Muslim and Christian populations are at pair in the South West.



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Adetayo Omotoyosi Adeolu is a content specialist, writer, journalist, and philosopher. Adetayo Omotoyosi Adeolu helps individuals and brands become visible using content and visual promotion. AOA helps individuals and brands become visible using content and visual promotion. This process involves creating sellable content that pushes your brand to the world. It also includes social media management and digital promotion. He is currently a Post-Graduate student at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism where he is studying Print-Journalism in Lagos.

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