BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Portuguese had more or less a monopoly of movement along the West African coast in the 17th and 18th centuries and the spread of Christianity was their chief aim. Along with it nevertheless, they attached importance to commerce because of the support it gave to their missionary work. Portugal had had a long and bitter struggle against the Muslims in North Africa who had for a long time dominated the Iberian Peninsula – where grew up an active resistance to Muslim domination. They carried this war against Islam in Europe to Africa. It was a war against the Moors in North Africa. They later moved to West Africa but they did not succeed for various reasons. The Catholics through the influence of the Portuguese traders were the first missionaries to set foot on Nigerian soil. By the 19U century the first English missionary groups had established their presence very rapidly. By the first half of the 20* century, Christianity had spread to every part of Nigeria except the north western and north-eastern parts of the country.
The greatest contribution of the missionaries in Nigeria was in the field of education. The first known school in Nigeria was established by Mr. & Mrs. De Graft of the Methodist mission in Badagry and was named “Nursery of the infant Church”. But it was the C.M.S. mission that made the most important contribution to education in this early period. The primary objective of the early Christian missionaries was to convert Africans to Christianity through education. Education was Bishop Crowther’s chief method of evangelism. Missionaries also hoped to prepare Africans to be administrators in their own areas.
The rapid growth of converts from Islam and traditional religions to Christianity made the Northern Traditional rulers to put pressure on the colonialists to stop the advance of Christianity to the north western and north eastern parts of the country.
The 1970s and 1980s saw an accelerated growth of Christianity because of the impact of the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements and the Independent African Churches. By then, it was said that Nigeria had the largest number of evangelical Christians in universities and colleges worldwide (Patrick Johnston: Operation World, WEC International 2001) There was also the establishment of indigenous missionary groups who focused their attention on reaching the unreached peoples. These, coupled with the fact that more Christians were getting involved in politics led to conflict between the Christians and the Muslims. The first major conflict was centred on the entrenchment of the Federal Sharia Court of Appeal in the Nigerian Constitution. The second was the establishment of an “Islamic Board” at the presidency. The Christians criticized these as a subtle means of Islamizing Nigeria.
STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
In every societies of the world there are some specific structure designated to meet the immediate need of the society consequent upon this is Nigeria’s settlement she has a robust nature of socialization which clearly defines the role of both sexes (male and female). Over the years position of Christians in Nigeria societies, cannot be overemphasis in relation to character building, but it has not be given a serious concern.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of this study is to identify the ways Christianity has helped in the modification of character among the youths.
It will also look into the important role played by the Christians in the Nigeria society at large.
Lastly it will consider the relationship that exist among the Christians and the Muslim in Nigeria.
1. Christians a source of character development in Nigeria?
2. Christians play a vital role in the economic development in Nigeria?
3. Christianity a dominant religion in Nigeria?
4. Christian religion a source of moral and emotional development in Nigeria?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The knowledge of the study will be of immense benefit to the following: the youths, Women, government, and the Christians themselves. The opinion of the Christian about the issue of character development of the youths in Nigeria, the findings of the research will be carefully analyzed and interpreted through the data collected.
DEFINITION OF TERMS