AP Comparative Government and Politics Exam Review for Nigeria
1) In which ways is Nigeria similar to other Third World countries? In which ways is it different?
2) Explain the difference between cumulative and cross-cutting cleavages? Which is characteristic of
Nigeria? Explain the reasons.
3) Why did the British colonial government adopt a federal form of government for the country prior to
independence? How many regions were originally in place at the time of independence? These have
expanded into how many states today? Why did Nigeria expand the number of its states?
4) Explain the major cultural, religious, and political traditions in Nigeria’s main regions. Which region is
closely identified with Islamic traditions? Which regions are identified more with Christian traditions?
5) What was the governmental form of Nigeria’s First Republic? Why did it end in 1966? Why did civil
6) What was the governmental form of Nigeria’s Second Republic? It was said to be more “centralized
and activist (especially in economics)” than the First Republic? Why was it overthrown? (think in part
about the oil boom and bust of the 1980s).
7) Define “prebendalism.” Explain how the military regimes of Ibrahim Babangida and Sani Abacha
8) Explain the origins of the Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), the role of NGOs including the IMF
and World Bank, and their effect on Nigeria’s economy. Which country that you studied had a similar
type of experience?
9) Nigeria, since independence, has been characterized by strong impulses toward “fragmentation”. What
actions by the government have been taken to counter this? (think about changes in the country’s electoral
rules, the location of its capital, etc.)
10) Who is Olusegun Obasanjo and how did he come to power? Which “party of power” has supported
11) Why has Nigerian politics been characterized as a “winner take all, zero sum game”?
12) Compare the role of Nigeria’s president and the PDP to Mexico under the PRI? How are these
11) Political socialization in Nigeria is related in part to the family. How has the family structure in
Nigeria reinforced the patrimonial aspect of Nigerian politics?
12) Define “para-statals”? What was the rationale for their creation? How have they been used to co-opt
business and societal interests? Why was there an effort to privatize them? Has this been successful?
13) Define “rents” and “rent seeking behavior”? Why is this a feature of Nigerian politics? What negative
effects does this have on the economy and society?
14) Why has there been a debate about “shari’a” law in Nigeria? How is it at conflict with the secular
nature of Nigeria’s constitution? In which region is “shari’a” law most commonly applied?
15) Explain why the following are recurring issues for Nigeria’s government and society: poverty, gap
between the rich and poor, health, literacy.
16) Transparency International’s “Corruption Perception Index” lists Nigeria at 1.6 out of 10 or ranked
144 out of 146 countries. Why? What are the implications for Nigeria’s political economy and society?
Compare this to Iran, which is ranked 2.9 out of 10. In which ways are they similar?
17) Which candidate from which party won the 2007 Presidential election? Why was that election so
contentious? What does it imply for the future of Nigeria’s government?