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Nigeria - PowerPoint

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“The trouble with Nigeria is simply & squarely
            a failure of leadership”
              – Chinua Achebe
                 Why Nigeria?
   History of tradition-based kingdoms,
    colonialism, military dictatorships, &
    disappointing steps toward democracy, Nigeria
    faces serious problems
   Africa’s most populous country – 140M
   Political traditions: democratic movement &
    susceptibility to military rule
   Vast resources, especially oil, but 60% of its
    people live in poverty (PPP of $1500)
   Microcosm of worldwide religious tensions –
    population split almost evenly between
    Christianity & Islam – challenges to the state
   Gov’t legitimacy constantly challenged
    Sovereignty, Authority, & Power
   Even though it has been independent
    since 1960 – “national question”
    • How country should be governed?
    • Who should govern?
    • Should Nigeria remain as one nation?

    • Issue magnified by regional disagreements &
      hostilities & by the tendency to solve
      problems by military force & authoritarian
   Constitutionalism
    • First constitution written 1914 – but has had
      8 more constitutions since then
    • Last constitution introduced in 1999 & has
      been heavily amended since
    • Constitutions represent attempts to
      establish basic blueprint for operation of the
      gov’t, but none has lasted
         As result, constitutionalism (acceptance of a
          constitution as a guiding set of principles) has
          eluded citizens of Nigeria
         Leaders felt free to disobey, suspend or toss out
          a constitution they didn’t like
   Legitimacy
    • Establishing legitimacy a challenge so young
    • Strong impulses toward fragmentation
      (tendency to fall apart along ethnic, regional,
      religious lines)
    • Military one of few true national organization
         So despite problems it has posed for democracy,
          it is also source of stability
           • That stability lends legitimacy to military’s right to rule
           • Most major candidates for presidency in recent years
             have been drawn from the military (not last 2)
           • Corruption taints civilian rule as well
    • Legitimacy of Nigerian gov’t currently low
         different political impulses originating in
          contradictory influences from Nigeria’s past
           • Rule of law under Britain, military force since
   Political Traditions can be analyzed dividing
    history into 3 parts: pre-colonial, colonial,
     • Pre-colonial Era (800-1860)
          Centralized states developed early in geographic area that is
           now Nigeria
          Influences from this era:
             • Kinship-based politics: especially among southern
               peoples (i.e. Tiv), village political organization
                  Villages usually composed of extended families,

                   business through kinship ties
                  Contrasted w/ larger states in north

             • Complex political identities: contrast between
               centralized state & local governance is far from clear
                  Even in the south, some centralized kingdoms

                   merged & small trading states emerged in the north
• Democratic impulses: tradition of valuing democracy;
  Among the Yoruba & Igbo especially, principle of
  accountability was well accepted during pre-colonial
     Rulers expected to seek advice & to govern in

      interest of the people & if they didn’t – would be
      removed from position
     Leaders seen as representatives of the people, were

      responsible for good of the community
• Early influence of Islam through Cultural Diffusion:
  trade w/ north put early Hausa in contact w/ Arabic
  education & Islam, which gradually replaced traditional
  customs & religions, esp. among the elite
     Islamic principles, including rule of religious law

      (sharia) governed politics, emphasizing authority &
      policymaking by the elite; all citizens, esp. women
      considered subordinate
     Important group – the Fulani – came to north
      through jihad established Sokoto Caliphate
      (1808): Muslim state encompassed entire NW, N,
      mid section, part of NE
     Trade w/ Europeans, succumbed to British by 1900

     Put in place tradition of an organized, central gov’t

      based on religion
• Trade connections: the Niger River allowed access to
  other civilizations, the ocean; Transportation &
  communication easier in northern savanna than in
  southern forested areas
     South generally in closer contact w/ Atlantic trade

     As result, came into contact w/ Europeans even

      before colonial era, converted many to Christianity
     Important consequence from 16th – 19th centuries:

      slave trade
• The Colonial Era (1860-1960)
     In 1860 – British imposed indirect rule – trained natives to fill the
      European-style bureaucracy
        • British established area that would become Nigeria as trading
           outlet for natural resources & cheap human labor
        • Influence strongest in south, starting from ports along coast
     b/c north already organized into Islamic political hierarchies, British
      left that area primarily intact
     Political changes
        • More power to elites, reinforced tendencies to seek personal
        • Further emphasized differences between north & south, leaving
           colony vulnerable to division and future conflict / violence
     Because broke w/ colony in 1960, (much later than Mexico’s break
      in 1821), has had much less time to develop national identity &
      political stability
   Influences from this period:
     • Authoritarian rule: British ruled indirectly by leaving
       chiefs & other natives in charge of gov’t designed to
       support British economic interests
          British strengthened authority of traditional chiefs,

           loosened rulers’ responsibility to the people
     • The interventionist state: trained chiefs to operate
       gov’ts in order to reach economic goals
          In Britain, individual rights & free market check

           gov’t’s power, no such checks existed in Nigeria
          New expectation citizens should passively accept

           actions of their rulers
     • Individualism: capitalism & western political thought
       emphasize importance of individual
          Tendency for chiefs to think about personal benefits

     • Christianity: British brought religion w/ them, spread it
       throughout the south & west
• Intensification of ethnic politics: ethnic identities
  broadened & intensified into 3 groups: Hausa-Fulani,
  Igbo, Yoruba
     Occurred partly b/c British pitted groups against each

      other to manage through rewards
     Independence leaders appealed to ethnic identities to

      gain followers to convince Britain to decolonize
• Introduction of western-style education:
     Missionaries set up schools subsidized by British

      gov’t, primarily for elementary education
     Important consequences:

     Relatively literate population

     Reinforced cleavages – elites received most benefits

      of education
     Most British schools in south, few northerners had

      access to western-style education; northerners came
      to be seen as backwards by southerners
• Era Since Independence (1960 – present)
     Leading up to 1960 – British “preparing” Nigerians
      to rule their own country
       • Preparation began early b/c from beginning British
         trained natives to join bureaucracy
       • Education included western political values – freedom,
         justice, equality of opportunity
     Struggled w/ parliamentary style of, settled to
      military dictatorships by 1966, w/ attempts to
      establish civilian democracy
     Traditions established during this era include
       • Parliamentary-style government replaced by a
         presidential system: 1960-1979, followed British
         parliamentary style gov’t
           Ethnic divisions made it difficult to identify majority
             party or allow a PM to have necessary authority
           1979 – switched to presidential system w/ president,
             legislature, independent judiciary – but haven’t done
             good job checking president
• Economic dependence on oil: good fortune also a liability in
  quest for political & economic stability
     Oil reserves too tempting for most military rulers,
      corruption = oil $$ enriched elite
     Economic survival based entirely on oil

• Military Rule: first military ruler, Agiyi Ironsi, justified
  authority by intending to end violence & stop corruption
     Ironsi killed in coup by second general, sparking Igbo to
      fight for independence for Biafra, from Nigeria
     Biafran Civil War (1967-1970)

     Country remained together, but only militarily

• Personalized rule/corruption: during colonial rule, native
  leaders lost touch w/ old communal traditions that encouraged
  them to govern in interest of the people
     Individualism translated into rule for personal gain, &
      military regimes of modern era generally have been
      characterized by greed & corruption
• Federalism: in attempt to ease ethnic tensions & remain one
  country, leaders set up federalist system
     Theoretically, power shared, but military presidents didn’t

      allow sub-gov’ts to function w/ separate sovereignty –
      state remained unitary w/ all power centered Abuja
• Intensification of ethnic conflict: after independence
  Hausa-Fulani of north dominated parliamentary gov't w/
  larger population
     For majority, formed coalition w/ Igbo of SE, which

      caused resistance to grow among Yoruba of W
     Rivalries among groups caused them to turn to

      military tactics to gain power
     1966: group of Igbo military officers seized power &

      established military rule
   Important change in early post-colonial days:
      • 1966 – parliamentary gov’t replaced by military dictatorship
      • Tendency for gov’t to change hands quickly & violently – a
        series of military coup d’etats
           1979, military dictator, Olusegun Obasanjo willingly stood

             down for democratically elected president,
           2 more coups kept military dictatorship until 1999 when

             democratic election brought Obasanjo back to power, as a
      • Each election (1999, 2003, 2007) full of fraud & violence
   Development of nationalism has eluded Nigeria
      • Created “national question” – or possibility that Nigeria
        would not survive as a country
   Ethnic identities become major basis for conflict
      • Independence brought competition among groups, based on
        heightened awareness of ethnic differences encouraged by
      • Once British left, competition among military generals for
        control became based on ethnicity
           Heightened tensions have left reconciliation
   Institutionalization of corruption among elite
     • Tendency made worse by military presidents: General
       Ibrahim Babangida (1985-1993), General Sani Abacha
     • Maintained large foreign bank accounts w/ regular
       deposits diverted from Nigerian state
     • Each military leader between 1966-1999 promised to
       transfer power to civilian hands as soon as country was
     • Over time (1990s) – transition toward democracy
     • But 2 facts made it difficult to claim triumph of
          Obasanjo was former military general & both his

           elections characterized by voting fraud
          Election of 2007 even more questionable than

           previous 2
   Traditional Political Culture
     • Characterized by ethnic diversity & conflict,
       corruption, politically active military
     • Also includes democratic tradition & desire to
       reinstate leadership responsible to the people
     • Characteristics of the political culture include:
         Patron-clientelism

            • For example – in exchange for their support, a president
              may grant his clients a portion of the oil revenues
            • Practice invites corruption, usually means larger society
              is hurt b/c only few people benefit from the favors
          Religious conflict: Islam began to influence
           northern Nigeria in 11th century, coexisting w/
           native religions, finally supplanting them
            • Rapid spread of Christianity thanks to missionaries
            • Religions have intensified ethnic conflict, fed political
              issues (Muslims support of sharia)
   State control/rich civil society – Civil
    Society: sectors of the country that lie outside
    gov’t control
     • State has tried to control almost all aspects of life
       (British rule & military dictatorship)
     • NGOs have long shaped the society
          Formal & informal associations

          Ethnic & religious associations

          Professional & labor groups

     • Groups related to gov’t through corporatism &
     • Potentially could form base of viable democracy
   Tension between modernity & tradition
     • Colonial past encouraged a strong, modern nation, but
       also restricted ability to reach that goal
     • w/ independence: modernity difficult to attain b/c of
       ethnic-based military conflicts & personalized, corrupt
       leadership practices
   Geographic Influences: located in West Africa,
    population greater than all other 14 countries of
    West Africa combined
     • Ethnic Groups may be divided into 6 geographic zones:
          Northwest: dominated by 2 groups combined as

           Huasa-Fulani; area predominately Muslim
          Northeast: home to many smaller groups, such as

           Kanuri; area primarily Muslim
          Middle Belt: contains many smaller ethnic groups;
           characterized by mix of Muslims & Christians
          Southwest: large ethnic group Yoruba dominate
           area; about 40% Muslim, 40% Christian, 20% native
          Southeast: inhabited by Igbo; primarily Roman

           Catholic, growing number of Protestant Christians
          Southern Zone: area includes delta of huge Niger

           River; people belong to various small minority groups
                Political Institutions
   Today:
    • Gov’t formally federalist & democratic, but
      generally not operated as such
    • Economy remains under state control (as it
      was during colonialism)
         International factors forced Nigeria to turn to
          supranational organization (i.e. World Bank &
          International Monetary Fund) for help in
          restructuring economy
   In theory is federal political system
     • Various constitutions have provided for 3 branches
       of gov’t but in reality, executive branch dominated
     • In 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Republics (all since 1979):
          Presidential system w/ strong president theoretically
           checked by bicameral legislature & an independent judiciary
    • Each of 36 state gov’ts & 774 local governments has
      an executive & legislative branch, & network of local,
      district, state courts
    • Currently:
          Neither federalism nor checks & balances operate
          State and local gov’ts totally dependent on central gov’t
   The Executive
    • w/ establishment of Second Republic, parliamentary
      system replaced by presidential system
    • Many ethnicities fragmented its multi-party system &
      legislature so seriously that PM could not gain
      necessary authority to rule
    • Belief a popularly elected president could symbolized
      unity & rise above weak party system
         US system followed, including 2 term limit;

         Followed model until 1983, when General

          Muhammadu Buhari staged palace coup
    • 2007 election: 1st experience of 1 civilian president
      handing power to another, no matter how flawed the
• Executive under Military Rule
     7 military leaders: not all ruled in same fashion
       • All have promised “transition to democracy” but only 2
         have given power over to elected leaders: Obasanjo in
         1979, Abubakar in 1999
     Generals Buhari (1983-1985), Babangida (1985-
      1993), Abacha (1993-1998) known for use of
      repressive tactics
     Virtually all military & civilian administrations have
      concentrated power in hands of executive
     Presidents have appointed seniors officials w/o
      legislative approval
     Neither legislature nor judiciary has consistently
      checked executive power
• Patrimonialism
     President is head of intricate patron-client
      system (gov’t jobs & resources go to supporters)
       • Virtually all gov’t jobs part of the patronage system
     Fact that generals have been repeatedly
      overthrown indicates system is unstable, OR
      possibly that impulse toward democracy is
      keeping it from working
   The Bureaucracy
    • Elaborate civil service by British, allowed Nigerians to fill
      lower-level jobs
         Civil service remained, grown in recent decades

         Many believe bureaucracy is too big, & it’s accepted fact

          that it’s corrupt & inefficient
    • Para-statals
         Like Mexican organizations before 1890s, many agencies

          were para-statals – corporations owned by the state &
          designed to provide commercial & social welfare services
         Theoretically are privately owned, but boards appointed by
          gov’t officials, executives woven into patronage system
         Commonly provide public utilities, public transportation,

          agricultural subsidies, or control industries such as steel,
          defense, petroleum
• State corporatism
     Can function in authoritarian political system
      where gov't allows political input from selected
      interest groups outside gov’t structure (Mexico)
     Para-statals provide the input & b/c they are
      controlled by the gov’t they create state
       • Fulfill important economic & social functions
       • Insure the state controls private interests as well
       • Serve as contact points between the gov’t & business,
            state ultimately controls interactions

       • Generally are inefficient & corrupt & many believe must
         be disbanded if democracy is to survive in Nigeria
   The Legislature – National Assembly
    • Both representatives & senators serve 4-year
      renewable terms, elections held week
      preceding presidential election
    • The Senate
         Upper house; 109 members, 3 from each of 36
          states & 1 from federal capital territory of Abuja
         Elected directly by popular vote
         = representation like US Senate, some senators
          represent smaller populations than others
           • Ethnic & religious diversity of the 36 states means
             senators also quite diverse
   The House of Representatives
      • 360 members from single-member districts
      • Elected by plurality
      • Represent many different ethnicities
   Under military rule legislatures had virtually no power
   Only recently become an effective check on presidential
      • Notable example: National Assembly’s failure to ratify
        President Obasanjo’s plan to alter the Constitution to
        allow him to run for a 3rd term in 2007
      • But – representatives & senators have been implicated in
        corruption scandals (removed for perjury, forgery)
   Low % of women: 6.4% in HoR, 3.7% in Senate
      • Reflective of traditional society
      • Recent figures indicate that as many as 22% of gov’t
        bureaucrats are women
   The Judiciary
    • Early years of independence: autonomy
         Courts combined British common law w/
          assortment of traditional / customary law,
          including sharia in Northern Region
         Known for rendering objective decisions & for
          operating independently from the executive
    • Military rule damaged the courts
         Undermined by military decrees that nullified
          court decisions, generals even set up quasi-
          judicial tribunals outside regular system
         Judicial review suspended
         Presidents’ buddies appointed as judges
         As result: most judges today not well versed in
          law & render decisions manipulated by the gov’t
• Judiciary today:
    Judicial review exists in theory

    Structures exist at both federal & state levels

    Highest court: Supreme Court

       • Individual states may also authorize traditional
         subsidiary courts w/ most controversial being Islamic
         sharia courts (in 12 of predominately Muslim states)
    Sharia courts exist alongside courts based on British model

• Example cases indicate how deeply Nigerian judiciary fell under
  military rulers
    Mshood Abiolao, winner of 1993 election annulled by

     Babangida, detained & eventually died in custody
       • Presiding judges for his detention changed often, critics
         of gov’t believe justice not served
    Ken Saro-Wiwa (activist) & 8 other Ogonis detained &

     hanged under orders from a court arranged by military,
     consisting primarily of military officers
   The Military
    • Has lost its credibility as temporary, objective organization that
      keeps order & brings stability b/c so involved in politics
    • Starting 1966 w/ first coup, military made distinctions between
      military in gov’t and military in barracks (fulfills traditional
      duties of military, leaders often critical of military control of
      political power)
        As result, military has been subject to internal discord, military

          presidents often had to keep close eye on other military leaders
    • Military is strong, intimidating force in political system that often
      blocked democratic reforms
        Is one of few institution in Nigeria that is truly national
          in character!
            • When deep ethnic cleavages w/in Nigerian society have
              threatened instability, military has restored order
            • Best, brightest, ambitious often made their way by rising
              through military, esp. important for ethnic Muslims of
              northern Nigeria w/o same opportunities as in the south
   Linkage Institutions
    • Are newly developed & highly fluid but have
      organized themselves in number of ways w/
      varying degrees of impact
    • Political Parties
         Almost always regionally & ethnically based
         Didn’t develop a one-party system for factionalism
         Factionalism led to development of so many
          parties it was almost impossible to create
          coherent party system
           • Resulting multi-party system reinforced & deepened
             ethnic religious cleavages
           • Parties form around personalities, tend to fade w/
             leadership changes
   Flurry of party registrations w/ Independent
    National Election Commission (INEC) followed
    death of President Abacha in 1998
     • Had to qualify to run a candidate:
          At least 5% of votes in 2/3 of states in 1998 local

          Effectively cut number of parties running to 3

          Ended with 5 eligible parties in 2003 presidential

     • INEC accused of corruption in election 2007 & of
       complying w/ President Obasanjo’s desire to keep VP
       Abubakar from running for presidency
   These parties supported major presidential
    candidates in 2007:
     • People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – one of better-
       established parties, having run candidates since 1998
          Is party of Olusegun Obasanjo (2003: received 62%

           of the vote)
          In 2007 (amidst widespread fraud) Umaru Yar’Adua

           received 70% of vote; party gained overwhelming
           majority in National Assembly
          But b/c elections fraudulent, difficult to know how

           much real support PDP really has
     • All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) – General
       Muhammed Buhari (Muslim from north)
          Received 32% of vote 2003; 19% in 2007
     • Action Congress (AC) – formed w/ merger of Alliance
       for Democracy, Justice Party, the Advance Congress of
       Democrats, & others in Sept. 2006
          Ran VP Atiku Abubaker (who defected from PDP) in

          Disqualified by Independent National Electoral

           Commission, but disqualification later overturned by
           Supreme Court; received >7% of vote
          Fact that several parties merged to form AC

           indication that major parties are coalescing
   PDP originated in Muslim north, but ran Christian
    Yoruba Obasanjo in 1999 & 2003 – making it
    dominate party
     • All 3 elections fraudulent, violence levels high enough it
       is difficult for PDP to claim legitimacy
     • (>200 people killed in protests surrounding 2007
• Elections & Electoral Procedures
     Vote for candidates on 3 levels: local, state, national
     National elections:
       • Presidential elections – first after annulled election of
         1993 was in 1999
       • Runoff if no 1 majority candidate; hasn’t happened yet
            Unusual requirement reflects attempt to unite its
             people: president must receive at least 25% of all the
             votes cast in 2/3 of the states
            Means purely regional candidate can’t win presidency

       • Legislative elections
            109 Senators; 3 from each of 36 states & 1 from

             federal capital territory, Abuja – direct election
            539 Representatives from single member districts by

             plurality vote; no runoffs
            Result: regional representation in both houses w/

             variety of ethnicities that try to form coalitions, even
             though legislative policymaking power very weak
   Election Fraud
     • Many believe Nigeria has made significant progress to
       have 3 regularly scheduled popular elections in a row
     • Thinking violence hasn’t been as bad as it could have
       been (i.e. only 12 people died during 2003 elections)
          INEC w/ outside pressure made attempt to cleanse

           electoral process when declared almost 6M names to
           be fraudulent; but international observation teams
           generally concluded 2003 election corrupt
     • Elections of 2007 even worse
          INEC disqualified VP Abubakar from running for

           president, but Supreme Court said INEC didn’t have
           that power, printed last-minute ballots including him,
           but ballots showed party symbols, not names of
           candidates, lacked serial numbers to reduce fraud
          International observers witnessed ballot-box theft,
           long delays in delivery of ballots, shortage of ballots
           for presidential race, no privacy for secret ballots
• Interest Groups
     Have played important role in gov’t & politics
     Development of active civil society hampered by
      pre- bendalism & corruption
     But there is array of civil society organizations
      that often cooperate w/ political parties
       • Some based on religion (i.e. Christian Association of
       • Large # of Muslim civil society organization in north work
         to support sharia court system
     Citizens sought impact on political life through
      labor unions, student groups, populist groups
   Labor Unions
     • Before military oppression of 1980s were independent &
       politically powerful
     • Challenged gov’ts during colonial & post-colonial eras
     • Babangida regime devised methods to limit influence –
       through corporatism
     • Central labor supplanted older unions, only candidates
       approved Babangida could be elected labor leaders
     • Labor movement still alive, retains active membership
     • If democracy indeed is established, labor unions could play
       vital role in policymaking process
     • By 2007 – clear labor unions regained much of previous
       power when Nigeria Labor Congress successfully
       orchestrated general strike of workers in cities across
       Nigeria – to protest gov’t hikes in fuel prices & taxes
     • Fuel heavily subsidized, is quite expensive; under
       international pressure to cut subsides to pay immense
       national debt
   Business Interests
     • Tended to collaborate w/ military regimes during last
       decades, shared spoils of corruption w/in elite classes
     • Some associations have operated in private sector
     • Associations for manufacturers, butchers, car rental
       firms only a few groups that have organized
     • In 1990s these groups became leading force in
       promoting economic reforms in Nigeria
   Human Rights Groups
     • University students, teachers, civil liberties
       organizations, professional groups (doctors, lawyers)
       protested abuses of Babangida & Abacha regimes &
       remain active promoters of democratic reform
     • Staged demonstrations & protests in 1997-98 as Abacha
       prepared campaign to succeed himself
     • Groups are only loosely connected, but willingness to
       collaborate & remain active will play important role in
       creating true democracy
• Mass Media
     Has long had well-developed, independent press
      (unlike most other developing countries)
       • Abacha moved to limit criticisms of rule, but tradition
         remains intact
     Press reflects ethnic division w/in Nigeria
       • Most of outspoken newspapers in south
       • Generals from north have often interpreted criticisms of
         press as ethnic slurs reflective of region-based
     Media actively spread news as events of 2007
      elections unfolded, many journalists highly critical
      of government’s actions
     Radio is main source of information for most;
      newspapers & TV more common in cities
      Citizens, Society, & the State
   Societal characteristics of Nigeria make
    democratization a challenge:
    • Poverty: 60% of all Nigerians live below
      poverty line, w/ many in absolute poverty
      w/o means to survive
    • Large gap between rich & poor: few are
      very wealthy, most very poor (like Mexico)
         Economy shows fewer signs of growth than
          Mexico, so outlook for closing income gap bleak
• Health issues: high rates of HIV/AIDS, w/
  some estimating 1 of every 11 sufferers in
  world lives in Nigeria
     Toll that disease has taken on African continent is
      incalculable, cost to Nigerian economy, as well as
      to society in general, is immeasurable
     AIDS is secondary priority for gov’t, leaving much
      of challenge to small group of underfunded NGOs
       • Obasanjo administration provided medications through
         small number of clinics, but reached only few 1000
         people in a country where several million people are
         estimated to be HIV positive
• Literacy: literacy rate for
     Males: 75.7%
     Females: 60.8%
       • Higher than many nations in Africa, but lower than world
         average of 87% for men; 77% for women
     Lowest literacy rates of our 6 countries
     Related statistic: Nigerian women have average of
      5.49 children in her lifetime
• Cleavages
     One of most fragmented societies in the world
     Both Nigeria & Russia have had to contend w/
      ethnic-based civil wars
       • Russia in on-going conflict w/ Chechnya; Nigeria /w
         Biafran Civil War (1967-1970)
       • In both countries: ethnic conflicts have undermined basic
         legitimacy of gov’t
     Consequences of cleavages for political system
      serious b/c have made many basic agreements
      about governance almost impossible
     Ethnicity: between 250 to 400 separate ethnic
      groups w/ own customs, languages, religions
       • 3 largest groups: Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, Yoruba have very
         little in common; generally cannot speak one another’s
             Virtually no contact take place among the groups
   Religion: in China & USSR, ethnic tensions
    managed by imposing communism on society so a
    unifying ideology held the people together
     • No such ideology in Nigeria, political culture is made more
       complex by competing religions
     • Christianity, Islam, native practices
     • Ethnic tensions are exacerbated by religious differences
     • International tensions between Christians & Muslims in Nigeria,
       rooted in preferential treatment British gave to Christians
     • Disputes regarding religious law of Islam (sharia) & its role in
       nation’s policymaking practices
   Region / north vs. south: country divided into
    Three Federated Regions in 1955
     • Regions follow ethnic & religious divisions & are basis for
       setting election & legislative procedures, political party
     • North primarily Muslim, south mainly Christian
     • http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/nigeria/
   Urban / rural differences: political
    organizations, interest groups, newspapers,
    electronic media exist primarily in cities
     • Most organized protests have taken place in cities
         Activities suppressed by annulment of 1993 election

         Exclusion of rights activist & environmentalist Ken

          Saro-Wiwa in 1995
   Social Class: big division between elites & others
     • Wealth stems from control of state & country’s resources
         Have maintained power through appealing to ethnic

          & religious identities of the people
         Elite have found it difficult to abandon access to

          gov’t’s treasury for personal gain
         Educated elite also harbors those who would like to
          see Nigeria transformed into a modern nation based
          on democratic principles
   Public Opinion and Political Participation
    • Nigeria not yet a democracy but:
         Despite long history of civil society, citizens have
          been encouraged to relate to gov’t as subjects,
          not as active participants
         Some activities taking place in civil society,
          outside gov’t influence w/ professional
          associations, trade unions, religious groups
         Even w/ presence of military rule, presidents have
          generally allowed a free press to exist & interest
          group membership to be maintained
• Patron- Clientelism (prebendalism)
     Much participation, esp. in rural areas takes place
      through patron-client system
     Prebendalism: special brand of clientelism –
      extremely personalized system or rule in which all
      public offices are treated as personal fiefdoms
       • By creating patronage networks on personal loyalty,
         civilian officials skewed economic & political management
         to point they have often discredited themselves
     Local gov’t officials gain support from villagers
      trough favors, in turn receive favors for
      supporting patron bosses
     Most favors exchanged among political elite
     Corruption & informal influence
     Does represent established form of political
      participation in Nigeria
• Civil Society
     Strengthened since 1999
     Some serve as centripetal forces encourage unity
     Others centrifugal influences that cause
      fragmentation along ethnic & religious lines
       • Movement for Survival of the Ogoni People – has done
           Has worked to apply national laws to secure financial

            benefits for Ogoni in Niger Delta & to hold foreign-
            operated oil companies to environmental standards
     Trade unions & professional organizations have
      been particularly active in trying to protect rights
      of their members
       • Formal associations articulate political interests of
         Nigeria’s growing professional class
• Voting Behavior
     Have voted in national elections since 1959 but
      many elections canceled or postponed by military,
      or fraudulent
     Voter behavior patterns difficult to track
     Political parties are numerous & fluid, most
      formed around charisma of candidates for office,
      party loyalty is imperfect reflection of voter
     Babangida’s annulment of 1993 election put
      damper on political participation during 1990s
     Elections of 1999, 2003, 2007 fraudulent
       • Participation rates in 2007 election almost impossible to
         calculate b/c of voter fraud & inability of legitimate
         voters to cast their ballots
• Attitudes toward government
     Most have low level of trust in their gov’t
     In general are skeptical about prospects for
      democracy, do not believe elections are conducted
      in fair & honest way
       • Whether cynicism will remain yet to be seen
       • In early years of independence, attitudes toward gov’t
         generally more favorable, many citizens expressed
         identity as Nigerians, not just members an ethnic group
       • Ordinary citizens are unlikely to see gov’t in positive light
         in near future b/c of military rule of Babangida & Abacha
     Attitudes toward democracy shared by many
      other African citizens
       • 6 of 10 Africans sampled in 18 countries said democracy
         preferable, but satisfaction w/ democracy dipped to 45%
   Nigerian citizens’ negative perceptions of gov’t are
    based in some very solid evidence that gov’t
    officials are corrupt
     • In 2006 Nigeria ranked 142nd of 146 countries in terms
       of how “clean” its gov’t is
   Corruption is part of political culture in Nigeria,
    Russia, China, Mexico, Iran
     • Bribes & favoritism are expected to be a part of ways the
       gov’ts operate
     • Nigeria’s pre-benalism permeates political system to
       such degree that political participation cannot take place
       outside its influence
• Protests, Participation, & Social Movements
      Since return of democracy in 1999, number of ethnic-based &
       religious movements have mobilized to pressure the federal
         • International oil companies have been major targets, esp.
            in Niger Delta
      July 2002 protest – group of unarmed Ijaw women occupied
       Chevron Texaco’s Nigerian operations for 10 days
         • Siege ended when Chevron Texaco’s officials agreed to
            provide jobs for their sons, & set up credit plan to help
            village women start businesses
         • Ended peacefully, but others violently suppressed by
            Obasanjo gov’t
      Upswing in protests since early 2006, w/ groups organizing to
       attack foreign-based oil companies
         • Armed rebel gangs have blown up pipelines, disabled
            pumping states, kidnapped foreign oil workers
         • Nigeria is world’s 8th largest oil exporter
         • Events in Nigeria have affected international energy
            markets, contributing to higher prices & tighter supplies
                      Public Policy
   Years of military rule resulted in a top-down policymaking
    process; power concentrated in presidency
     • Senior gov’t officials supported by broader base of loyal
       junior officials, creating a “loyalty pyramid”
         Since military in control until 1999, pyramids were

          backed by guns so protesting corruption dangerous
     • Operated under assumption military & political elite
       worked w/ only self-interest in mind
         Pattern put in place by British who relied on native
          chiefs to ensure trade & resources
         To break this pattern, political elite must get in touch

          w/ older roots – communalism from pre-colonial days
         Democratic rule requires political leaders are
          responsible for welfare of their people, not only those
          they owe favors
   Economic Issues
     • Result of loyalty pyramids: squandering Nigeria’s wealth
     • Complicated by ethnic/regional hostility & distrust of gov’t
     • Currently finds itself deeply in debt, most live in poverty
         Oil money to gov’t officials, most don’t profit from it

         Feb 2001: federal gov’t asked S Court to allow federal
          gov’t to collect oil revenues into a “federal account”
           • On surface appears to be revenue sharing (allowing
              entire country to benefit from offshore oil profits)
           • Areas south along Niger Delta protested this, partly
              b/c they saw policy as coming from northerners
              who wanted to take southern profits away
           • w/o trust in gov’t, no one believed profits would
              benefit anyone except corrupt gov’t officials
• Oil: a Source of Strength or Weakness?
     State’s main role: controlling nation’s revenues &
      spending earnings (rents) which comes from oil
       • Individuals, communities, groups learned to compete in
         rent-seeking behavior, looking for gov’ts largesse
       • Those that win do it through political connections (pre-
       • Most Nigerians struggle along w/o much success,
         participating in informal economy of unreported
         incomes from small-scale trade & subsistence agriculture
     1970s – oil gave it a lot of international leverage
       • Active member of OPEC – could make political &
         economic demands b/c developed countries need oil!
       • Gained clout whenever Mid-East tensions cut off oil
   Over-reliance on oil means country’s economy
    suffers disproportionally when oil prices decrease
     • Has amassed great debt, partly b/c profits don’t remain
       in state’s coffers
   One major issue since 2006: unstable situation in
    Niger Delta regarding protests & subterfuge of
    foreign-based oil companies there
     • Some groups idealistic, wanting more $$ going to the
       people of delta states (i.e. Movement for the
       Emancipation of the Niger Delta)
          But it uses violence, driving some companies away

          Others w/ no communal goals joining movement

     • Dealing w/ this issue 1 of biggest challenges facing
       current administrations
• Structural Adjustment
     1985: Babangida regime developed economic
      structural adjustment program w/ support of
      World Bank & International Monetary Fund
       • Sought to restructure & diversify Nigerian economy to
         decrease dependence on oil
       • Gov’t also pledged to reduce gov’t spending & privatize
       • This “shock treatment” had mixed results
           Timelines for debt repayment have been restructured

             b/c could not keep up w/ payments
           Para-statals still under state control

           Private economic sector not grown significantly

           Large national debt remains a problem

           Rise in oil prices recently meant GDP per capita has

             improved over recent years
   “Federal Character”
    • Most see federalism as positive, desirable
        Promises power will be shared, all people in all parts of

         country will be fairly represented
        Allows citizens more contact points w/ gov’t

    • In Nigeria, goal is “federal character” – principle that gov’t
      recognizes people of all ethnicities, religions, regions, & takes
      their needs into account
        Nigerian Constitution tries to accomplish this

        But so far this ethnic balancing has not promoted unity or

         nationalism, only serves to divide more
    • Negative effect of federalism:
        Bloat & promote corruption w/in bureaucracy

           • Since all ethnicities must be represented, sometimes
             jobs created to satisfy the demand
           • Once in position, appointees see themselves as beholden
             to ethnic / regional interests
        In legislature, 36 states vie for control of gov’t resources,

         see themselves in competition w/ other ethnic groups
• Do Nigerians have enough in common to remain
  together as a country?
    Many southerners contend true federalism will exist

     only when central gov’t devolves some of its power to
     state & local levels
       • For example: Nigerians of Niger Delta believe
         regions should control own resources (gov’t
         shouldn’t redistribute region’s oil revenues)
    Northerners generally don’t support “true federalism”

     movement b/c region historically has not had as many
     resources or as much revenue to share
       • Many Northern states benefit more than
         southerners from nationally sponsored
         redistribution programs
   Democratization
    • Changes since 1999:
         Some public enterprises (para-statals) have been
          privatized, opening way for limitations on
          economic control of central gov’t
         Scheme for alleviating poverty set forward
         Public wages increased in recent years, w/ hope
          that well paid employees not as susceptible to
         Financial reserves have grown, partly b/c oil
          prices rising
• Despite all its problems, signs democracy may be taking
  root in presidential system (but is not there yet):
    Some checks & balances between gov’t branches
     (keeping Obasanjo from being able to change
     Constitution & run for 3rd term in 2007)
    Some independent decisions in the courts
     (allowing Abubakar to run for president in 2007 when
     Obasanjo tried to prevent it)
    Revival of civil society (civic & religious groups
     driven underground by military rule have reactivated)
    Independent media (2007 election – media sent
     reporters around country to report fraud)
    Peaceful succession of power (for first time in
     Nigeria’s history – peaceful transfer of power in 2007)
    Improving Freedom House scores (2007, Freedom
     House ranked Nigeria as a “4” – “partly free”; score
     has improved in recent years
• One of key characteristics of true democracy is existence of
  regular competitive elections in which citizens have real
  alternative choices
    On one hand, easy to criticize Nigerian election process

        • 1993 election annulled
        • 1999 & 2003 elections put former military general back
          in power
        • 1999, 2003, 2007 elections: ballot box theft, stuffing
    On other hand, 3 elections have been held in a row w/o

      being suspended or annulled
        • Some contend this generation of presidential candidates
          consists of military men b/c are only ones w/ experience
          necessary to govern
             Predict younger, nonmilitary leaders will emerge as

              political candidates in near future
             Umaru Yar’Adua & Goodluck Johnathon not military

    Perhaps best question: “Was this election better than

      the last one?”

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