Nigeria
A microcosm of everything wrong
with the world today
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Most populous
nation in Africa
(140 million)
GDP per capita =
$2,831
HDI rank #153
The Economist’s
Democracy Index
ranking = #120
(2 spots higher
than Russia, 20
ahead of China)
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
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First country we’re studying where “the
national question” is an issue: Should we
even be one country?
Constitutionalism – eluding Nigeria so far
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First constitution in 1914, 8 more since (latest in
1999)
Military and civilian leaders alike have never felt
the need to obey constitutions, and often write
new ones upon taking power
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
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Legitimacy
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Newly independent (1960)
Highly fragmented along ethnic, regional,
religious lines
The sole stable national institution is the military
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Leads to legitimacy of military’s right to rule
Most leaders have been generals
Extremely low legitimacy of government, overall
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
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Legitimacy
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Contradicting political traditions
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Rule of Law from British colonial days
Personalized authority of military leaders since
1960
Massive corruption, distrust of government
Political History
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3 Major Eras
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Pre-Colonial (800 - 1860)
Colonial (1860 – 1960)
Since Independence (1960 – Present)
Pre-Colonial Era (800 – 1860)
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Trends
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Trade connections along Niger river with North Africa and
other civilizations
Early influence of Islam – elite tended to be educated in
Arabic and learned the sharia
Kinship-based politics – rule was at village level, and were
basically extended families
Complex political identities – some centralized kingdoms
mixed in with small village governance
Democratic impulses – rulers expected to seek counsel
and govern in the interests of the people
Colonial Era (1860 - 1960)
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Trends
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Authoritarian rule – British established chiefs to rule on
their behalf
Interventionist state – no “free market”… chiefs expected
to rule to meet economic goals set by the British
Individualism – self-interest of capitalism was mixed with
state-domination of the economy (uh oh…)
Christianity – spread mainly to south and west (Islam
entrenched in the north)
Intensification of ethnic politics – Hausa-Fulani, Igbo,
Yoruba competed for “rewards” from British
Era Since Independence (1960 –
Present)
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Trends
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Parliamentary replaced by Presidential government in
1979 since majority was difficult to establish
Intensification of ethnic conflict – Hausa-Fulani formed a
majority coalition with Igbo, angering the Yoruba
Military rule – frequent coups
Personalized rule and corruption
Federalism – attempt to pacify ethnic tension, though
military leaders did not allow much local power
Economic dependence on oil – enriches those in power,
who ignore other sectors of the economy
Era Since Independence (1960Present)
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Elected leadership in 1960, overthrown in military coup
in 1966
3 more coups by 1976, Olusegun Obasanjo takes power
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2 more coups by 1985, when Ibrahim Babangida takes
power
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Willfully steps down for democratically elected president in 1979
Resigned under public pressure in 1993 when he promised to
step down for civilian leadership, then voided the election
Sani Abacha (1993-1998) rules brutally, dies of a heart attack
(maybe poisoned?), replaced by Vice President Abubakar
Obasanjo elected for 2 terms (1999-2007)
Umaru Yar’Adua elected in 2007
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All elections finished with concerns of fraud, violence, etc.
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Ibrahim Babangida
Military President,
1985 – 1993
Resigned
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Sani Abacha
Military President,
1993 – 1998
Died in office
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Olusegun Obasanjo
Military President,
1976 – 1979
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Resigned for democratic
leadership
President, 1999 –
2007
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Term limited
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Umaru Yar’Adua
President, 2007 –
2010
Died in office
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Goodluck Jonathan
President, 2010 –
Present
Political Culture
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Patron-Clientelism (prebendalism) - exchange of
political and economic favors to build support of
the leadership
State attempts to control rich civil society (and
mostly fails) – many independent associational
groups still thriving
Tension between modernity and tradition
Religious conflict – centered on role of sharia in
law and political authority
Geographic Influence
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Northwest – Hausa-Fulani,
Muslim
Northeast – Kanuri,
Muslim
Middle-Belt – smaller
groups, mix of Muslim and
Christian
Southwest – Yoruba, mix
of religions
Southeast – Igbo, Catholic
and Christian
South – various minorities
Citizens, Society, and the State
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Necessary condition for democratization:
citizens need to have time to pay attention
and participate in the political process
Problem for Nigeria:
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63% live in poverty, less than $1 per day
Large gap between rich and poor (Gini = 48.8)
Health issues – AIDS epidemic (3.1% of adults
carry HIV, 2nd most carriers in the world)
Literacy – 72.1%% for men, 50.4% for women
Citizens, Society, and the State
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Cleavages – one of the most fragmented societies
in the world
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Ethnicity – 250 to 400 distinct ethnic groups with different
languages and religions in many cases
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Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba tribes are largest, but can’t
speak each other’s languages and have no contact
generally
Religion – 50% Muslim, 40% Christian, 10% various
native religions
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Disputes rooted in preferential treatment British gave to
Christians, role of sharia in Nigerian law
Citizens, Society, and the State
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Cleavages – one of the most fragmented
societies in the world
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Region – North (predominantly Muslim) vs. South
(predominantly Christian)
Urban/rural differences – political organizations,
interest groups, media only operate in cities
Social class – elite are those with ties to the
state, who often use the treasury to benefit
themselves
Citizens, Society, and the State
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Public Opinion and Political Participation
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Patron-Clientelism (prebendalism) – local officials treat
public offices as personal fiefdoms
Civil Society – many associational interest groups free to
operate, some strengthen Nigerian unity, others work to
fragment society on ethnic/religious lines
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Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) –
founded by Ken Saro-Wiwa to get oil benefits for Ogoni
living in Niger Delta, hold oil companies to environmental
standards
 Saro-Wiwa was publicly executed in 1995
Citizens, Society, and the State
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Public Opinion and Political Participation
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Voting Behavior – no one knows how many
Nigerians participate because of the irregularities
in their elections (estimates around 66%)
Attitudes Toward Government – distrust of most
officials, cynicism
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Nigeria ranks 144 of 177 on the “Corruption
Perception Index”
Abacha’s heart attack was celebrated as the
“coup from heaven”
Citizens, Society, and the State
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Public Opinion and Political Participation
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Protests, Participation, and Social Movements
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Increasing protest and organization/mobilization
since 1999
Often focused around international oil companies
Linkage Institutions
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Political Parties
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Regionally based
Extreme factionalization resulted in development
of so many parties, there is no coherent party
system
Parties appear and disappear based on leaders
Linkage Institutions
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Political Parties
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Currently:
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People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – Obasanjo, Yar’Adua,
and Jonathan’s party of power, won across the country in
2007, but mainly in the south in 2011
All Progressive’s Congress (APC) – Brand new (2013)
merger of APN, CPC, and ANPP, liberal middle-class
opposition party
Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) – classical liberalism, won
5% in 2011 presidential election, may soon merge with APC
These parties are becoming less regional, and
increasingly run a “ticket” with candidates of different
regions, campaigning across all of Nigeria
BUT… 2011 looked pretty regional…
2011 Presidential Election by State
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Green – States
won by Jonathan
(PDP)
Red – States won
by Buhari (CPC)
Blue – States won
by Ribadu (ACN)
Linkage Institutions
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Political Parties
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Why?
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1999 Constitutional requirement
 Winning presidential candidate must receive 25% of
votes cast in at least 2/3 of all states
 Attempt to prevent regional candidates from winning the
presidency and unite Nigeria
Linkage Institutions
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Elections
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Independent National Election Commission (INEC)
requires parties to qualify for national elections with at
least 5% of votes in 2/3 of states
Legislative
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Presidential
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109 Senators elected by popular vote (3 per state, 1 from
Abuja)
360 House of Representatives elected in SMD plurality
elections
2 ballot majority system (with the regional requirement)
All elections usually involve fraud and irregularities (2011
was considered a “success”)
Linkage Institutions
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Interest Groups
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Pretty healthy, though influence is restricted by
corruption and prebendalism
Labor Unions – Babangida attempted to restrain their
influence through corporatism, but they are still active
Business Interests – historically collaborated with
military, now push for economic reforms
Human Rights Groups – protested Babangida and
Abacha, promote democracy
Mass Media – well developed, independent press in
Nigeria mostly in the South, also reflective of regional
divisions
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Critical of government and corruption
State Institutions
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Federalism
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36 states
Doesn’t really work… dependent on central
government
Executive – President and Cabinet
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Directly elected
May appoint officials to all parts of national
government without approval of legislature (leads
to patrimonialism)
State Institutions
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Bureaucracy – assumed to be bloated, corrupt,
and inefficient
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Para-Statals – privately owned, but headed by
government appointees (part of the patron-client network)
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Provide public utilities or major industries
 Nigerian Electric Power Administration (NEPA) – called “Never
Expect Power Again” by Nigerians
 Changed name to Power Holding Company (PHC) – called
“Please Hold Candle” by Nigerians
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State corporatism – para-statals serve to give the
appearance of public/private cooperation, while really giving
the state control
State Institutions
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Legislature – parliamentary until 1979, now
bicameral National Assembly
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Senators and Representatives serve 4 year terms, elected
the week before the president
Senate
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House of Representatives
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109 Senators, 3 per state, 1 from Abuja
Very diverse given the different regions that are equally
represented
360 members elected by SMD plurality
Very little power, but occasionally acts as a check on
president (like when Obasanjo wanted a 3rd term)
Nigeria’s National Assembly in
Abuja
Nigeria’s National Assembly in
Abuja
State Institutions
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Judiciary
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Federal and state courts with an appeals process up to
the Supreme Court
Strong and autonomous after independence, but since
ravaged by military rule
Most judges today are not well versed in law, easily
manipulated by the government
Theoretically in charge of judicial review, not practically
Law is complicated by the sharia which operates in 12
northern states, controversially
Judges in Nigeria Play Dress-Up
State Institutions
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Military – Guess what? It’s strong.
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Military made distinctions between “military in
government” and “military in barracks” after early coups
“Military in government” presidents (like Babangida) had
to restrain influence of traditional military
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Appointed senior military to cabinet positions to make them
part of his patronage network
The best place for young Nigerians to improve their lives,
demonstrate their talents
Controversial, but it is the one national institution with the
capability to restore order
Just another daily training mission, or perhaps the start of the next
transfer of power… can’t tell from this photo
Public Policy Issues in Nigeria
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Oil – Strength or Weakness?
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Brings wealth from rents and gives Nigeria international
clout, but makes Nigeria a rentier state
Structural Adjustment
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Collapse of oil prices in 1980’s led to massive public debt
World Bank and IMF worked to restructure Nigeria’s debt
provided it would implement “shock therapy” and reduce
its dependence on oil
Private economy still hasn’t expanded much since,
parastatals still under state control
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Nigeria - Mesa Public Schools