Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Backgrounder on Nigerian Politics

I found the essay excerpted here on the Angus-Reid web site where I expected to find reports on polling results. This is a good update to your textbook even if it's brand new. Save the URL and assign this reading to your students when they're learning about Nigeria. Remember, however, that the presidential election is scheduled for this spring, and events might make this obsolete. A follow up assignment could be to assign students (when they're studying Nigeria) to find out the status of the politicians mentioned here.

Nigeria seeks a historic accomplishment

"The African nation of Nigeria represents an enormous challenge for any politician. With 140 million inhabitants, it is the continent’s most populous country. In addition, its people are split in a northern zone dominated by Muslims, and a predominantly Christian south. Nigeria produces 2.2 million barrels of oil each day, so its global significance cannot be underestimated.

"Maintaining political order has been extremely complicated since Nigeria attained its independence from Britain in 1960. Power has never been transferred peacefully between elected administrations, and governance has been interrupted on several occasions by coups and rebel actions organized by elements of the military...

"The impatience on the part of some PDP members has caused a rift that almost recreates existing tensions within Nigeria. Vice-president Atiku Abubakar and former ruler Ibrahim Babangida were mentioned as the main presidential hopefuls. Obasanjo has not expressed his preference for either man, but Abubakar was recently indicted over alleged misuse of funds and embezzlement.

"Still, there are no early favourites and the list of prospective contenders—which is expected to grow—includes Obasanjo’s adviser Jerry Gana, Rivers State governor Peter Odili [pictured at right], Ebonyi State governor Sam Egwu, and former ambassador Elizabeth Ogbon-day. The opposition will be led once again by Muhammedu Buhari under the ten-party Coalition for New Nigeria (CNN). Buhari, who governed briefly from December 1983 to August 1985 after a coup, lost to Obasanjo in 2003...

"As the country awaits its ruling party candidate, security remains a big concern. Practically every week there are reports of kidnappings, usually of foreigners who work in Nigeria’s oil industry. The Niger Delta has been the scene of bloody battles between the Nigerian military and an armed group called Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta People (MEND), whose attacks have caused a drop in oil production this year...

"Nigeria’s other key problem is the lack of credibility of its electoral authorities... the National Assembly has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of favouring the ruling party and exaggerating its operational costs. The main challenge for the last few months of Obasanjo’s tenure will be to allow the INEC to work adequately by itself, and ensure a transfer of power that is not only peaceful, but also fair."


At 12:06 PM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

If you want to offer students some hints about how leaders in Nigeria are recruited outside the military, here's an adulatory profile of a Nigerian politician.

Nigeria: 2007 - Will Uwechue Join the Presidential Fray?

An opinion piece from This Day (Lagos) by Tony Amadi

November 7, 2006

"Those who are interested in the politics of the times and have the vision and programme to lift Nigeria higher have not yet declared their stand.

Among this group is a person like Chief Raph Uwechue, OFR, Presidential Envoy on Conflict Resolution and Ecowas Special Representative in war torn Cote D'ivoire, a seasoned and visionary Nigerian leader from the South South stock who has qualities of leadership that can rescue Nigeria from the doldrums and improve on the successes of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo...

"The next President of Nigeria must be a man chosen by the Nigerian people, not imposed or selected as in the past. It amazes me that Nigeria has such a large of pool of great and potentially good leaders waiting in the wings, yet the task of choosing the next President is not going to be easy. Chief Raph Uwechue is one of the few Nigerian politicians with rare qualities of leadership who can mount the presidential saddle and deliver."

At 10:26 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

The Washington Post reported on 9 November, the first candidate for Nigeria's presidency has filed the official candidacy papers.

Former Military Ruler Seeks Nigerian Presidency

"Former Nigerian military ruler Ibrahim Babangida on Wednesday formally joined the race for president, becoming one of the top candidates vying to lead Nigeria through its first democratic transfer of power...

"The prominence of former military rulers in national politics is a source of unease for many Nigerians...

"Babangida joins several governors and other prominent Nigerians in the race. Among the candidates is Muhammadu Buhari, a military ruler who was deposed by Babangida in a 1985 coup..."


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