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Chapter 11 Nigeria. I. Public Authority & Political Power. “ National Question ” : differing opinions about how political power should be distributed and how the government should be constructed. In Nigeria differences are more distinct and run deeper than other countries

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Chapter 11 Nigeria

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i public authority political power
I.Public Authority & Political Power
  • “National Question”:differing opinionsabout how political power should be distributed and how the government should be constructed.
      • In Nigeria differences are more distinct and run deeper than other countries
      • Since independence in 1960, neither its leaders nor its citizens agree on the basics of who should rule and how
      • Questions about whether Nigeria should remain one nation
      • Regional disagreements & hostilities
      • Problems traditionally solved by military force and authoritarianism
ii constitutionalism
  • First constitution written in 1914
  • Eight constitutions between 1914 and 1995
  • Current constitution written in 1995 has been heavily amended since its inception
  • Acceptance of “constitutionalism” as a guiding set of principles has eluded Nigeria
      • Military and civilian leaders have felt free to disobey and suspend constitutional principles or change constitutions not to their liking
      • Without constitutionalism the “National Question” has been much harder to answer
iii legitimacy
III. Legitimacy
  • Nigeria is a relatively young country, achieving independence in 1960, this makes establishing legitimate government more difficult
    • Fragmentation – tendency to fall apart along ethnic, regional, and/or religious lines.
    • Contradictory Influence of the Past – British colonial “rule of law” vs. Military rule/Personalized authority
    • Corruption – both military and civilian rule tainted with corruption. Citizens question the payment of taxes that get deposited in personal bank accounts
        • General Ibrahim Babangida (1985-1993)
        • General Sani Abacha (1993-1998)
iv precolonial era 800 1600 political traditions
IV. Precolonial Era (800-1600) “Political Traditions”
  • Trade Connections–Sahara Desert “Golden Trade of the Moors”; Niger River & Ocean Access
  • Influence of Islam– Trade with North Africa put Hausa & other groups in contact with Arab education and Islam, sharia emerges as dominant political principle
  • Kinship-based Politics – village key political entity
  • Complex Political Identities– contrast between centralized state and local governance. (Oyo & Ife centralized states in south vs. small trading-states in north)
  • Democratic Impulses– accountability, representative government, and democracy practiced by many villages, including Yoruba and Igbo.
v colonial era 1860 1960 political traditions
V. Colonial Era (1860-1960) “Political Traditions”
  • Authoritarian Rule– in order to achieve goals of economic domination British strengthened the authority of traditional chiefs, making them accountable only to British. This resulted in a loosening of rulers’ responsibility to the people
  • Interventionist State – colonialist trained chiefs to operate government to achieve economic goals. Checks on authority that existed in Britain did not have roots in Nigeria. This set in place expectations that citizens should passively accept actions of rulers.
  • Individualism – in Nigeria led to a tendency of chiefs to think about personal benefits of governance, rather than good of the community
v colonial era continued
V. Colonial Era continued
  • Christianity – British introduction of Christianity created a split between Christian and Muslim dominated areas. Islam dominant in the north, Christianity in the south.
  • Intensification of Ethnic Politics – emergence of three dominant groups: Hausa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba.
      • British pitted groups against each other by promising rewards to some groups but not others.
      • Anti-colonialism movement emerged during 20th century appealed to ethnic identities to gain followers and supporters of decolonization
vi independence era 1960 present political traditions
VI. Independence Era (1960-Present) “Political Traditions”
  • Parliamentary vs. Presidential System – Nigeria operated under parliamentary system from 1960-1979. Ethnic divisions made parliamentary system difficult, switched to presidential system with separate legislature and independent judiciary, but neither has been able to check power of the president
  • Intensification of Ethnic Conflict – After independence Hausa-Fulani dominated parliament because of large population. They formed a coalition with Igbo of the southeast to ensure their dominance, this created added tension and conflict with Yoruba of the west. In 1966 a group of Igbo military officers seized power.
vi independence era continued
VI. Independence Era continued
  • Military Rule – first military ruler, Agiyi Ironsi, justified his authority by announcing his intention to end violence and political corruption. He was assassinated, sparking the Igbo secession that led to the Biafran War (1967-1970)
  • Personalized Rule/Corruption
  • Federalism– in attempt to mollify ethnic tension and remain one country, Nigerian leaders set up federalist system, with powers being delegated to state and local governments. Under military executives however it did not work. Military presidents did not allow states to have legitimate sovereignty.
  • Economic dependence on Oil
vii political culture
VII. Political Culture
  • Patron-Clientelism (PREBENDELISM)
      • Clientelism – exchanging political and economic favors among patrons and clients, corruption becomes problematic
        • EX: In Nigeria, in exchange for support a president may grant his clients a portion of the oil revenues.
  • State Control/Underdeveloped Society
      • Civil society refers to sectors of country that lie outside government control.
        • In Nigeria state controls all aspects of life (economics, political participation, religious activity, etc.) this reinforces clientelism and limits democracy
  • Modernity vs. Tradition
      • Pre-Colonial Era vs. Colonial Era
  • Religious Conflict
  • Geographic Influence
geographic influences
Geographic Influences
  • Northwest – dominated by two groups that combined as the Hausa-Fulani people, area is predominantly Muslim.
  • Northeast – area is home to many smaller groups, such as the Kunari, also predominantly Muslim.
  • Middle Belt – many smaller ethnic groups, mix of Muslims and Christians.
  • Southwest – Yoruba dominate the area. They are about 40% Muslim, 40% Christian, and 20% native religions.
  • Southeast – area dominated by the Igbo, predominantly Roman Catholic with some Protestant Christians as well
  • Southern Zone – area along Niger River Delta, people are from various small minority groups.
viii societal characteristics concerns
VIII. Societal Characteristics & Concerns
  • Poverty– 60% of all Nigerians live below poverty line, with many living in absolute poverty.
  • Gap between Rich & Poor– similar to Mexico, however in Nigeria now growth is being made to alleviate this gap.
  • Health Issues – high rates of HIV/AIDS, one in every eleven HIV/AIDS sufferers live in Nigeria.
  • Literacy – for males is 75.7% and for females 60.6% (World averages are 83% men, 71% for women)
ix political cleavages
IX. Political Cleavages
  • Ethnicity – Nigeria has between 250-400 ethnic groups, Huasa-Fulani, Igbo, and Yoruba dominant. Three groups have very little in common and speak different languages
  • Religion – Islam, Christianity, and native religions.
  • Region – follow along ethnic and religious lines
  • Urban vs. Rural Differences – most political organizing, interest groups, and political protest takes place in cities
  • Social Class – deep divisions among social classes. Wealth of elites stems from access to Nigeria’s resources. Maintained their power by appealing to religious and ethnic identities. Wealthy elite find it difficult to give up wealth associated with access to state treasury, educated elite would like to see adoption of democratic principles.
x political participation
X. Political Participation
  • Patron-Clientelism
  • Voting Behavior
  • Attitudes toward Government
  • Protests and Social Movements
  • Personalized system of rule
  • Personal offices treated like “fiefdoms”
  • Large patronage networks based on personal loyalty
  • Local government officials gain support of villagers by dispensing favors, in turn they receive favors for supporting their patron bosses
  • Most favors exchanged by political elites
  • Corruption and informal influence rampant
  • Does however represent established form of political participation
voting behavior
Voting Behavior
  • Nigerians have voted in elections since 1959
  • Voting patterns difficult to determine because of fraud, postponement, and election cancellation
  • Political parties are numerous and fluid
  • Babangida’s annulment of 1993 election hurt political participation during the 1990s
  • Local, state, & national elections have continued however since the late 1990s
  • About 2/3 of eligible voters participated in the 2003 election
attitudes toward government
Attitudes toward Government
  • Citizens do not Trust Nigerian Government
      • Corruption
      • Military Rule
      • Lack of Civil Society
      • No commitment toward Democracy
      • Babangida & Abacha (Corrupt - Military Authoritarianism)
protests social movements
Protests & Social Movements
  • Environmentalists (Ken Saro-Wiwa)
      • Targeted the international oil companies, especially in the Niger River Delta
      • In 2002 group of Ijaw women occupied ChevronTexaco’s Nigerian headquarters for 10 days
  • Ethnic groups
  • Women’s Movement
      • President Obasanjo made it part of his 2003 campaign to include more women in cabinet and bureaucratic offices
      • Nigerian legislature has very low female representation
          • 6.4% in House of Representatives
          • 3.7% in Senate
xi political institutions
XI. Political Institutions
  • Multiple regime throughout its history
  • North & West – well-developed large states and hereditary monarchies
        • Hausa in west organized into powerful trading city-states
  • South – small, communal kinship-based rule
  • British colonialism led to indirect rule, with chiefs leading on behalf of British government. (Authoritarian rule under British direction)
  • Post-independence = Military Authoritarianism
        • Government structure formally federalist & democratic, but does not generally operate as such
        • British controlled economy led to current state controlled economy
        • Nigeria has currently turned to supranationals (IMF & World Bank) to save economy
xii political parties
XII. Political Parties
  • Factionalism led to creation of many political parties
  • Failure to create coherent party system
  • Parties formed and faded around personalities
  • Multi-party system reinforced and strengthened ethnic and religious cleavages
  • Independent National Election Committee (INEC) – registered a number of parties following the death of Abacha in 1998
  • In order to run candidates for the legislative and presidential elections of 1999, a party had to qualify by receiving at least 5% of the votes in two-thirds of the states in the 1998 election
  • This cut the number of parties significantly, only 5 parties were eligible to run candidates in the 2003 election
political parties ii
Political Parties II
  • People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
        • Well-established Party
        • Began running candidates in 1998
        • Party of President Olesugun Obesanjo (Igbo, Christian from the North)
        • Obesanjo received 62% of vote in 2003 election
        • PDP gained majority in National Assembly and most of the governors throughout the country
        • Do to voter fraud, difficult to determine accurate level of support for the PDP
  • All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP)
        • General Muhammadu Buhari, Muslim from the North, ran against Obesanjo
        • Received about 32% of the vote
        • His running mate and potential future candidate was Chuba Okadigbo, an Igbo from the Southeast
  • Other parties that ran presidential candidates include All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), The Movement for Democracy and Justice (MDJ), and the Justice Party
  • Alliance for Democracy (AD) did not have a presidential candidate in 2003, but did receive 9% of the votes for the legislative elections
xiii elections electoral procedures
XIII. Elections & Electoral Procedures
  • Citizens vote for candidates on 3 levels: local, state, and national.
  • National level citizens vote for the president, representatives to the National Assembly, and senators from their states.
  • National Elections
      • Presidential Elections
        • After annulled election of 1993, first election took place in 1999, with another in 2003.
        • If presidential candidate does not receive outright majority, a second ballot election takes place.
        • President must receive at least 25% of the votes in 2/3 of the states
          • A purely regional candidate can not win
          • Requirement reflects difficulty experienced in attempt to unify Nigeria
elections continued
Elections Continued
  • Legislative Elections
      • Senate has 109 senators, 3 from each of the 36 states, and one from federal capital territory of Abuja
          • Elected by direct popular vote
      • 360 representatives of National Assembly (formerly the House of Representatives)
          • Elected from single member districts by plurality vote
      • Regional representation dominates in both houses.
      • Wide-array of ethnic coalitions in legislature
      • Legislative authority is weak in Nigeria
election fraud
Election Fraud
  • Currently 3 consecutive elections have been held without annulment or delay
  • Public protest and several deaths have accompanied the last few elections, but none were as bad as many predicted they would be
  • Several politicians were assassinated, including Marshall Harry, a leader of the ANPP
    • Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)
      • Attempted to cleanse electoral process, declared six million names to be fraudulent during 2003 elections
      • International teams concluded elections were corrupt
      • Voting boxes were stolen, vandalized, and stuffed with fraudulent votes
      • Voting patterns in the south in particular were suspicious
xiv interest groups
XIV. Interest Groups
  • Have actually played an important role in Nigerian politics
  • A large number of civil society organizations often cooperate with political parties
  • Religious interest groups important in Nigeria
      • Christian Association of Nigeria protested when General Babangida changed Nigeria’s status in the Organization of Islamic Conference from observer to member
      • Muslim civil society organizations in the north work to support the shari’a court system
  • Citizens have worked around military authoritarianism to have an impact on political life through labor unions, student groups, and populist groups.
interest groups ii
Interest Groups II
  • Labor Unions
      • Independent and politically influential prior to 1980s
      • Through the introduction of corporatism the Babangida regime limited the influence of labor unions
      • A central labor organization supplanted the older unions, and only candidates approved by Babangida could be chosen as labor leaders
      • In July 2003 labor unions widely and openly protested the government’s attempt to raise oil prices for Nigerian consumers
  • Business Interests
      • Business interests have tended to work in collaboration with the military regimes, in return for the spoils related to the corruption of the elite class
      • Associations for manufacturers, butchers, and car rental firms have operated outside the realm of government and helped promote economic reforms of the 1990s
  • Human Rights Groups
      • Promote democratic reforms
      • Include university students, teachers, civil liberties organizations, and professional groups (doctors, lawyers)
      • These groups protested against the abuses of Babangida and Abacha
xv mass media
XV. Mass Media
  • Nigeria has well-developed, independent press
  • General Abacha attempted to curb criticism of his regime by closing several newspapers and magazines in Nigeria in 1994
  • Press reflects ethnic divisions in the country
  • Outspoken and critical newspapers mainly in the south
  • Radio is the main source of information for most Nigerians
      • All 36 states have their own radio stations
xvi institutions of national government
XVI. Institutions of National Government
  • Nigeria is a federal political system (in theory)
  • Three branches of government (Legislative, Executive, Judicial)
      • Executive has been most dominant traditionally
  • Each of the 36 states and 774 local governments has an executive, legislative, and judicial branch
  • 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Republics (all since 1979) had presidential system, with a strong executive theoretically checked by bicameral legislature and independent judiciary
  • Currently neither federalism or checks & balances operate, and state & local governments are completely dependent on the central government
executive branch
Executive Branch
  • 1979, 2nd Republic, presidential system replaced parliamentary system based on British model
      • Multiple ethnic groups fragmented the multi-party system and the legislature and prevented a prime minister from gaining the necessary authority to rule
  • Belief was that a president could symbolize national unity and rise above weak party system
      • U.S. presidential model with two-term limits
  • 1983, Major-General Muhammadu Buhari initiated palace coup, set precedent for military coups and military rule
      • Buhari ousted by Gen. Babangida in 1985
      • Gen. Abacha replaces Babangida in 1993
      • Civilian rule returned in 1999, President Obasanjo
executive ii
Military Rule

7 military rulers have all ruled differently

All promised transition to democracy

Only Obasanjo in 1979 and General Abubakar in 1999 delivered democratic transition

Generals Buhari (1983-85), Babangida (1985-93), and Abacha (1993-98) used repression and violence

All military & civilian regimes concentrated power in hands of the executive


Generals/Presidents head of patron-client system

Dispense government jobs and resources as rewards to political supporters

Cabinet positions & bureaucratic chiefs part of president’s patronage system

Patrimonialism in Nigeria is unstable which has led to recurring coups

Executive II
xvii bureaucracy
XVII. Bureaucracy
  • British installed elaborate civil service system during colonial period
  • Nigerians were allowed to fill lower-level jobs within bureaucracy
  • Civil service sector continued to grow after independence
  • Current bureaucracy is bloated, corrupt, and inefficient. Bribery is common.
  • Jobs in civil service are often awarded through the patron-client system, Prebendalism.
bureaucracy ii

Most government agencies are parastatals, or corporations owned by the state. (Similar to Mexico)

Provide commercial and social welfare services

Board members are appointed by government ministers, and corporate executives are part of the president’s patronage system

Parastatals provide public utilities such as water, electricity, public transportation, and agricultural subsidies

Control major industries such as steel, defense industry, and petroleum

State Corporatism

Corporatism – authoritarian political system that allows for political input from selected interest groups outside the government structure

In Nigeria, this input is provided by parastatals, because they are controlled by the government it is referred to as State Corporatism

Parastatals insure that the state controls private interest as well as fulfills social & economic functions

Parastatals serve as contact point between government & business interests, but state ultimately controls these interactions (Corrupt & inept)

Bureaucracy II
xviii legislature
XVIII. Legislature
  • A parliamentary system until 1979
  • Replaced by a bicameral legislature
  • Nigerian legislature under military governments have had no power, under civilian government they have been unable to check power of the president
  • Corruption scandals – in 1999 president of the Senate and speaker of the lower house were removed for perjury and forgery. In 2000 the Senate president was removed for accepting kickbacks for a government contract
legislature ii

109 Senators

3 from each of the 36 states

1 from Abuja district

Directly elected by popular vote

Senators are ethnically and religiously diverse

Only 4 of 109 Senators were women as of 2003 elections

National Assembly

Formerly called House of Representatives

360 member representatives

Single-member districts, elected by plurality vote

Only 23 of the 360 representatives are women (2003)

Legislature II
xix judiciary
XIX. Judiciary
  • Early years of after independence judiciary had great deal of autonomy
  • Autonomy stripped by military decrees that nullified court decisions and setup quasi-judicial tribunals outside regular system
  • Judicial review was suspended
  • Presidential cronies appointed as justices
  • Today judiciary is responsible for interpreting laws in accordance with the Constitution, so judicial review exist in theory
  • Court structure at state & federal level, highest court is the Supreme Court
  • Shari’a courts exist in parallel existence with courts developed on British model
  • Cases:
      • In 1993, Mshood Abiolao, winner of annulled 1993 election was detained and died in custody. Presiding judges changed often and critics attacked the military cronyism of the judicial system
      • In 1995, activist Ken Saro-Wiwa, and 8 other activists were detained and executed under court orders arranged by the military and presided over by military officers
xx military
XX. Military
  • Strong, policy-making force in Nigeria
  • “Military in Government” – those that initiate coups and take over the responsibility of the executive branch
  • “Military in Barracks” – fulfills traditional duties of military, its leaders have been critical of military control of political power.
  • Military has been subject to internal discord, military presidents often have to keep a close eye on other military leaders.
      • Babangida protected his authority by constantly moving military personnel around and appointed senior officers through his patronage system
  • Military is one of the few institutions that is truly national in character.
  • Military has restored and maintained order during ethnic strife and conflict
xxi public policy
XXI. Public Policy
  • Top-down policy-making process.
  • Power concentrated in hands of the president & cabinet ministers through channels established by patron clientelism
  • Loyalty Pyramid – senior officials supported by broader base of loyal junior officials
  • State control of resources means that those in the pyramid get the spoils, they alone have access to wealth and influence. Loyal clients of patronage structured pyramids includes:
      • “Kaduna Mafia”, “Babangida’s Boys”, and “Abacha’s Boys”
  • Military controls pyramids, pyramids supported by “guns” (Force); therefore, protesting system can be dangerous
  • Top-down, self-interested rule established by British during colonial era when the British relied on native chiefs to ensure Nigerian trade and resources benefited Great Britain
xxii economic issues
XXII. Economic Issues
  • Loyalty pyramids and corruption have led to a squandering of Nigeria’s wealth
  • Nigeria is currently in debt and majority of the population lives in poverty
  • Large oil revenues have been pocketed by government officials
  • Economic situation complicated by ethnic & regional conflict
  • In February 2001, federal government asked the Supreme Court to all the government to collect oil revenue and put it in a “federal account” (Revenue Sharing)
      • Areas in the south along Niger River Delta protested this idea, they believed the policy was a way for northerners to take profits and revenue away from the south
economic issues ii

Oil wealth during the 1970s gave Nigeria international leverage

OPEC member

Conflicts in Middle East have made Nigeria more important as a trade partner for other countries since 1970s

Lack of economic diversification hurts Nigeria when oil prices drop

DEBT – as a result of drop in oil prices and lack of revenue surplus

Structural Adjustment

1980s, Nigeria seeks assistance from international organizations to deal with debt crisis

World Bank & IMF involvement

Restructure & diversification of Nigerian economy

Privatize parastatals

Cut government spending

“Shock Treatment” not very successful

Parastatals still under government control

Debt repayment had to be restructured

Economic Issues II
xxiii federal character
XXIII. “Federal Character”
  • Federalism seen as a positive characteristic for Nigerian political structure
  • Federalism promises power-sharing
  • Allows citizens more contact points with government
  • “Federal Character”
      • Recognition of all ethnic, religious, & regional groups
      • Nigerian Constitutional Provisions
        • Senators represent diverse states
        • Representatives elected from diverse districts
        • President must receive 25% of the votes in 2/3 of the districts
  • Negatives of Federalism
      • Federalism bloats bureaucracy
      • Promotes corruption within bureaucracy
        • Jobs created to satisfy demands of various ethnic groups
      • Legislative branch suffers from gridlock
        • Competition over government resources
federalism ii
Federalism II
  • Southerners argue that federalism will only exist when central government devolves some authority to the state & local governments
      • Nigerians of the Niger Delta believe they should control their own resources
      • Redistribution of the region’s oil wealth should be prohibited
      • Southerners suggest that police duties should also be the responsibility of local and state governments
  • This “True Federalism Movement” not supported by Northerners
      • North has few resources and very little revenue to share
      • Northerners benefit more from redistribution of wealth programs
xxiv reforms
XXIV. Reforms
  • Economic Reforms of the late 1990s
      • Further privatization of state-owned industry
      • Limitations on economic controls of the central government
          • Money taken by General Abacha returned by foreign banks and placed in the state treasury
      • Scheme for alleviating poverty in Nigeria
      • Increase in public wages
          • Hope of decreasing instances of corruption
      • Increase in financial reserves as a result of stabilized oil prices