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STUDENT NOTES 1 - NIGERIA. Why Study Nigeria?. LDC trying to democratize GDP per capita = $2,134 HDI rank #151 The Economist ’ s Democracy Index ranking = #124 (few spots higher than China and Iran) History of colonialism, military rule, parliamentary democracy & presidential democracy

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why study nigeria
Why Study Nigeria?
  • LDC trying to democratize
    • GDP per capita = $2,134
    • HDI rank #151
    • The Economist’s Democracy Index ranking = #124 (few spots higher than China and Iran)
  • History of colonialism, military rule, parliamentary democracy & presidential democracy
  • Ethnic/Religious/Regional Cleavages
  • Largest population in Africa
  • Federalism
  • Resource curse (oil)
  • Patron-Client Relations (Prebendalism)
overview the big picture
Overview: The Big Picture
  • System of Government: Presidential System
  • Distribution of Power: Federal System
  • Electoral System: Single Member District Plurality
  • Constitution: Constitution of 1999
  • Legislature: Bicameral—Senate and House of Rep.
  • Current Head of State: President Goodluck Jonathan
  • Head of Government: President Goodluck Jonathan
  • Current Ruling Party: People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
  • Major Political Parties: People’s Democratic Party (PDP) All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Action Congress (AC)
  • Located in Western Africa, it is the center of the areas regional trade, culture and military strength.
  • It is bordered by four countries: Benin, Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.
  • Its natural resource of oil makes it a hub of activity.
  • Nigeria’s current day borders was an arbitrary creation reflecting British colonial interests.
  • Nigeria, with 140 million people, ranks as the most populous nation in Africa.
  • Nigeria can be divided into six inexact areas.
  • The northwest is dominated by the largest ethnic group, the Hausa-Fulani.
  • The northeast is a minority region, the largest of whom are the Kanuri.
  • Both regions in the north are predominantly Muslim.
  • The Southwest is dominated by the country’s second largest group, the Yoruba.
  • The Southeast is the homeland of the Igbo, Nigeria’s third largest group.

The North



The West


The East


big ideas to keep in your head
Big Ideas to Keep in Your Head !
  • No Cross Cutting Cleavages
    • Ethnic, Regional, and Religious Coincide
  • No National Identity!
  • Nigeria is only 50 years old
  • Country created because of colonialism
  • Parliamentary system failed…why?
  • Presidential system is working…why?
sovereignty authority and power
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
  • Constitutionalism – eluding Nigeria so far
    • 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 power1
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
  • Legitimacy
    • Newly independent (1960)
    • Highly fragmented along ethnic, regional, religious lines
    • The sole stable national institution is the military
      • Only truly NATIONAL institution is disciplined and able to make decisions efficiently and effectively
      • Leads to legitimacy of military’s right to rule
      • Most leaders have been generals
    • Extremely low legitimacy of government, overall – never been stable
    • Massive corruption, distrust of government
sovereignty authority and power2
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
  • COLONIAL PERIOD: (1861-1960)
    • British establish colonial enterprise based on exploitation of natural resources
    • Divided northern and southern regions
    • Further reinforced ethnic/religious cleavages
  • FIRST REPUBLIC: (60 – 67)
    • Parliamentary system w/ Muslim PM
    • Military coup and Biafran War
  • SECOND REPUBLIC (79 – 83)
    • Obasanjo brings democratic reform
    • Coup by Muslim general
    • Patterned after American system
  • THIRD REPUBLIC (92 – 93)
    • Aborted/short-lived attempt at democratic elections
  • FOURTH REPUBLIC (1999 – present)
    • Obasanjo democratically elected president
influence of british rule
Influence of British Rule
    • British moved into Nigeria with a combination of government control, religious mission, and economic incentive
    • Deepened ethnic and regional divisions
      • Indirect rule in the north (Muslim leaders)
      • Direct rule in south
  • Christianity
    • (Islam already in North from Arab traders)
  • Western-style education
    • Mostly in south (Christian missionaries)
  • Independence – 1960
  • Since then…the ”National Question”
  • Should we even be a country?
    • Westminster Model
      • Ethnic divisions made it difficult to identify a majority party or allow a PM to have necessary authority
biafra 1967 70
Biafra (1967-70)
  • Igbo secessionist state
  • Desired freedom because they believed the North would always dominate because of their larger numbers (Igbo are the smallest of the big-three ethnicities)
  • Three year civil war resulted in over a million deaths
  • Yakubu Gowon, a Middle-Belt Christian came to power to lead a Nigerian unity government to stop the secession
sovereignty authority and power3
Sovereignty, Authority, and Power
  • Elected leadership in 1960, overthrown in military coup in 1966
  • 3 more coups by 1976, Olusegun Obasanjo takes power
    • Willfully steps down for democratically elected president in 1979
  • 2 more coups by 1985, when Ibrahim Babangida takes power
    • 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
    • All elections finished with concerns of fraud, violence, etc.
Ibrahim Babangida
  • Military President, 1985 – 1993
  • Resigned
Sani Abacha
  • Military President, 1993 – 1998
  • Died in office
Olusegun Obasanjo
  • Military President, 1976 – 1979
    • Resigned for democratic leadership
  • President, 1999 – 2007
    • Term limited
Umaru Yar’Adua
  • President, 2007 – 2010
  • Died and replaced by VP
Goodluck Jonathan
  • President, 2010 – Present
since independence
Since Independence

1979 – Presidential System

Both systems experienced frequent interruptions/periods of Military Rule –frequent coups

since independence1
Since Independence
  • A Nigerian pattern
    • Military leaders say they are preparing for a transition to democratic leadership…it never seems to happen.
    • Leaders who are truly interested in the transition are assassinated like Murtala Muhammed in 1976.
    • General Babangida announced a democratic transition and then annulled the 1993 election (the elusive 3rd republic)
    • General Abacha schemed to orchestrate the outcome of his announced transition in 1998 to produce his own “election” as president.
since independence2
Since Independence
  • Other Trends
    • Intensification of ethnic conflict – Hausa-Fulani formed a majority coalition with Igbo, angering the Yoruba
    • Personalized rule and corruption
      • Govt revenue goes to Nigerian elite through patron-client system/prebendalism
    • 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
policy making institutions
Policy Making Institutions
  • 1999 Constitution
  • Authored by military – not approved until after elections had occurred
  • Enormous powers in the federal government and in the hands of the president (legacy of authoritarian military rule – several military dictators called themselves ‘president’ like Babangida and Abacha)
  • Powers of the state and local governments are delineated by the federal constitution and most of them receive their entire budget from the center
  • “Federal character” maintained by ethnic quotas
policy making institutions1
Policy Making Institutions
  • Constitution of 1999
    • Calls for independently elected president
    • Dual chamber of national assembly at the federal level
    • 3 Senators from each of 36 states, plus one from Abuja
    • Representatives determined by population
    • All legislators elected to four year terms
    • Nigerian pluralism; lack of trust by subcultures
    • No institutional structure can overcome this roadblock.
policy making institutions2
Policy Making Institutions
  • REGIME: Democracy(fragile)
  • Federal
    • Territory divided into 36 federal states + federal capital territory, Abuja
  • Presidential
  • Bicameral Legislature
  • *Currently neither checks or balances operate, and state and local governments are totally dependent on the central government
the executive
The Executive
  • Executive – President and Cabinet
  • Directly elected, 4 yr term, 2 term limit
  • Elected popularly – must win 25% of votes cast in 2/3 of states
  • May appoint officials to all parts of national government without approval of legislature (leads to patrimonialism)
  • Receives all gov oil revenues and distributes to states
  • Commander-in-chief
  • Veto power
  • Current President: Goodluck Jonathan
military executives
Military Executives
  • Hurt the image of the military – was viewed as a “predatory apparatus” and not the guardian of the people.
  • Abacha suspended habeas corpus and hounded opponents into exile
  • Legislature disbanded and major executive decisions were subject to approval of a military ruling council (all members were ‘yes-man’ clients of the dictator)
the legislative
The Legislative
  • Legislature – parliamentary until 1979, now bicameral National Assembly
  • Senators and Representatives serve 4 year terms, elected the week before the president
  • Senate
    • 109 Senators, 3 per state, 1 from Abuja
    • Very diverse given the different regions that are equally represented
  • House of Representatives
    • 360 members
    • Very little power, but occasionally acts as a check on president (like when Obasanjo wanted a 3rd term); attempted to impeach him multiple times
policy making institutions3
Policy Making Institutions
  • Bureaucracy – assumed to be bloated, corrupt, and inefficient
    • Parastatals – privately owned, but headed by government appointees (part of the patron-client network)
      • 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
      • State corporatism – parastatals serve to give the appearance of public/private cooperation, while really giving the state control
policy making institutions4
Policy Making Institutions

As with many “developing nations”, the bureaucracy has been the source of employment for large numbers of people not engaged in trade or agriculture.

Major source of corruption due to political instability, lack of accountability, and massive cash from oil production.

Bureaucracy has maintained its power throughout military and civilian rule

  • Corporate enterprises owned by the state and established to provide specific commercial and social welfare services such as water, power, telecommunications, ag commodity boards, ports, and oil
  • In principle they are autonomous of government control, in practice they are tied into government & clientelist networks
  • Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC)
  • Structural Adjustment conditions require many parastatals be privatized
  • Disbursing of public offices and state rents to one’s ethnic-based clients.
  • The officeholder’s “clients” comprise a specific set of elites to which he is linked, typically by ethnic or religious ties
    • Kaduna Mafia
    • Abacha’s Boys & Babangida’s Boys
  • Prebendalism deepened sectional cleavages and eroded the resources of the state. It also discouraged genuinely productive activity in civil society and expanded the class of individuals who live off state patronage
  • Transparency International lists Nigeria as one of the world’s most corrupt nations
  • Similar to the Guanxi in China and the Nomenklatura system in Soviet Russia
the judiciary
The Judiciary
  • 15 judges on SC appointed by president and confirmed by Senate
  • 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
the military
The Military
  • You cannot study Nigerian politics without recognizing the importance of the military in all aspects of political life.
  • A mix of ethnic groups
  • Well disciplined, organized, with the ability to make decisions efficiently and effectively
  • One of only sources of national unity
  • Armed forces also seen as more representative than political parties and other institutions of government that are subject to ethnic-based patronage.
  • HOWEVER, ethnic cleavages are the backdrop to military/authoritarian rule
the military1
The Military
  • Guess what? It’s strong!
  • 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
    • 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