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Nigeria Sovereignty, Authority, and Power

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  1. Nigeria Sovereignty, Authority, and Power

  2. Presentation Outline I. Sovereignty, Authority, and Power a) state, regimes, and nations b) Sovereignty c) Sources of legitimacy d) Political culture

  3. I. a) state, regimes, and nations • The Nigerian state is a relatively new creation, established in 1960 after gaining independence from Britain • Prior to 1960 Nigeria was part of British West Africa • Prior to British rule Nigeria was composed of several kingdoms and caliphates

  4. Regimes • British colonial period, 1885-1960 • Since Independence (1960): 1) Parliamentary democracy, 1960-1966 2) Military dictatorship, 1966-1979 3) republican democracy, 1979-1985 4) return to dictatorship, 1985-1999 5) republican democracy, 1999- present

  5. British Colonial Rule, 1885-1960 • Indirect rule • Legacy: • discovery of oil • English language • English common law • Christianity • democracy • reinforcement of ethnic and religious divisions Nigeria today Red shaded areas represent British West Africa

  6. Military Dictatorship • Nigeria experienced several military coup d'états following independence • Military rule was characterized as authoritarian and corrupt • Democracy was reintroduced again in 1999 Former Nigerian president and dictator SaniAbacha, 1993-1998 His regime was characterized as one of the most corrupt in history and noted for its extensive human rights abuses

  7. Republican Democracy, 1999-present • SaniAbacha’s death in 1998 paved the way for a transition to democracy • 1999 Constitution created a presidential system, with checks and balances, modeled on American republican democracy • Since 1999 there have been regular elections for the Presidency, House of Representatives, and Senate • Although criticized as being fraudulent at times, the elections have nevertheless ensured a relatively peaceful transition of power from one government to the next

  8. Nations • Nigeria embodies the multi-nation state • It counts over 250 ethnic groups/nations • It is linguistically and culturally diverse • The three largest nations have tended to dominate politics in Nigeria 1) Hausa-Fulani (North- Muslim) 2) Yoruba (Southwest- Christian) 3) Igbo (Southeast- Christian)

  9. Left: linguistic groups in Nigeria Nigeria national identity is weak. Most Nigerians tend to identify with their own ethnic group/local nation

  10. I. b) Sovereignty 1) Nigerian federalism 2) Rentier state 3) OPEC 4) ECOWAS 5) Structural Adjustments(IMF)

  11. Nigerian federalism • Nigeria is a federal state composed of 36 states • Each state has its own elected unicameral assembly and elected Governor

  12. Key Features of Federalism • Nigeria is a more centralized federal state: • The President must win at least 25% in 2/3 of Nigeria’s 36 states in order to be elected • The central government in Abuja controls taxation and distributes and allocates funds to the states • All resources (oil) are under federal jurisdiction • Consultation with the states is not needed in order to amend Nigeria’s constitution

  13. Rentier state • Like Iran, Nigeria is a rentier state • Nigeria sovereignty tends to be stronger when oil prices are higher and lower when oil prices are low • Oil generates 98% of export earning, 83% of government revenue, and constitutes 40% of Nigeria’s GDP

  14. OPEC membership • Like Iran, Nigeria is a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and thus wields enormous economic and political influence on the world through this organization

  15. ECOWAS • Nigeria plays a leading role in the Economic Community of West African States • It influences the region politically, economically, and has sent peacekeeping forces to states in ECOWAS experiencing instability, most notably in Cote D’Ivoire and Liberia For further inquiry see:

  16. Structural Adjustment (IMF) • Oil prices declined significantly in the mid 1980s; with less oil revenue coming in and mounting debt General Babangida turned to the IMF for assistance • Beginning in 1985, Nigeria accepted IMF loans and help restructuring its debt • In return Nigeria had to cede some economic sovereignty by privatizing certain state-controlled industries, eliminating price controls, and allowing foreign direct investment

  17. I. c) Sources of Legitimacy • Nigeria’s instability rests on the fact that there are few strong sources of legitimacy • Its main claim to legitimacy rests on the 1999 Constitution For further inquiry into Nigeria’s Constitution see:

  18. 1999 Constitution • The 1999 Constitution established independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches, a multi-party system with competitive elections, and a federal system • Rational legal legitimacy

  19. I. d) Political culture 1) Corruption (prebendalism) 2) Ethnic and religious cleavages 3) Active and engaged civil society

  20. Prebendalism • Nigeria is not the only state which has an extensive patron-client system. Mexico, Russia, Iran, and China have one as well. • Prebendalismdiffers from other patron-client systems in two ways: 1) the patron always rewards clients with cash instead of land, jobs, or promotions 2) it operates almost exclusively within one’s own ethnic group/nation

  21. Prebendalism in action Receives government “grants” to plant crops “Patron” Hausa-Fulani government official “Client” Hausa-Fulani farmer Votes and campaigns for government official

  22. Ethnic and religious cleavages • Nigeria’s two main cleavages are ethnic and religious. • Unlike other states we have examined this years (China, Mexico, Iran, Russia, and the U.K.) relatively fewer Nigerians identify with the national state • Rather most Nigerians prefer to identify with their own ethnic group and nation; this has consequently weakened Nigerian national unity

  23. Weak Nigerian identity Source: Lewis, Peter (2005) Identity, Institutions, and Democracy in Nigeria. Afro Barometer, Working Paper No.68

  24. Religion • Africa’s Muslim-Christian divide is strongly pronounced in Nigeria by virtue of Nigeria’s geography and history. • Northern Africa including the Sahel was Islamicized by Arab traders and Muslim conquest • Southern Africa, by contrast, was more affected by Christian missionaries and European colonization Nigeria

  25. Politicization of religion • Religion sharply divides Nigerians and has politicized the issues of national unity Source:

  26. Active and engaged civil society • Nigerians are very actively engaged in civil society • Though there is mistrust of political institutions, Nigerians overwhelmingly support democracy

  27. Nigerians certainly value democracy, whether they actually have obtained it is another question altogether Source:

  28. Discussion Questions • Compare and contrast Nigerian federalism with Mexican and Russian federalism. • What is the most unique feature of Nigeria’s political culture compared with the other states we have studied, explain. • Nigeria’s current regime only dates back to 1999. Are its sources of legitimacy strong enough to ensure the regime’s survival well into the 21st century?