Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Analysis of Nigeria

The editors at The Economist offer an analysis of the present state of things in Nigeria. Good summary or review.

Lurching ahead: Africa’s giant is waking up, but it still looks unsteady on its feet
Nigeria sometimes seems punch-drunk… On the whole, the country is tottering along, acclaimed as much for its massive potential as for its actual achievements. It is still a sick man all the same.

Tracts of the north are poorer than ever and ravaged by Islamist terrorism… The oil-soaked Delta in the south is anarchic, gutted by the continuing large-scale theft of oil and riddled with corruption at a level that is high even by Nigeria’s lofty standards…

Education and health care are still wretched. Electricity remains patchy as ever. The national infrastructure—especially roads and railways—is dire… Some 60% of Nigerians still live below the poverty line, while a rich elite—“the top million”, as it is sometimes jestingly called—educates its children privately (often abroad), relies on private health care and its own electricity, and is generally immune to the travails of ordinary Nigerian life…

If Nigeria goes on growing by 7% a year… it will become Africa’s biggest economy within a decade…

President Goodluck Jonathan takes as much credit as he can. “A new political culture has emerged,” he says, along with “a clear electoral process”, a reference to his victory in 2011. “Corruption and issues of governance are being vigorously tackled on all fronts.”…

But such hopeful talk has yet to be translated into improvements in the living standards of most Nigerians…

The failure of Nigeria’s vast oil wealth to trickle down is a continuing scandal…

Despite Mr Jonathan’s honeyed words, almost nobody believes corruption is being seriously tackled…

Despite his election to retain the presidency as the PDP candidate in 2011, Mr Jonathan still gives the impression of acquiring and holding the job by accident. He is increasingly seen as lacklustre, weak and beholden to various competing monied interests…

[T]he illegal bunkering of oil persists, incurring enormous losses to the national budget, the militants are plainly acting in cahoots with leading southern politicians..

Opposition to Mr Jonathan is already gaining momentum, both within and outside his own party. In February four opposition parties, with ten of the country’s 36 governors behind them, said they would merge into an All Progressives Congress to oppose the PDP in the next elections…

Perhaps more worrying for Mr Jonathan is backbiting within his own PDP, especially among northern Muslims…

could discontent ever boil over into revolution? In a society where patronage and ethnic loyalty still hold sway, that seems unlikely soon. But it cannot be ruled out for ever. “We’re sitting on a keg of gunpowder,” says Nasir El-Rufai, a former federal minister. “We have a demographic time-bomb.” Some even mutter about the return of military rule.

For the time being, Africa’s giant, under Mr Jonathan or not, is likely to stagger forward with its flawed system of multiparty democracy. Through patronage and chicanery the elite will continue to determine the lot of the masses…

2015: Northern governors may dump Jonathan
Strong  indications emerged... that the North has taken a resolute decision not to support the candidature of President Goodluck Jonathan should he decide to run in 2015.

Rather than give its blessing to Jonathan’s re-election, the north is now fine-tuning strategies to project one of its leading lights for the presidency in 2015 with Speaker Aminu Tambuwal increasingly winning the favour of some northern governors.

Vanguard learnt from reliable sources that influential Northern political leaders were deeply concerned about the deteriorating quality of life in Nigeria, particularly in the North occasioned by endless poverty and intractable security challenges that have continued to claim lives and property.

In addition, political gladiators in the region were peeved by the attempt by President Jonathan to dump the gentleman’s agreement he reportedly entered into with Northern governors in 2010 to serve for only one term of four years…

Hon. Aminu Tambuwal
It was learnt that although the Northern political leaders were united on the need to dump Jonathan and back one of their own in 2015, the major problem confronting them at the moment, was how to decide on a presidential candidate.

It was also gathered that while no fewer than five Northern governors were jostling for the presidential post, political leaders in the region were seriously mulling the idea of drafting the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, into the race…

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