Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Why things won't change in Nigeria

Maja-Pearce is an Anglo-Nigerian writer, essayist and critic who was born in London and lives in Lagos, Nigeria. His op-ed for the New York Times describes why government and politics in Nigeria are unlikely to change in the near future.

The Nigerian Status Quo
The current Nigerian government is widely seen as the most corrupt since independence from Britain in 1960. Ordinarily, this would be a huge problem for President Goodluck Jonathan and his People’s Democratic Party… But things are unlikely to change…

Mr. Jonathan’s name will be on the ballot this February, when Nigerians, many of them fed up with government corruption and incompetence, go to the polls. Yet events percolating across the country that could come to a boil within the next three months might actually work to the president’s advantage…

The incompetence of Mr. Jonathan’s government is most clearly seen in its inability to rescue the 276 schoolgirls… who were kidnapped by Boko Haram insurgents… last April…

Although the extremists have been widely condemned by leading Muslim clerics and politicians, the insurgency contributes to Christian suspicions of their Muslim compatriots, and this may well play into Mr. Jonathan’s hands come election time.

But in an effort to bridge sectarian divisions and garner votes across the religious divide, the country’s leading opposition parties, one from the largely Muslim northeast, the other from the mostly Christian southwest, have joined forces with other groups to form the All Progressives Congress. In theory, this gives the opposition a fighting chance…

Unfortunately, efforts to make common cause in Nigeria are invariably sacrificed upon the altars of religion and ethnicity. The alliance’s likely presidential candidate is a Muslim northerner, Muhammadu Buhari. He also happens to be a former dictator…

Religious differences are a key factor in voting, but perhaps patronage plays a greater role, a lesson Mr. Jonathan learned in the Niger Delta, where he taught school…

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At 9:24 PM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

Why is Nigeria's Jonathan worried?

"It is unclear if Jonathan's administration is the most corrupt in Nigeria's democratic history, but never has corruption been this romanticised and institutionalised...

"So it is clear that in 2015, Nigerians will be torn between the devil and the deep blue sea; between a Jonathan who promised but failed to transform Nigeria and an opposition whose chief selling point is directing tirades at the presidency. Surely, there couldn't have been a worse time to be Nigerian."


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