Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nigerian what if

What if the president goes?

"IN AN office in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, economists scour the morning’s newspapers for photographs of President Umaru Yar’Adua, hoping to divine a clue as to his well-being...

"Since Mr Yar’Adua moved into his presidential villa, a string of long and unexplained trips abroad has fuelled speculation that his health is worsening. When photographers in the federal capital, Abuja, were recently barred from taking close-up pictures of him, rumours reached fever pitch...

"Political power in Nigeria is still allotted in back-room deals to ensure that the top job alternates between the elites of the largely Muslim north and Christian south: a 'gentlemen’s agreement' to allow the ungentlemanly feasting on the country’s billions of dollars of stolen and mismanaged oil resources. Nigeria is still one of the world’s most corrupt countries.

"Mr Yar’Adua, a pious Muslim, succeeded Mr Obasanjo, a southern Christian, in the expectation of serving the maximum two consecutive four-year terms. The northerners think that eight years at the trough were duly agreed. But if Mr Yar’Adua had to leave early, the constitution says that the vice-president, Goodluck Jonathan, would take the helm until elections at the end of the four-year cycle. Mr Jonathan is another southern Christian. The northerners would not look kindly on his accession, even if he had only two years in office. Yet a power struggle at the top could destabilise the country all over again."

What You Need to Know -- a study guide for AP Comparative Government and Politics

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