- President of Nigeria (1963-1966)
- Nnamdi Azikiwe (1 October 1963 - 16 January 1966)
- Heads of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria (1966-1979)
- Major General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi (16 January 1966 - 29 July 1966)
- General Yakubu Gowon (1 August 1966 - 29 July 1975)
- General Murtala Mohammed (29 July 1975 - 13 February 1976)
- General Olusegun Obasanjo (13 February 1976 - 1 October 1979)
- President of Nigeria (1979-1983)
- Shehu Shagari (1 October 1979 - 31 December 1983)
- Chairman of the Supreme Military Council of Nigeria (1983-1985)
- Muhammadu Buhari (31 December 1983 - 27 August 1985)
- President of the Armed Forces Ruling Council of Nigeria (1985-1993)
- General Ibrahim Babangida (27 August 1985 - 26 August 1993)
- Interim Head of State of Nigeria (1993)
- Ernest Adegunle Oladeinde Shonekan (26 August 1993 - 17 November 1993)
- Chairmen of the Provisional Ruling Council of Nigeria (1993-1999)
- General Sani Abacha (17 November 1993 - 8 June 1998)
- General Abdulsalami Abubakar (8 June 1998 - 29 May 1999)
- Presidents of Nigeria (1999-Present)
- General Olusegun Obasanjo (29 May 1999 - 29 May 2007)
- Umaru Yar'Adua (29 May 2007 - Present)
- Significant Historical Events
- 1472 - Portuguese navigators reach Nigerian coast.
- 16-18th centuries - Slave trade: Millions of Nigerians are forcibly sent to Europe and the Americas.
- 1850s - British establish presence around Lagos.
- 1861-1914 - Britain consolidates its hold over what it calls the Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria, governs by "indirect rule" through local leaders.
- 1922 - Part of former German colony Kamerun is added to Nigeria under League of Nations mandate.
- 1960 - Independence, with Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa leading a coalition government.
- 1983 January - The government expels more than one million foreigners, mostly Ghanaians, saying they had overstayed their visas and were taking jobs from Nigerians. The move is condemned abroad but proves popular in Nigeria.
- 2000 - Adoption of Islamic, or Sharia, law by several northern states in the face of opposition from Christians. Tension over the issue results in hundreds of deaths in clashes between Christians and Muslims.
- Religious and Cultural Background – Nigeria is a very diverse nation in terms of religion and ethnicity. As far as religion is concerned, Muslims make up approximately 50% of the population, Christians make up 40%, and people with indigenous beliefs make up 10%. Since it is Africa's most populous country, Nigeria is composed of more than 250 ethnic groups. The following are the most populous and politically influential: Hausa and Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, Igbo (Ibo) 18%, Ijaw 10%, Kanuri 4%, Ibibio 3.5%, Tiv 2.5%.
Section III: The Larger State – Politics and Society
- Major Contemporary Political Issues – The most urgent issue in Nigeria currently is the issue of democracy. The issue of corruption, nevertheless, still remains one of the most difficult problems under the current government. However, for most Nigerians, the pressing problems of everyday survival remain the highest immediate priority. Since the oil boom of the 1970s, Nigeria's economy has been in crisis despite continued expansion in oil production. Without the establishment of an accountable government, the chances of addressing other pressing problems-like the deterioration of living conditions and the collapse of once outstanding educational institutions-are very minimal.
- Informal Power Structures - The informal sector in Nigeria refers to political and economic activities in all sectors of the nation that are operated outside of government regulation. Activities in the informal sector in Nigeria are difficult to measure; they are highly dynamic and contribute substantially to the general growth of the economy and government as a whole. The interesting aspect of Nigeria’s informal power structures are that rather than organized and official, they are much more public and encompassing.
- Major Political Forces – Political Parties
- Action Congress (AC)
- Advanced Congress of Democrats (ACD)
- African Democratic Congress (ADC)
- African Renaissance Party (ARP)
- Alliance for Democracy (AD)
- All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)
- All People's Party (APP)
- All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
- Communist Party of Nigeria (CPN)
- Democratic Alternative (DA)
- Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)
- Fresh Democratic Party (FDP)
- Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN)
- National Conscience Party (NCP)
- National Democratic Party (NDP)
- New Democrats (ND)
- People's Democratic Party (PDP)
- People’s Progressive Party (PPP)
- People's Redemption Party (PRP)
- People's Salvation Party (PSP)
- Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA)
- United Nigeria People's Party (UNPP)
- United Nigeria People’s Party (UNPP)
- Political Culture – Nigeria’s robust civic and religious groups, driven underground by military rule, have blossomed into watchdogs, freely criticizing and even condemning the government’s handling of elections. Since the beginning of the nation’s existence, Nigerian political movements, media outlets, and trade unions whose purpose was the advancement of all Nigerians, not specific ethnic groups, became commonplace. Ethnicity plays a very large part in politics in Nigeria, seeing as political officials are allocated depending on what ethnic group they belong to.
- Foreign Policy Concerns and Global Pressures – First, the ethnic and religious mix of the country required cautious positions on some issues, such as policy toward Israel. Nigeria found it difficult to restore diplomatic ties with Israel and had not done so as of 1990 because of Muslim opposition and sympathy with the rest of the Arab Muslim world. Second, Nigeria's legacy as an ex-British colony, combined with its energy-producing role in the global economy, predisposed Nigeria to be pro-Western on most issues despite the desire to maintain a nonaligned status to avoid neocolonialism. Third, the country's membership in and commitment to several international organizations, such as the United Nations and bodies mentioned earlier, also affected foreign policy positions. Fourth, and most important, as the most populous country in Africa and the entire black world, Nigeria perceived itself as the "giant" of Africa and the potential leader of the black race. Thus, Nigerian external relations have emphasized African issues, which have become the avowed cornerstone of foreign policy.
Section IV: Key Terms
- Names of Leaders
- Chief of State: President Umaru Musa Yar’adua (since 29 May 2007); the president is both the chief of state and head of government.
- Head of Accord Party: Ikra Aliyu Bilbis
- Head of Alliance for Democracy: Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa
- Head of All Nigeria Peoples' Party: Edwin Ume-Ezeoke
- Head of Democratic People's Party: Jeremiah Useni
- Head of Labor Party: Dan Nwanyanwu
- Head of National Democratic Party: Aliyu Habu Fari
- Head of Peoples Democratic Party: Vincent Ogbulafor
- Head of United Nigeria Peoples Party: Mallam Selah Jambo
- Major Political Parties – The major political parties at present include the ruling People's Democratic Party of Nigeria which maintains 223 seats in the House and 76 in the Senate (61.9% and 69.7% respectively) and is led by the current President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua. The opposition All Nigeria People's Party under the leadership of Muhammadu Buhari has 96 House seats and 27 in the Senate (26.6% and 24.7%). There are also about twenty other minor opposition parties registered.
- Cultural Terms
- Akara – Small puffy fritters made from mashed black-eyed beans. Depending on the oil they’ve been cooked in they can be either golden-yellow (groundnut oil) or red (palm oil).
- Baturi – Hausa for white man.
- Dash – This means something like “present” but is also used to describe bribes. When you buy something at the market you often get a dash from the stallholder, for example an extra orange, and it’s fairly common to actually ask for a dash.
- Garri – Made from cassava, which is grated and then dried and ground up into yellowish flour. This is then cooked and served as a big, yellowish, sticky blob.
- Harmattan – the cold, dry wind that blows south from the Sahara during dry season. It brings with it clouds of dust from the desert.
- Middle Belt – Traditionally an ethnic and political zone stretching from east to west across the central section of Nigeria and inhabited by many minor ethnic groups who had been unable to obtain significant political influence because of long-term dominance by the Hausa-Fulani and Kanuri emirates.
- Naira – Nigeria's basic currency unit. It is subdivided into 100 kobo (k). The naira was introduced on January 1, 1973, replacing the Nigerian pound (q.v.) at the rate of two naira for one pound.
- Okada – Motorbike taxi, they seem to be found everywhere.
- Suya – usually beef pounded thin and then roasted on sticks. It’s very common roadside food, especially in the North, and is usually good.
- Dates of Major Political Events
- October 1963: Nigeria becomes a Republic
- January 1966: First military coup led by Maj. Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogu
- May 1967: Nigerian Civil War starts
- Jan. 1970: Nigerian Civil War ends
Oct. 1979: Obasanjo hands over power to Shehu Shagari, Second Republic
- Dec. 1983: Gen. Muhammadu Buhari topples Shagari in military coup
- 1987: Failed military coup led by Maj.-Gen. Mamman Vatsa
- 1990: Failed military coup led by Maj. Gideon Orkar
- 1997: Another 'coup' against Abacha foiled
- 8 June 1998: Abacha dies suddenly, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar assumes office
Section V: Comparative Analysis
Long viewed as politically unstable, the African country of Nigeria is poised for a development boom. Does this mean Nigeria could be the next India?
For years, Nigeria has been viewed as an exotic and culturally unique location, with a long history of Western colonization and independence and a growing population of educated young professionals. Although it is a third-world infrastructure, Nigeria has a tremendous business opportunity. Ten years ago, if you asked an expert in the global business community to associate a country with these statements, "India" was the expected reply. Today, a similar opportunity exists in Africa, mainly Nigeria, which in particular, is poised to make massive strides in the global business world.
Is it presumptuous to state that Nigeria is the next India? At first glance, the two nations may seem worlds apart. Closer analysis, however, suggests certain trends and conditions in Nigeria bear similarities to those in India prior to and following its economic and development boom. As a result, there exists a growing buzz in the business community about the economic and development opportunities in Nigeria.
Section VI: Concepts in Comparative Government
- Relations between the Citizens and the State – As in many other countries, the Nigerian government is often in conflict with a significant percentage of the population. This is largely brought on by two factors. Firstly, modern societies are very diverse in economic, social, and cultural compositions, meaning the government cannot be neutral in respect of competing and sometimes antagonistic class relations no matter how hard they try. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, when regarding the relationship between citizens and state, the interests of the rulers and the dominant economic class are paramount. Therefore, enforcement of the laws and maintenance of social order, which promote the interests of the rulers to the detriment of the majority of the population, inevitably put them in hostile relations with their host communities across countries.
- Methods of Political Mobilization – Nigeria is currently going through their fourth trial at democratic civil governance following the total collapse of the previous two republics and the one unsuccessfully put in place by the Babangida administration. Political mobilization in this country is centered on the efficacy of the local government’s institution as one of the vertical organs of Nigerian federalism. In other words, local governments are indispensably required and appropriate for politically mobilizing the citizenry for rural development and for imbibing the values and other requisite characteristics of a stable democracy.
- The Impact of Economic Development on the State – The agriculture sector was the focus of intense development interest during the 1990s, with food self-sufficiency the goal. In 1990, agriculture was the subject of a separate three-year development plan involving public and private spending targets concentrating on the family farmer. An integrated petrochemical industry was also a priority. Nigeria's refineries operated at less than optimal rates throughout the 1990s. By the beginning of the 2000s, the government was more concerned about halting corruption and reigning in the state budget than economic development. Nevertheless, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was created to coordinate economic and social development in the oil-producing region. To this day, Nigeria’s oil industry carries most of the weight of the economic sector.
- Prospects for Democracy – Measured one way, Nigeria’s democracy took a giant step backward in April 2007. But judged another way, the test is only beginning: will Nigeria navigate the legal and political challenges to the election peacefully, in a way that cements rather than undermines its young democracy? Nigeria is relatively far along the road to democracy. Eight years into civilian government after a long spell of military dominance, Nigeria’s institutions are blossoming despite the fairly recent electoral chaos. The real problem, analysts say, is that most Nigerians have lost faith in democracy just as it begins to take root within the mechanisms of state.
- Methods of Leadership Selection – The process of leadership selection must be done in a manner that meets world best practices, it is the political platform that decides the level of peace and security and it is only in an atmosphere of peace and security that business and other economic and social activities could thrive for the benefit of the people. In other words, this means that the peace and security needed for economic growth in the continent could only be achieved if the political platform is stable.
- The Role of Political Parties – Tribal, religious, and regional differences have hindered the formation of a truly national Nigerian political party in Nigeria. Since the 1960s, the policies and platforms of the major parties were similar, generally supporting welfare and development programs. Political parties, suppressed by the military government, were finally allowed to form in July 1998. However, these parties did not have much say in government elections and suffered many setbacks. Since the elections in the late 1990s, the three registered parties have suffered from leadership squabbles. It is unlikely that the parties will remain stable for very much longer.
Section VII: Media Review
Article 1 – “After Rocky Election, Nigerians Warm to New Leader”
This article describes the feelings of many Nigerians leading up to the installation of the most recent president. This election saw the first transfer of power from one civilian to another in the country’s history. Immediately after the new president was announced, many citizens of Nigeria were infuriated. They did not agree with the policies of the new president and believed that the elections were rigged by the almost always corrupt government. Five months after a contentious election that international observers said was deeply flawed and in some places so badly rigged that the results were not credible, the fires that flared during election violence have finally cooled. One of these reasons is most likely because Mr. Yar’Adua is the first president in a generation to have no military ties, and this decreases some of the imminent political corruption that will come during his time in office.
Article 2 – “Report Traces Twisting Routes to Power in Nigeria”
This article discusses events after Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, became a democracy in 1999, after long, brutal military rule. The transition had been long and rocky, with two deeply marred elections and little meaningful development from the billions of dollars flowing from the country’s vast oil reserves. The previous April election was so seriously affected by rigging, violence and incompetence that international observers said its results were not credible. Nigeria’s new president, Umaru Yar’Adua, admitted there were lapses in the election and pledged to reform the electoral system to stamp out abuses. This is a big change for a government official of Nigeria, as most of them choose to make things easier on themselves and leave the corruption and bribery in its place.