Nigeria's Battle for Stability

Despite a veneer of democracy, this oil-rich nation has suffered from dysfunctional governance for decades, and tensions between the Christian South and the Muslim North are rising. Nigeria needs creative American diplomacy.

Issue: Mar-Apr 2012

RECENT EVENTS in Nigeria, including its presidential elections last April, have produced two narratives on the current state of that oil-rich West African nation with a history of civic turmoil. The first is that events there have unfolded rather favorably since its elected president, Umaru Yar’Adua, fell ill in late 2009 and the country was left leaderless. That raised fears of a military coup, but then Goodluck Jonathan emerged to fill the power vacuum, first as an extraconstitutional “acting president,” then as a constitutional successor after Yar’Adua’s death and finally as the elected executive following the 2011 elections.

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