AP COGO Weekly Update


The Federal Republic of Nigeria!

This West African nation is a little more than twice the size of California. The capital city is Abuja. Nigeria is the most densely populated nation in Africa. It's the center of West African regional trade, military strength & culture.

Nigeria is barely more than 50 years old, like most African nations--thanks to European colonization.

Nigeria was a British colony from 1914-1960. The borders were not related to the precolonial African/tribal societies and were more about the politics of the European colonizers.


Authoritarian: A system of rule in which power depends not on popular legitimacy but on the coercive force of the political authorities.

Accountability: A government's responsibility to its population, usually by periodic popular elections, transparent fiscal practices and by parliament's having the power to dismiss the government by passing a motion of no confidence. The government's major actions must be known & understood by the citizens in an accountable government.

Unfinished State: A state characterized by instabilities and uncertainties that may render it susceptible to collapse as a coherent entity.

Jihad: Literally "struggle." Although often used to mean armed struggle against unbelievers, it can also mean to fight against sociopolitical corruption or a spiritual struggle for self-improvement.

Indirect Rule: A term used to describe the British style of colonialism in Nigeria and India in which traditional rulers and political structures were used to help support the colonial governing structure.

Warrant Chiefs: Leaders employed by the British colonial regime in Nigeria. A system in which "chiefs" were selected by the British to oversee certain legal matters and assist the colonial enterprise in governance and law enforcement in local areas.

Autocracy: A government in which one or a few rulers has absolute power, thus, a dictatorship.

Rents: Economic gains that do not compensate those who produced them and do not contribute to productivity, typically associated with government earnings that do not get channeled back into either investments or policies that benefit the public good.

shari'a: Islamic law derived from the Qur'an and the examples set by the Prophet Mohammed in the Sunnah.

Facts: Nigeria

*Federal republic

*Regime History: Democratic government took office in May 1999, after 16 years of military rule.

*U.S. style presidential system

*Bicameral civilian legislature; 109 senators elected on basis of equal representation; 3 from each state, 1 from the FCT; 360 members of the House of Representatives elected from single-member districts

*Almost 50 parties registered since 2002.

*Federal, state and local court system

*Federation of 36 states + Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Abuja; 3 tiers: federal, state, local; actual power centralized under the president & the governors

Environmental Issues

1. Northern Nigeria is on the edge of the Sahel, the vast, semi-arid region just south of the Sahara Desert that is arable, but is often troubled with fragile water supplies. A lot of the northern region has seasonal rains that come from the tropical part of southern Nigeria, the northern edges have been suffering the increasingly dry weather caused by climate change. The extreme has been the drying up of Lake Chad in the northeast which has shrunk to 1/5 of its size in the 1960s.

Desertification continues to pressure the northeast, nomadic herdsmen have been forced to move their cattle to the more temperate south which has caused increasing numbers of conflicts with the local farmers. The disputes are complicated because the Fulani herdsmen are usually Muslim and they are moving into the lands claimed by Christian farmers.

2. In the Niger Delta years of pollution by the oil industry have killed off much of the fish stock that the people in the communities depended on for their living.