Nigeria: worse than Iraq?
A rather alarmist article in the monthly magazine The Atlantic speculates on the possible implosion of Nigeria and the possible reaction of the US government in the world's sixth largest oil producer.
I'd like to think Nigeria's collapse is unthinkable. Since President Olesegun Obasanjo took power in 1999, the facade of stability has returned to Nigeria. The country has regular elections. Obasanjo's Nigeria is no doubt significantly freer politically than under his monstrous predecessor Gen. Sani Abacha. Or for that matter, under nearly any of his predcessors since independence.
However, it seems there is something fundamentally rotten at the core of Nigeria, something that isn't glossed over simply by regular elections. By all accounts, corruption and cronyism have thoroughly saturated not just government and politics, but business and society as a whole. Nigeria is not the only country with massive corruption at the top, but when corruption as a culture (as opposed to limited incidents of malfeasence) permeates all levels of society, it is a parasite that comprehensively weakens the health of a nation and makes it more vulnerable to diseases like ethnocentrism and religious extremism. The question is this: to what degree is corruption still seen as an unacceptable deviancy and to what degree has it become a way of life?
And if Obasanjo tries to make himself president-for-life (or uses the facade of allowing his allies to engineer that outcome), it could be a serious blow to creaky Nigeria. Already, the country's Catholic bishops has come out against constitutional changes that would allow the life presidency.