Nigeria: what everyone needs to know

Friday, November 30, 2018

Rapid economic growth and improved governance across Africa in the twenty-first century are part of the “Africa rising” narrative and have renewed interest in the continent. In Nigeria: What Everyone Needs to Know, John Campbell and Matthew T. Page provide an accessible, one-of-a-kind overview of Nigeria. Using a question-and-answer format, they discuss what makes Nigeria unique, how it operates domestically and internationally, the challenges it faces, and why it has the potential to become Africa’s greatest power.

John Campbell is the former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria (2004-2007), a position that allowed him to explore the issues explored in this book to some depth, and as such it provides an excellent introduction for all those interested in the challenges and potential of Nigeria. Topics covered include historical background, the economics of oil, religion, politics (subtitled Nigeria’s ‘great game’!), Nigeria’s security challenges, Nigeria and the world, and Nigeria of the future. With such a broad range of topics it should expected that the depth of analysis is largely introductory, but nonetheless the book provides enough fascinating information that even well-informed Nigerians could learn something from it.

As the “Giant of Africa,” Nigeria is home to about twenty percent of the population of Sub-Saharan Africa, serves as Africa’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, comprises Africa’s largest economy, and represents the cultural centre of African literature, film, and music. Yet it is plagued by problems that keep it from realizing its potential as a world power. Boko Haram, a radical, Islamist insurrection centred in the northeast of the country, is a pervasive security challenge, as is the continuous restiveness in the Niger Delta, the heartland of Nigeria’s petroleum wealth.

The former seeks to destroy the secular Nigerian state; the latter reflects the popular sentiment in the region that the Nigerian people are entitled to a greater share of the wealth it produces. There is also persistent violence associated with land and water use, ethnicity, and religion.

Delving into Nigeria’s recent history, politics, and culture, this volume tackles essential questions related to widening inequality stemming from Nigeria’s oil wealth, its historic 2015 presidential election, the persistent security threat of Boko Haram, rampant government corruption, human rights concerns, and the continual conflicts that arise in a country that is roughly half Christian and half Muslim. With its continent-wide influence in a host of areas, Nigeria’s success as a democracy is in the fundamental interest of its African neighbours and the international community. This book provides readers with an accessible overview of this significant country, useful for general readers, specialists and policy makers alike.

Available at

Timbooktoo tel: 4494345

Author: John Campbell and Matthew T. Page