How to Assess the Present Political System in Nigeria
- 1). Understand the historical context of the present situation. Nigeria is a developing country in one of the world's more unstable regions. Independence was gained only in the wake of World War II, and the nation was under military control until 1999. Though free elections began at the dawn of the 21st century, violence accompanied political transfer in both 2003 and 2007. Despite internal strife and instability, the country has maintained a consistent devotion to international peace, with over 6,000 soldiers stationed globally in support of U.N. efforts.
- 2). Observe the workings of the present government. Nigeria is a federal republic which attempts to observe English common law. However, it is has only received a rating of "Partly Free"--4 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 being the lowest--from the independent watchdog organization Freedom House. Academic observers have noted that while it should be considered a democracy, Nigerian government has "authoritarian attributes."
- 3). Determine what the nation has suffered in recent years. This reveals how stable and responsive the government and political system are. Some violence between Christian and Muslim sects exists within the country. In addition, illicit narcotics are ferreted across the nation on their way to Europe, and gang violence inevitably accompanies this transition. That neither of these situations have deteriorated from a safety threat to an international issue of critical concern, reflects well on Nigeria's ability to govern itself.
- 4). Determine Nigeria's social, economic, and political ranking as compared to its neighbors, other nations facing similar difficulties, and the international community as a whole. Nigeria is widely considered the hegemon of West Africa, in the same way that the United States is the hegemon of North America, or China of East Asia. It has been identified as one of the 'Next Eleven' leading economies by Goldman Sachs banking firm, and consistently receives high rankings from the World Bank.