John N. Paden is Clarence Robinson Professor Emeritus of International Studies at George Mason University. He has served as an international observer in three Nigerian presidential elections and is the author of numerous volumes, including, most recently, Muslim Civic Cultures and Conflict Resolution: The Challenge of Democratic Federalism in Nigeria.
As the most populous country in Africa and a major oil producer, Nigeria has long been recognized as the dominant force in West Africa. But its standing within the broader international arena, especially its comparative position within the Muslim world, has been less well understood. Indeed, does Nigeria's influence extend beyond the region?
In this concise volume, John N. Paden answers this very question, contending that Nigeria is globally significant for a multitude of reasons, not least of which for the political resiliency it has demonstrated despite its complex ethnolinguistic and religious diversity. He argues that Nigeria, with a population that is almost evenly divided between Muslims and Christians, could serve uniquely as a model for interreligious political accommodation and as a bridging actor in global politics between the West and the Muslim world. He concludes by calling on the United States to formulate better engagement strategies in the region and to support Nigeria’s political resilience by strengthening social, cultural, and economic ties, and by showing greater understanding and diplomatic tolerance toward the country.
Faith and Politics in Nigeria offers timely, clear, and astute analysis that will be valued by students and scholars of Islamic and African studies and provides keen recommendations for policymakers and conflict-management practitioners.