Author's Books

October 2001

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country; its citizens are perhaps the best educated on the continent. It is the world’s sixth-largest producer of oil. Nigeria also has probably the most elaborate system of government in the region. Yet the country teeters perilously close to massive civil upheaval.

In this compelling new work, Suberu examines the profound political contradictions that make up Nigeria, a nation whose leaders have constantly tinkered with a colonial federal legacy that sought to balance the country’s three major ethnic groups. He explores the evolution of Nigerian federalism through its various constitutional experiments and administrative redesigns, including those in the periods of military rule.

While acknowledging the genius of Nigerian federalism in trying to subdue ethnic and regional conflict, Suberu expertly analyzes the troubling flaws in a system that breeds corruption, prioritizes distribution over development, and encourages the country’s further political fragmentation.

In the book’s final chapter, Suberu outlines bold constitutional reforms that seek to promote institutional innovation in Nigerian federalism to keep pace with the country’s growing demographic and ethnopolitical complexity.

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