John Campbell discusses Nigeria, its history, colonial legacy, and strategic importance to the United States.
Ambassador Campbell argues that Nigeria is the African country of greatest strategic importance to the United States, but it remains poorly understood. Unlike a conventional nation-state, Nigeria is run by a small cartel of self-serving elites who cooperate just enough to divvy up state oil revenue among themselves and their clients, but otherwise do little to improve the lot of the vast majority of Nigerians. How did it get this way? The answer lies in British indirect rule, a half-baked independence movement, a deadly civil war, and a generation of rapacious military rule that coincided with the oil boom.
The CFR Master Class Series is a weekly 45-minute session hosted by Vice President and Deputy Director for Studies Shannon O’Neil in which a CFR fellow will take a step back from the news and discuss the fundamentals essential to understanding a given country, region of the world, or issue pertaining to U.S. foreign policy or international relations.