from Africa in Transition

Why Nigeria’s North South Distinction Is Important

February 7, 2011

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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I have a piece on Huffington Post today exploring Nigeria’s North South distinction and its relevance in the upcoming elections.

Apologists for the Nigerian political system often accuse outside observers of viewing the country’s North and South as monolithic blocks. With more than 150 million people, at least 250 different ethnic groups, and Christian and Muslim populations roughly equal in size, Nigeria’s diversity is undeniable. Nevertheless, broad differences between North and South are a Nigerian historical, political and religious reality, and, as such, the distinction between the two provides a legitimate analytical lens. It is particularly relevant to understanding the debates and conflicts around who will be Nigeria’s next president, principally as the contest shapes up to pit southern incumbent Goodluck Jonathan against northern former military head of state Muhammadu Buhari.

Read the whole oped here.

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