Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)

Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)

Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)

Oil, Politics and Violence: Nigeria's Military Coup Culture (1966-1976)

Excerpt

Sometimes referred to as the “Giant of Africa,” with a population of over 140 million, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country; a quarter of all Africans are Nigerian. Nigeria is located in west Africa, just north of the equator and south of the Sahara desert. Its southern coastline dips into the Atlantic Ocean. Nigeria is the United States’ largest trading partner in sub-Saharan Africa, with annual trade between the two countries in 2009 valued at approximately $30 billion.

Nigeria exports more than one million barrels of crude oil a day to the United States (representing nearly 50% of Nigeria’s daily crude oil production), and it is projected that by 2015, Nigeria will provide 25% of the United States’ oil supply. With the United States’ frequently strained relations with Arab countries, Nigeria is increasingly viewed in Washington as an alternate dependable crude oil supplier.

Nigeria’s gross domestic product (GDP) is larger than the combined GDP of its fifteen neighboring west African countries that make up the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). It is a regional economic, political and military superpower in west Africa, is blessed with abundant wealth from crude oil and natural gas, has the best educated workforce in Africa, and enjoys a vibrant free press with over one hundred privately owned newspapers and magazines.

Its nationals are leaders in arts, science, finance and literature. Professor Wole Soyinka is Africa’s most distinguished playwright and was the first African to win the Nobel Prize for literature. Nigeria’s former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a Managing Director of the World Bank. Dr. Augustine Njoku-Obi developed a cholera vaccine. Despite having all the prerequisites to become a superpower, Nigeria staggers from one crisis to another. After ten military coups, three heads of government assassinated, three ruinous decades of military dictatorship, and a civil war that claimed a million lives, Nigeria is still struggling to fulfill its vast potential.

1 Speech of Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, at the Southern Center for International Studies, Atlanta, Georgia, entitled, “Old Ties in New Times: Nigeria and the next USA Administration

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