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Military

Nigerian Unity: In the Balance


Nigerian Unity: In the Balance - Cover

Authored by Gerald McLoughlin, Lieutenant Colonel Clarence J. Bouchat (USAF, Ret.).

June 2013

105 Pages

Brief Synopsis

Nigeria’s future as a unified state is in jeopardy. Those who make or execute U.S. policy will find it difficult to advance U.S. interests in Africa without an understanding of the pressures that tear and bind Nigeria. Despite this, the centrifugal forces that tear at the country and the centripetal forces that have kept it whole are not well understood and rarely examined. After establishing Nigeria’s importance to the United State as a cohesive and functioning state, this monograph examines the historic, religious, cultural, political, physical, demographic, and economic factors that will determine Nigeria’s fate. It identifies the specific fault lines along which Nigeria may divide. It concludes with practical policy recommendations for the United States to support Nigerians in their efforts to maintain a functioning and integrated state, and, by so doing, advance U.S. interests.

Summary

Nigeria’s continuation as a cohesive functioning state is important to the United States due to the bilateral economic relationship, Nigeria’s influence in the international community, and its pivotal role for U.S. interests in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the importance of Nigeria to the United States, the centrifugal forces that tear at the country’s unity and the centripetal forces which have kept Nigeria whole are not well understood and are rarely examined. Those who make or execute U.S. policy will find it difficult to advance U.S. interests in Africa without an understanding of the pressures that bind and tear Nigeria.

This monograph examines why Nigeria is important to the United States, and the historic, religious, cultural, political, physical, demographic, and economic factors that will determine if Nigeria remains whole. It identifies Nigeria’s major fault lines and makes policy recommendations for the United States to support Nigerians in their efforts to maintain a functioning and integrated state and, by so doing, advance U.S. interests.


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