June 14, 2007

HARRISONBURG—In his weekly “Strategic Interests” column for the World Defense Review, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, expresses concern that Nigeria—which, he notes, is America’s third largest foreign supplier of crude oil as well as its fourth most important source for liquefied natural gas imports—“would not require much to slide into the category of a failed state.”

According to Dr. Pham, President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was installed on May 29 after elections which Nigerian civil society organizations as well as international observers from the European Union and the United States unanimously deplored for their poor organization and massive rigging, faces a crisis of legitimacy which undercuts his ability to deal with “four major challenges, any one of which, amid the volatile context, might ignite violence and even civil war”: the de facto one-party nature of the Nigerian state; loss of voter interest in the democratic process; the continuing crisis in the Niger Delta; and renewed secessionist tendencies.

To read the full text of Dr. Pham’s article, “ Nigeria: Flailing State,” click here.