December 22, 2006

HARRISONBURG—In a featured commentary published today in the online edition of the foreign policy journal The National Interest, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, discusses the intrigues and possible consequences of the state and national elections in Nigeria scheduled, respectively, for April 14 and 21, 2007.

According to Dr. Pham, with its 35.9 billion barrels of proven petroleum reserves, “few countries are as vital to the strategic interests of the United States as Nigeria.” He goes on to note that “the succession of power from one elected civilian president in Nigeria to another would represent a singular feat in the nation’s history and an important consolidation of the African democratic ethos,” while a failure would play into the hands of outsiders, including al-Qaeda elements, which have been “increasing their activities to exploit local religious and political tensions and to prepare the ground for further penetration, if not a new, full-fledged front in their fight against the West, as a number of jihadist strategists have advocated.”

The text of Dr. Pham’s essay, “ Nigeria’s Electoral Intrigue,” can be accessed online by clicking here.