Nigeria is the most African of African nations. That’s what the Nigerians say. And it is hard to argue with them — as their fellow Africans will tell you.
If you think of Africa metaphorically as a place of incomprehensible social and ethnic complexity, Nigeria is the ultimate example: one in six Africans live there; the country’s 110 million people belong to 300 different ethnic groups. Think of Africa as a place with natural wealth waiting to be exploited, and think Nigeria with billions of barrels of low-sulfur Bonny Light crude oil to sell on the world market. Political corruption — first place Nigeria. Dismal history of military dictatorship — it’s Nigeria.
Yet for all the corruption, dictatorship and ethnic strife, Nigerians continue to struggle toward democracy from dictatorship. If they succeed it will have an enormous impact thoughout the rest of Africa.
(Hosted by Michael Goldfarb)
Father Kukah, Secretary General of the Bishop’s Council of Nigeria, and Member of the Human Rights Violation Investigation Commission
Karl Maier, Contributor to The Economist and The Washington Post
Salih Booker, Director of the Africa Fund for New York City and the Africa Policy Information Centre in Washington, D.C.
Wole Soyinka, Nobel Prize Winner.