Autocracy, Violence, and Ethnomilitary Rule in NigeriaPublic Deposited
This revised version of a paper presented at a conference at M.I.T. on State, Conflict, and Democracy in 1997 pulled together key dimensions of a Nigeria that had drifted far from constitutional and democratic governance. State and society had become increasingly criminalized; the educational system and other social sectors were eroding; and many civic and political activists were in detention or driven into exile. A multilayered hegemony resting on military structures, diverted income from petroleum revenue, and a resurgent northern primacy was resented and resisted. The execution of Ogoni environmental activists brought world attention to the deepening traumas. The Abacha regime responded with active outreach to autocratic leaders in West Africa, and even to seek support from African-American political and civic groups. The only exit from this national abasement was the removal in 1998 of its executor-in-chief.