A former United States Ambassador to Nigeria John Campbell and a former Director at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Robert Rotberg have described Nigeria as a ‘failed state,’ even though the country still retains some attributes of viability, especially with respect to international affairs.
The duo said this in an article titled, ‘The Giant of Africa is Failing,’ against the backdrop of the multiple overlapping security crises which had transformed Nigeria from a weak state into a failed one. They noted that Buhari’s government had proved woefully unprepared to tackle these challenges.
“International partners, especially the United States, must acknowledge that Nigeria is now a failed state. In recognition of that fact, they should deepen their engagement with the country and seek to hold the current administration accountable for its failures while also working with it to provide security and right the economy.
“The Nigerian state has long failed to provide its citizens with social services, and Nigerian politics is largely an elite sport disassociated from governance. The government does not or cannot tax the real wealth of the country, remains too dependent on revenue from oil and gas, and lurches from one fiscal crisis to another,” part of the article said.
The article, however, said that Nigeria’s ‘collapse’ could be reversed and urged the United States to continue to publicly denounce the human rights abuses of President Buhari’s administration and cancel the visas of Nigerian officials and business people at the first whiff of criminality or human rights offenses.
“Washington should meet Nigeria’s requests for military assistance with caution and international financial institutions should support Nigeria’s liberalisation of its currency exchange rates and help strengthen the independence of its central bank.
“Through exchanges, conferences, technical advice, and other tools of ‘soft diplomacy,’ the United States should aid civil society and Nigerian nongovernmental organisations in their efforts to strengthen the country’s democracy,” the article said.
It further said that Nigeria, with a population of about 214 million people, would not afford to fail as it could have profound consequences on the entire region and beyond.