Geopolitical Issues and Risk Assessment and Advisory in Nigeria: A Comprehensive Review

6 January 2023

5 minutes read

Nigeria is one of the most complex political environments in the world today. With competing political parties and deep-seated ethnic and religious divisions, understanding current and potential geopolitical issues in the country can be daunting. However, the ability to assess and understand the risk of these issues is essential to successful operations in Nigeria. This comprehensive review seeks to provide a detailed analysis of the current geopolitical issues in Nigeria and the risk assessment and advisory strategies necessary to navigate these complexities. It will explore the recent political developments in the country, the regional dynamics and the socio-economic conditions that have contributed to the current state of affairs. In addition, it will provide an in-depth look at the potential risks and opportunities that can arise from these issues, and the strategies that can be employed to identify and manage them. By understanding the current geopolitical environment in Nigeria and the risks associated with it, organizations can be better prepared to operate in the country.

Overview of Recent Political Developments in Nigeria

In 1999, the Nigerian people overwhelmingly voted for change after 16 years of corrupt military rule. In what was termed the “greatest democratic experiment in Africa,” millions of Nigerians cast their ballots to elect the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). This marked the first peaceful transition of power from one political party to another in the country’s history. The PDP had promised a clean break from the past, and the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo marked a new era in Nigerian politics. The new administration had a clear mandate to tackle endemic corruption and enact economic reforms to improve living standards. The government was also committed to a gradual democratic opening and strengthening of political institutions.

Regional Dynamics in Nigeria

With a population of approximately 190 million people, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and the continent’s largest economy. It is also one of the most ethnically and religiously diverse countries in the world. The country’s three main ethnic groups – the Hausa and Kanuri in the north, the Yoruba in the southwest and the Igbo in the southeast – have coexisted for centuries. The country’s major religions – Christianity, Islam and the indigenous Yoruba religion of African Traditional Religion – are also widely dispersed across the country. Throughout its history, Nigeria has experienced periodic sectarian and religious violence. In the 1960s, the country experienced a series of religious clashes between the predominantly Muslim Hausa-Fulani and the mostly Christian Ibo and Yoruba groups. Although these clashes were contained, tensions simmered beneath the surface.

Socio-Economic Conditions in Nigeria

In the early 2000s, the government had succeeded in significantly reducing the country’s high rate of poverty. However, a series of political and economic crises in the last decade have significantly undermined progress. By the end of the 2000s, Nigeria’s poverty rate had increased to 46 percent, making it once again one of the world’s poorest countries. The government has also been struggling to combat widespread corruption. President Obasanjo, who had been in power since 1999, had campaigned on a promise to fight corruption and institute economic reforms. However, his efforts were largely stymied by the country’s National Assembly, which had become a breeding ground for corruption.

Potential Risks and Opportunities in Nigeria

The above socio-economic conditions, combined with the country’s ethnic and religious tensions, have created an environment conducive to violent extremism. Terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram and the Islamic State, have exploited these divisions and have perpetrated attacks throughout the country, targeting both civilians and government officials. The ongoing political instability and corruption have also limited foreign investment and have contributed to the country’s economic stagnation. While many of the country’s economic sectors remain lucrative, there has been a marked decrease in foreign direct investment in recent years.

Risk Assessment and Advisory Strategies

A thorough understanding of the current geopolitical issues in Nigeria is necessary to assess and manage the risks of operating there. While there is no one solution to managing risk in any given country, there are several strategies that organizations can use to better understand the current environment and identify potential issues. Assessing the Political Situation – The political situation in a given country is the single most important factor in determining the risk of operating there. Organizations should therefore start by assessing the political situation, including the political environment; the political landscape; and the political and social risks. Assessing Political Environment – The political environment refers to the broader political and social landscape and includes the country’s level of democracy, the level of political violence, the level of competition among political parties and the level of government responsiveness to citizens. Assessing Political Landscape – The political landscape refers to the composition of the country’s political institutions and the state of political parties. Assessing Political and Social Risks – Political and social risks refer to the likelihood of political protests, political violence or an abrupt change in government.

Benefits of Risk Assessment and Advisory Strategies

A comprehensive risk assessment and advisory strategy can not only help organizations better understand the current geopolitical issues in Nigeria, but it can also identify potential issues and provide solutions for managing them. Developing a risk management strategy can be both time-consuming and costly, but the ability to effectively manage risk can be the difference between success and failure. Effective risk assessment and advisory strategies can help organizations reduce the risk of political instability, terrorism, social unrest and economic instability. They can also help organizations identify potential opportunities for increased government business, more favorable government relations, reduced political risk and increased profit.


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