Nigeria Political Culture and Patterns of Interaction

All-important historic traditions have shaped a complex modern political culture characterized by ethic diversity and conflict, corruption and a politically active military.   However it also includes some democratic activity and a desire to reinstate leadership that is responsible to the people.  Characteristics of the political culture include: Patron-clientelism, state control/rich civil society, tension between modernity and tradition, religious conflict and geographic influences.

Questions to consider:

  • How is Nigeria fragmented?
  • Is successful democracy possible for Nigeria?



Nigeria’s ethnic groups may be divided into six geographic zones
Northwest Dominated by two groups that combined as the Hausa-Fulani people, the area is predominately Muslim
Northeast Smaller groups such a as the Kanuri which are primarily Muslim
Middle Zone Smaller ethnic groups characterized by a mix of both Muslims and Christians
Southwest The large ethnic group Yoruba are about 40% Muslim, 40% Christian and about 20% native religions.
Southeast Inhabited by the Igbo, who are primarily Roman Catholic, but with a growing number of Protestant Christians.
Southern Zone This area includes the delta of the Niger River, and its people belong to various small minority groups.


In Nigeria, the Yoruba and Igbo are predominately Muslim.

High fertility rates correlated with Nigeria’s low literacy rate for women.
Half of Nigerian’s are Muslim.
The fundamentalist Islamic Movement of Nigeria has al Qaeda and Iranian ties.

______ % of Nigeria’s population lives in absolute poverty.

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