John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Nigeria’s Elections: The Space Created by Waiting

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Men walk in front election posters at an open market in Kano March 27, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Men walk in front election posters at an open market in Kano March 27, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Emily Mellgard. Emily is a researcher for the Tony Blair Faith Foundation working on their online resource religionandgeopolitics.org in London, England, and a former research associate for the CFR Africa program. Emily recently returned from Nigeria. All opinions expressed are her own. Read more »

Nigeria’s Former President Acknowledges Boko Haram Grievances

by John Campbell
Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo sits with the family of late Emir of Kano Ado Bayero in Kano, June 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo sits with the family of late Emir of Kano Ado Bayero in Kano, June 7, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

According to the Nigerian media, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, at a conference in Dubai, said, “they (Boko Haram) have legitimate grievances. We don’t need anyone to tell us that that is a problem: a problem of disparity, a problem of marginalization.” Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram Moving Toward ISIS?

by John Campbell
A still from a video of Abubakar Shekau standing in front of the black flag released by Boko Haram in October 2014. A still from a video of Abubakar Shekau standing in front of the black flag released by Boko Haram in October 2014.

In a recording Boko Haram released last week Abubakar Shekau pledged allegiance to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) emir, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. The recording appears to be authentic. Shekau’s pledge goes further than his previous statements of support for ISIS, and was a Boko Haram propaganda coup: once again, the movement made the front page of the New York Times and became a brief media sensation. However, it is unclear what, if any, practical effects this pledge will have. Read more »

Nigeria’s Boko Haram as a Peasants’ Revolt

by John Campbell
People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters) People from Gwoza, Borno State, displaced by the violence and unrest caused by the insurgency, are pictured at a refugee camp in Mararaba Madagali, Adamawa State, February 18, 2014. (Stringer/Courtesy Reuters)

Over the past two weeks, Nigerian military forces have driven Boko Haram out of several towns in northeast Nigeria. There have also been reports of Cameroonian, Nigerien, and Chadian successes against Boko Haram. President Goodluck Jonathan made a rare visit to the northeast, and he even stopped in Baga, the site of a notorious Boko Haram massacre. All of this seems to support Jonathan’s recent statement that even if Boko Haram is not defeated by the scheduled national elections on March 28, its scope will have been much reduced and it will be possible for elections to take place. Read more »

Has the Tide Turned Against Boko Haram in Nigeria?

by John Campbell
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja January 26, 2012. (Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan gestures during an interview with Reuters at the Presidential Villa in Abuja January 26, 2012. (Sotunde/Courtesy Reuters)

On February 25, in the aftermath of two bombings that killed at least twenty-seven, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the tide has turned against Boko Haram. Over the past week, this has been a consistent message from senior Nigerian officials. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update February 14-February 20

by John Campbell
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from February 14, 2015 to February 20, 2015. This update also represents violence related to Boko Haram in Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Why Were Nigeria’s Presidential Elections Postponed?

by John Campbell
A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye) A vendor displays newspapers with headlines about Nigeria's elections in traffic in Lagos, February 6, 2015. (Courtesy Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

On Saturday, Nigeria’s Independent National Elections Commission (INEC) announced that Nigeria’s presidential election would be delayed until March 28. According to Attahiru Jega, chairman of the INEC, National Security Advisor Sambo Dasuki directed the postponement of the February 14 elections for at least six weeks. Dasuki said that starting February 14, the military and security services will launch a campaign against Boko Haram, the militant Islamist movement in northeast Nigeria. Therefore, they can not provide the necessary security for the electoral process. Read more »

In Search of Justice for Central Africans

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) take a break on an armed peacekeeping convoy as they are escorted from the capital Bangui to the northern towns of Kabo and Sido on the border with Chad, April 28, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Modola). Internally displaced persons (IDPs) take a break on an armed peacekeeping convoy as they are escorted from the capital Bangui to the northern towns of Kabo and Sido on the border with Chad, April 28, 2014 (Courtesy Reuters/Modola).

This is a guest post by Tiffany Lynch. She is a senior policy analyst at the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The views expressed are her own and may or may not reflect the views of the Commission.

In early January, two years after civil war broke out in the Central African Republic (CAR) between the Séléka, a predominantly Muslim rebel faction, and the anti-balaka, a predominantly radical Christian militia, the United Nations International Commission of Inquiry on the Central African Republic publicly announced its conclusion that Christian militias were responsible for the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in this war torn country. Since September 2013, UN officials and independent human rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have warned of ethnic cleansing or genocide in CAR. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update January 10-January 16

by John Campbell
The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau) The map above depicts deaths in Nigeria by state. (Source: CFR Nigeria Security Tracker; powered by Tableau)

Below is a visualization and description of some of the most significant incidents of political violence in Nigeria from January 10, 2015 to January 16, 2015. These incidents will be included in the Nigeria Security Tracker. Read more »

Technical Challenges to Free, Fair, and Credible Elections in Nigeria

by John Campbell
A banner advertising awareness for voter's registration is hung at the back of a bus along a road in Lagos January 7, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) A banner advertising awareness for voter's registration is hung at the back of a bus along a road in Lagos January 7, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated every single Nigerian presidential election since 1999. Using sophisticated forms of electoral rigging and relying on a relatively unified political class built on patronage, a PDP incumbent or his anointed successor has secured electoral victory at every turn. Such a scenario would all but ensure the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan in the February 14, 2015 elections. Read more »