John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Editorial Fires Shed Little Light

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A member of a self-defense militia trains northeast of the capital Bamako 20/07/2012. (Emmanuel Braun/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Jim Sanders, a career, now retired, West Africa watcher for various federal agencies. The views expressed below are his personal views and do not reflect those of his former employers.

Op-ed writers love the word “burning.”  It conveys a sense of urgency, giving their advocacy immediacy, which, they hope, will increase chances something will be done about the situations they write about. Read more »

Why Nigeria’s North South Distinction Is Important

by John Campbell

I have a piece on Huffington Post today exploring Nigeria’s North South distinction and its relevance in the upcoming elections.

Apologists for the Nigerian political system often accuse outside observers of viewing the country’s North and South as monolithic blocks. With more than 150 million people, at least 250 different ethnic groups, and Christian and Muslim populations roughly equal in size, Nigeria’s diversity is undeniable. Nevertheless, broad differences between North and South are a Nigerian historical, political and religious reality, and, as such, the distinction between the two provides a legitimate analytical lens. It is particularly relevant to understanding the debates and conflicts around who will be Nigeria’s next president, principally as the contest shapes up to pit southern incumbent Goodluck Jonathan against northern former military head of state Muhammadu Buhari. Read more »