John Campbell

Africa in Transition

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

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Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update April 4-April 10

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 April 4, 2015 to April 10, 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 »

An Update on African Immigration to the United States

by John Campbell
A U.S. flag hangs in the grand hall of the Ellis Island immigration museum building in New York October 28, 2013. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters) A U.S. flag hangs in the grand hall of the Ellis Island immigration museum building in New York October 28, 2013. (Lucas Jackson/Courtesy Reuters)

I have written before about African immigration to the United States and the presence of African immigrants in New York City, a new demographic trend. On April 9, the Pew Research Center issued a new report, “A Rising Share of the U.S. Black Population is Foreign Born,” which updates and adds precision to the conversation about this important topic. The conclusion from Pew is that black immigrants are doing well and making a significant contribution to American society. Read more »

South African Comedian in the United States

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Comedian Jon Stewart greets the audience as he tapes Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" at the University of Denver in Denver, August 26, 2008. (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters) Comedian Jon Stewart greets the audience as he tapes Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" at the University of Denver in Denver, August 26, 2008. (Eric Thayer/Courtesy Reuters)

This is a guest post by Allen Grane, research associate for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program.

On March 30, Comedy Central’s the Daily Show announced that 31-year old Trevor Noah will replace John Stewart as the host. As the Daily Show’s twitter handle put it: Noah is just “another guy in late night from Soweto.” The announcement of his new position has drawn a great deal of attention, both positive and negative. Read more »

“Hard for Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan Not To Run in 2015—But Can he Win?”

by John Campbell
Two men cast their ballots in a poling station in Kano, March 28, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters) Two men cast their ballots in a poling station in Kano, March 28, 2015. (Goran Tomasevic/Courtesy Reuters)

That was the title of my December 20, 2013 post. It appeared in the aftermath of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s highly critical letter to Jonathan cataloging the latter’s political failures, the publicizing of Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi’s accusation that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation had failed to remit billions of dollars to the federal treasury, and the defecting of many legislators from Jonathan’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC). Boko Haram attacks in the northeast were also escalating. Read more »

Nigeria President-elect Mohammadu Buhari’s Agenda

by John Campbell
All Progressives Congress presidential candidate and Nigeria's former military ruler Muhammodu Buhari leaves after a verification of his voter's card at a polling unit at the begining of general elections in Daura, March 28, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters) All Progressives Congress presidential candidate and Nigeria's former military ruler Muhammodu Buhari leaves after a verification of his voter's card at a polling unit at the begining of general elections in Daura, March 28, 2015. (Akintunde Akinleye/Courtesy Reuters)

As in the United States, there is a hiatus between a president’s election and his inauguration in Nigeria. Muhammadu Buhari will be inaugurated as president of Nigeria on May 29. In the meantime, President Jonathan remains in charge, but with little prestige and insufficient credibility to take the initiative in the aftermath of his election defeat. There will be gubernatorial and local elections on April 18; rivalries are often intense at that level, and there could be considerable bloodshed. Read more »

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 »

Council on Foreign Relations Publishes a Contingency Planning Memorandum on Zimbabwe

by John Campbell
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe stands during celebrations to mark his country's 34th Independence Day in Harare, April 18, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo) Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe stands during celebrations to mark his country's 34th Independence Day in Harare, April 18, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

Zimbabwe, once an African garden spot, is now characterized by bad governance, ubiquitous human rights abuses, abrogation of the rule of law, and poverty. These negatives are closely associated with Robert Mugabe, 91, who rules the country with an iron hand and with no apparent succession plan in place. Mugabe’s policies have resulted in humanitarian disaster and waves of refugees, mostly to South Africa. Read more »

Nigeria Security Tracker: Weekly Update March 7-March 13

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 March 7, 2015 to March 13, 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 »

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 »