In a book entitled , ” Nigeria: What Everyone Needs To Know”, the former American Ambassador, John Campbell dissected Nigeria’s socio-political and economic problems in a way that’s both worrisome and hopeful. Perhaps, being a foreigner gives him the edge and removes him from the usual bias criticism or the suspicion of hiding behind a political motive.
The Former United States Ambassador to Nigeria, John Campbell, has expressed worry over the conduct and structure of the Nigerian military and other security agencies as one of the key solutions to the country’s development and insurgency issues.
The former Ambassador recommended the reformation of the military to forestall human right abuse and national development.
In his book, ” Nigeria: What Everyone Needs To Know” which he co-authored with Mathew T. Page, Campbell also decried the electoral system and processes in Nigeria saying while the people of Nigeria spend long hours on queues in the hot sun trying to cast their votes in elections, voting is done in 10-15 minutes in the United States of America.
On electricity generation, the former envoy queried where all the money spent on electricity in Nigeria since 1999 has gone to. “Corruption – private gain at the expense of the public – is widespread. Fourteen billion dollars has been spent on electricity since 1999 -where are the results?”
There is also a population explosion: In Zamfara, the statistically average woman has 8.1 births; in Rivers State, 3.8. Nigeria’s is a flawed democracy bedeviled by multiple insurgencies: Boko Haram. There is conflict in the Middle Belt over land and water use, often in an ethnic and religious context, and with criminal elements, i.e., cattle rustling. Nigerians widely criticize their government for mismanagement; corruption is structural. The bottom line is this – most Nigerians must fend for themselves.
There is lack of infrastructure, and basic social services are inadequate, said Campbell. “Examples are in the fields of health/medicine, generation of electricity (the country generates about the same amount of electricity as Edinburgh). Education, especially primary, does not prepare adequately a modern workforce. Lack of clean water promotes disease. Infant mortality rates are slightly better than Somalia (a war zone), worse than South Sudan.”
“The book consists of 72 questions and answers. We were guided by questions we were asked – and by questions we wished we were asked. Some examples of the questions we came up with: How did the slave trade impact on Nigeria’s development? What will Nigeria’s economy look like in fifteen years? What makes Nigerian Christianity unique? What is a day in the life of a politician like? Why has communal conflicts killed so many Nigerians? Where is the Nigerian diaspora, and why is it so influential? Will Nigeria’s oil run out, and if it does, what happens?