In This Review

Transition Without End: Nigerian Politics and Civil Society Under Babangida
Transition Without End: Nigerian Politics and Civil Society Under Babangida
Edited by Larry Diamond, Anthony Kirk-Greene, and Oyeleye Oy
Lynne Rienner, 1997, 526 pp

This informative collection by 21 Nigeria experts presents a bleak picture of the country's decay during the rule of General Ibrahim Babangida. Corrupt and propped up by oil revenues from 1985 to 1993, Babangida helped consolidate a culture of clientelism untempered by any commitment to democracy. At the same time, he skillfully pretended to implement a drawn-out transition to civilian rule to extend his tenure. Nigeria's problems are far more tragic than the work of a few venal men with guns: a military that purged all true reformers years ago, a civilian political class bent on seizing state power solely for self-aggrandizement, and a society fractured by ethnic, regional, and religious divisions. Although a small, divided group of human rights organizations exists, it lacks support from either the political parties or the corrupt judiciary. The public, disenchanted with military rule, remains cynical toward politicians while the international community -- with its past record of indifference and opportunism -- has yet to harness its power to force reform. A sobering antidote to the flickering hopes generated by reform gestures from Nigeria's newest junta.