Northwestern professor reflects on Nigeria's potential and political failures

October 14, 2011

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(Courtesy of Northwestern University)
Northwestern University professor Richard Joseph studies politics and democratic transitions in Africa.

Nigerian-born Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, known as the Underwear Bomber, pleaded guilty Wednesday to eight charges including conspiracy to commit terrorism for his attempted 2009 Christmas Day bombing of an airplane over Detroit.

In a recent conference in Lagos, experts addressed Nigeria's disaffected youth and what drives some of them to violence, in addition to tackling issues like corruption, failed infrastructure and economic inequities. The gathering also honored Northwestern University professor Richard Joseph for his landmark book Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria: The Fall of the Second Republic. The work documented how political leaders squandered an opportunity to positively transform the country. Jerome caught up with Joseph to talk about where Africa’s most populous nation is heading.