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Dialog on Nigerian unity

March 10, 2014 - NIGERIA

President Goodluck Jonathan plans a three-month dialog on Nigerian unity in Abuja on 10 Mar 2014 -- or as soon as soon as all 492 delegates have been selected from the country's political parties and myriad ethno-linguistic groups.

The effort to buttress the country's precarious unity depends in part on agreeing on reforms that result in more equitable power-sharing and resource allocation.

The meeting comes at a critical time for the major oil producer.

Some Nigerians regard as expired a century-old unification agreement forged by British colonial administrator F.D. Lugard, which united the mainly Muslim north and mainly Christian south. Other stressors on unity include an insurgency by Boko Haram Islamists in the north has the country and pending presidential and parliamentary election.

Coups in 1966 and 1999 -- with the Biafran civil war of 1967 between -- remind the government of the perils of a National Conference that doesn't result in tension-mitigating reforms.

F.D. Lugard biography (Encyclopedia Britannica)

Nigeria: War, denial and corruption (Foreign Policy 24 Feb 2014)

Does Nigeria really need a 'Sovereign National Conference'? (African Argument 29 Jan 2014)

What next after edict that created Nigeria expires in 2014? (Africa Report 16 Dec 2013)

The scramble for representation (Nigerian Tribune 20 Feb 2014)

Date written/update: 2014-03-05