© 2013

Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria

Critical Interpretations

  • Editors
  • Wale Adebanwi
  • Ebenezer Obadare

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Introduction

    1. Ebenezer Obadare, Wale Adebanwi
      Pages 1-22
  3. Governance and the Political Economy of Prebendalism

  4. Prebendalism and Identity Politics

  5. Reconsiderations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 259-259
    2. Richard Joseph
      Pages 261-279
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 281-300

About this book


Richard Joseph's seminal 1987 book Democracy and Prebendal Politics in Nigeria represented a watershed moment in the understanding of the political dynamics of Nigeria. This groundbreaking collection brings together scholars from across disciplines to assess the significance of Joseph's work and the current state of Nigerian politics.


democracy federalism governance Institution politics work

About the authors

REMI AIYEDE Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Ibadan, Nigeria CONERLY CASEY Associate Professor of Anthropology, Rochester Institute of Technology, USA LARAY DENZER Independent Scholar LARRY DIAMOND Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, USA LEENA HOFFMANN Senior Lecturer in African Studies, Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham, UK JANE GUYER George Armstrong Kelly Professor of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, USA RICHARD JOSEPH John Evans Professor of International History and Politics, Northwestern University, USA INSA NOLTE Senior Lecturer in African Studies, Centre of West African Studies, University of Birmingham, UK OLLY OWEN Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Oxford University, UK DAVID PRATTEN University Lecturer in Social Anthropology and Director of African Studies Centre, Oxford University, UK SANI UMAR Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Northwestern University, USA ROTIMI SUBERU Professor, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, and Bennington College, USA OLUFEMI VAUGHAN Geoffrey Canada Professor of Africana Studies & History, Bowdoin College, USA

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Democracy and Prebendalism in Nigeria
  • Book Subtitle Critical Interpretations
  • Editors W. Adebanwi
    E. Obadare
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2013
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, New York
  • eBook Packages Palgrave History Collection History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-1-137-28076-3
  • Softcover ISBN 978-1-349-44785-5
  • eBook ISBN 978-1-137-28077-0
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVI, 300
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics African Politics
    Political Science
    US Politics
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


"At once smartly guided by theoretical concerns, and thoroughly engaged with the complicated and varied realities of Nigerian society and byzantine politics, the essays in this first-rate collection are essential reading to anyone who wishes to understand why a country with so much potential remains mired in poverty." - Nicolas van de Walle, Maxwell M. Upson Professor of Government, Cornell University, USA

"Adebanwi and Obadare, two of the leading lights of a new generation of African social scientists, have skillfully assembled an intergenerational mix of long-term students of politics, economy, and society in contemporary Nigeria that will offer readers considerable food for thought about the history of the organization and use of power and resources in Africa's most populous country. Their contribution, as much for the quality of the arguments marshaled as for the variety and cogency of issues covered, will make this book a compulsory companion for all those interested in gaining a more robust understanding of the dynamics that have combined together over the years to make Nigeria continuously under-perform at huge cost to itself and, indeed, all of Africa." - Adebayo Olukoshi, Director, UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP)

"Drawing in diverse ways upon Richard Joseph's seminal treatment of prebendalism, the contributors to this excellent volume illuminates the contradictions of 'really existing' democracy in Nigeria and its many predatory aspects. An invaluable guide to postcolonial Nigeria, the book is a major contribution to understanding African politics more broadly." - Crawford Young, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA

"The contributors to this volume use the prism of prebendalism to look at the permanent struggle in Nigeria over access to public resources, which structures the way Nigerians perceive citizenship, shapes the country's complex and sometimes contentious ethnic dynamics, and contributes to growing social inequality." Nicolas van de Walle, Foreign Affairs