An article published this May in the Foreign Affairs journal provoked heated debates about whether Nigeria is a failed state.

Professor Nic Cheeseman, who is an acquaintance going back a decade ago when I consulted and wrote on EU-Kenya development cooperation, co- authored the article. His collaborator, Fola Aina, is a doctoral fellow at King’s College London. Their article is provocatively titled “Don’t call Nigeria a failed state”.

Having given five public addresses these past 14 months or so since Covid-19 cases were first reported in Nigeria in March 2020, their theme naturally piqued my interest. In each of those speaking engagements, I had found myself offering an unusual disclaimer – that I have spent much of my two decades plus career in African Security, Development and Governance dispelling the notion that Nigeria is a failed state.