Nigeria has been considered a subregional power because of the reputation it earned in West Africa and has succeeded to maintain its status as a power broker because of the crafty way it has used in dealing with existing differences between the Anglophone and Francophone states and the conflicts between them. Nigeria is now being consulted by member states with matters pertaining to economic, political and military problems. It has helped finance and sustained ECOWAS (Economic Organisation of West African States) and the member states, making the environment more peaceful and the region to survive the adversities. (Fleshman 2001, p. 3)
The United States consider Nigeria of strategic significance. the multinationals consider it very important to their business. The U.S. government feels this importance because of Nigeria’s energy reserves and geographic position. Nigerian oil reserve is so large that the world is shifting to this kind of crude. Added to this is the quality of Nigeria’s crude which can be easily refined into gasoline. Moreover, Nigeria is much nearer than the Middle East to the United States, making shipping a bit cheaper. Because of these factors, the U.S. government considers Nigeria a political friend. In 2007, the U.S. government established a special military command, the AFRICOM, to improve security in Nigeria and in the African continent. (Peel 2010, p. 6)
Ethnic rivalries and conflicts dominate the Nigerian political scene and a source of concern. The ethnic group Ibo attempted secession from the eastern portion of Nigeria in the 1960s while the Yoruba ethnic group wanted secession from the western portion. From the north are ethnic groups Hausa and Fulani.