For almost three decades, oil has provided Nigeria with earnings surpassing most other African countries. Such good fortune, in combination with other resources, including a population of nearly 100 million, has contributed to a national sense of importance and destiny. Nevertheless, these aspirations of grandeur have been consistently and perhaps cruelly undermined by a myriad of domestic and external factors.In this book, Steven Wright explores a wide range of issues that have arisen since Nigerian independence in 1960, and also seeks to explain the policies and pitfalls of successive military and civilian governments. Two key themes underpin and bring focus to the text, namely Nigeria’s dual struggles for stability and status. Taking into consideration that military governments have held power in Nigeria for all but four years since 1966, the book offers a critical examination of the permutations of government since 1960 and the social, political, and economic factors influencing events. In addition, Wright provides an assessment of current efforts to re-civilianize and (re)democratize the country.The struggle for status is a more subtle issue, centering on Nigeria’s pursuit of recognition as the “leader” of Africa. An analysis of the country’s foreign policy and position within the international system illuminates the difficulties in achieving this aspiration. The author explores these and other critical themes, providing a clear understanding of Nigerian political economy since 1960 and the challenges Nigeria faces in the closing years of this century.