An extensive investigation by ThisDay news has revealed that the alleged prediction by the United States that Nigeria would break up in 2015 is totally false.
The “prediction” was purely scenario painting by individual analysts ‘without the endorsement of the American government’.
The document predicting Nigeria’s impending doom is a 17-page discussion paper entitled: “Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa’s Future”, a copy of which ThisDay News possesses.
Government officials in Nigeria even criticized the United States for allegedly predicting Nigeria’s breakup come 2015.
Not even the intervention, last February, by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Terence McCauley, that it was not the US government that made that projection, could put to rest the prevailing view that US had predicted that Nigeria would be a failed state in 2015.
According to ThisDay news, the document was released in March 2005 after a one-day conference convened by National Intelligence Council (NIC) two months earlier, where top US experts on Sub-Saharan Africa discussed likely trends in the region over the next 15 years.
“Mapping Sub-Saharan Africa’s Future” report was based on a lot of assumptions contrary to the popular opinion in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s breakup was predicated on the possibility of a coup by junior military officers – clearly an individual opinion held by one of the discussants.
It says: “Other potential developments might accelerate decline in Africa and reduce even our limited optimism. The most important would be the outright collapse of Nigeria.
“While currently Nigeria’s leaders are locked in a bad marriage that all dislike but dare not leave, there are possibilities that could disrupt the precarious equilibrium in Abuja.
“The most important would be a junior officer coup that could destabilise the country to the extent that open warfare breaks out in many places in a sustained manner.”
The report then warned on the risk to West Africa if Nigeria were to fail as a state, without actually saying the country was going to fail.
It says: “If Nigeria were to become a failed state, it could drag down a large part of the West African region.
“Even state failure in small countries such as Liberia has the effect of destabilising entire neighborhoods. If millions were to flee a collapsed Nigeria, the surrounding countries, up to and including Ghana, would be destabilised.
“Further, a failed Nigeria probably could not be reconstituted for many years if ever and not without massive international assistance.”
ThisDay also came across other reports commissioned by the NIC prior to and after the 2005 conference report on Africa’s future view with Nigeria as a key country in the region beyond 2015.
In the unclassified report by the NIC titled, “Global Trend 2015: A Dialogue about the Future with Non-governmental Experts”, which was released in December 2000, it was recorded that:
“South Africa and Nigeria, the continent’s largest economies, will remain the dominant powers in the region through 2015.
“But their ability to function as economic locomotives and stabilisers in their regions will be constrained by large unmet domestic demands for resources to stimulate employment, growth, and social services, including dealing with AIDS.”
Putting both reports in context, the Global Trend 2015, which did not carry NIC’s disclaimer, is the product of its close collaboration with US government specialists and a wide range of experts outside government over a period of 15 months.
There is also an unclassified report titled, “Global Trend 2010”, released in November 1997, which projected then that, “Nigeria’s economic mismanagement, corruption, and political instability will not be resolved over the next 15 years.”
However, one notable aspect of the 2005 conference report on Africa is that of terrorism. Its reads:
“Given that significant portions of Africa, those areas outside the nations’ capitals, will essentially be ungoverned, there will be many opportunities for terrorist groups that threaten the West to seek haven across the continent.
“…those terrorists groups seeking sanctuary for their fugitive principals or who want to hide dangerous weapons may find the distant regions of some African countries inviting precisely because they are unlikely to be interrupted by government.
“Indeed, an overwhelming majority of terrorism in Africa will be caused by indigenous groups waging war against their own or neighbouring governments or against other population groups, defined by religion or ethnicity.”
There couldn’t have been a more definite projection of the current security challenges confronting Nigeria and some African countries.
Point of note is that some of the media reports on the issue at the time – most of which were short in details – and subsequent media reports, erroneously attributed it to the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).