Political Economy of Resource Curse and Dialectics of Crude Oil Dependency in Nigeria

Isa Mohammed, Nsemba Edward Lenshie


This paper explores the political economy of resource curse with the view of appreciating the development challenges caused by crude oil dependency in Nigeria. Relying on the systematic analysis of secondary data, it posits that Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, a major oil producer and one of the leading member of OPEC, since the discovery of crude oil, have been awash with petrodollar but without sustainable development and industrialization. The problem attributed to the challenges is the crude oil dependent and rentier economic structure of Nigeria, where crude oil surpluses were misappropriated by the successive governments. To unravel the dialectics of crude oil dependency from a resource curse perspective, the paper argues that crude oil discovery and the oil boom of the 1970s and 1990s rather than bringing about meaningful development, under ‘right-talk’ led to a series of agitations and violence in the Niger Delta region. To mitigate the challenges of resource curse arising from crude oil dependency in Nigeria, the paper pragmatically recommends the diversification of the economy, transparency and accountability in government, the establishment of sovereign welfare fund and the restructuring of federalism.


Resource curse; Oil dependency; Corruption; Niger delta; Nigeria

Full Text:



Agbo, U. J., & Lenshie, N. E. (2010). Democratic governance and identity revivalism in Nigeria. Journal of Identity, Culture and Politics: An Afro-Asian Dialogue, 11(1), 55-71.

Aigbokhan, B. E. (2008). Growth, inequality, and poverty in Nigeria. ACGS/MPAMS Discussion Paper No.3. Retrieved 2016, November 21 from http://uneca.org/acgd/mdgs/GrowthInequalityPoverty.pdf

Ajaero, C. (2009). Nigeria’s lost trillions. Newswatch Exclusive, (9), 12-21.

Ake, C. (1985). The political economy of Nigeria. London: Longman.

Amune, A. P. (2013). Oil exploration and politics of Niger delta militants amnesty programme in Nigeria, 2009-2013 (M.Sc. Thesis). Department of Political Science, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Auty, R. (1993). Sustaining development in mineral economies: The resource curse thesis. London: Routledge.

Auty, R. (2004). Natural resources and civil strife: A two-stage process. Geopolitics, 9(1), 29-49.

Barongo, J. R. (1980). Understanding African politics: The Political Economy Approach. In A. I. Gambari (Ed.), The responsibilities of political and other sciences in Nigeria. Department of Political Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.

Beblawi, H., & Luciani, G. (1987). The Rentier state. London: Croom Helm.

Beblawi, H. (1990). Rentier state in the Arab world. In G. Luciani (Ed.), The Arab states. London: Routledge.

Central Bank of Nigeria. (2008). Annual statistical bulletin. In G. Jubilee (Ed.). Abuja: CBN.

Central Bank of Nigeria. (2010). Annual report and statement of accounts. Abuja: CBN.CIA World Fact Book. Retrieved 2016, November 21 from http://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ni.html#top

Collier, P. (2007). The bottom billion: Why the poor countries are failing and what can be done about it. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Collier, P. (2008). Laws and codes for the resource curse. Human Rights & Development Journal, 11, 9-28.

Di John, J. (2007). Oil abundance and violent political conflict: A critical assessment. Journal of Development Studies, 43(6), 961-986.

Di John, J. (2011). Is there really a resource curse? A critical survey of theory and evidence. Global Governance: A Review of Multilateralism and International Organizations, 17(2), 164-184.

Di John, J. (2016). The “resource curse”: Theory and evidence. Elcano: Royal Institute of International and Strategic Studies. Retrieved 2016, July 25 fromhttp://www.realinstitutoelcano.org/wps/portal/web/rielcano_en/contenido?WCM_GLOBAL_CONTEXT=/elcano/elcano_in/zonas_in/sub-saharan+africa/ari172-2010

Drazen, A. (2002). Political economy in Macro economics. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.

Editorial. (2016, June 21). Addressing the Niger Delta crisis. ThisDay, p.15.

Ferguson, J. (2005). Seeing like an oil company: Space, security, and global capital in Neoliberal Africa. African Anthropologist, 107(3), 377-382.

Gutkind, P., & Wallerstein, I. (1976). The political economy of contemporary Africa. London: Sage.

Humphreys, M. (2007). Escaping the resource curse. Columbia: Columbia University Press.

Idemudia, U, & Ite, U. E. (2006). Demystifying the Niger Delta conflict: Towards an integrated explanation. Review of African Political Economy, 33(109), 391-406.

Ifesinachi, K., & Anichie, E. D. (2014). Oil joint venture partnerships and Nigerian economy. University of Nigeria Journal of Political Economy, 7(1&2), 1-24.

Ikelegbe, A. (2006). The economy of conflicts in the oil-rich Niger delta region of Nigeria. Africa and Asian Studies, 5(1), 23-56.

Jega, A. M. (2007). Democracy, good governance and development in Nigeria. Ibadan: Spectrum Publishers.

Jega, A. M. (Ed.). (2000). Identity transformation and identity politics under structural adjustment in Nigeria. Sweden: Nordic Africa Institute.

Karl, L. T. (1997). The paradox of plenty: Oil booms and Petro state. California: University of California Press.

Kendhammer, B. (2015). Getting our piece of the national cake: Consociational power sharing and Neopatrimonialism in Nigeria. Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, 21, 143-165.

Luqman, S., & Lawal, F. M. (2011). The political economy of oil and reform process in Nigeria’s Fourth Republic: Success and continue challenges. Journal of Arts, Science and Commerce, 2(2), 59-76.

Mahdavy, H. (1970). The patterns and problems of economic development in the Rentier states: The case of Iran. In M. A. Cook (Ed.), Studies in economic history of Middle East. London: Oxford University Press.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. (2004). Oil industry handbook and directory. Abuja.

Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation. (2008). Annual statistical bulletin. Abuja.

Nwosu, A. B. C. (2000). The politics of ethnicity and religion in Nigeria: Time for a change of focus and group, the political philosophy of the Obasanjo Presidency. A paper presented on the occasion of 30th Founders Day Lecture. University of Benin, Benin City. 22 November.

Nwozor, A. (2010). A delta of Minefield: Oil resource conflict and the politics of amnesty in Nigeria. Conflict Trends, 1, 31-32.

Obi, C., & Rustad, S. (2011). Oil and insurgency in the Niger delta: Managing the complex politics of petro-violence. Zed Publishers Ltd.

Obi, C. (2010). Oil as the “curse” of conflict in Africa: Peering through smoke and mirrors. Review of African Political Economy, 37(126), 483-495.

Odukoya, A. (2006). Oil and sustainable development in Nigeria: A case of study the Niger delta. Journal of Humanity & Ecology, 20(4), 249-258.

Odularu, G. O. (2008). Crude oil and the Nigerian economic performance. Oil and Gas Business. Retrieved 2016, May 22 from http://www.ogbus.ru/eng

Okonta, I., & Oronto, D. (2003). Where vultures feast: Shell, human right and oil. Verso.

Onuoha, F. C. (2008). Poverty, pipeline vandalisation/explosion and human security: Integrating disaster management into poverty reduction in Nigeria. African Security Review, 15(2), 109-111.

Osaghae, E. (2015). Resource curse or resource blessing: The case of the Niger-Delta oil republic in Nigeria. Commonwealth and Comparative Politics, 53(2), 1-21.

Oxfam. (2009). Lifting the resource curse: How poor can and should benefit from the revenues of extractive industries. Briefing Paper 134, December.

Richard, J. (1987). Democracy and prebendal politics in Nigeria: The rise and fall of the Second Republic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ross, M. (1999). The political economy of the resource curse. World Politics, 15, 297-322.

Ross, M. (2001). Does oil hinder democracy? World Politics, 53, 325-361.

Ross, M. (2004). What do we know about natural resources and civil war. Journal of Peace Research, 41(3), 337-356.

Ross, M. (2006). A closer look at oil, diamonds, and civil war. Annual Review of Political Science, 9, 265-300.

Ross, M. (2008). Blood barrels: Why oil fuel conflict. Foreign Affairs, 87(3), 2-9.

Rosser, A. (2006). The political economy of the resource curse: A literature review. Working Paper 268. Brighton: Institute of Development Studies.

Sachs, J., & Warner, A. (2001). The curse of natural resources. European Economic Review, 45, 827-838.

Shell. (2005). Information handbook. Nigeria: Shell Petroleum Development Company.

Stiglitz, J. E. (2007). Making globalisation work. New York: Norton and Company Inc.

Sunusi, L. S. (2010). Growth prospect for the Nigerian economy. A Convocation Lecture Delivered at the Igbinedion University Eight Convocation Ceremonies, Okada on November 26th, 2010.

Ucha, C. (2010). Poverty in Nigeria: Some dimensions and contributing factors. Global Majority E-Journal, 1(1), 46-56.

Ugwu, A., & Okoli, A. C. (2014). Political exclusion and conflict in Nigeria: Understanding indigene-settler question. Taraba Journal of Political Science and International Relations, 1(1), 181-201.

Ukiwo, U. (2007). From pirate to militants: A historical perspective on anti-state and anti-oil company mobilization among Ijaw of Warri, Western Niger Delta. African Affairs, 106(425), 587-610.

Watts, M. (2004). Resource curse? Governmentality, oil and power in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. Geopolitics, 9(1), 50-80.

Watts, M. (2007). Petro-insurgency or criminal syndicate? Conflict and violence in the Niger delta. Review of African Political Economy, 24(114), 637-660.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968/9631


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2017 Isa Mohammed, Nsemba Edward Lenshie

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Share us to:   


  • How to do online submission to another Journal?
  • If you have already registered in Journal A, then how can you submit another article to Journal B? It takes two steps to make it happen:

1. Register yourself in Journal B as an Author

  • Find the journal you want to submit to in CATEGORIES, click on “VIEW JOURNAL”, “Online Submissions”, “GO TO LOGIN” and “Edit My Profile”. Check “Author” on the “Edit Profile” page, then “Save”.

2. Submission

  • Go to “User Home”, and click on “Author” under the name of Journal B. You may start a New Submission by clicking on “CLICK HERE”.

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; ibm@cscanada.net; ibm@cscanada.org

 Articles published in International Business and Management are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 (CC-BY).


Address: 9375 Rue de Roissy Brossard, Québec, J4X 3A1, Canada 
Telephone: 1-514-558 6138 
Website: Http://www.cscanada.net Http://www.cscanada.org 

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Research & Development Centre of Sciences and Cultures