Lecture: Political Sharia? Islamic Authority, Prebendalism, and Governance in Northern Nigeria
Lecture by David Ehrhardt. Governance in Nigeria is commonly associated with oil rents, poor public services, and, above all, corruption. In this light, the re-introduction of sharia in northern Nigeria is often viewed cynically, as a self-serving attempt by religious and political elites to use the public’s religious sentiments to mobilise political support, without actually providing better governance. This lecture examines the development of Islamic authority and governance in the sharia era in northern Nigeria. It highlights that sharia implementation has indeed in some ways been cynically political; yet there are also instances in which it has created opportunities for governance reform and improved public service provision. This variation suggests important hypotheses about the conditions under which sharia can promote good governance.