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'What Will Stop Nigeria From Breaking Up'- US Former Ambassador Reveals

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John Campbell, former United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria in an interview with Punch reporter on Saturday said the only thing that can keep Nigeria together is the choices made her citizens because the country faces formidable challenges that will either make or break it. 
The former ambassador, who made the assertion in his book titled: Nigeria: Dancing on the Brink, said his perception about the country had not changed, rather the challenges of the country has become more pronounced than they were before the Boko Haram insurrection began in the North.    
Speaking further on Nigeria exhibiting symptoms of a failing/fragile state, he said the country’s political life is also unsettled by the approach of the 2015 elections, especially as the ruling party has not yet presented a candidate although most observers expect that the president will seek re-election, while the opposition party seems not to have gotten a consensus presidential candidate.
When asked if the situation in Nigeria had gone from bad to worse since he wrote the book, he stated that the challenges Nigeria faces at the moment are considerable and differ somewhat from four years ago when the book was written, adding that if he was to revise the book again he would have paid more attention to the problems of corruption. He described as mind-boggling how millions of dollars go missing, and recalled the allegation made by the former Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Lamido Sanusi, who claimed that an estimated at $10 billion, $20 billion and $50 billion is unaccounted for.
According to him, there are different types of corruption in Nigeria. He said there is petty corruption as exhibited by the Nigerian policemen, while the other instance is when a civil servant insists on being paid to perform a service which is supposed to be free of charge, noting that this type of corruption will be very difficult to deal with because it will require a massive restructuring of salaries paid to public servants. He said there is the corruption where millions of dollar go missing through rigging of contracts, money laundering or oil bunkering. 
Campbell, however, revealed that the focus of his controversial book was to serve as a message to the American people on how vastly important Nigeria is to America. He stressed that Nigeria’s huge challenges must be addressed. He listed the confluence of Boko Haram, upcoming 2015 elections and the epidemic of ethnic clashes as factors that leave it ‘dancing on the brink.’
John Campbell who has been actively following the happenings in the country is acting director of the Office of the Historian within the Department of State. He was appointed to the position in June 2009. He served as the United States Ambassador to Nigeria from May 20, 2004 to November 1, 2007.

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