Assistant Professorbook cover cropped
School of International Service, American University
Washington, D.C.
Telephone: (202) 885-2457

What are the conditions for good governance in Africa, and why do many democracies still struggle with persistent poverty? Drawing on a historical study of Nigeria since independence, my new book from Cambridge University Press  (pictured right) argues that the structure of the policy-making process explains variations in government performance better than other commonly cited factors, such as oil, colonialism, ethnic diversity, foreign debt, and dictatorships. I link the political structure of the policy process to patterns of government performance over half a century to show that the key factor is not simply the status of the regime as a dictatorship or a democracy, but rather it is the structure of the policy-making process by which different policy demands are included or excluded. But the number of political actors involved impacts these categories in different ways, generating a “Madisonian dilemma” that has important implications for African countries struggling with the institutional trade-offs presented by different regimes.

Meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in October 2013, to discuss US policy on human rights in Africa.

Meeting with Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, in October 2013, to discuss US policy on human rights in Africa.

Briefly, about me:
I teach courses on African politics, comparative politics, and political theory at American University in the Comparative and Regional Studies Program in the School of International Service. My research focuses on African political institutions, democratization, and political development.

I have provided analysis and commentary on Nigeria as a guest on the PBS Newshour, NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, MSNBC, Canadian TV, Al Jazeera, Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now! and other programs. I am active with the African Politics Conference Group, a professional association that organizes panels at the annual conferences of the African Studies Association, the American Political Science Association, and at other academic meetings. I frequently organize events for American University’s Africa Council.


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What are the effects of the Nigerian government’s counter-terrorism strategy towards Boko Haram?  Join the more than 1,300 people who have downloaded my 2013 essay, “Sectarian Rebellions in Post-Transition Nigeria Compared” in the Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding by clicking here.