Nigeria relies almost exclusively on its energy sector for export earnings and 75 percent of federal government revenue, Graeber writes, but a long record of corruption, militancy and banditry has clouded Nigeria's oil prospects.
The violence seen in the lead-up to the gubernatorial election could be just the beginning of trouble in the Niger Delta, says guest blogger Alex Thurston.
Group known for bombing oil pipelines has allegedly returned to the Niger Delta, just in time for Saturday's gubernatorial elections in President Goodluck Jonathan's home state.
Concern is growing that the Boko Haram militant group in Nigeria is linked to Al Qaeda and Al Shabaab as part of a coordinated Islamist terrorist threat in Africa. But most often, the reasons for the group's attacks are local.
The Nigerian government's strategy for dealing with Boko Haram is based on its experience with militants in the Niger Delta, but Boko Haram's different grievances means those tactics may not work.
The independence day attacks in Nigeria by the Niger Delta rebel group MEND is prompting a reexamination of whether current strategies to end the violence are working.
Critics claim the arrest of media mogul Raymond Dokpesi, the director of opposition presidential candidate Ibrahim Babangida's campaign, was politically motivated.