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.
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.
For many Nigerians, their state governors matter more to their daily life than the president or parliamentarians.
Stakes in Tuesday's state governors races are high, both for incumbents who want to hold onto their lucrative seats and for opposition challengers.
Rioting broke out Monday after it became clear that Goodluck Jonathan had won the presidency, underscoring a deep regional divide between northern Muslim voters and southern Christians.
Although Nigeria's general election isn't until April, gubernatorial elections and an upcoming presidential primary are generating early excitement and sometimes tension.
Nigeria President Umaru Yar'Adua returned to his country after nearly three months of medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, but he is not yet well enough to lead. Vice President Goodluck Jonathan is still in charge – for now.
Chevron has evacuated hundreds of employees from the oil-rich region of Nigeria after a string of attacks on oil pipelines.
MEND militants have united against foreign oil interests in the wake of a military crackdown.