In a country of more than 250 different ethnic groups, only the three most populous are considered to hold any meaningful political influence: the Hausa-Fulani 29%, Yoruba 21%, and Igbo (Ibo) 18%.

Of the three, the Hausa-Fulani – an ethnic designation in Nigeria that includes the separate Hausa and the Fulani ethnic groups – has emerged the most politically dominant since Nigeria's independence in 1960. In contemporary Nigeria, the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups – which are both predominantly Muslim – have become so closely related that they are often depicted as one single “Hausa-Fulani” ethnic group, particularly when it comes to politics (Quartz, 12.02.2018).

While the Hausa-Fulani are indeed the most populous ethnic group in Nigeria, it is their geographical position, and dominance across most of Nigeria’s northern states, that has enabled them to have maintained – either directly or indirectly – effective influence over political power in the country.

As noted throughout this analysis, while regionally-focused, the influence of this group of political elites tends to predominantly play out nationally. Ultimately, gaining insight into who these Hausa-Fulani power players are – and the status that they hold in Nigeria – will promote an understanding of the country’s business environment.