With victory over Kenya secured a week earlier, and Namibia in disarray following the resignation of coach Roger Palmgren barely 48 hours before the match, Nigeria were expected to secure the three points that would push them over the line.
Desperate for goals, Stephen Keshi spent his final training sessions working on shooting practice, and dropped striker Brown Ideye for Anthony Ujah who had looked lively when he came on against Kenya.
And it looked like the move had paid off when the Eagles created an opening within the opening minutes.
But just like in the Kenya game, that chance was fluffed. It set the tone for the rest of the game, with Ahmed Musa, Nnamdi Oduamadi, Anthiny Ujah and John Mikel Obi all spurning good opportunities.
And they were soon made to pay the price when substitute Deon Hotto volleyed past Vincent Enyeama to give the hosts a shock lead.
Not that it lasted for long. Defender Godfrey Oboabona restored parity soon after with a superbly curled free-kick.
Nigeria pushed for a winner, but towards the end, Keshi settled for the point by shoring up his midfield with Fegor Ogude.
The result means Nigeria stay two points clear of Malawi, and only need a result in their final group game at home to Malawi to reach the final phase of qualifying.
It also takes Nigeria to 18 games unbeaten under Stephen Keshi.