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Vol 40 No 5

Published 5th May 1999


Nigeria

Soldier go, soldier come

President-elect Obasanjo's greatest challenge will be his plans to reform the military and end the putschist mentality

The Nigerian conundrum - ‘it takes a soldier to end army rule’ - is to be tested again. General Olusegun Obasanjo, the choice of most army officers and the Western powers, was dubbed PDP (Pre-Determined President) - the acronym of his People’s Democratic Party. The 27 February presidential election indeed had a pre-determined feel to it (see Box). But that’s not entirely surprising when Obasanjo faced an improbable coalition of erstwhile supporters of 1993 poll winner Moshood Abiola in the Alliance for Democracy and the All People’s Party (dubbed the Abacha People’s Party because so many of the late dictator’s acolytes had joined it). Within hours of his victory, Obasanjo started choosing the transition committee which is to handle policy and appointments up to the formal handover to civilian rule on 29 May. His hotel suite in Abuja has been overflowing with well-wishers and office-seekers.

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