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Vol 39 No 13

Published 26th June 1998


Abubakar meets Abiola

After releasing some political prisoners and negotiating with the gaoled winner of the 1993 elections, Abuja breaks the political ice

For a regime which proclaims continuity with its predecessor, the new order in Abuja under General Abdulsalaam Abubakar is making some major changes to the political script written by the late Gen. Sani Abacha’s advisors. On 22 June, government sources in Abuja were insisting that substantive talks with the gaoled winner of the 1993 elections, Moshood Abiola, were proceeding. The aim was to agree a formula for his release. This would follow the release of 14 political prisoners in the previous week and promises of more to come. But at least one leading member of Abiola’s family remained sceptical about the politician’s unconditional release: ‘He won a national election and spent four years in gaol - he must take the ultimate decision on his mandate,’ Africa Confidential was told. Meanwhile, a New York debt trader said, ‘There’s nothing like an Abiola release story to push up the value of Nigeria’s Brady Bonds’.

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