Uncertainties about General Abacha's health have prompted a rush for oil profits
Nobody knows whether General Sani Abacha will take off his uniform and try to win an election as his own civilian successor in August 1998. Moreover, he may be suffering (depending on which rumour you listen to) from malaria, HIV, diabetes, kidney problems or cirrhosis of the liver; his television appearance on 1 October, Independence Day, was taken as a gesture to prove he was all right. Senior Nigerians who have recently met him report that he is indeed unfit but only his doctors and his immediate family know how unfit. If he were to get much worse, the transition process, already delayed, might grind to a halt.
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