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Published 7th March 2003

Vol 44 No 5


Nigeria

Outgunning the opposition

Shaky administration and growing political violence threaten the credibility of April's national elections

The political scene has been ominously quiet as several constitutional issues rumble. The most serious is whether the 18 April presidential election can be held within President Olusegun Obasanjo's mandate. The defeated aspirant for the ruling party's nomination, Alex Ekwueme, has launched a series of legal challenges to Obasanjo's candidacy; the Independent National Election Commission (INEC) has approved only a fraction of the candidates for elections at local, state and national level (AC Vol 44 No 3). Perhaps most damning, diplomatic sources described the electoral register compiled last September as 'about 50 per cent accurate'. The latest register, revamped in January, is said to be an improvement but has just under 67 million names on it. Given a median age of 15, that would give Nigeria a population of well over 140 mn., compared to United Nations and World Bank calculations of under 130 mn. Expect to hear accusations of millions of missing names and millions more inserted to favour the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP).


The battle in the states

The ruling PDP's grip on the state governors is under attack from all sides

Nigeria's 36 state governors have proved a durable crowd. All but two of those elected in 1999 are to stand again for the same party in April's elections (AC Vol 43 No 25). All the...


Jacques is back

France's triumphal return to Africa is marred only slightly by the tricky problems it faces there

It was an impressive turnout. Forty-two heads of state or government braved the icy cold of Paris and its unlovely Porte Maillot conference centre for the biennial Franco-African ...


Poison and bankruptcy

Arresting the former President sets a precedent and splits the ruling party

The arrest of former President Frederick Chiluba on 24 February, to face 66 charges of corruption, will make a lot of African leaders even keener to hold on to their jobs. It could...



Pointers

Playing by the rules

After ten years of neglect, the United Nations arms embargo on Somalia is finally seeing action. The embargo was introduced in January 1992 but only last year did the UN attempt to...


Bum steer

The National Islamic Front government aims to persuade the West it holds the smoking gun on Iraq, we hear. To attack President Saddam Hussein, the United States and Britain despera...


Minister in peril

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika basks in the glow of an unprecedented visit from French President Jacques Chirac, welcomed as a hero on 2-4 March after his standoff with the United ...


Royal echoes

The last Ethiopian leader to visit Britain was Haile Selassie in 1972. Last month, Premier Meles Zenawi also laid a wreath on the grave of a nineteenth-century Ethiopian prince in ...