Jump to navigation

Published 7th February 2003

Vol 44 No 3


A victory for the generals

A soldier - serving or retired - will be running Nigeria by June after a hard fought election

Nigerians now have a choice of presidential candidates in the 19 April election which almost exactly reflects the nation's schisms and idiosyncrasies (AC Vol 43 No 25 & Vol 44 No 1). The four leading candidates in a field of 13 are all retired generals. The incumbent and former military head of state, Olusegun Obasanjo, is a proselytising evangelical Christian from the south-west. His most serious opponent, Muhammdu Buhari, is another former military head of state from the north-west and a fervent supporter of the Islamic (Sharia) criminal code and its penalties of amputation and stoning to death. From the east, come two more retired generals: former Biafra leader General Emeka Ojukwu is standing on an irredentist ticket. With stronger nationalist credentials but the least fancied of the quartet is Gen. Ike Nwachukwu, whose father is Igbo, mother is Hausa and wife, Yoruba. He speaks all three languages. Lurking in the background is another former military leader and probably the wealthiest man in the country, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, whose voting intentions are a matter of consuming national interest. However, in this political theatre, the voices of the growing civic organisations, human rights groups and trades unions have almost been completely marginalised. Nigerian politics is overwhelmingly an elite and money-centred pastime even if the parents of many of today's practitioners were themselves poor farmers.

Saving salvation

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

The NIF has won over Europeans and Arabs but US patience is wearing thin

The contrast could not have been starker. On 30 January, Vice-President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha opened the first stretch of a road to Ethiopia, dispatching 25 lorries of food to fam...

The oil offensive, continued

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

View site

As the Machakos talks stumble on, the National Islamic Front government's month-old offensive in Western Upper Nile (WUN) has occasioned only 'deep concern' from the United States....

Rebel forces, market forces

Côte d'Ivoire's civil war may have boosted cocoa prices but it has also closed the processing plants

Alongside Côte d'Ivoire's horrific descent into civil war has been the almost equally devastating economic fall out and its effects on lives and jobs. Several major factories have ...

Oiling the palm trees

Africa's latest oil state is learning the tricks of the multinational trade

The grand plan to reform Equatorial Guinea has hit the rocks. Companies operating in the world's fastest growing oil economy have stood back as President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbas...


No deal

France's efforts to impose a peace accord have failed. Côte d'Ivoire will now dominate the Franco-African summit in Paris on 19-21 February, far more than the controversial p...

Reluctant Herero

The campaign for a fourth, so far unconstitutional, five-year term for President Sam Nujoma is increasingly orchestrated. It ranges from support from an influential group of Herero...

Is Gato going?

General Paulo Lukamba Gato's announcement that he will not seek nomination as presidential candidate for the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola is at ...