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Published 31st August 2001

Vol 42 No 17


Northern Lights

The north wants to rule again but its two strongest candidates are deadly rivals

General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida is once more at the centre of Nigerian politics. As he celebrated his 60th birthday in Saudi Arabia on 17 August, many northern Nigerians were asking him to run for the national leadership, to reverse what they see as the region's marginalisation under the southern President, Olusegun Obasanjo. 'IBB' is the wealthiest and probably the most influential of the six northern leaders who wish to restore the region's political dominance. Babangida's wife, Maryam Babangida, had planned a grand birthday at the family mansion in Minna, Niger State. This was reluctantly abandoned when her husband judged a star-studded party provocative. It would have played badly in the newspapers, which report growing demands for Babangida to appear before the Chukwuifudu Oputa Panel (AC Vol 42 No 15) to respond to allegations of involvement in the murder of journalist Dele Giwa in October 1986. Friends and business associates confirm that Babangida is considering running for the presidency. The question is when. In 2003, he would almost certainly be up against Obasanjo, who would enjoy the advantages of incumbency and the machinery of the People's Democratic Party which, though unimpressive, is much stronger than those of the rivals, the Alliance for Democracy and the All People's Party. Obasanjo could hardly match IBB's war chest; he is not rich as Nigerian politicians go, yet his re-election campaign will surely raise the necessary naira.

Shariacracy on trial

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The adoption of Sharia hasn't reduced crime and corruption

Nigerian advocates of Sharia – governance according to the norms, principles and rules laid down by Islamic law – face a reckoning this year. The poverty and frustration that drive...

How Sharia spread

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North-west Nigeria, with probably more than 30 million people, is the country's most populous zone - overwhelmingly Muslim, with significant numbers of Christians only in southern ...

A sort of peace

The Mandela peace deal is better than none but its far from final

Regional peacemakers are now embroiled in the minutiae of the Arusha Accords on ending Burundi's eight-year civil war, amid general scepticism that the power-sharing agreement brok...

Reality checks

Party management, fighting recession and trying miscreants dominate the NPP agenda

Eight months into his first term, the glister is coming off John Agyekum Kufuor's presidency. Glad-handing his New Patriotic Party government and demonising the outgoing National D...


Next, please

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Birds of a feather

The leadership struggle in Britain's Conservative Party has an African dimension. After one of right-winger Iain Duncan Smith's backers was expelled last week from the party for al...

Long wait

The draft constitution gives the president full executive powers and two consecutive seven-year terms. President Denis Sassou-Nguesso (AC Vol 42 No 7) will refer it to the people t...