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Good luck Nigeria

Fifty years after independence, Africa’s most populous country is finally trying to clean up its act

By Richard Dowden   October 2010

Fifty years ago, on 1st October 1960, the word “freedom” dominated the pages of Nigeria’s Daily Times. It marked both independence from Britain and the wave of optimism then surging across Africa. “Two great assets we have inherited from the British: parliamentary democracy and the rule of law,” read the editorial. “We shall firmly uphold these principles… ”

Less than six years later the military took over, and ruled for most of the next 33 years. But looking back, it is amazing that Nigeria held together at all. Named in 1914 by the wife of Lord Lugard, the territory has…

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