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Obasanjo’s legacy

Is Nigeria a beacon of hope, or still mired in corruption and violence? As Africa's most populous country votes for a new president in April, what is the verdict on the two terms of my friend Olusegun Obasanjo?

By Jonathan Power   April 2007

The air is hot here in the busy market town of Awka in the far backyard of Nigeria. So is the talk, as happens at election time. Olusegun Obasanjo, the retiring president, and his chosen, would-be successor, Umaru Yar’Adua, are on a podium, surrounded by banner-waving enthusiasts. The crowd has been bussed in by the local churches, even though Yar’Adua is a devout Muslim from one of the ruling families of the north. Indeed, he is younger brother of the late Shehu Yar’Adua, a northern power-broker and deputy to Obasanjo when the latter was briefly military ruler in the late…

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