Nigeria Briefing Paper

Two political parties were chosen to contest in

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Unformatted text preview: orces Ruling Council (AFRC). During his administration, he developed a plan for the return to civilian rule carefully controlled by the AFRC. Two political parties were chosen to contest in elections planned for 1993 (the National Republic Convention and the Social Democratic Party), and a new constitution was promulgated in 1992. He also increased the number of states from 19 to 30, mirroring Obasanjo’s hope that more states would result in less political clout for the main ethnic groups. Elections for a National Assembly and Senate were held in 1992, and presidential elections in 1993. The presumed victor of the presidential election, Chief Mashood Kastumawo Olawale Abiola, a Yoruba Muslim businessman, was never able to assume office since Babangida annulled the elections, citing electoral fraud as the reason. Many Nigerians took to the streets in cities across the country, and business leaders in Abiola’s home area in the west protested, further debilitating an already fragile economy. Babangida promised another round of elections but was forced to resign before they could occur. This aborted transition process is commonly referred to as the Third Republic. Nigeria Briefing Paper Copyright © 2005 by College Board. All rights reserved. Available at 17 The leader of a caretaker government, Ernest Shonekan (Christian from the Yoruba group), lasted for less than a year, since many saw him as a surrogate of the discredited Babangida regime. He resigned after only four months, transferring power to General Sani Abacha, who assumed control and removed all remnants of Babangida’s stillborn plan to reschedule democratic elections. In 1994, Abiola unilaterally declared himself president of a parallel government and promised new elections in 1996. He was quickly placed in detention, and he died in prison in 1998, still awaiting trial. Abacha’s years of military rule were no different from many of his predecessors, asserting military control by severely curtailing opposition political activities. He also attempted to reform the political system and tried to reverse the worsening economic conditions in the country. Abacha received widespread international condemnation for executing nine prominent human rights activists in the country in 1995. Among the nine who were killed was Nobel Prize candidate Ken Saro-Wiwa, known internationally for fighting on behalf of the Ogoni people, who lived amidst the country’s vast oil reserves but who benefited very little from this lucrative reservoir of “black gold.” Abacha withstood local and international condemnations until he died suddenly in office in 1998. He was replaced by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who quickly and successfully presided over democratic elections in 1999 that witnessed the return of Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo has been in power since then, winning reelection in contested elections in 2003 that paved the way for a second term. The Fourth Republic has had to deal with many of the challenges faced by previous democratically elected governments: religious and ethnic vi...
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This document was uploaded on 04/02/2013.

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