In Run-up to April Polls, It’s Politics and Mayhem as Usual in Nigeria

In Run-up to April Polls, It’s Politics and Mayhem as Usual in Nigeria

Nigeria is preparing for elections in April that it hopes will burnish its reputation as a democratic, diplomatic and economic leader on the continent, able to handle the multitude of ethnic, religious and class tensions that threaten Africa's most populous nation and its place as the world's sixth largest producer of oil.

But in promoting an obscure northern governor as his successor and using Nigeria's anti-graft commission as a weapon against political rivals, outgoing President Olusegun Obasanjo may be tarnishing both his legacy and the country's progress, underscoring the perception of Nigeria as the world's reigning kleptocracy and risking an explosive reaction by the ethnic militias wreaking havoc in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The release last week of a list of 135 candidates for national and state office considered "unfit" for public office by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission only ramped up accusations about the political motivations of the commission and reinforced contentions that Obasanjo will stop at nothing to ensure he retains his power and influence.

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