01 April 2014
Violence continued in NE: some 200 civilians killed in Boko Haram (BH) attacks including 91 in Maiduguri and Mainok, Borno State, 1 March; 29 killed 2 March in Mafa, Borno Sta ...
Nigeria’s April elections may have broken somewhat its cycle of deeply flawed polls, but the country still must meet many and daunting challenges to ensure a stable and democratic future.
Despite some encouraging preparations, huge challenges remain in the short weeks before the April general elections at which Nigeria’s international reputation and faith in its own democracy are at stake.
Nigeria’s far north is not the hot bed of Islamic extremists some in the West fear, but it needs reinforced community-level peacebuilding, a more subtle security response, and improved management of public resources lest lingering tensions lead to new violence.
The report of the government-constituted Technical Committee on the Niger Delta, submitted to Nigeria’s President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on 1 December 2008, offers an opportunity to reduce violent conflict significantly and begin longer-term regional development in the oil-rich region.
The Nigerian government’s 4 June 2008 decision to replace the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) as operator of oil concessions in Ogoni areas offers an opportunity for ending one of the longest-running conflicts between a multinational oil company and a local community in the Niger Delta.
The Niger Delta is again at risk of sliding into chaos. The 29 May 2007 inauguration of new federal and state governments offered an opportunity to resolve longstanding conflicts afflicting the oil-rich, deeply impoverished region.
Nigeria’s democracy is in crisis. The April 2007 elections were supposed to move the country to a higher rung on the democratisation ladder, create a more conducive environment to resolve its many internal conflicts and strengthen its credentials as a leading peacemaker, but instead generated serious new problems that may be pushing it further towards the status of a failed state.
Nigeria’s democracy faces a crucial test. Presidential, parliamentary and state gubernatorial and assembly elections scheduled for 14 and 21 April 2007 are not a routine quadrennial ritual. Success would offer the country the first opportunity to achieve a genuine constitutional succession from one civilian administration to another since independence in 1960, thus consolidating democracy.
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