Nigeria: completing Obasanjo's legacy

Type Journal Article - Journal of democracy
Title Nigeria: completing Obasanjo's legacy
Volume 17
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2006
Page numbers 100-115
Time and again, observers of Nigeria’s politics have predicted—so far
incorrectly—the nation’s ineluctable demise. Recently, this multiethnic
country has been coping with intense political strains, including vexatious
issues of presidential tenure and entitlement to that office.
In Nigeria, presidential elections are the main events of extended
electoral exercises that involve voting to fill the bicameral national
assembly, the 36 state legislatures, and the corresponding gubernatorial
offices required by Nigeria’s federal system. The electoral sequences of
1999 and 2003 were monitored by external as well as domestic observers,
who voiced scathing criticisms of electoral malpractice. Yet the Nigerian
public was willing to live with the results of both sets of elections.1
The great game of politics in Nigeria is perilously rough and at times
lawless, but one constitutional rule in particular has had broad support:
The president and the governors are all limited to two terms in office.
As president since 1999, former general Olusegun Obasanjo has burnished
his legacy of engagement in two transitions from military dictatorship
to constitutional government (in 1979 as retiring head of state
and in 1999 as a presidential candidate) by affirming his resolute opposition
to militarism as a form of government. To that end, he has raised
the level of military professionalism, stressed a zero-tolerance policy
toward would-be putschists in the armed forces, and overseen an administration
that has taken the lead in delegitimizing military coups and
restoring democratic governments elsewhere in Africa.2
The president
has also steered Nigeria toward greater macroeconomic stability and
has won international acclaim for his fight against endemic corruption

Related studies