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Yearbook 1998

Nigeria. All five parties nominated dictator Sani Abacha as their candidate in the August presidential election. However, all parties were pure puppets to the military junta, and interest in the parliamentary elections in April was very low.

1998 Nigeria

According to Countryaah, six men were sentenced in April to death for alleged coup attempt against Abacha. One of them was Junta's former second man Oladipo Diya.

In June, Abacha died suddenly of a heart attack during a meeting with three prostitutes. He was succeeded by Commander-in-Chief General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who promised democracy and released a number of political prisoners, including former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The hope was now that the imprisoned Moshood Abiola, who won the canceled presidential election in 1993, would also be released. However, in the middle of a meeting with a US government delegation, Abiola also suffered a heart attack and died quickly. The death led to severe unrest in the country, but a group of foreign court doctors found that Abiola had died a natural death.

Abubakar continued the cleansing after Abacha's disobedience. He disbanded all the institutions formed to lead the transition to civilian government according to Abacha's model, including the political parties. New parties could be formed and the unions regained their freedom. The six death sentences from April were converted to prison sentences. The new government tried to regain as much as possible of the billions Abacha destroyed.

The new social climate reduced Nigeria's insulation. The World Bank declared its readiness to grant new loans, the EU repealed most of its sanctions and the Commonwealth recommended reopened relations with Nigeria Nobel Laureate in Literature 1986, Wole Soyinka, returned from four years of exile after being cleansed of treason charges.

Local elections were held in December as a first step in the return to civilian rule in the spring of 1999. Of nine participating parties, three qualified for continued participation in the state and parliamentary elections. N's ethnic division means that only parties with strong roots in a large part of the country are allowed to run at national level.

Despite the hope of a brighter future for Nigeria, a tense situation prevailed in the oil-rich Niger Delta, where competition for gaining part of the oil income led to ethnic contradictions in several places. The worst was around the town of Warri, where the conflict between the ijaw and itsekiri groups demanded many deaths and led to severe disruptions in oil production.

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