Nigeria. In the spring, Nigeria made his first free elections under a twenty-year democratic rule. However, the elections were bordered by unrest and cheating and protests against the results.
In April, parliamentary elections were held in which the dominant People’s Democratic Party (PDP), led by President Olusegun Obasanjo, consolidated his position and gained his own majority in both chambers with 54% of the vote. In the Muslim dominated northern Nigeria, the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP) made a strong choice but did not succeed at all in the south. A benevolent analysis of the election results was that at least PDP did not rely on just a single ethnic group in the ethnically divided country. On the other hand, fears were heard that the election showed a deep divide between north and south.
According to Countryaah.com, Nigeria Independence Day is October 1. The May presidential election was essentially a fight between two former military dictators. Olusegun Obasanjo won over 60% of the votes against 31% for ANPP’s Muhammadu Buhari. The PDP also won 27 out of 36 governorships and dominated the state elections later in May. However, the local elections announced for June were postponed indefinitely with the explanation that the municipalities’ operations must first be reformed.
All year long, unrest was going on and off in the oil-rich Niger Delta. In March-April, violence between the ijaw and itsekiri groups led to the oil companies Shell, ChevronTexaco and TotalFinaElf stopping almost all production in the western Niger Delta, resulting in a loss of 800,000 barrels per day, corresponding to 40% of N’s total production. However, the conflict, due to rivalry over land rights, political influence and jobs, continued. In August, nearly 100 people were estimated to have been killed and thousands injured.
The Government’s decision in June to reduce subsidies on fuel by approximately SEK 16 billion. a year, to get money for health care and education, the gasoline price rose by over 50%. The public’s reaction became violent, and after a nine-day strike, the government agreed to a more limited reduction in subsidies.
A court case that has attracted worldwide attention saw a happy ending in September. At that time, an Islamic court in Katsina in the north 31-year-old Amina Lawal, who had been sentenced to death by stoning for having given birth to an extra-marital child, was acquitted. The acquittal was based on her not being given a fair chance to defend herself.
1979 Transition to “democracy”
A supreme military council replaced the government as the country’s highest political authority. Obasanjo prepared for the transition to civilian rule in October 1979, and it was the military council that in the autumn of 1978 approved the new constitution. A federal Election Commission allowed only 5 nationwide parties to participate in the election. They represented the traditional political and economic elite. The Commission excluded parties of socialist or revolutionary terms on the grounds that they would atomize the country’s politics. In the election, the largest parties became the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) with 25% of the vote and Nigeria’s United Party (UPN) with 20%.
After 13 years of military rule, a civilian president had been elected, but the new prime minister, Shehu Shagari, had a minority in both chambers of parliament. He now presented a plan for capitalist development based solely on profits from oil production with the perspective of making the country the most important development pole in sub-Saharan Africa. He promised to build a new capital, double the number of public school seats and secure self-sufficiency in food through a controversial ” green revolution “.
None of the promises came true. The economic indicators drew a bleak picture. Smuggling was on the rise, emigrants and poor peasants were living in cities, unemployment was rising, living standards were falling among the lowest-paid and the IMF was demanding refinancing of foreign debt. Shagari printed new elections and was re-elected with NPN, but with allegations of electoral fraud and military conspiracies.
Dozens killed in massacres in the northeast
At least 76 farm workers are killed on a rice field in northeastern Nigeria. According to reports, several of the victims were tied up and had their necks cut off. It is the deadliest attack on civilians in 2020. Many of those killed were contract workers who came to Borno State to harvest rice. Several other villages in the area are simultaneously attacked by armed men on motorcycles. The massacre occurs on the same day that delayed local elections are held in the state. Boko Haram has taken on the act, which the group says is revenge for one of its members dying after he was arrested by villagers and handed over to the authorities.
Several killed and kidnapped in attack on mosque
Armed thieves attack a mosque in the northwestern province of Zamfara. They kill 5 who have gathered for a prayer meeting and kidnap at least 18 others. According to the villagers, there are over 30 people being abducted, among them the village imam. The day before, jihadists attack a military convoy in northeastern Nigeria, killing 7 soldiers and 1 government ally militiaman. A few days earlier, the Nigerian military had killed several armed bandits in a bomb blast. The reason for the bombing is the escalation in the number of kidnappings and assaults that have taken place recently along the highway that connects the capital Abuja with the city of Kaduna.
Nigeria’s economy in recession
Nigeria, which along with South Africa is classified as Africa’s largest economy, has entered a recession. The reasons are low oil prices and the economic downturn in the corona pandemic. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicts that the country’s GDP will fall by 5.4 percent this year, while the government says that the setback could be even greater
Nigeria ratifies the world’s largest free trade agreement
The government ratifies the agreement on the African free trade area AFCFTA, which was formed in 2018 at a summit held by the African Union. AFCFTA member states promise to reduce trade tariffs by 90% within a five-year period from the entry into force of the agreement. Nigeria has long been hesitant about the agreement, arguing that it wanted to protect domestic production (see March 2018). Nigeria, along with South Africa, is Africa’s largest economy. In terms of number of countries, AFCFTA will be the largest trading bloc in the world. Due to the corona pandemic, the start date has been postponed until January 1, 2021. Eritrea is the only country that has not yet signed the agreement.
The state freezes the protesters’ assets
At the request of a federal court, Nigeria’s central bank is freezing the assets of some 20 protesters who were frontrunners in the protests against police brutality that swept across the country in October. A few days earlier, four protesters were arrested in the capital, Abuja. The detainees, along with several dozen others, had organized a protest march against police violence and abuse. Since security forces opened fire on protesters in Lagos in October, the storm of protest has subsided.
Boko Haram attack near Chibok
Book Haram kills twelve people and kills seven in an attack on a village near the town of Chibok in northeastern Nigeria. Dozens of houses are burned down and the group plunders the villages for food. Chibok is the city from which Boka Haram kidnapped 276 schoolgirls in 2014 (see Modern History). Armed local defense groups work in parallel with the country’s security forces to protect the civilian population. Since mid-October, more than 100 people, civilians and military, have been killed in northern Nigeria. Boko Haram and the West African province of the Islamic State (Iswap) are behind several of the attacks, while others can be traced to the struggle for land rights that has been going on between shepherds and farmers for over a decade. According to information to the news agency AFP, armed men have also kidnapped at least 52 people from a village in the northwest. The police state that there are significantly fewer people who have been kidnapped.