The All Nigeria People’s Party, the main opposition, chose Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim from the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group and a former army general who took power in a military coup in 1983, as its presidential candidate for elections in April 2007 after all six other contestants withdrew.
Nigeria’s troubled presidential election, which came under fire from local and international observers and was rejected by two leading opposition candidates, represents a significant setback for democracy in sub-Saharan Africa at a time when voters in countries across the continent are becoming more disillusioned with the way democracy is practiced.
The State Department spokesman, Sean McCormack, called the contest “a flawed election, and in some instances, deeply flawed.” Similarly, the election observer mission of the EU blasted the conduct of the election and questioned the legitimacy of the results.
His nearest rival, Muhammadu Buhari, a former military dictator, had less than one-fourth as many votes.
Defeated candidates prepared legal challenges in many races, arguing that the lack of organization by the nation’s Independent National Electoral Commission, vote rigging by party officials and the violence and intimidation that kept many voters from the polls were enough to annul the results in many races, including the presidential contest.
Election officials barred Mr. Abubakar, the sitting VP, from running because he was indicted on corruption charges by an administrative panel, but the Supreme Court ruled days before the election that he had been unlawfully removed.
Last-minute ballots were printed and distributed to include him, but the ballots showed only party symbols, not the names of candidates, and lacked serial numbers that help reduce fraud.
These irregularities are likely to figure prominently in legal challenges to the election.
Mr. Yar’Adua, a 56-year-old governor of the remote northern state of Katsina, had been a reclusive figure from a prominent political family.
Under the unwritten rules of Nigerian politics, which dictate that the presidency alternate between the north and south, a northern Muslim like Mr. Yar’Adua would undoubtedly replace Mr. Obasanjo, a Yoruba Christian from the southwest.
Late May 2007: Nigeria’s new president, Umaru Yar’Adua, took office in Abuja. After a history of military coups, Mr. Yar’Adua’s inauguration was the country’s first peaceful transition of power between civilians.
A panel of judges has upheld the election of President Umaru Yar’Adua of Nigeria, ruling that the evidence of ballot-box stuffing and phantom voting booths presented by two challengers in the race was not enough to overturn the outcome.
The two opposition candidates who brought the case, Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court , further extending a bitter legal fight over the nation’s contested elections.
The Nigerian courts have been flexing their muscles in recent months, overturning the elections of the Senate president, dozens of other lawmakers and seven governors due to corruption, but the ruling on the 2007 presidential election may have shown the limits of their reach.
Fourteen years after the execution of the Nigerian author and activist Ken Saro-Wiwa by Nigeria ’s former military regime, Royal Dutch Shell appeared before a federal court in New York to answer charges of crimes against humanity in connection with his death.
The trial would have examined allegations that Shell sought the aid of the former Nigerian regime in silencing Mr. Saro-Wiwa, a vociferous critic, in addition to paying soldiers who carried out human rights abuses in the oil-rich but impoverished Niger Delta where it operated.
The civil suit was brought by relatives of Mr. Saro-Wiwa and other victims of Nigeria’s former military regime, who are taking advantage of a Supreme Court decision that gives foreign victims of human rights abuses a measure of access to American courts. (1789 Alien Tort Claims Act).
The suit asserts that in the early 1990s, Shell became worried about Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s campaign to protest the impact of oil production throughout the Niger Delta.
The suit asserts that Shell feared Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s activities would disrupt its operations and tarnish its image abroad, and “sought to eliminate that threat, through a systematic campaign of human rights violations.”
Royal Dutch Shell agreed to pay $15.5 million to settle a case accusing it of taking part in human rights abuses in the Niger Delta in the early 1990s, a striking sum given that the company has denied any wrongdoing.
The settlement came days before the start of a trial in New York that was expected to reveal extensive details of Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta.
Shell continued to deny any role in the death. It called the settlement a “humanitarian gesture” meant to compensate the plaintiffs, including Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s family, for their loss and to cover a portion of their legal fees and costs.
Some of the money will go into an educational and social trust fund intended to benefit the Ogoni people.
The militants, from the delta's dominant Ijaw tribe, have attacked pipelines and captured four oil workers, demanding that the government release two of their jailed leaders and $1.5 billion from Shell, Nigeria's biggest oil producer.
Feb. 2006 The body of a Muslim victim of the violence lay outside a ruined mosque as a member of a local gang looked inside. Attacks on Muslims in the south of Nigeria followed attacks on Christians in the north.
Rioters killed scores of people, mostly Muslims, after burning their homes, businesses and mosques in the worst violence yet linked to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad first published in a Danish newspaper.
The violence in Nigeria began with attacks on Christians in the northern part of the country last week by Muslims infuriated over the cartoons.
Nigeria reached a deal with the Paris Club, which includes the United States, Germany, France and other wealthy nations, that allowed it to pay off about $30 billion in accumulated debt for about $12 billion, an overall discount of about 60 percent.
The government said it paid a final installment of $4.5 billion. It plans to use the money it saves to develop the country and reduce poverty.
Yet Nigeria had not been among the nations that have received write-offs or discounts on their debts, as several poor countries have.
In part that is because of its reputation for corruption, earned by a succession of military governments that plundered the state treasury, and because Nigeria, with its oil wealth, is seen as being able to pay.
What is the Corruption Perceptions Index? The TI Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) ranks countries in terms of the degree to which corruption is perceived to exist among public officials and politicians.
It is a composite index, drawing on corruption-related data in expert surveys carried out by a variety of reputable institutions.
It reflects the views of business people and analysts from around the world, including experts who are locals in the countries evaluated.
For the purpose of the CPI, how is corruption defined? The CPI focuses on corruption in the public sector and defines corruption as the abuse of public office for private gain.
The surveys used in compiling the CPI ask questions that relate to the misuse of public power for private benefit, with a focus, for example, on bribe-taking by public officials in public procurement.