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To say it simply, Nigeria is a truly unique country! From the Independence of Britain in the 60’s to the fight of oil, the corruption of the government, the people of Nigeria haven’t seen stability in some time. Finally in May of 2010 President Umaru Yar'Adua dies of illness and Vice president Goodluck Jonathon takes charge as acting president. Later in March 2011 Goodluck wins the presidential election and is to this day the acting president of Nigeria. However, when you look at Nigeria you must look past the 36 states that encompass I and look at the country as two half’s. Muslim power in the North and Christian power in the south is what divides the country and makes passing legislature a nightmare. As well with the election coming up the question that’s presented are, “Is it the North’s turn or is it’s the South’s.”

Now before we can figure out which side will win in 2015 we must step back and look at the beginning of the Nigerian Federation in 1963 and the former president Nnamdi Azikiwe. The first president of Nigeria, who rose from power after acting at Nigeria’s 3rd Governors General and first president of Nigeria’s Senate, He was raised in Northern Nigeria to a good family. After high school in Nigeria, he travelled to the United States and graduated college and a master’s program at University of Pennsylvania. After 30 or so years in America, Azikiwe came back to Nigeria and began writing for African Morning Post and then proceeded to create a new newspaper called the West African Post. These were the most influential times for Azikiwe because this was his way of connecting and understanding the people of Nigeria. In 1944 Azikiwe left the media industry and entered into the world of politics. In from there he took on such positions as Security-General in 46, Chief Minister in 52, Governor General in 60, and finally became the first President of Nigeria in 1963. Azikiwe however only enjoyed power for three years until a military coup relieved him and his colloquies of power. This ac tis a preview in my opinion in things to come, “You talk I listen.” This was Zik’s motto and unlike leaders after him, this action fell on dim ears. Zik is also important to remember because while being the first president of Nigeria is important, he is one of the last good leaders of Nigeria for years to come.

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The Coup brought a new type of leader, General Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi. After the takeover Johnson brought a bloody revolution that would eventually claim him. While in office, Johnson passed many decrees such as the decree number 1 which suspended most of the constitution, however leaving people’s rights intact. The second thing that Johnson passed that gave hope to many was decree 2 which removed restrictions on the press. When you look at Johnson you are divide between two situations, the first is that he over through the original president of Nigeria and started a bloody revolt. However, for his flaw he tried to increase power to the people and try to unify the country of Nigeria into one. The most controversial part of o Johnson’s short career was decree 34 which was to unify the country of Nigeria and stop the senseless fighting. However, after 194 days in office, Johnson was overthrown, killed, and decree 34 was overturned. He and Zik are two great leaders to look at because they weren’t focus on the north or south of Nigeria but the unification. As a citizen of Nigeria the promise of a leader and peace now seem a lost dream with the first president being overthrown and the second president being overthrown and killed. Fast forward 11 years and a new, stable leader takes the stage and in his own way leaves his mark on Nigeria.
President Olusegun Obasanjo came to power in 1976 and changed the face of Nigeria forever. In 1958, Olusegun age 21 joined the Nigerian army and rose through the ranks of the army. In 75 with the military coup, Olusegun did not take part in it but in a way reaped the benefits of it. He became the acting force of Nigeria and hopes to finally end the bloody revolution. In 1979, Olusegun did just that. With his power he set up the second republic constitution, From his studies of America, set up a similar government with a president, vice president, senate, and well to show the change in leadership and his hope that the country will prosper from such change, Olusegun stepped down as President to allow for elections to continue and for the country to grow. Now this is a defining chapter of Nigeria because the president of the country steeped down to let his country grow. During Oluseguns short rule something becomes apparent in Nigeria for which was a secret. Oil, oil which was abundant in Nigeria now became a useful entity in Nigeria. With the fall of the Military leadership and now a new free leadership, the revenue from oil was put into the economy as well as to build and strengthen the country. It’s interesting to see how a non-military Nigeria looks like and more importantly how in 1999 Olusegun is elected under the Democratic Party and rules for eight years. This is a great break in the story of Nigeria because now there are elections, parties, and a non-military grasp on the country. However, the war between the north and the south begin.
In 1979, the first civilian leader of Nigeria is elected. Shehu Shagbark was born to a northern family in the 1925. He was one of several children and was brought up to be a teacher. In the town he was raised in, religion was very important and shaped him at a young age. Shagari went to school in Nigeria and began teaching primary and secondary levels. As he grew however his eyes turned to politics and how to change his country. While teaching, Shehu joined a group looking for social change. This in turn became the new party of Nigeria, which is where he rose through the political chain. Finally, in 1979 the first free elections take place in Nigeria and Shagari is elected, with a motto, “One Nation, One Destiny.” It’s interesting to see him as president because the pendulum has now swung to one side and now the Islamic north is in control. His election is key to the study of Nigeria because it is the end of 13 years of military rule and peace in the country. However, in 1981 the price of oil dropped drastically which crippled Nigeria. Oil being one of its biggest exports was crucial to keeping Nigeria ahead. As well the Delta Steel Complex of 82 was a mix of positives and failures. The complex was successful but in turn began to ask questions of corruption within the government. This events then mixed in with concerns of corruption in the 83 election didn’t help Shehu’s chances of reelection. Finally in 1983 Shehu was overthrown by the military and a new leader was put in charge of a country that made such improvements and was now backing in trouble. It’s ironic that the Nigerians copied the American system of government yet they didn’t copy the way to overthrow a president. This situation shows the world another frightening problem which is the military is still very much in control. I guess you could argue that the military in a way keep order of one side obtaining too much power. Weirdly enough on the opposite side of the continent the military is facing its own problems of keeping control of Egypt.
Now let’s fast forward 15 years from 1983 to 1998, the country of Nigeria has seen many leaders all military and have been deposed or died in office. Finally, Sani Abacha dies in office and upon his death comes a new leader, Abdulsalami Abubakar takes control of a Nigeria that is in a nose dive. Now, of all the leaders of Nigeria, this is my favorite leader. Abdulsalami is born in Central Nigeria and attended full schooling. After schooling he joined the army and like leaders before him traveled up the ranks. Finally after the sudden death of Buhari, Abdulsalami takes over charge in Nigeria. After a week of mourning for the fallen leader, he begins to work on a new plan for Nigeria. On May 5th 1998 the new constitution of Nigeria is formed and goes into effect on the 28th of May. As well with the new constitution, Abdulsalami steps down as president of Nigeria for the new elected president. Now, this is why I love him, he puts his country before him. I believe it was growing up in central Nigeria compared to growing up in the north or the south but to see a problem in your country and be big enough to fix it is one thing but to give u the power to rule is completely different. He reminds me of two people in history, George Washington and his predecessor/assessor Olusegun Obasanjo. Like Washington he knew he couldn’t be in control forever and become a dictator but know when his time was up. As well he resembles Obasanjo because he knew for his new system to work, he would have to be the bigger person and let control of the power. Now, while writing this I saw many articles pertaining to his corruption and lack of human rights, it doesn’t sway my position on the man. As well the new election brings back a new leader.
Olusegun is reelected, not as a military coup, or the death of his former leader but as a free voted party member. When Olusegun ran in 1999 he ran under the People’s Democratic Party and won with over 60 percent of the popular vote. As a former president, activist, jailed for an attempet coup of the military regime, people where familiar with him. Ironically, the northern part of Nigeria was where Olusegun won the election and lost votes in the south. Now, one of his first acts as President was to travel to other countries and assure them that Nigeria has taken a step forward and is willing to work with other countries. This was a relief to the United States and England because they knew Nigeria was one of the ten wealthiest countries of Oil. Ironic how a resource can be more powerful than a group of people and can make leaders do crazy things. As well during Olusegun’s first term, the plan was to work with the Sothern part of Nigeria and help work on differences and work towards unification. As well during his first term, problem in the northern part of Nigeria became a problem with thousands of people dying within a few years as well as accusation of corruption within the government. Its weird how there are always speculations of corruption within every government in Nigeria, this to me speaks to the mistrust of the people to the government as well as groups in the north who didn’t agree with his rule. In 2003 he ran again against an opponent from the north, in the end he won by over 11million votes. Once again suspicion was placed on weather there was corruption in the election due to some irregularities however this time the whole world was watching. Still with being accused of corruption and the northern community of Nigeria wanting him to step down, Olusegun served his full term and in 2007 stepped down from power for the president elect. It’s truly remarkable that this man made it through both terms and wasn’t killed or taken over. It’s the first time when an elected official made it. It’s also a victory for the southern part of Nigeria because Olusegun was from the south. As well as the pendulum swings, it was now time for it to swing the other way. In 2007 a Northern leader will take control.

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