Transcript CNN International interview with Nigeria's President Obasanjo and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu on Democracy and Security Issues

Nigeria's Obasanjo takes 2nd term oath; promises to do more

Special to USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston
USAfricaonline.com, The Black Business Journal

May 29, 2003, Abuja &emdash; Promising to tackle his country's poverty and corruption, Nigeria's President, retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (and his deputy Atiku Abubakar) took the oath of office for a second term on Thursday &emdash; a landmark for civilian-run democracy in Africa's most populous nation. More than a dozen fellow African leaders watched as Obasanjo, in traditional white robes, raised his hand before an invitation-only crowd under tight security in Nigeria's capital.

He called his re-election an "affirmation our leadership is trustworthy" &emdash; after a first term widely acknowledged to have failed at curbing rampant corruption and violence. "We will draw on the lessons learned so far" to build "a great Nigeria," Mr. Obasanjo pledged.

Nigeria, an oil-rich nation of 120 million people, had never managed a successful civilian-run presidential election. Military coups foiled all previous attempts, sometimes weeks after the vote.

Retired Gen. Obasanjo's 1999 election to a first term, in a military-run vote, ended 15 years of often brutal, corrupt military rule. He was declared winner of the election of April 19, in a vote that opposition candidates and many international organizations and the U.S. State department characterized as rigged and full of "electoral malfeasance." Courts are still considering a petition by Mr. Buhari's party and 19 others detailing allegations of election fraud, including alleged ballot-box stuffing by soldiers at a military barracks in southeastern Akwa Ibom state.

International observers reported many serious fraud cases, but none questioned the overall victory of Obasanjo, a southern Christian, over top rival Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim. Both men were themselves former military dictators.

Obasanjo, 66, said healing the wounds of the election is his first task &emdash; and acknowledged criticism of his job. "Four years ago, we had no illusion that we will put right in a few years the destruction of two decades" Mr. Obasanjo said. "We did not possess a magic wand with which to achieve instant transformation."

Marking Nigeria's prominence, leaders from more than a dozen African countries attended the ceremony, held in an open-air arena. U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige led a U.S. delegation.

Leaders settled into a curtained pavilion of bulletproof glass, before a crowd of Nigerian ex-military rulers, tribal chiefs, political party leaders and other VIPs.

The ceremony was filled with hours of pageantry. Children performed traditional dances. A 21-cannon salute outside the arena hailed the inauguration and Nigerian soldiers marched in precision drills.

In Kano, in the north, about 200 opposition supporters demonstrated in the street and burned tires but scattered when police arrived.

The inauguration's own program acknowledged the clouds over Mr. Obasanjo's swearing-in.

"He has the opportunity to mend the rough edges of his unprecedented victory," the program said, citing "clear evidence that he still has much to do."

Obasanjo's first term saw ordinary Nigerians make modest gains in individual freedoms, after the sweeping repression of military rule, but religious, ethnic and political violence has escalated.

"I want Obasanjo to tackle the poverty in Nigeria by improving the economy," said Ojo Hassan, a 20-year-old newspaper vendor in Lagos, Nigeria's crime-ridden commercial capital. "We're hungry, people lack shelter, there is killing everywhere and there is no security." USAfricaonline.com with AP reports 


COMMENTARY: Mugabe and those Nigerian Elections. Professor Herbert Ekwe-Ekwe

Why Chinua Achebe, the Eagle on the Iroko, is Africa's writer of the century. By Chido Nwangwu


Since 1958, Achebe's "Things Fall Apart" set a standard of artistic excellence, and more. By Douglas Killam
OIL in NIGERIA: Liquid Gold or Petro-Dollars Curse?
Elections in Nigeria more a battle of the retired Generals, and votes buying bazaar. By Chido Nwangwu
Osama bin-Laden's goons threaten Nigeria and Africa's stability. By Chido Nwangwu
Nigeria, a terrible beauty....

Why Bush should focus on dangers facing Nigeria's return to democracy and Obasanjo's slipperyslide. By Chido Nwangwu
How Obasanjo's self-succession charade at his Ota Farm has turned Nigeria to an 'Animal Farm.' By USAfricaonline.com contributor Prof. Mobolaji Aluko
Abati's Revisionisms and Distortions of history. By Obi Nwakanma, USAfrica The Newspaper contributing editor and award-winning poet
Reuben Abati's fallacies on Nigeria's history and secession. By Bayo Arowolaju
How Abati, Adelaja and others fuel the campaign of hatred against Ndigbo. By Jonas Okwara
"Obasanjo, secession and the
secessionists": A response to Reuben Abati's Igbophobia. By Josh Arinze, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor.
Abati and other
anti-Igbo bigots in Nigeria. By Chuks Iloegbunam, USAfricaonline.com contributing editor and author of Ironsi

Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie
Obasanjo's own challenge is to imbibe "democratic spirit and practice," By Prof. Ibiyinka Solarin
Is Obasanjo really up to Nigeria's challenge and crises? By USAfrica The Newspaper editorial board member, attorney Ken Okorie. This commentary appears courtesy of our related web site, NigeriaCentral.com
Obasanjo's late wake to the Sharia crises, Court's decision and Nigeria's democracy. By Ken Okorie

Sharia-related killings and carnage in Kaduna reenact deadly prologue to Nigeria-Biafra war of 1967. By Chido Nwangwu.

CONTINENTAL AGENDA
Bush's position on Africa is "ill-advised." The position stated by Republican presidential aspirant and Governor of Texas, George Bush where he said that "Africa will not be an area of priority" in his presidency has been questioned by USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. He added that Bush's "pre-election position was neither validated by the economic exchanges nor geo-strategic interests of our two continents." These views were stated during an interview CNN's anchor Bernard Shaw and senior analyst Jeff Greenfield had with Mr. Nwangwu on Saturday November 18, 2000 during a special edition of 'Inside Politics 2000.'
Nwangwu, adviser to the Mayor of Houston (the 4th largest city in the U.S., and immigrant home to thousands of Africans) argued further that "the issues of the heritage interests of 35 million African-Americans in Africa, the volume and value of oil business between between the U.S and Nigeria and the horrendous AIDS crisis in Africa do not lend any basis for Governor Bush's ill-advised position which removes Africa from fair consideration" were he to be elected president.
By Al Johnson
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS

Nelson Mandela, Tribute to the world's political superstar and Lion of Africa  
Winnie Madikizela-Mandela's burden mounts with murder charges, trials

TRIBUTE
A KING FOR ALL TIMES: Why Martin Luther King's legacy and vision are relevant into 21st century.




DIPLOMACY Walter Carrington: African-American diplomat who put principles above self for Nigeria (USAfrica's founder Chido Nwangwu with Ambassador Carrington at the U.S. embassy, Nigeria)
DEMOCRACY'S WARRIOR
Out of Africa. The cock that crows in the morning belongs to one household but his voice is the property of the neighborhood. -- Chinua Achebe, Anthills of the Savannah. An editor carries on his crusade against public corruption and press censorship in his native Nigeria and other African countries. By John Suval.
ARINZE: Will he be the FIRST BLACK AFRICAN POPE? By Chido Nwangwu
HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY
How far, how deep will Nigeria's human rights commission go?
Rtd. Gen. Babangida trip as emissary for Nigeria's Obasanjo to Sudan raises curiosity, questions about what next in power play?


Apple, Steve Jobs extend
digital magic

Lifestyle
Sex, Women and (Hu)Woman Rights. By Chika Unigwe


APPRECIATION
A young father writes his One year old son: "If only my heart had a voice...."

Africa suffers the scourge of the virus. This life and pain of Kgomotso Mahlangu, a five-month-old AIDS patient (above) in a hospital in the Kalafong township near Pretoria, South Africa, on October 26, 1999, brings a certain, frightening reality to the sweeping and devastating destruction of human beings who form the core of any definition of a country's future, its national security, actual and potential economic development and internal markets.


22 million Africans HIV-infected, ill with AIDS while African leaders ignore disaster-in-waiting

OPINION: Destruction of property and human massacres are always traumatic events in a community, saddening and enraging, but the organizers of the beauty contest, as well as the participants, must understand that they are totally free of guilt. The guilty are the storm troopers of intolerance, the manipulators of feeble-minded but murderous hordes of fanaticism. The nation will mourn the dead and render aid to the maimed and bereaved, but that same nation must understand that it will itself join the graveyard of nations if it fails to uphold the principles of plurality, choice and tolerance. The phenomenon of intolerance is eating up a world that can only survive on peaceful coexistence. By Prof. Wole Soyinka
Debating Obasanjo's record toward Nigeria's South East and South-South. By Pini Jason

DEMOCRACY DEBATE
CNN International debate on Nigeria's democracy livecast on CNN. It involved Nigeria's Information Minister Prof. Jerry Gana, Prof. Salih Booker and USAfricaonline.com Publisher Chido Nwangwu. Transcripts are available on the CNN International site.

NEWS
5 students from Nigeria at Abilene Christian University killed in March 31, 2002 one-car accident.18 year-old Kolawole Oluwagbemiga Sami was identified as the driver of the Isuzu which had 2 other men and 3 women. One of those female passengers in the 1994 Isuzu Rodeo SUV had an identification card stating her as Iyadunni Oluwaseun Bakare. She is also 18 years old. USAfricaonline.com special report by Chido Nwangwu
USAfrica The Newspaper voted the "Best Community Newspaper" in the 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston. It is in the Best of Houston 2001 special as chosen by the editors and readers of the Houston Press, reflecting their poll and annual rankings.

Tragedy of Ige's murder is its déjà vu for the Yoruba southwest and rest of Nigeria. By Ken Okorie
What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Should Africa debates begin and end at The New York Times and The Washington Post? No
NEWS INSIGHT
CNN, Obasanjo and Nigeria's struggles with democracy.
Why Obasanjo's government should respect
CNN and Freedom of the press in Nigeria.
Jonas Savimbi, UNITA are "terrorists" in Africans' eyes despite Washington's "freedom fighter" toga for him. By SHANA WILLS


It's wrong to stereotype Nigerians as Drug Dealers

Private initiative, free market forces, and more democratization are Keys to prosperity in Africa

What has Africa to do with September 11 terror? By Chido Nwangwu
Africans reported dead in terrorist attack at WTC
September 11 terror and the ghost of things to come....
Will religious conflicts be the time-bomb for Nigeria's latest transition to civilian rule?
Bola Ige's murder another danger signal for Nigeria's nascent democracy.

In a special report a few hours after the history-making nomination, USAfricaonline.com Founder and Publisher Chido Nwangwu places Powell within the trajectory of history and into his unfolding clout and relevance in an essay titled 'Why Colin Powell brings gravitas, credibility and star power to Bush presidency.'

AFRICA AND THE U.S. ELECTIONS
Beyond U.S. electoral shenanigans, rewards and dynamics of a democratic republic hold lessons for African politics.

Johnnie Cochran will soon learn that defending Abacha's loot is not as simple as his O.J Simpson's case. By Chido Nwangwu

110 minutes with Hakeem Olajuwon
Nigerian stabbed to death in his bathroom in Houston.
Cheryl Mills' first class defense of Clinton and her detractors' game