Monitor: The News of the World Nigeria after the death of President Abacha

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THE ERA of military dictatorships in Africa is over. Aside from their pervasive failure on the continent, they detract from efforts to bring about a true African renaissance rooted in democracy and freedom. All in Africa, including the OAU whose leaders are now gathered for a summit in Burkina Faso, should urge General Abubakar to face up to the reality which his predecessor sought so ruthlessly to deny.

Leader, The Cape Argus (South Africa)

In choosing Abubakar, the leadership appeared to signal that it wanted as little change as possible. Abubakar, a career officer who has never held a political post, "is certainly not someone likely to lead a move toward civilian rule," said a Western analyst who asked not to be named. "At best, he might turn out to be a pragmatist who will listen to the public demands, as opposed to Abacha, who sought to crush them."

James Rupert, Washington Post (USA)

If Nigeria's post-Abacha crop of politicians - who are, without a doubt, some of the most greedy, unprincipled characters seeking public office anywhere in Africa - do not put their selfish idiocies in check, the new military regime will continue to play a game of divide-and-rule.

The failure or success of such a task will have to deal with the ethnic jostlings and religious prejudices within the country that have made nonsense of a truly national coalition for national democratic representation.

Chido Nwangwu, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)

Never have Nigerians been so terrorised and rendered impotent by a singular being as they were by Abacha. He pushed Nigeria to the brink of disintegration, humiliated it as a nation, punished his opposition severely and deeply distrusted his cohorts. His brutality tested Nigerians' tolerance, but most of all it exposed to the world how divided Nigerians are. At large it showed how morally bankrupt African leaders are.

The Nigerian economy is in tatters, and strained relations with Western nations critical of Abacha's tough rule have put Nigeria in the club of pariah nations. A once optimistic nation has lost hope for a future.

Chuck E Odili, Nigeriaweb (Internet)