Saturday, April 21, 2007

An Illusion Of Success

Voting takes place today in Nigeria, as the country tries to move from one democratic administration to another for the first time since independence. Despite various legal wrangling that's caused delays this week, things should go reasonably peacefully. No doubt the major leaders around the world will say it's all a jolly good thing, but that only tells some of the story.

Nigeria matters because of its great oil wealth, and because of its size. Its recent stability has made it the big regional power, and that fairly reliable supply of the black stuff makes it important to the US and others, especially with what's going on in Iraq. But despite the great proclamations of democracy, things haven't got better for ordinary people in Nigeria. Most have seen little evidence of their country's riches, and basics like electricity are still scarce in places. Corruption's just as bad as it was in the bad old days. Regardless of who wins the election, there's no sign any of that's going to change.

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