NIGERIA: A Box for Obodo

Chief Obodo's dominion in the district of Abakaliki was as near to absolute as that of a padrone in a Sicilian village. The distant government in the capital city of Lagos hardly interfered. Chief Obodo had his own courts, collected goats and cows from the villagers for tribute, had his own murder squad to enforce his orders. He boasted: "After God comes Chief Obodo." When a contractor who had already begun negotiations discovered that Obodo was interested in the same job, he hurriedly withdrew, sent goats and libations to the chief as peace offerings. Obodo's power extended even to...

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