The Light That Failed: Nigeria

A military coup brings an abrupt end to Nigeria's democratic experiment

"Africa never ceases to amaze." So wrote V.S. Naipaul in A Bend in the River, and last week, true to the novelist's assessment, Africa amazed again. As recently as a fortnight ago, Nigerian President Alhaji Shehu Shagari, 58, was being hailed as the enlightened leader of black Africa's most populous and, in many ways, most promising democracy. Several days later, he was under detention in Lagos, while Major General Mohammed Buhari, 41, organizer of a coup that deposed Shagari, was proclaiming to his countrymen that the armed...

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