Nigeria: Just in Time

As abruptly as it began, Nigeria's political crisis faded away last week. In five days of talks at the presidential palace in Lagos, political leaders from the East and West argued bitterly over the election that returned Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa's Northern-based alliance to power—and led the East to threaten secession. But tempers cooled. The regional leaders recognized that the alternatives to compromise were chaos and the destruction of Africa's most populous country.

With scarcely any advance notice, President Nnamdi ("Zik") Azikiwe himself went on the radio to allay the nation's fears. "My...

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