With long-suffering Nigerians expected to turn out in huge numbers, the demonstrations could easily turn violent. "There could be a bloodbath unless the military exercises total restraint," says Mutiso. "But restraint is not a distinguishing characteristic of the Nigerian military."
Nigeria's opposition alliance wants millions of people on the streets Friday to demand an end to military rule. The country's freshman dictator, General Abdusalam Abubakar, doesn't think that's a very good idea. Even though the military has warned of strong action against the planned demonstration and has deployed troops throughout the south of the country, TIME's Clive Mutiso says the protesters plan to proceed. Abubakar has given no firm indication of his plans after succeeding General Sani Abacha, who died on Monday. He has repeated Abacha's promise to hand over the reins to a civilian leader by October -- but Abacha himself had been the only candidate in the August election for that post.