El fantasma de Biafra

Cuando el presidente nigeriano Olusegun Obasanjo hizo el sorpresivo anuncio para iniciar un diálogo nacional a fin de discutir una reforma constitucional, se estaba sometiendo a lo inevitable. El clamor de políticos y activistas de derechos humanos a disgusto con tal conferencia había llegado al estruendo.

Obasanjo y el Partido Democrático del Pueblo en el poder fueron reelectos en mayo de 2003 en circustancías controvertidas. Las fuerzas de la oposición, dirigidas por Muhammadu Buhari, el candidato del Partido Popular de Toda Nigeria, acusaron a Obasanjo de usar a la polícia para intimidar a los votantes y alterar los resultados de la elección. Inicialmente parecía que Obasanjo aguantaría la tormenta y terminaría su último mandato sin hacer concesiones a sus oponentes. Sin embargo, a finales de diciembre de 2004, el Tribunal Electoral Nacional, ubicado en Abuja, la capital, dictaminó que si bien en la mayoría del país las elecciones fueron libres y justas, el número de votos fue mayor que la población en Ogun -estado natal del presidente. La oposición aprovechó el fallo y exigió que Obasanjo renunciara.

Simultáneamente, la parte este del país cayó en la anarquía. Los hampones políticos vinculados al presidente recurrieron a tácticas duras en un intento por deponer a uno de los gobernadores, molestos porque éste no les había concedido contratos públicos lucrativos. Obasanjo se rehusó a ponerlos en orden, aun después de que invadieron y destruyeron oficinas gubernamentales. En el delta del Níger, donde la producción petrolera y la negligencia oficial han devastado el medio ambiente y destruido medios de vida, jóvenes encolerizados se dirigieron hacia los pantanos y encabezaron una revuelta en contra de las tropas federales.

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