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What’s the verdict on Nigeria’s Yar’Adua?

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Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua took office a year ago promising to pursue free-market reforms launched by his predecessor, Olusegun Obasanjo, vowing zero tolerance for corruption and listing seven national priorities including improving power supply and reducing food insecurity.

A year on, his critics say economic reforms are grinding to a halt, his anti-corruption efforts are just window-dressing and his cabinet is largely a collection of ineffective bureaucrats who are but a shadow of an all-star cast in the former administration.

His supporters say his efforts to entrench the rule of law are a vital opportunity for Nigeria to make a break after decades of corruption and cronyism, and that while progress may be slow, he is laying the underpinnings for much stronger institutions in the country.

Does Yar’Adua have the political muscle he needs to lead Africa’s most populous nation? Is his oft-repeated mantra of the rule of law a step change in Nigeria? Or has the country lost the momentum it built up under Obasanjo? What do you think?

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