"Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, with an estimated 132 million people, has faced intermittent political turmoil and economic crisis since gaining independence in October 1960. Nigerian political life has been scarred by conflict along both ethnic and geographic lines and misrule has undermined the authority and legitimacy of the state apparatus, but many Nigerians feel a significant degree of national pride and belief in Nigeria as a state. After 16 years of military rule, Nigeria made a transition to civilian governance in 1999, when Olusegun Obasanjo, a former general, was elected president. Efforts to allow Obasanjo to stand for a third term were defeated in 2006. In May 2007, Obasanjo transferred power to a new administration, marking the country's first transfer of power from one civilian government to another. […] The U.S. State Department has called the elections 'deeply flawed.' Ruling party candidate Umaru Yar'Adua was announced as the winner of the presidential contest with over 70% of the vote, according to official returns. Some reports suggest that over 200 people were killed in election-related violence, and domestic and international election observers reported widespread fraud, intimidation and violence. The two primary opposition presidential candidates have rejected the elections and have called for new polls. Judicial rulings on a number of electoral complaints are pending. A credible and peaceful electoral process is seen as critical to the future of both the country and the region. This report will be updated as the situation warrants."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33964