In early 1999 Nigerians voted in the first democratically-elected civilian Government to rule their country in 16 years. The 1999 democratic transition was a victory for all Nigerians. For many years courageous journalists, community organisations, churches, and NGOs have stood united for change – often at great personal cost. It is in their honour that ACCORD presents the Africa Peace Award to the people of Nigeria.
The new administration has already displayed the political willingness to effectively deal with the legacy of the past. Within hours of President Obasanjo's swearing in, the new Government announced new heads of the armed forces, police, civil service and central bank. The Government has also released political prisoners, established a panel to investigate poverty alleviation, laid emphasis on infrastructural development and ecological rehabilitation and passed an anti-corruption bill through their National Assembly.
President Obasanjo set up a panel to investigate human rights violations during the years of military rule, in order to identify those responsible for human rights abuses and to recommend measures to prevent them from occurring again.
By awarding the Africa Peace Award to Nigeria, ACCORD honours all Nigerians for their contribution to the new dawn of democracy, without which peace and prosperity are impossible.