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In Nigeria, Former Va. Gov. Learns Political Lessons

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Wilder and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson were in a U.S. Delegation to Nigeria. They were invited to take part in discussions--to help Governors there transition from military rule in a nation torn by ethnicity, religion, and class.

Richardson and Wilder were asked if the best political or most qualified people should be hired. Both quickly said the most qualified -- but Wilder soon realized the concept is not so readily accepted there.

When a group of people have been denied all their lives, all their existence, and they finally get behind you, to get you elected, and when you get there, and you select none of them to be part of the ruling of your state," he says.

"How do you deal with that?" he adds. "It was an eye opener for all of us, to sit and say how you balance that equation."

Wilder said violence marred Nigeria's recent elections, yet many Nigerians he met said they were the fairest ever. Nigerian law now requires minority party representation.


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