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The Post-Independence years have been punctuated with changes of government all over the continent. These have sometimes been military coups or civilian takeovers. The first inkling people would have would be from a radio announcement. And radio stations were, and continue to be, commandeered for that purpose.
For some countries, a deep and continuous divide has remained unresolved. Sudan and Chad, for example, are divided between an Arab Muslim north and an African Christian south. Both countries have suffered destructive civil wars over the decades. In Uganda, the divide was very broadly between the Baganda of the south and Acholi northerners.
President Milton Obote manipulated the divide both times he was President. The first time in power, during the 1962-71 term, he burnt the Palace of the Baganda down and drove the Kabaka (king) into exile. The second time he took power, during 1980-85, he launched a military campaign of destruction in the south. It was left to President Yoweri Musseveni to harmonise the different regions when he came to power in 1986.
In Nigeria, one of the largest countries in Africa with an estimated population of 120 million, the divide went very roughly three ways: the Muslim north, Ibo east and Yoruba south. In 1967, the country collapsed into civil war with the eastern part (Biafra) led by Colonel Ojukwu declaring Biafra an independent state.
Listen to Colonel Ojukwu leading the Biafran secession
The forces of President Gowan took three years to defeat the Biafran forces. Since 1967 Nigeria has, despite its wealth and population, held together despite tensions between Muslim communities and Christians ebbing and flowing.
Listen to General Jack Gowan leading the Federal Forces in Nigeria's civil war
In addition to internal stresses and strains, a number of countries have nursed disputed borders since independence, despite the broad acceptance of the boundaries set by Europe in the 1880's.
Whatever vision African leaders have had for their countries, there were a number of factors beyond their control, undermining the practical realisation of their ideals: