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    Bush and Blair Attend Nigeria Awards

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    NTDTelevision

    by NTDTelevision

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    George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Tony Blair attended the Nigerian achievement awards marking 50 years of independence from Britain.

    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair attends a ceremony in Nigeria marking 50 years of independence from Britain.

    And he wasn't the only former head of state present; former U.S. president George Bush also took part, as the African nation honored its great achievers over the past five decades.

    The ceremony, held in the capital Abuja, celebrated individuals who contributed to the country's progress in the fields of business, politics, development, human rights activism and the fight against corruption.

    Despite the high profile attendees, one notable absentee was Nigeria's president.

    Umaru Yar'Adua has been out of the country since November receiving treatment in Saudi Arabia.

    Asked about the absence, former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said the office of president was larger than any individual.

    [Condeleezza Rice, Former U.S. Secretary of State]:
    "Ultimately, and I very often heard, and I hope I won't embarrass President Bush, but he used to say this very often and we used to talk about it all the time, the presidency is more important than the person who occupies it."

    Yar'Adua's absence of over 70 days caused political turmoil in Nigeria.

    The oil rich country was almost paralyzed by the issue, but a crisis was averted by a resolution passed in February giving Vice President Goodluck Jonathan powers to act as president.