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Vol 47 N0 1

Published 6th January 2006


Oil and oligarchs

Oil bonanzas, succession struggles and post-war elections make an explosive regional cocktail

There is hot speculation about whether President Olusegun Obasanjo wants to amend the constitution and secure a third term which, according to some elder statesmen, could damage his reputation and Nigeria's stability. Others remind him that the necessary constitutional amendment would allow the 36 state governors to stand again too: the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has denounced many as corrupt. Obasanjo will have to show his hand when the governing People's Democratic Party holds national and zonal caucuses to pick its candidates for the 2007 presidential, parliamentary and state elections. He will also have to say whom he backs in the governorship races. Expect these meetings to be held as late as possible. Any constitutional change needs a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, where a standing committee is working on the idea. We hear that members who oppose the third term have left the committee.

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