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Vol 47 No 20

Published 6th October 2006


Leaving it late

Six months ahead of the next presidential election, no one knows which candidates are standing and which are heading for gaol

In a system that typically leaves the key decisions until the last moment, Nigeria's politicians are leaving things very late. Nominations for candidates for next April's state and presidential elections must be submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) by December. Although there are more than 40 parties now registered, most are underfunded or deeply divided. None has a clear front-runner - and many of the leading aspirants are in trouble. Vice-President Atiku Abubakar has long maintained that he should be the natural choice of the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) to take over from President Olusegun Obasanjo. Yet Obasanjo's aides say Abubakar, a former deputy head of customs, epitomises all that is wrong with the political class in Nigeria. In September, the Vice-President was indicted by a cabinet committee over allegations of misuse of public funds and abuse of office.

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