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3rd term: Nigeria may break up, US insists

Posted by From Jamie Dominics, Washington DC James Ojo, Abuja on 2006/02/09 | Views: 1513 |

3rd term: Nigeria may break up, US insists

United States government is standing by its bleak assessment of the repercussions of a third term bid by President Olusegun Obasanjo, brushing aside Abuja’s complaint of interference in Nigeria’s domestic affairs.

•Reps back constitution amendment

United States government is standing by its bleak assessment of the repercussions of a third term bid by President Olusegun Obasanjo, brushing aside Abuja’s complaint of interference in Nigeria’s domestic affairs.

Senior administration officials told Daily Sun that the report by US Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte that attempts by President Obasanjo to stay in power beyond 2007 could signal the eventual breakup of the country is an accurate reflection of the state of affairs in the West Africa nation.

The officials said Negroponte’s warning contained in the latest “Annual Threat Assessment Report” conducted by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence represents the position of the administration.

State department officials said the comment on Nigeria reflects a growing fear by the administration that Nigeria stands on the brink of civil strife unless the present government takes steps to reduce the current political tension by dropping an attempt to amend the constitution to allow for a third term for President Obasanjo.

Negroponte, who was testifying before the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said the 2007 elections in Nigeria would be the most important election on the African horizon.
The vote, he said, has the potential to reinforce a democratic trend away from military rule or it could lead to major disruption in a nation suffering “frequent ethno-religious violence, criminal activity, and rampant corruption.”

He said that speculation that President Obasanjo will try to change the constitution so he can seek a third term in office is raising political tensions and, if proven true, threatens to unleash major turmoil and conflict. “Such chaos in Nigeria could lead to disruption of oil supply, secessionist moves by regional governments, major refugee flows, and instability elsewhere in West Africa,” according to Negroponte.
He warned that the continent remained a potential recruiting ground for terrorists.

“In much of the continent, humanitarian crises, instability, and conflict persist. Overlaying these enduring threats are the potential spread of Jihadist ideology among disaffected Muslim populations and the region’s growing importance as a source of energy. We are most concerned about Sudan and Nigeria,” he added.

Negroponte’s comment is coming just days after President George W. Bush called for the US to end its “addiction to oil.” The U.S spy chief said the combination of rising demand for energy and instability in oil producing regions like Nigeria “makes the government vulnerable to increasing geopolitical leverage of key producing states.”

Sources said American lawmakers are re-focusing their attention on Nigeria following the recent abduction and release of foreign oil workers by militants in the Niger Delta. The thinking within government circles is that Nigeria may no longer be an attractive substitute for Middle East oil if tensions in oil producing states continue. Officials said Nigerian could lose substantial revenue and assistance from Washington if the government abandons current efforts to increase its presence in the country.
To counter the skepticism of Washington, Abuja recently ordered about 15 gun boats mostly from American companies to patrol the Delta. The boats are equipped with sophisticated tools to engage in 24 hour patrol and rescue mission in the event of any attack on oil installations.

Meanwhile, National Unity Forum, an assemblage of members of the House of Representatives Wednesday said that it would support the review of the 1999 constitution, as the group denied being a tool for the actualization of the contentious third term project.

However, some members smelt rat that the group was being promoted outside the National Assembly to actualize the dream of elongating the tenure of the present administration.

Hon Danlami Hamzat from Kano State described the group as nebulous without a clear cut mission since every member of the House had sworn to an oath to defend and promote the unity of the country.
To him, National Unity Forum was talking nonsense, and had nothing to offer the people, a position shared by Hon Haruna Yerima, Hon Datti Ahmed and Hon Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

Hon Yerima and Hon Ahmed said nobody contacted them to join any group, as there was nothing to justify the need for such a movement.

Chairman of the group, Hon David Idoko from Benue State made spirited efforts at the second press briefing to disabuse the minds of his other colleagues that felt that the group was a smokescreen for the promoters of the 3rd term agenda.

Made up of members that cut across political parties and cross ethnic and cultural divides, Hon Idoko said that there was no sacrifice too big to make for the unity and progress of the country, adding that the drift to regional groupings in the last few months called for concern.

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Comments (3)

Okfold(Sobe, Edo, Nigeria)says...

I want the meaning of female owan name Ekeke (Edo state)

Toluwalase Samuel Olufemi(Ijebu, Ogun, Nigeria)says...

Authority belongs to God, once He decrees it is final and binding

Ikponmwosa Osamede(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Your meaning of Osamede is wrong. Osamede means God has given me a crown