Posted by BBC News on
Nigeria's government has urged the vice-president to resign, after he publicly opposed moves to let President Olusegun Obasanjo seek re-election.
Presidential spokesman Femi Fani-Kayode said if Vice-President Atiku Abubakar was unhappy in government, he should do the right thing and step down.
Mr Abubakar on Wednesday night attended a meeting of senior figures opposed to changing the constitution.
Mr Obasanjo has not publicly said whether he wants to remain in office.
The president's supporters have, however, been campaigning for the constitution to be changed to remove the limit of two presidential terms.
The BBC's Alex Last in Lagos says hostility between Mr Obasanjo and his deputy has been brewing beneath the surface for some time, fuelled by political ambition, but has now come into the open.
Mr Abubakar appeared at high-level opposition meeting and said it was imperative to block a constitutional amendment which would allow the president to stand for a third term in office.
He said he was prepared to take this stand because anything the government did to him could not be worse than his last three years in office.
"If it is true that he said that he has been suffering for the last few years and that nothing good has happened and he's been persecuted... the logical and rational thing for him to do, if he sincerely feels like that, is for him to resign," Mr Fani-Kayode told the BBC.
Relations between the president and his vice-president have been strained since last August, when President Obasanjo publicly accused his deputy of disloyalty.
Former military leader Muhammadu Buhari, who lost the 2003 elections to Mr Obasanjo, attended the meeting, along with MPs and both serving and former state governors.
State security agents said they could not hold the talks at the Abuja Sheraton hotel because they had not sought police permission.
Instead, they moved to a government office.
The issue has divided the ruling People's Democratic Party and Nigerian public opinion.
On Wednesday Mr Obasanjo's spokesman told the BBC that the president would consider whether or not to stand if the constitution was changed.
Mr Fani-Kayode was responding to a US newspaper report in which Mr Obasanjo said God would decide whether to extend his time as president after 2007.
Mr Fani-Kayode told the BBC this decision would not be decided by God alone and that there were other considerations.
The National Assembly is due to consider more than 100 proposed constitutional amendments, including whether to extend the limit on a president's term in office from two to three terms.
Supporters of Mr Abubakar, who is thought to be eyeing the presidency, oppose moves to change the constitution.
Opponents of the constitutional change argue that the presidency needs to rotate among people from different regions and ethnic groups.
Mr Obasanjo is a Christian from the south-west while Mr Abubakar is a Muslim from the north.
Recently, a majority of Nigeria's state governors agreed that a constitutional review was necessary within the life of the current administration.
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