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…Disqualifications undemocratic, says US

Posted by By IKE NNAMDI, Washington DC on 2007/02/16 | Views: 493 |

…Disqualifications undemocratic, says US

The American government has described as "dictatorial and undemocratic" the purported disqualification of some candidates in the forthcoming polls in Nigeria.

The American government has described as "dictatorial and undemocratic" the purported disqualification of some candidates in the forthcoming polls in Nigeria.

This condemnation is coming on the heels of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) list, which contained names of prominent candidates in the elections including Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who were purportedly investigated and indicted for corruption.

The United States government warned that the action will "cast doubts on the credibility of whoever emerges the next president especially if he is from the ruling party."

Also irked by the development, American lawmakers may cancel a bipartisan congressional visit to observe the April polls.
Congressional sources said the lawmakers have petitioned the White House to review American political funding and assistance to Nigeria if the government refuses to rescind its decision. Currently, America has given Nigeria over $50 million in assistance in preparing for the polls.

The lawmakers have also threatened to reach out to the European Union countries to take similar measures to force the Nigerian authorities to "allow a level playing field for all candidates." Prominent Republican lawmakers said they are also preparing a letter to President Olusegun Obasanjo to "express our outrage" on the "wave of disqualification especially of key opposition critics of his government."

Their Democratic party colleagues, including presidential candidate and fierce critic of the Nigerian government, Senator Barak Obama are asking the White House to take a more serious position on Nigeria.
" Sen. Obama has often spoken about his suspicion of the intention of the current Nigerian leadership and the ban on mainly critics of the government vindicates his position," a congressional staff stated.
Sources said the lawmakers have also informed former President Jimmy Carter to prevail on President Obasanjo to "take steps to reduce the current political heat in the country" by changing his decision.
"Nigeria has relevant laws and agencies for dealing with corruption and the government should not take steps to undermine the constitution," a top administration official stated. President Carter is also expected to hand over a "personal letter" from President George Bush expressing his worries about political developments in Nigeria.

American intelligence agencies have warned of likely violence in the country during the polls. White House Press Secretary, Tony Snow said the administration is watching events in Nigeria with "caution and anxiety," but hopeful the nation will succeed in a civilian to civilian transition.

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