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Bush writes Obasanjo, kicks against third term

Posted by By Jamie Dominics The Sun Reporter, Washington DC on 2006/05/03 | Views: 947 |

Bush writes Obasanjo, kicks against third term


The United States is following up its recent criticism of a tenure extension for President Olusegun Obasanjo with a personal letter to Aso Rock advising the president to stop further attempts to seek a third term.

The United States is following up its recent criticism of a tenure extension for President Olusegun Obasanjo with a personal letter to Aso Rock advising the president to stop further attempts to seek a third term.

The message is being delivered by a top US official in the person of Deputy Secretary of State, Robert Zoellick, who is heading a US delegation already in Abuja to, among others, kickstart the stalled Sudanese peace process. Sources said the diplomat will "deliver a blunt message of Washington's opposition to the third term".

Also on the U.S delegation, is another well known critic of the third term agenda, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Affairs, Jendayi Frazer who, last week, called on Abuja to honour the term limit specified in the constitution.

Sources said the U.S government decided to use the visit to step up the pressure on Abuja because several public messages by United States officials had been ignored by Aso Rock . The ruling Republican Party is also said to be angry with the Nigerian government as senior lawmakers are lobbying the White House to take a more active stance on the Nigerian situation.

Outspoken Democrat and the only African American lawmaker, Barak Obama, has also joined the anti-third term groups, bluntly lashing out at Abuja for not respecting the constitution and for going after those against the agenda, like Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

The American intelligence community is also advising policy makers to take a decision on Nigeria by issuing a dire report of the implications of a third term for Nigeria. The Central Intelligence Agency and the Homeland Security Department say that Nigeria may collapse if President Obasanjo stays beyond next year.

The push by President Obasanjo to seek another term may also affect his reputation and hurt the country economically following a directive by the American Chamber of Commerce that its members suspend further business interests in Nigeria because of the political uncertainty. Humanitarian groups are also scaling down their operations as they play wait and see game, just as leaders of the G-8 world economic powers have turned their backs on Nigeria, with Russia, the current head, refusing to invite President Obasanjo to an impending summit.

A Russian diplomat defended Moscow's reluctance to invite the Nigerian leader because, according to him, such a gesture may be misinterpreted to mean an endorsement of third term by Moscow.
"Besides, we and other members of the EU have been swamped with letters protesting the action by several prominent Nigerians", the diplomat said.


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