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Nigeria Masterweb News Report
    Other Developments Continued-1

    ANPP Won't Join Obasanjo's Govt, Says Aikhomu
         The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) at the weekend met and resolved that it would not go back on its campaign for the cancellation of the results of the April 19 elections and non-recognition of President Olusegun Obasanjo's government after May 29, 2003.The party has also decided not to accept ministerial positions from the government.
         Chairman of the ANPP' Board of Trustees and former military Vice-President during the regime of military President, Ibrahim Babangida, Admiral Augustus Aikhomu (rtd) who confirmed this to THISDAY on telephone yesterday said the party's decision was informed by the fact that the PDP government does not about the future and growth of the country. He said: "Certainly we are talking of ministerial appointments. We wont take that. What we in ANPP want is the way forward for Nigeria. What happened during the elections was most terrible. We have never had anything like this before now. So we are talking about aftermath of the polls and the way forward. And as for way forward, we believe it is better to remedy the terrible elections we have now. And we are holding consultations and at the appropriate time, we will let Nigerians know."
         THISDAY checks reveal that the party is also currently holding top-level discussions and consultations with prominent political leaders and royal fathers and key members of the business community in Nigeria on "the dangers of allowing the results of the presidential and governorship elections to stand." These were part of the resolutions taken at the party's Board of Trustees meeting which was held at the weekend. Another key decision, THIDAY learnt was the party's position to bar its members from any form of participation in the present government of President Obasanjo. It would be recalled that the ANPP presidential candidate, Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) and his running mate in the April 19 elections, on Friday took their quest for the cancellation of the polls to the international community. -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Sunday, May 18, 2003

    ANPP Ahead of May 29 inauguration
    The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) South-East zone has endorsed the call for mass action by the party’s presidential and vice- presidential candidates, General Mohammadu Buhari and Senator Chuba Okadigbo. -Culled from Daily Times Issue of Monday, May 19, 2003

    ANPP, APGA plan to swear-in Buhari, Ojukwu
         Few days to the inaugura-tion of President Olusegun Obasanjo for a second-term, those who are hell-bent on scuttling the May 29 ceremony have perfected plans to disrupt it by holding separate inaugurations for both General Mohammadu Buhari and Emeka Ojukwu in Kano and Awka respectively.
         Obasanjo sends IBB abroad to counter Buhari -Culled from Nigerian Tribune Issue of Monday, May 19, 2003

    Girei Warns Against Swearing-in Obasanjo
         Barely 10 days to the inauguration of president Olusegun Obasanjo for a second term of four years in office,Senator Abubakar Girei (ANPP, Adamawa Cen-tral) has warned that the act may throw the country into chaos. He explained that swearing in Obasanjo on May 29, will not be in accordance with the constitution of this country because the constitution recognises only a person who is properly elected by the people, 'not through rigged elections.'
         Girei who spoke in an interview with THISDAY in Kaduna, regretted that the election petition tribunals currently sitting across the country, would not be able to give justice to agrieved individuals and parties because, according to Girei, the electoral law does not cover the scope of the malpractices allegedly perpertrated during the recent general elections. For peace to reign in the country beyond May 29, Girei said that Obasanjo must admit that the elections were not free and fair and he the president) should organise a more credible election so that Nigerians can have a legitimate government.
         "Failure to do so means that there will not be a legitimate government in Nigeria by May 29. If he wants to save Nigeria from trouble, he should allow an interim governmement thorugh a legislation of the National Assembly. "Obasanjo did not get the mandate of Nigerians to continue beyond May 29, if he forces himself there, he would be running an illegitimate government. 'And, what happens to an illegitimate government, your guess is as good as mine". -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Monday, May 19, 2003

    Obasanjo rejects interim government
    President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday said an emphatic no to an Interim National Government after May 29 following alleged malpractices in the last presidential election, and said its advocates cannot be democrats. President Obasanjo, in an apparent response to the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) who warned against the recognition of the present government after May 29, said that those who openly call for any destruction or any other form of government cannot be seen as democrats. -Culled from Daily Trust Issue of Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    Plot uncovered to disrupt Obasanjo's swearing-in
         Nigeria's police said on Monday they had uncovered a plot by unidentified elements to use explosives to disrupt President Olusegun Obasanjo's May 29 swearing-in for a second term. Obasanjo scored an overwhelming win in April 19 elections that were fiercely contested by the opposition on allegations of rigging. International election monitors agreed that fraud had marred the vote.
         Police head Tafa Balogun told reporters in the capital, Abuja, that police had obtained intelligence "some groups" had planned massive anti-government demonstrations. The groups had acquired explosives and intended to use them to block Obasanjo's inauguration, Balogun said. Despite the strong charges, the police chief gave few details. He said police were prepared to arrest anyone who launched demonstrations without proper permits. -Culled from Mail & Guardian Issue of Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    Police alleges plot to scuttle Obasanjo's swearing-in
         LAGOS, 20 May 2003 (IRIN) - A plot by some unnamed groups to mar the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo for a second four-year term on 29 May has been unearthed, Nigerian police reported on Tuesday. The plot involved mass demonstrations and planting explosives around Nigeria, they said.
         "Some people have gone as far as manufacturing explosives with the aim of using the same to cause panic and make the country generally ungovernable," Nigeria's police boss, Tafa Balogun, said in a statement broadcast on state radio.
         Without giving any details of the alleged plot, Balogun said the law enforcement agencies were poised to crackdown on those fomenting trouble. He said public demonstrations could only be held with police permits. Applications for the permits must be made 48 hours ahead of time. -Culled from IRIN News.Org Issue of Tuesday, May 20, 2003

    Mass Action: Nobody Can Intimidate Us, Says Ojukwu
         The presidential candidate of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu, said he would not allow anybody to intimidate him from pursuing his plans to ensure that justice prevails with regards to the last general elections. Reacting yesterday to the threat by the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, to arrest and prosecute anyone involved in mass protest without police permit, Ojukwu said, "no one can intimidate us. Are you talking tough to children? Nobody will or can intimidate us. All we want is justice. Nobody will intimidate us and allow a fraud to continue. We will continue the fight." He said that he had met President Olusegun Obasanjo twice over the elections, but said "each time we meet, the president will not allow discussion on the election." Obasanjo "prefers everything to be settled at the tribunal," he said. Ojukwu reiterated his call for fresh conduct of elections in areas where he alleged polls did not take place.
         Meanwhile, Ojukwu and Buhari have called on the international community to refrain from double standards in their dealings with the parties which participated in the elections. Rising from a meeting Monday in Daura, Buhari's hometown, the candidates, in a communique, which they both signed yesterday, advised the international community to always uphold fair play and justice. The duo urged the international community to "stand for justice, equity, free and fair elections and minimum standard of conduct of government in Nigeria." Buhari and Ojukwu, who reiterated their belief in pursuing legal and constitutional means to redress their rejection of results of the general elections, however, said they "will not accept or recognize a government taking office as a result of these flawed elections."
         They called on Nigerians to stand up and protect their rights, just as they described the elections as having been "characterised by wholesale fraud, outrageously unlawful practices such as ballot box stuffing, harassment, intimidation by law enforcement agencies and outright non-voting in collusion with PDP and INEC and blatant killings." Both leaders reaffirmed their support for the position of the Conference of Registered Nigerian Political Parties (CRNPP), ANPP, APGA and the Igbo Leaders of Thought that the elections were marred by election malpractices. They also noted a motion on the floor of the Senate rejecting results of the election and calling for its cancellation. The communique, titled 'Daura Communique,' stated that "the Nigerian public is sad, sullen and deeply hurt by the brazen act of denying them their constitutional rights." They also appealed to Nigerians "to work together to find an amicable settlement to the crisis, which has been precipitated by the government's wilful and massive rigging of elections." It also noted that both leaders have "assured each other that they will collaborate closely on basis of equity and mutual respect to find an acceptable solution to the crisis which threatens the very foundation of our nation. INEC has been hopelessly discredited," they added.
         Also yesterday, APGA refuted a newspaper report that it is planning to swear-in the party's presidential candidate in the April 19 election, describing the report as "malicious, wicked and mischievous." The party also condemned as "unnecessary and unintelligent" the broadcast by the Inspector General of Police alleging plans by some Nigerians to disrupt the May 29 inauguration of Obasanjo. A statement issued yesterday by the party's chairman, Chief Chekwas Okorie, denied categorically that its leadership is involved in such plan. "We want to inform the Nigerian public that as a law abiding national political party registered under the Nigerian laws, we have never contemplated, let alone planned any presidential inauguration of our presidential candidate at Awka or any other place in Nigeria for that matter on May 29th, 2003 as published by the newspaper," the statement said. The party said it decided to take its complaint to the Election Tribunal in the belief that the Judiciary would discharge its functions creditably and independently. -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Wednesday, May 21, 2003

    Nigerian Islamic scholars reject Obasanjo's re-election
         KANO, Nigeria, 22 May 2003 — Islamic scholars yesterday rejected the re-election of Nigeria’s President Olusegun Obasanjo as fraudulent, raising fears that religious divisions could fuel the country’s political crisis. Obasanjo is due to be sworn in next week for his second term, and was in confident mood as he dissolved his current Cabinet, but his victory in last month’s elections has been marred by allegations of ballot rigging. The Council of Ulema in Kano State, mainly-Muslim northern Nigeria’s populous region, joined the chorus of protests, calling for the April 19 presidential vote to be annulled and rerun across much of the country. “Based on the details of malpractices ... the elections should be rerun in areas where massive fraud took place and in the areas where elections did not take place at all,” said council chairman Umar Ibrahim Kabo.
         Obasanjo’s chief political adviser hit back at the criticism and warned that interventions by religious leaders could stir dangerous passions. “I think this is part of a very dangerous trend, which is the politicization of religion or introducing religious elements into Nigerian politics,” Gbolade Osinowo told AFP. Obasanjo is a Christian and a former military ruler. His ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) dominated last month’s state, presidential and parliamentary polls, the first since the end of military rule. But his main opponent, a Muslim and former ruler Muhammadu Buhari, has refused to accept defeat and has challenged the election results in court. -Culled from Al-Jazeerah.info of Thursday, May 22, 2003

    May 29, day of reckoning, say Buhari, Ojukwu
         Major General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) and Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, defeated presidential candidates of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), yesterday carried their threats of mass action against the inauguration of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s second term to Kaduna, insisting that May 29 will be a turning-point in the political history of the nation. Ojukwu vowed that May 29 would be the day of reckoning in the history of Nigeria, asserting that only an Interim Government of National Unity will avert the ugly situation of making the country ungovernable. The assertion was corroborated by Buhari who stressed that the week preceding the D-Day will be very critical, hence he enjoined Nigerians to offer necessary sacrifices on behalf of future generation of Nigerians. Both presidential candidates spoke yesterday in Kaduna during a one-day symposium with the theme, “Nigeria at Crossroads – The Way Forward.” Addressing Buhari as “Mr. President,” Ojukwu added that they were not making empty threats, since “nobody, no matter the forces at his disposal, can overcome the force of the masses of Nigeria… We are going through a critical week in our history and I wish all of us the best.”
         Ojukwu, who held his audience spell-bound with his oratorical skills, attracted thunderous ovations intermittently as he also advocated for a national conference as a way of redressing the problems in the polity. The former Biafran leader pledged to spearhead the fight against injustice to enthrone true democracy in the country. “We will ensure that the evil in our society has been rooted out. But I want to assure you, I stand here before you, assuring you, as long as there is a will, I will stand.” In the same vein, Maj. Gen. Buhari said: “I would like to recall what happened in India when I was in Staff College there about democracy. If you recall, the Ghandi dynasty was on its way to dominating, for generations, the political scene in India, and then I think the Indians decided to do what Americans did to the Kennedy dynasty. “If we really need democracy and we insist on it, we can be like India and live above poverty level, which our people are experiencing. This is to emphasise that if we really need democracy, then we have to make the necessary sacrifice.” Several papers were delivered at the one-day symposium organised by a non-governmental organisation, Network for Justice. The conference attracted hundreds of supporters of Buhari and Ojukwu. -Culled from Independent Issue of Thursday, May 22, 2003

    The Patriots asks for interim govt, Obasanjo as head
         THE group of eminent Nigerians, The Patriots, has taken a deep look at the April 19 presidential election and, alleging massive irregularities, asked the National Assembly to set up an Interim Government of National Unity to be headed by incumbent President Olusegun Obasanjo. This position is informed by the group's belief that the election was so riddled with irregularities that forming a government on its basis would be a disservice to democracy. President Olusegun Obasanjo's victory at the April 19 general elections is being fiercely contested by some of the defeated candidates. The Patriots, headed by legal luminary Chief Frederick Rotimi Alade Williams (SAN), at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, added however that if its advice is found impracticable, the federal legislators should amend the constitution to establish a single term of five years for the President. According to the eminent citizens, President Obasanjo's current four-year mandate will thus be extended by another year, as the proposed constitutional amendment will take effect from 1999.
         Also at the press conference were the secretary general of the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Prof. Ben Nwabueze; South-South leader, Chief David Dafinone; and a leading member of the Afenifere, Chief Ayo Adebanjo. The group's statement, read by Chief Williams, noted the sharp disagreements that have attended the results of the April 19 elections in which former military ruler Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) came a distant second.
         Listing dumping of ballot boxes stuffed with papers allegedly thumb-printed outside the polling centres as one of the irregularities that trailed the election, Chief FRA. Williams said: "The result of an election may include irregularities. They (irregularities) are there - somebody who wanted to vote could not vote and so on and so forth. But when it is massive; when you find more voters than were registered, it is an abuse to call it an election. It is an election distorted by fraud." Asked to comment on the possibility that President Obasanjo could ignore their views, William said: Some time ago we gave expression to our conviction that in order to promote national unity, in order to make all the ethnic groups, including the so-called minority groups in this country to feel that they belong, we should restructure the country and make arrangement for presidential elections in such a way that it is not monopolised by one or two large ethnic groups."
         The eminent lawyer continued: "And that was the basis of our advice to the President not to go for a second term but he went. That does not destroy the validity of our argument". He then added: "History will yet judge whether what he did has helped in promoting the unity of Nigeria or has increased the tension within the country." "In the same way, we have put forward those two alternatives, hoping that one of them will be taken. People may reject one or the other, or reject both. But they will bear the consequences. "And that is why we are making this appeal. We don't want the consequences of ignoring the verdict of international observers." The statement was signed by Williams, Dafinone, Nwabueze and Afenifere leader, Chief Abraham Adesanya. -Culled from Guardian Issue of Friday, May 23, 2003

    Mass Action: Obasanjo Threatens Buhari, Ojukwu, Others
         President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday sent a warning signal to groups or individuals planning to disrupt the May 29 inauguration ceremony to desist from it or be prepared to face consequences of their actions. Obasanjo, who received in audience at the State House, Abuja a delegation from Niger State led by Governor Abdullahi Kure, warned people he described as trouble makers that, "if there are no laws and no sanctions, human society would be like the environment of wild animals. I will leave no stones unturned in trying to keep Nigeria united, progressive and peaceful. "No one group or individual has a right to disrupt the peace in the land or hold the country to ransom. Nigerians have suffered long enough."
         He said an "attitude of hell-let-loose" must be avoided whenever disagreements which are inevitable, arose in the polity, adding that "we should not destroy because anything is bad, but to make progress, we should learn to build cumulatively. "And I have made the point that the difference between the civilised developed nations and developing nations is that developed nations have worked out the means by which they can, without violence, without acrimony resolve their problems," Obasanjo further said. -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Saturday, May 24, 2003

    Arrest Ojukwu and see fire, Okorie threatens
         Following speculations in some quarters that the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) presidential candidate, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu may be arrested by the police over his position on the just concluded presidential election, the National Chairman of the party, Chief Chekwas Okorie, has threatened to spit fire in the country if it happens. Addressing a meeting of Igbo leaders of thought called Third Igbo National Assembly of Nnewi, Okorie said it would be unconstitutional for the police to arrest Ojukwu, who, he said, had the right to challenge any form of injustice against his interest and that of his people.
         He contended that in a democratic process, every Nigerian has equal opportunity to fair hearing in the court of law, maintaining that the issue of first class and second class citizens in the country was a calculated attempt at marginalising and subverting the aspirations of Nigerians of a certain geographical race. His words: “The days of first class and second class Nigerians are gone. Ojukwu has every constitutional right to fight for his mandate. Arrest him and see fire.” Reacting to the statement made by the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun that “there is a danger looming in the country”, Okorie said there was no panic in the country, alleging that the police alert was causing the panic. Okorie urged Nigerians to hold the Inspector General of Police responsible for any breakdown of law and order in the country on May 29, 2003. He sued for peace during the inauguration. -Culled from Independent Issue of Monday May 26, 2003

    PDP Alleges Threat to Assassinate Obasanjo
         The leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the defeated presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), and his running mate, Senator Chuba Okadigbo, of plotting to assassinate President Olusegun Obasanjo. But the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday said it would not recognise the second term of Obasanjo because the April general elections "cannot be the foundation upon which to erect any governmental authority for the country."
         However, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, while condemning Buhari's call for mass action yesterday called for the prosecution of the ANPP presidential candidate. Also, the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) has threatened to take reprisal actions against persons and groups seeking to disrupt the inauguration ceremony of Obasanjo. Reacting to alleged assassination plot against Obasanjo, the PDP advised its leaders to beef up their personal security. The party claimed that at least 10 persons including four foreigners have been unleashed on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the aim of maiming the party officers.
         In a statement issued and signed by Venatius Ikem, the national publicity secretary, yesterday in Abuja, the PDP said it was unsettled by the utterances of the ANPP candidates, lately, and urged Nigerians to hold Buhari and Okadigbo responsible should the current democratic experiment fail.. The statement read in part: "The PDP wishes, as a matter of extreme national urgency, to draw the attention of all well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to the utterances of some ANPP national leaders, especially their failed presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari and his running mate, Senator Chuba Okadigbo aimed at destabilising the country. -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Wednesday, May 28, 2003

    ACF backs call for interim govt
         The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has thrown its weight behind the call by The Patriots for an interim caretaker government. In a communiqué after a special meeting in Kaduna yesterday, the ACF said the federal government as now constituted had lost any moral authority to act alone by its hasty endorsement of the outcome of the last set of elections which the ACF said "must be discarded in their totality".
         The communiqué, signed by ACF secretary general, Colonel Hamid Ibrahim Ali (rtd), said the forum was recommending the ING option "in order to avoid a debilitating impasse" and called on the president to convene a meeting of all political leaders as a matter of urgency to agree on modalities for and supervise the conduct of "genuine elections". "The ACF is making the suggestion as its modest contribution to the patriotic duty incumbent on all Nigerians to keep Nigeria out of crisis, and the ACF hereby calls on all political leaders and political parties, professional groups, civil society organisations, labour unions etc., to join hands to rescue Nigeria from the looming crisis", the ACF added.
         It called on political leaders to resist the temptation to perpetuate themselves in office against the will of the people through unethical means. "For example, the amount of money illegally and openly expended during the last ‘elections’ to bribe public officials is a telling testimony of the ‘leaders’ Nigeria has. But let these ‘leaders’ remember that such conduct will in the long run be inimical to even their own interests", the ACF declared. It said the ‘elections’ of April 12 and 19 as well as those of May 3, cannot be a foundation upon which to erect any government authority for the country. "They leave little doubt that they were just a ratification and certification of pre-arranged results after going through the motion of what was to look like elections. They must therefore be discarded in their totality and proper elections held". -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Wednesday, May 28, 2003

    Nigerian protesters block roads
         Kano - Protesters opposed to the re-election of Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo erected barricades of burning tyres in the northern city of Kano on Wednesday.
         But there was a huge security presence in the city a day ahead of a ceremony to swear in Obasanjo for his second term, and by daybreak police had cleared the main Maiduguri Road after the overnight protest. At least 10 makeshift barriers had been put up by groups angered by Obasanjo's victory in last month's elections, the first since Nigeria's return to civilian rule, which the opposition claims were rigged. -Culled from News24.Com Article of Wednesday, May 28, 2003

    Coalition of parties insists on interim govt
         EVEN against the background of the swearing-in of President Olusegun Obasanjo for another four-year term yesterday, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) has reiterated its rejection of the April 19 polls and called for an Interim National Government (ING). After more than five hours of an emergency meeting in Abuja yesterday, the CNPP, in a statement signed by its chairman, Alhaji Abdulkadir Balarabe Musa and Secretary, Maxi Okwu, said the group stood by its earlier decision not to recognise the new government.
         Musa, leader of the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) and Second Republic Governor of Kaduna State, made an allusion to similar situations in 1964 and 1983. Though he did not elaborate, the CNPP leader was later to tell The Guardian that the governments under the cited circumstances did not last long. While reaffirming the rejection of the group of the polls and demand for its cancellation, Musa said: "CNPP does not recognise any government at all levels predicated on the flawed elections." "CNPP wishes to inform Nigerians that we are entering into a dangerous phase of fascism and police state where their fundamental rights and freedoms would be violated with impunity as demonstrated by the police refusal to grant permit for unity rallies in support of our cause as guaranteed by the constitution of Nigeria."
         He berated the reckless involvement of the military and the police in the electoral process, describing it as a political setback "for which Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) should be held accountable." He urged all Nigerians to demonstrate "their total rejection of the planned increase in fuel prices by stopping their vehicles wherever they are by noon on Monday, June 2, 2003 and sound their horns for five minutes." Musa also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, to immediately release unconditionally members of the national leadership of the Progressive Action Congress "who are locked up in a politically-motivated setting for failing to write a letter of congratulation to Olusegun Obasanjo as requested by Sarah Jubril (presidential candidate of the party)."
         Asked to comment further on his reference to the 1964 and 1983 transitions, Musa told The Guardian: "What happened in 1964 and 1983, governments were sworn in as a result of rigged elections and every Nigerian knows what followed immediately after. "It was because of the rigged election in 1964 that the army came in 1966, it was as a result of the rigged election in 1983 that the army came in three months later". He added: "Now, though we are not wishing this to happen, we are even opposed to it happening, but we have to draw the attention of Nigerians to the danger that we face." Asked what should be done since the government had been sworn in, he said, at the mentioned times government were equally sworn in, "but you know what happened' immediately after the swearing-in." Though he said the politicians do not wish military insurgency in any way, "particularly on the military take-over," but we are not in a position to stop it, so all we can do is to tell Nigerians the risk we are facing, so that we can all together avoid it." He also said there were a lot of options. "The democratic system in Nigeria gives us a lot of option. Just watch out and see." -Culled from Guardian Issue of Friday, May 30, 2003

    Nigeria will remain under siege – ANPP, UNPP
    The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and the United Nigeria Peoples Party (UNPP) have stoutly maintained their stand not to recognise Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as president of Nigeria from May 29, 2003. As Obasanjo was being sworn-in on Thursday to assume his second-term as president of Nigeria despite the controversies surrounding the elections that brought him up, the two political parties vowed to use all the legal and constitutional means to stop Obasanjo from running the affairs of the country because "he is an illegitimate president." -Culled from Weekly Trust Issue of Saturday, May 31, 2003

    Obasanjo Govt is Illegal, Buhari Insists
         The All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) presidential candidate at the April 19 polls, Maj Gen Muham-madu Buhari yesterday insisted that the second term of President Olusegun Obasanjo government which began last Thursday is illegal. In the two-page statement, the former military Head of State argued that "Democracy is about the expression of people's will and since Obasanjo has not renewed his mandate for another term, his continued hold on to power beyond May 29 runs against the grain of popular democracy and therefore illegal" Noting that "time is the greatest friend of truth", Buhari said the Obasanjo second term will not endure as "nothing ever built on falsehood and deceit has endured and this one also shall follow the time-honoured pattern," He accused the Obasanjo Administration of using brute force "like any dictatorship" to not only hold on to power but also in preventing the holding of a peaceful protest "against the injustice and high-handedness of the government." In a statement entitled "Democracy Shall Yet Come Alive" Gen Buhari re-iterated his earlier position that the election which gave Obasanjo the second tenure was not fairly and freely secured and thus detracts from the known ethos of democracy.
         The full text of Buhari's statement reads as follows:
         "In spite of public outcry and genuine protests from both within and outside the country, General Olusegun Obasanjo proceeded obdurately to succeed himself for another term in office without having to go through the rigours and high standards of a democratic election. The feelings of Nigerians and indeed, the views of the international community as represented by the unanimity of the reports of foreign election monitors obviously count for nothing with General Obasanjo and his associates. They seem to believe rather naively that with the instruments of power still in their hands, they can transmute wrong into right and legitimize the fraud of April 19th. Understandably, the so-called inauguration of May 29th has engendered a feeling of melancholy and hopelessness among the diverse peoples of our country. But we urge Nigerians to be hopeful. Time is the greatest friend of truth. Nothing ever built on falsehood and deceit has endured and this one also shall follow the time-honoured pattern. Democracy is about the expression of peoples' will and since Obasanjo has not renewed his mandate for another term, his continued hold on power beyond May 29th runs against the grain of popular democracy and therefore illegal. His government as we have posited earlier is consequently illegitimate and shall continue to remain so far as long as it is based on the April 19th contraption. It is now clear that it is not democracy that some people wish for this country but any arrangement that gives them political power, however, devious and dishonest. General Obasanjo's so-called second term has not been obtained through the power of the ballot. He may force himself on the people by continuing to remain in power beyond May 29th, but his government shall not be a democracy and should not be so treated. It is because Obasanjo does not represent the peoples will that he has so far relied on brute force like any dictatorship and hold on to power. Nigeria has been turned into a police state. People cannot even engage in peaceful protest against the injustice and high-handedness of the government anymore. We urge all Nigerians to continue to be law-abiding despite the provocation. Those who commit injustice bear the greatest burden. We are already in court and we will go the whose hot to get justice for the Nigerian people. Democracy shall yet come alive." -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Saturday, May 31, 2003

    ‘Nigeria is sleep-walking to disaster’ - Dr Ahmed Jalingo
    A university don, Dr Jalingo has seen the political terrain of yesteryears and today’s Nigeria. In this encounter with Weekly Trust, he expressed concern about what the mounting opposition against President Obasanjo’s re-election portends for the nation and advises the president-elect to take the cue of IBB by ‘stepping aside.’
    [ Exerpts of interview of Dr. Jalingo with Weekly Trust ]
    Question by Weekly Trust:-
         The tradition in African politics is that once a winner has been declared in, say presidential elections, the complainants end up losing out. Do you foresee that happening to candidates like Buhari?
    Answer by Dr. Jalingo:-
         I don’t think Buhari’s case would fall into the same category. One, because of his credibility of not crying wolf where there is not a mouse. Two, every living Nigerian know that the elections were rigged the way we have never seen. Now, even if Buhari had not protested, things cannot go as you see them. I am old enough to remember what happened during the 1964 elections. When everybody was crying foul, the opposition suffered from derision. The opposition were called names, they were tagged bad losers and so on. What happened? That was followed by the 1965 election in western Nigeria. We all know what happened in January 1966. I was at the centre of the crisis that engulfed the 1983 elections, as secretary to the Gongola State government. Police uniforms were procured and given to NPN thugs to wear and intimidate voters. We cried foul. They said no, it was a landslide victory. How long did it last? Three months! All these are now history.The refusal of people to participate in the state Houses of Assembly elections should have served as signals to the authorities. I don’t believe Buhari would suffer the same fate as those who protested elections in the past. My own guess is that politics aside, we see Obasanjo as a gentleman officer. we hope like Babangida, he would step aside. Then he would cancel the elections, so that there would be stability in Nigeria, which would be followed by development. Otherwise, as I said earlier, we are sleep-walking into disaster. -Culled from Weekly Trust Issue of Saturday, May 31, 2003

    We'll make April 19 hotter than June 12 – Buhari/Okadigbo organisation
         The Buhari/Okadigbo Organisation has asked President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to expect a fiercer battle for the overturn of the results of the April 19 polls than was fought for the actualisation of the June 12, 1993 election results. In an interview with Daily Trust yesterday, the spokesman of The Buhari/Okadigbo Organisation, Mr. Sam Nda-Isaiah, said there would be no hiding place for General Obasanjo when the struggle for April 19 hots up, even if he succeeds in wooing all ANPP governors over. "If Obasanjo likes, let him carry along all the ANPP governors in his desperation to legitimise illegality, it won’t change our stand and will not affect the struggle", Nda-Isaiah said.
         Nda-Isaiah said that as long as General Buhari remained the arrowhead of the struggle "for a just electoral process and decent democracy" there would be no looking back. "Whoever thinks that the whole thing is over because Obasanjo has been sworn in is just deceiving himself. We are just starting", Nda-Isaiah said. He said that President Obasanjo fixed a meeting of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) for May 28 so that all African heads of state who came "would be tricked into attending his inauguration" and was trying all he could to "hoodwink" ANPP governors but that such moves would not stop Buhari, the ANPP and the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) from fighting to correct "the fraud that has been introduced into the electoral process of this country". -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Thursday, June 5, 2003

    Obasanjo warns army against disloyalty
         President Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military ruler of Nigeria, has warned soldiers against disloyalty to his newly re-elected government, which came to power in highly controversial polls couple of months ago. The warning was made the day before at a decoration ceremony for the recently appointed Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia, according to a news release issued by the presidency on Wednesday.
         No explanation was given for the warning, which comes at a time of high political uncertainty for Nigeria, after the main opposition leader Muhammadu Buhari refused to recognize Obasanjo's April re-election, alleging the polls were fraudulent. Both Obasanjo and Buhari are former military rulers. Adding to the tension has been further opposition from Oduemegwu Ojukwu, who led the failed breakaway republic of Biafra in the country's 1967-70 civil war. Ojukwu has joined Buhari in demanding the election be held again.
         "President Olusegun Obasanjo said that any suspicion of disloyalty on the part of serving officers and men would be fully investigated and that appropriate sanctions would be imposed on anyone found guilty of the offence," said the statement. "While thanking the armed forces for their loyalty in the past four years, he said that under no circumstances would his administration allow the armed services to become politicised again." -Culled from HiPakistan.Com News Publication of Thursday, June 12, 2003

    Youths Organization Promises Fierce Battle Over Polls
         President Obasanjo and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been warned to expect fierce battle over the actualization of the true results of the April 19 gubernatorial presidential elections held in the country. A non-governmental organization (NGO), Youths Organization for Buhari/Okadigbo (YOBO 2003) made the warning in a rejoinder to a publication of Daily Trust of June 5, 2003 with a caption "We will make April 19 hotter than June 12" signed by the national chairman YOBO, Nasir Sa'idu Adhama.
         The NGO stated that it would be in the best interest of the country that the recent call by the European Union (EU) countries to carryout fresh election be honoured. Adding that early fresh election can augur well for Nigeria's image internationally. -Culled from ThisDay Issue of Wednesday, June 18, 2003

    I Won't Recognise Obasanjo's Govt Says General Buhari
         Defeated presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd), has reiterated that he would not recognise Chief Olusegun Obasanjo as the President of the country. The Daura-born former head of state has also vowed not to attend the Council of State meeting. This morning, Buhari was absent at the Council of State meeting attended by such past Nigerian leaders as Chief Ernest Shonekan, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Ibrahim Babangida (retd) and General Yakubu Gowon (retd).
         Close aides of Buhari told PMNews in Abuja this morning that the ANPP presidential candidate is still bitter with Obasanjo over the outcome of the 19 April Presidential Election which, he alleged, was massively rigged by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
         Buhari was quoted as saying that he would not recognise Obasanjo as president until a competent court of jurisdiction rules that he (Obasanjo) is the truly elected Nigerian president. P.M.News gathered that all entreaties by President Obasanjo to Buhari to abandon the path of confrontation have so far proved abortive. -Culled from P.M. News Issue of Thursday, June 19, 2003

    APGA Threatens to Form Alternative Govt
         National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie, has declared that the party would constitute an alternative government at the federal and state levels to act as an effective opposition to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Speaking yesterday at a ceremony in Abuja to mark the party's first anniversary, Chief Okorie said the party would take this action if it loses its legal action presently before the Supreme Court challenging the validity of the general elections conducted by INEC
         The party's suit at the apex court is premised on the Court of Appeal's ruling on the Electoral Act 2002, with the party saying that consequent upon the ruling, it was legally wrong for INEC to have conducted the April elections on the basis of a non-existing law.
         But, Chief Okorie in his welcome speech at the anniversary ceremony attended by the party's presidential candidate, Dim Chukwuemeka Ojukwu and ANPP national chairman, Chief Don Etiebet, said APGA would constitute an alternative government one week after losing the court case, including naming a cabinet.
         "Should our court case end in our disfavour, should the courts for any reason validate this criminal results, APGA shall provide the kind of opposition this country has never seen. One week after we lose at the Supreme Court, we shall form a shadow government including naming a cabinet that will tackle this government policy for policy and on a day to day basis at all levels," he declared.
         The APGA national chairman, however, said he did not expect Nigerians to be subjected to another four years of misrule and maladministration under President Olusegun Obasanjo, adding "I told Nigerians that bad governance is bad governance. Today, it's fuel price increase, tomorrow it will be something else," he said. -Culled from Daily Trust Issue of Wednesday, June 25, 2003

    Concern over Obasanjo’s leadership style
         For President Olusegun Obasanjo, winning the controversial April 19 presidential poll, that is still a subject of litigation, is turning out to be the easiest part of the challenges of his second term mandate. The most serious challenge now facing him is the difficult task of feeling the pulse of the people and effective evaluation of their reality in order tointroduce concrete policies that will reform the rotten political system and the crippled economy as well as rid the nation of growing poverty and injustice that he failed to address during his first term in office. But barely a month into his second term in office, Nigerians, who renewed his mandate, are becoming apprehensive that he is trying to use the mandate to bend them to his will and heighten the pains inflicted on them by the prolonged military rule that ended on May 29, 1999.
         Herman Cohen, the US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs between 1989 and 1993, while previewing President Bush’s visit to Africa on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) last Wednesday, said the US was worried over the variant of democracy in practice in Nigeria. The US, according to Cohen, is worried that Nigeria is becoming a one-man rule. Under criticism is Obasanjo’s style of leadership that a growing number of Nigerians believe is transiting the country from military dictatorship to civilian tyranny. The criticism grew louder over his handling of the new fuel prices that triggered the bloody nine-day strike that claimed several lives and inflicted untold hardship on the economy.
         Nigerians were stunned when Obasanjo, amidst the crippling, strike threatened to crush the organised labour for trying to force him to reverse the increase in the prices of fuel. “ I will fight the NLC to a standstill,” vowed the President. Commenting on his handling of the fuel prices increase, the BBC said the President in sticking to N40 price for a litre of petrol initially thought that he was acting from a position of strength. “The President may feel that his re-election in April gives him the mandate to face down troublesome unionists,” reports BBC. The thinking of several Nigerians after the fuel price strike is that the second term mandate is emboldening Obasanjo to attempt to shape Nigeria according to his vision. One of Obasanjo’s ideal African leaders is Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, the late Tanzanian President who ruled his country for several years as a one-party system. Way back in 1987, Obasanjo told Africa Events, a London-based magazine, that only one-party could move Africa forward. “A one-party system with a charismatic, visionary and pragmatic leadership can move most African countries along the path of harmony, political stability and durable structure’” he said. After his disputed victory in the April 19 poll, Obasanjo moderated his view when he canvassed for the reduction of the 30 political parties that contested the polls to three or four.
         Professor Itse Sagay, a constitutional lawyer, regrets that Nigerians are just realising Obasanjo’s style of leadership and concept of political power. Sagay disagrees with those who argued that democratised political power is intoxicating Obasanjo. “Obasanjo has not changed. He had been like that since he was a military ruler; he has no regard for anybody; he thinks of his ego; how he will come out of any situation as a victor,” he told Daily Independent. The senior advocate fears that with Obasanjo now not facing any election threat, “it is open sesame for him to ride roughshod over the people without any consideration for their rights and do things regardless of pain to the society,”. Mr. John Aliego, a civil servant, however, believes that Obasanjo has undergone some transformation since he was democratically elected in 1999. “The man we voted for then promised to squeeze water from stone. Now he is telling us that he is not a miracle worker; that we should work out our own miracle’” he lamented. During one of the ceremonies organised to inaugurate his second term, Obasanjo, mindful of criticisms that dogged his first term in office, assured Nigerians that he would be “ a brand new President” from May 29, 2003 to May 29, 2007.
         Fears that Obasanjo has not really changed first manifested when he banned foreign journalists from his post-election’s press briefing over their report of rigging during the April/May polls. While inaugurating the new National Assembly last month, Obasanjo also created a stir when he read a riot act to the legislators, which some fear might re-enact the protracted conflicts between the presidency and legislature that almost truncated the first phase of the new democratic dispensation which ended last May. Anxiety about Obasanjo’s style of leadership got to a climax during the just concluded fuel price strike when he cautioned press cameramen from taking his photograph with Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, after failed negotiations at the State House, Abuja.
         Those who watched him fielding questions from a group of editors during the June TV chat also expressed concern over his growing intolerance of opposing views. Berating an editor who asked him to justify the new fuel price, Obasanjo fired back:” I am not a follower in this country; I am a leader; I am the one who tells you what is the truth; you either believe it or you don’t”. The President also lashed at another who dared to tell him that the high fuel prices would heighten the sufferings of the masses. “Gbemiga, who are the so-called masses that you are talking about?” he asked.
         Chief Ayo Adebanjo, a top leader of Afenifere, the pan-Yoruba socio-cultural political organisation, who watched the interview, was disturbed by Obasanjo’s statement that with the improved living standard during his first term in office, several couples in the country could now boast of two cars. “He is insulting the intelligence of Nigerians who worked hard to own cars while he has 20 official cars in his fleet” Adebanjo told Daily Independent. Dr. Ndubuisi Nwokoma, an economics teacher at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), also is not comfortable with Obasanjo’s response to the questions during the TV chat. “The way he spoke that day, I see Obasanjo as somebody who is not looking for anyone’s mandate again; he spoke with so much confidence, like somebody who does not care about what your opinion is,” he explained.
         The governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-controlled states raised the question about Obasanjo’s leadership style during crucial negotiations with him before he won the party’s Presidential ticket for the April poll. Daily Independent gathered that the governors complained that his style of leadership was threatening the spirit of federalism and democracy. To get their support, the governors demanded that he should allow a more participatory federal system during his second term, that will not encroach on the limited autonomy that the 1999 Constitution gives the states. After listening to them, Obasanjo promised to consider their complaint if they back him later at the party’s primaries in Abuja. Few hours after the meeting, Obasanjo, while answering questions on the BBC, was at pain over the growing complaint about his style of leadership. Said he: “They want me to be more of a politician than a statesman; it is too late for me to change wholesale, but I will try”.
         After watching Obasanjo since May 29, Adebanjo says he has not purged himself of dictatorial tendencies. “He is now a maximum ruler,” he complained, citing his recent handling of the pricing of the petroleum products to buttress his point. “He has no cabinet when he raised the prices; he simply gathered around him people who have no constitutional powers to do it and he did not even consulted the parliament”. Alhaji Balarabe Musa, a Second Republic governor of Kaduna State and presidential candidate of the People Redemption Party (PRP) in the April poll, believes that the grand plan of Obasanjo is to become “an imperial conqueror”. “He has conquered Nigeria and he feels he can decide for Nigerians in spite of his own party and the National Assembly. He has turned himself into Oga patapata; he is the final arbiter; in fact, he is the initiator and final arbiter,” Balarabe told a national daily.
         Chief Gani Fawehinmi, an activist lawyer and the presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), however, blames the 1999 Constitution authored by the Abubakar military dictatorship for reinforcing Obasanjo’s style of leadership. In a lecture on “State of the nation and its constitution”, he delivered to the Oyo State Judiciary junior staff workers on July, 26, 2002, Fawehinmi argued that the 1999 Constitution has transformed Obasanjo into a “constitutional dictator”. But Nigerians then hardly agreed with him. He explained: “The overbearing powers of one man—the President— in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 further rob Nigeria of its federal status and we now have a unitary constitutional dictatorship”. For instance, the senior advocate explained that out of 320 provisions of the constitution and its seven schedules, about 118 provisions” relate to or involve or pertain to or connected with the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”.
         Sagay is optimistic that Nigerians would have compelled Obasanjo to change his style of leadership if the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had not called off the nine-day fuel price strike last Tuesday. His words: “The strike is not just to protest the arbitrary increase of prices, but against civilian dictatorship and tyranny; about our liberty and freedom”. Calling off the strike, the NLC said Obasanjo and the Federal Government had learnt some bitter lessons that it was futile in a democratic dispensation to impose unpopular policies on the people. “The best approach to addressing contentious issues is constructive dialogue, which meaningfully takes on board the full diversity of the views and interests of the citizenry,” the apex body of the junior workers’ unions cautioned Federal Government in a statement to call off the crippling strike. -Culled from Independent Issue of Wednesday, July 16, 2003

    Opposition promises tough time for Obasanjo
         The opposition, led by the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP) and the presidential candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), General Muham-madu Buhari (rtd), has promised government mass action on the 29th day of every month until President Obasa-njo leaves office. General Buhari, who spoke yesterday at the public presentation of three books on issues concerned with the April 19 elections at the Women Development Centre in Abuja said that the spirit of the 2003 elections would not rest until the "fraud and atrocities" that characterised them were squarely addre-ssed.
         He said society were now in total jeopardy because the leadership was morally corrupt and undisciplined, adding: "We are determined to have a new Nigeria irresp-ective of which way the peti-tion at the electoral tribunal goes. "Our struggle is that of commitment, and individually and collectively, we will never compromise, for to do so is to pave the way for the enthr-onement of an era of dictato-rship and the untimely dem-ise of the Nigerian dream. It is a promise we have made. So long as we are alive, we shall never allow this to happen". Buhari reasoned that if the opposition allowed the rape of democracy to prevail, "it is to be feared that there will never be democracy in Nigeria to the end of time. We shall then settle for a one party state and a destructive dictatorship."
         The ANPP flag bearer regretted that because the Obasanjo government used state security apparatus to force itself to power, it had now turned the people of the country into mere spectators in the great drama in which they were supposed to be the main actors. "There is despair and despondency in the people, and this more than anything, goes to prove our assertion that there was no fair election." General Buhari said the recent increase in the prices of fuel products which led to a nationwide labour crisis would not stand the test of time because it was "wicked, fraudulent", saying that fuel in Nigeria ought not to cost more than N25 per litre, because there was actually no government subsidy on fuel. He said that it was criminal for the government to abandon the nation’s four refineries and instead import fuel with the weak naira against the super high rate of the dollar, thereby transfe-rring the burden to innocent Nigerians who did not participate in the high level of economic mismanagement.
         The National Chairman of All Progressive Grand Allia-nce (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie said that the CNPP would embark on one form of mass action or the other on the 29th day of every month to commemorate the brutal murder of democracy by a group of power hungry indiv-iduals. Okorie who predicted that Obasanjo’s government would not go beyond this year given the clear evidences of electoral fraud that would soon manifest at the tribu-nals, said: "An interim gover-nment for one year is better than an illegal government of four years. I call for an interim government." He said that the Supreme Court ruling which declared the 2002 electoral act null and void had also rendered the April/May elections null and void, "you cannot build something on nothing. You cannot build legality over illegality. It would all amount to illegality, which Obasanjo’s government is."
         The vice-presidential candidate of the ANPP, Dr. Chuba Okadigbo said the international community were disenchanted with the Obasanjo government but was incapacitated with the fact that it was an entirely internal problem, and that it was now left for Nigerians to set out machinery to get rid of what he called illegal government, suggesting that the best way for this government to have peace was to go to the negotiation table "and for them to accept that they lost the elections". According to Okadigbo, "Revolutions start when the forces of the king clash with those of the slaves which is what we are having on our hands. When cataclysm meets cataclysm the result is calamity. What is happening in Anambra State is the beginning of an implosion in the PDP and the illegitimate government." Said Dr. Okadigbo: "The so called godfather in Anam-bra State is a mercenary of Aso Rock. The bubble will soon burst."
         Earlier, the CNPP national chairman, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, had expressed fear that after 40 years of indep-endence, Nigeria was back on the political crossroads because of the over-ambition of a few individuals, adding that Nigerians needed to get up collectively to chase out such individuals. -Culled from Daily Trust Issue of Wednesday, July 30, 2003

    ANPP Dismisses FG's Stand On Ngige
         The All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday described as distasteful and alarming, the federal government decision to challenge the court order against governor Chris Ngige of Anambra State.
         The party noted in a statement signed by it National Director of Publicity, Alhaji Ibrahim Modibbo that the decision of the Federal Government was disappointing, distasteful, alarming and "is yet another of the series of slides into lawlessness and anarchy in this country."
         Alhaji Modibbo said it was dangerous for the federal government to disregard court order, saying "when such regime prevails, what then is the future of democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria?" -Culled from Daily Trust Issue of Friday, July 25, 2003

    We Will Form Opposition Govt If - APGA
         It is no doubt that the Anambra saga has offered an insight into the political landscape of the nation. In this interview with Group Political Editor, Suleiman Mohammed in Abuja, the National Chairman of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Chekwas Okorie reviews the situation vis-à-vis other happenings in the country and sums up that if all things fall apart, APGA will not hesitate to form an opposition government. Excerpts:-
         In view of these happenings do you have absolute confidence on the Nigerian judiciary?
         Not absolutely. It is rather unfortunate that you have to pursue your case up to the highest court of the land before you can have any semblance of justice. Nigeria will be doomed when these kind of judges at the Appeal Court take over the Supreme Court because the judges at the Supreme Court will one day retire. It appears that the Supreme Court justices are schooled in the old way and they cannot understand how they will see justice and do the opposite just because somebody has money. That is why we are seeing semblance of justice at that level. Nigeria is being turned upside down (apology to Ikemba Ojukwu). We seriously need prayers like we did during the Abacha era.
         Of recent, the main opposition party, the ANPP witnessed two incidents. First was the attack on the Buhari Campaign Organisation office, and the second was the fire incident at the party's secretariat. Do you see this as part of the democratic process particularly now that we are looking forward to a credible opposition party?
         In fact, I call on Nigerians to come out en mass to support the opposition because the opposition is the last hope of the Nigerian people. In those two incidents, APGA promptly expressed solidarity with the ANPP. A man who is in power by might lack legitimacy, and the man who has no legitimacy to preside over the country as big as Nigeria, will use repression to sustain him self in power, and that is what we are seeing. Let me repeat that we are looking at a man who has conquered his political party, conquered the National Assembly, which is just a rubber stamp body, and also conquered the Nigerian public by manipulating the election. Nigeria is doomed. It is only the opposition that has the chance of at least checking the excesses of the ruling party. -Culled from Daily Trust Issue of Wednesday, July 30, 2003

    ANPP protests Obasanjo interference with judiciary
         The All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) yesterday described the reported meeting between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Abuja Appeal Court judges, as a clear attempt to thwart justice in the ongoing petition filed by the party over the April presidential elections. "To the ANPP, irrespective of the subject matter of their discussion, we find the meeting at this time most inauspicious, ominous, very unfortunate and a blatant attempt to pervert the course of justice from all perspectives," declared the party’s national publicity Secretary, Comrade Nnamdi Olebara.
         The ANPP said in a statement it issued yesterday that the explanation given by presidential spokesperson, Mrs. Remi Oyo, was lacking in detail and challenged her to release the contents of the tape of that meeting to the public to buttress her defence. While describing the development as sad for the present democratic dispensation, the ANPP said such meeting contravened the constitution "which provides for separation of powers for sustainable democracy to endure. "At this juncture, the ANPP can only pray to Almighty God to give the trial judges in this case, the strength and will of character to stand up to their 120-word oath of office, which they took as judicial officers to administer justice without fear or favour and without ill-will or affection," the statement said.
         The party warned that "Nigerians shall not keep quiet any longer", over any attempt to compromise the judiciary like other agencies, saying that only the court cases and hope for fairness were keeping citizens quiet. The governorship candidate of the ANPP in Enugu State, Hon (Dr.) Fidel Ayogu, also described President Olusegun Obasanjo’s meeting on Monday with judges of the Federal Court of Appeal, as a threat to the nation’s nascent democracy. -Culled from Daily Trust Issue of Friday, August 8, 2003

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