Sunday, April 23, 2006

3rd term agenda backfiring?

Reuters thinks so:
National Assembly lawmakers return to Abuja this week to debate a proposal by his supporters to rewrite the constitution allowing him to stand for a third term in elections next year.

This has prompted comparisons by critics with old-style African despots clinging to power.

Analysts say his foot soldiers are damaging his legacy of reform amid widening accusations of blackmail and bribery.

"One of the biggest problems with the third term is the perception that the government, which staked its reputation on anti-corruption, has become a big instrument of corruption to push the agenda," said John Adeleke, an independent analyst.

"It is a dangerous game that is backfiring."

Analysts and lawmakers say it is unlikely that the proposed amendment can attract the two-thirds majority it needs in the national and state assemblies to pass into law.

But even if it does get through, observers say the process has become so discredited that the resurgent opposition may not accept the outcome, leading Africa's most populous nation towards a violent implosion.

President Obasanjo himself has stayed quiet -- I would too if I weren't yet sure the constitution could be successfully changed -- although he has stated clearly that he would stand for a 3rd term if the constitution were in fact amended.

The plan by the President's supporters in his People's Democratic Party to extend his administration into a 3rd term has led to significant unrest in the Niger Delta, the source of a good chunk of our oil in the US, whose exports have been cut by 1/4 following violence over the economic and environmental injustice the Ijaw and Ogoni peoples have suffered in the Delta over the last 50 odd years, which has in turn led to a dramatic increase in the price of crude oil over the last two months, including a $5 jump just this week (see here also), and whose oil output I am quite convinced our country would be willing to send our military to protect.

No one from the Delta has ever held the presidency.

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