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Tuesday, 27 August, 2002, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
Obasanjo awaits MPs verdict
President Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo has been damaged politically
Nigeria's ruling party MPs are discussing whether to go ahead with a debate to impeach the president.

It follows the expiry on Monday of a two-week deadline given by Nigeria's lower house of parliament for President Olusegun Obasanjo to resign.

The motion charges President Obasanjo with incompetence, abuse of power and failing to prevent corruption.

At the weekend, President Obasanjo signalled that the political crisis was over and he went on national television to thank Nigerians for their maturity in helping the country surmount recent problems.


I think the president was celebrating too soon

Farouk Lawan

But doubts have emerged after Farouk Lawan, chairman of the House Information Committee, said MPs planned to go ahead with the impeachment debate.

"I think the president was celebrating too soon," he was quoted by AP news agency as saying.

The impeachment move came after disagreements between the government and MPs over the budget.

MPs also accused him of travelling too frequently, failing to control violence within the country and disregarding parliament's authority.

Checks and balances

In his televised address on Sunday, President Obasanjo said he believed democracy would emerge strengthened from the controversy, but added that the crisis had damaged Nigeria's image abroad, with several African leaders telephoning him to express concern.

"What we have witnessed in the last two weeks is that our choice of democracy has gone through a litmus test and emerged virile and dynamic," he said.

"The last two weeks have also shown that no arm of government can run roughshod over any of the others."

Mr Obasanjo was voted into power in 1999, bringing to an end 15 years of military rule.


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13 Aug 02 | Africa
19 Jun 02 | Africa
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