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Wednesday, 28 August, 2002, 09:23 GMT 10:23 UK
Obasanjo charges in the balance
President Olusegun Obasanjo
Obasanjo is not out of danger yet
Nigeria's ruling party MPs have delayed until Thursday a decision on whether to support the impeachment of President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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 or face impeachment.

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


I think the president was celebrating too soon

Farouk Lawan
The upper house of parliament, the Senate, has now joined the moves to agree a set of charges against the president.

An impeachment motion must be supported by both houses to come into effect.

On Monday, the Senate passed a motion detailing charges against him and directed a special senate committee to work with the lower house to agree to be levelled against President Obasanjo, according to the Reuters news agency.

Senators are said to have been angered by the president's special address to the country at the weekend in which he signalled that as far as he was concerned the political crisis was over.

Ruling party decision

The focus of the crisis now moves to the caucus of the ruling People's Democratic Party.

The PDP parliamentarians will consider the list of complaints against the president drawn up by a committee of lower house members.

They will also look at President Obasanjo's defence against the charges.

The PDP has a majority in the lower house and party leaders are attempting to mediate between Mr Obasanjo and those members of his own party who support his impeachment.

Nigerian Assembly in Abuja
MPs sought to embarrass Obasanjo

The impeachment will still go ahead despite the president's confidence that it is all over, according to Farouk Lawan, chairman of the House Information Committee.

He said after the president's televised address that MPs planned to proceed 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 Mr Obasanjo of travelling too frequently, failing to control violence within the country and disregarding parliament's authority.

Senators join the fight

The senate motion on Monday accused the president of being "totally incapable of resorting peace and stability to then polity and throughout the nation".

One unnamed senator told Reuters that, "the president is not out of the woods yet".

"He is in far more serious trouble than he thinks."

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


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28 Aug 02 | Business
27 Aug 02 | Africa
13 Aug 02 | Africa
19 Jun 02 | Africa
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