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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 April 2006, 18:10 GMT 19:10 UK
Obasanjo 'considers' third term
President Obasanjo (file photo)
Mr Obasanjo's second term in office ends next year
Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo will consider whether or not to stand for a third term, if the constitution is changed, his spokesman says.

Femi Fani Kayode was responding to a US newspaper report in which Mr Obasanjo said God would decide whether to extend his time as president after 2007.

Mr Kayode told the BBC this decision would not be decided by God alone and that there were other considerations.

The current constitution only allows presidents to stand for two terms.

Mr Obasanjo has not said in public that he wishes to stand for a third term.

The issue has divided the ruling People's Democratic Party and Nigerian public opinion.

God's role

The National Assembly is due to consider more than 100 proposed constitutional amendments, including whether to extend the president's term in office from two to three terms.

He said is that God is not a God of abandoned projects
Femi Fani Kayode
Presidential spokesman

Mr Kayode confirmed a report in the Washington Post that quoted Mr Obasanjo as saying that God would play a part in helping him decide whether to stand again.

But Mr Kayode said it was "not accurate to put it in the context in which it was put that it would be decided by God, as if to say there were no other considerations".

"We are not ashamed of that fact that we are a nation of believers... we believe that God rules in the affairs of men," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

Mr Kayode said that if the constitution was changed then the president would consult with others before making any decision.

"What he [Mr Obasanjo] said is that God is not a God of abandoned projects. What he was referring to are the economic policies of this nation. What he's referring to are the economic reform programmes that this administration has set in place," the presidential spokesman explained.

"It does not necessarily mean that that means that God is going to use him in the future."

Rotation

Mr Obasanjo has not publicly said he wants to stand for another term, but there has been speculation that behind the scenes he is trying to secure a third term.

Supporters of Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who is thought to be eyeing the presidency, oppose moves to change the constitution.

Opponents of the constitutional change argue that the presidency needs to rotate among people from different regions and ethnic groups.

Recently, a majority of Nigeria's state governors agreed that a constitutional review was necessary within the life of the current administration.


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