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Sunday, 19 April, 1998, 03:28 GMT 04:28 UK
Abacha unopposed in Nigerian presidential race

The last of Nigeria's five authorised political parties has announced that it's joining the others in backing the military leader, General Sani Abacha, as its candidate for presidential elections.

The decision by the Grassroots Democratic Movement was reached after hours of bitter argument in the northern town of Maiduguri with the police being called in at one stage to restore order.

One senior party official resigned, complaining that the general's candidacy was being imposed on the movement.

The BBC correspondent in Lagos says that if, as expected, General Abacha declares his intention to remain in power, the presidential elections planned for August will be called off.

Opposition groups have accused the government of manipulating the political process to ensure the general remains in power, and have called for an election boycott.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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