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Saturday, 18 April, 1998, 19:24 GMT 20:24 UK
Nigeria parties back Abacha
Nigeria rally
Wednesday's pro-democracy rally in Ibadan, Nigeria, where three demonstrators were killed by military firepower.
Two more political parties in Nigeria have adopted the country's military leader, General Sani Abacha, as their candidate for presidential elections scheduled for August.

Abacha
At least four parties are expected to back Abacha
The Democratic Party of Nigeria and the Congress for National Consensus decided to support the General two days after the main party, the United Nigeria Congress, also endorsed him.

All five of Nigeria's political parties are government-funded and none represent any of General Abacha's real opponents.

The BBC's Lagos correspondent says no mainstream politicians have put themselves forward for fear of offending the government, which has openly declared that General Abacha should stay on in power as a civilian rather than a military leader.

Abacha
The military leader's civilian clothes
The government argues that if the general takes off his military uniform to become a civilian president he will have kept his promise to hand over to civilian rule - a transition to what the government calls Nigerian-style democracy.

Only the fifth party, the Grass Roots Democratic Movement or GDM, is considering adopting other candidates - including former police chief, M.D. Yusuf.

However, even the GDM is considering backing General Abacha, and candidates can be nominated on the day of the convention, scheduled to take place on Sunday.

If General Abacha becomes the joint candidate for most of the political parties, it will pave the way for him staying on in power indefinitely.

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