US urges Nigeria against constitutional amendment extending presidential term limit Tatyana Margolin at 7:47 AM ET
[JURIST] The US has urged Nigeria against amending [JURIST report; proposed amendments text, PDF] its constitution [text] to allow current President Olusegun Obasanjo [official profile] to run for a third term in office. In an unusual statement, the US Embassy in Abujah [official website] said the US "respects the right of any country to amend its constitution through democratic, transparent and legal means" but suggested that term limits were good for democracy and expressed concerns that the Nigerian government has not been transparent or fair in the constitutional review process. There has so far been no official reaction to the statement, but last month a Nigerian presidential advisor said the constitutional amendment process was "strictly an internal affair" [Xinhua report] and that "No one should begin to cry wolf since the phenomenon accords with the basic tenets of democratic practice, especially when such mandate is exercised by the nation's legislatures." The country's National Assembly [official website] will be considering the issue in the next few weeks.
Obasanjo has not officially announced whether he will seek another term. Atiku Abubakar [official profile], the current Vice President, has hinted that he might seek the presidency and has already declared his opposition to the amendment. One concern cited by opponents is that ethnic and regional diversity in the country might be stunted if the presidency does not change more frequently. BBC News has more.
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