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Nigerian President Refuses to Rule Out Third Term


Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo has refused to rule out a third term, a move that would require a change to Nigeria's constitution.

In an interview with VOA late Wednesday, Mr. Obasanjo said a third term is "not on the cards" right now. But he added that if he needed to consider the issue, the decision would be entirely up to him and his consultants.

Nigeria's parliament recently began debate on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow presidents three terms in office, up from the current two. Opposition groups have voiced strong objections to the measure.

Mr. Obasanjo's second term ends next year.

In the interview, the Nigerian president also rejected international criticism over the brief disappearance of former Liberian president Charles Taylor from his exile home in Nigeria. He told VOA that Nigeria has been "vindicated" by arresting Taylor, and is due an apology from the critics.

The Nigerian president also said he has no fear that oil companies will leave Nigeria despite recent violence in the oil-producing Niger Delta region.

Mr. Obasanjo met with President Bush at the White House Wednesday. He said they did not discuss the Nigerian constitution, which he said President Bush regards as an internal Nigerian affair.

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