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Nigeria / Governors - 2002-06-27

With local government elections scheduled for August and general elections for next year in Nigeria, state governors are devising strategies to get re-elected.

Analysts say a key part of the plan is securing the endorsement of Nigerians living abroad, especially in the United States. Within the past month, several governors have visited the United States, and most say they are here to speak with potential investors.

But critics say some of the state executives are also using the opportunity to purchase property and stash looted state funds into foreign banks.

Chief Achike Udenwa, the governor of the southeastern state of Imo, is currently in Washington. He told English to Africa reporter Chinedu Offor that critics of the frequent foreign trips by top government officials are unfair. He says such travel is necessary to promote investment in their states. Chief Udenwa says he is in the country on the invitation of the people of his state. Analysts say it is odd that with such a huge voting population in Nigeria, incumbents and other aspirants are looking to the United States for votes.