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Nigerian Leader Faces Crucial Parliament Vote


The two-chamber Nigerian parliament is scheduled to vote on the declaration of emergency rule in Ekiti State by President Olusegun Obasanjo. The president faces defeat as a majority of lawmakers are reportedly against the proclamation.

With political tension and threats of violence rising, the vote is seen as crucial for Nigeria's political future and upcoming elections.

Tokunboh Afikuyomi, a senator from Lagos state, says the president's action was rather hasty and unjustified.

"There was nothing in Ekiti, as at October 18, 2006 that required extraordinary measures," he said. "So, in my view, the decision to issue a proclamation for emergency in Ekiti is not only panicky, I also think it has not taken cognizance of the need for sustainable democratic processes in Nigeria."

Mr. Obasanjo said he took the measure to stop instability from spreading across Nigeria, a nation with more than 250 ethnic groups that is frequently shaken by ethnic and religious strife.

Akin Oshuntokun, political advisor to the president, rejects accusations that the introduction of emergency rule in Ekiti was politically motivated.

"The provision is there," he said. "There is no other option, other than that, other than the declaration of emergency. So, I do not see why it should be problematic. They just politicize issues unnecessarily. If you were in the presidents shoes, what would you have done?"

With two more state governors facing impeachment and the likelihood of more contentious attempts to remove governors of other states, opposition to emergency rule in Ekiti state has grown tremendously. State governors have denounced the president's action and called for the restoration of elected officials.

The Nigerian constitution requires a two-thirds approval by both houses of parliament within 10 days of emergency rule in any part of Nigeria or the declaration elapses

Analysts say corruption allegations have provided a convenient platform for the president to move against his political opponents ahead of crucial polls in 2007.

The senate last May defeated an attempt to change the constitution to allow Mr. Obasanjo run for a third term.