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Analyst Says Nigeria on Track for Free and Fair Elections, Despite Current Controversies


Nigerian lawmakers have launched an investigation into the alleged doctoring of a list of supposedly corrupt politicians prepared by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. President Olusegun Obasanjo relied on the list to disqualify several opposition candidates, including Vice President Atiku Abubakar, from participating in April's presidential elections.

Lawmakers say they also want to amend the law that created the commission to give it more independence and reduce the president’s influence on its decisions. Analysts say the latest controversy further heightens tension ahead of the election.

Chucks Osuji is the executive director of the political think tank Opinion Research and Communications Consultants. He told VOA English to Africa Service reporter Chinedu Offor that the latest controversy creates some uncertainty about the polls. “The people have a reason to be apprehensive; they have reason to worry and be skeptical because of the emerging drama unfolding in the country.”

But he says despite several shortcomings, Nigeria is on course to conduct free and fair elections. “I have confidence and faith in the ability of this country to come out of the woods to take care of its business.” Osuji says such optimism is based on the legislature and judiciary. “Within the last few months the judiciary has done marvelously well and tried to redeem its battered image. On the legislature, people have now risen to know that money is not all it takes to win election, and based on their performance, I base my optimism.”