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Nigerian President Rejects Calls For His Resignation

Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is rejecting calls by members of the lower house of parliament who on Tuesday demanded that he resign.

President Olusegun Obasanjo's reaction came a day after Nigeria's House of Representatives called for him to step down, accusing his government of incompetence and corruption.

Presidential spokesman Tunji Oseni told reporters in the capital, Abuja, Wednesday President Obasanjo said he would continue to serve despite the threats by members of parliament, who on Tuesday gave him two weeks to resign or face impeachment. The spokesman quoted Mr. Obasanjo as saying he would not allow threats by his political enemies to divert his attention from his responsibilities as president.

The presidential spokesman criticized the lower chamber's motion as one that would be capable of derailing the process of democracy.

It is not the first time members of the Nigerian National Assembly have called for Mr. Obasanjo to be removed from office. In June, members of the Senate moved to impeach the president, but abandoned the action after reaching an agreement with the president.

The latest impeachment threat came amid a bitter dispute between the parliament and President Obasanjo over budget issues, and over the Nigerian leader's frequent travels abroad.

Members of parliament complain the Obasanjo administration has yet to implement budgets that they have passed since 1999. They also criticize him for taking what newspapers recently reported were more than 100 trips since he was elected in 1999.

Observers say call for impeachment was a means to damage Mr. Obasanjo politically as he prepares to run for re-election next year.

Olusegun Obasanjo's election in 1999 marked the end of a long string of military governments in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation. He faces what analysts say is a tough battle for re-election next year, as the country, one of the world's main producers of oil -- struggles with widespread poverty, corruption, and a deepening divide between Muslim fundamentalists in the north and Christian southerners.