Nigerian lawmakers will soon debate an amendment to the Constitution that could extend President Olusegun Obasanjo's hold on power. Today, Deputy Senate President Ibrahim Mantu presented a report to the Senate recommending a series of changes to the 1999 charter.

Senator Tsauri Ibrahim heads the Senate?s Rules and Business Committee. In an interview with English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje, Senator Ibrahim says, ?Review of the constitution is one of the constitutional aspects of democracy. In reviewing the amendment, we are going to do exactly what the rules of the Senate say we should do.?

The Senate begins consideration of the proposed bill as a committee continues investigating bribery allegations against the deputy Senate president Mantu. Senator Ibrahim says it?s difficult for him to comment on the investigation. But he sees no connection between the two cases. ?I know the allegation against Mantu have got nothing to do with the constitutional amendment.

Senator Ibrahim says the national debate on the proposed amendment is not driven by religious, ethnic or regional factors. ?People are talking about the survival of democracy in Nigeria. That if the Constitution is amended to a particular need, a particular section, then the democratic fate of Nigeria is being threatened.?