- Title: NIGERIA: Nigerian Vice President wins opposition ticket, crisis looms
- Date: 22nd November 2006
- Summary: (AD1) ABUJA, NIGERIA (FILE - MAY 29, 2003) (REUTERS) NIGERIAN PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO ARRIVING WITH ABUBAKAR STANDING BEHIND HIM (ON THE LEFT, WEARING WHITE OUTFIT AND WHITE HAT)
- Embargoed: 7th December 2006 12:00
- Location: Nigeria
- Country: Nigeria
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA2N95TEYRMXNP3I6OQIF5R3N4J
- Story Text: Nigerian politics heated up further this week, ahead of 2007 elections, when the country's vice-president, Atiku Abubakar took his split with President Olusegun Obasanjo all the way to the ballot box.
Nigerian opposition party, Action Congress (AC), chose Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as its presidential candidate and in so doing not only made it clear that Abubakar would depart the ruling party but also sparked what may become a constitutional crisis.
Abubakar's defection from the ruling party to the newly-created Action Congress followed growing hostility between himself and the president, with each accusing the other of looting public funds.
Abubakar told enthusiastic supporters that the 2008 election would transcend party politics and be about issues rather than party affiliations.
"The collective effort of the masses of this country under our leadership will reclaim our democracy indeed our country from those who seek to destroy it for their selfish ends; the challenges facing us today transcends political parties," said Abubakar after a primary where the 60-year-old former customs officer was the only candidate.
Obasanjo must step down after elections in April which should mark the first handover of power from one elected president to another since independence from Britain in 1960.
But Obasanjo could declare the vice presidential position vacant, a move that would significantly raise the political temperature in Nigeria but one which could be deemed unconstitutional.
Obasanjo's election in 1999 marked the end of three decades of almost continuous army dictatorship, but politics are still characterised by bribery, violence and rigging.
Abubakar, seen here in file video with Obasanjo, had enjoyed a close relationship with the president until the two fell out when Obasanjo tried to stand for a third term. The attempt was blocked was blocked by lawmakers.
Abubakar has travelled widely and is well known on the continent, after starring as Obasanjo's running mate in the 1999 election.
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