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Cablegate: "Two Terms Threatens Democracy and Peace" Says

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS ABUJA 003321

SIPDIS


STATE FOR AF/PD
LAGOS FOR PAS


E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KPAO PBTS PGOV NI
SUBJECT: "TWO TERMS THREATENS DEMOCRACY AND PEACE" SAYS
NIGERIA'S AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S.


1. Summary: On November 16, Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Professo
Jibril Aminu, said in a press interview that the idea of two terms for
officials is a threat to Nigeria's democracy and peace in the country.
Aminu, who spoke on a wide range of issues, reiterated that the North h
with all Presidential candidates before the 1999 elections to protect t
interests. Aminu was optimistic that the Bakassi issue would be settle
with Cameroon. He spoke positively about U.S.-Nigerian relations, and
acknowledged that improved government management could strengthen Niger
image. End Summary.


Nigeria's Ambassador to the U.S. Speaks to the Press
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
2. On November 16, Nigerian Ambassador to the U.S., Professor Jibril A
gave a three-page interview to the New Nigerian Weekly, a Kaduna-based,
government-owned newspaper. Aminu confirmed that all the Presidential
candidates in 1999 signed an agreement to support the North's interests
denied that President Obasanjo had agreed to a single term in the conte
discussion. He warned that the two-term issue is a threat to democracy
in Nigeria, and advocated a single five-year term for the President, St
governors, and Chairmen of the Local Government Councils.


3. Ambassador Aminu said that Nigerian politicians are dishonestly usi
ethnicity because "they are not doing anything for their people." He m
generous references to the United States political system saying: "In t
States you hardly catch a Congressman on Friday in the evening for any
They have gone home. They spend Saturday and a large part of Sunday wo
with their own people, visiting, and answering questions, answering let
phone calls and e-mails, and then they come back to Washington. Our pe
don't do that."


4. Answering a question on how people outside Nigeria, especially the
Sates, view Nigeria, Ambassador Aminu said, " You may not believe it bu
Nigeria is held in a very high esteem, particularly in the United State
there were problems with the military governments before General Abduls
Abubakar restored the country to democracy. He said the people of Nige
always been recognized and applauded for their skills adding, "Tens of
of Nigerians are living and working in the United States at the highest
contributing a lot to that society."


5. Commenting on the International Court of Justice verdict on the Baka
dispute between Nigeria and the Cameroon, Ambassador Aminu said, "I do
want us to just reject and sit down. I do not want us to reject, and m
into conflict with Cameroon, an African state, our sister African state
neighbor with whom we shared so many useful experiences in the past
including. much of it being part of Nigeria before. But, I don't think
fight them."


6. Asked about the possibility of violence in the 2003 elections, Ambas
Aminu said, "This is something entirely in our hands. And I believe, i
decide to behave ourselves, to reflect on the dangers, and to reflect o
promises, the opportunities that lie ahead of this country in a success
think we can still do it. Professor Aminu, however, expressed disappoi
with the political fighting in the country remarking, "You know, there
impression that we lack some seriousness." He added that outsiders hav
impression that Nigeria's political elites and intelligentsia are not l
mismanagement remains an issue for Nigerians to overcome. He stressed
Nigeria could do well with "the right people in the right places."


7. Footnote: According to recent press reports, Aminu has announced p
seek a Senate seat in Adamawa in the 2003 elections.
Jeter

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