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Nigeria president, vice president file suit over deputy's job

Nigeria president, vice president file suit over deputy's job

President Olusegun Obasanjo and his vice president each launched legal proceedings Wednesday in a spat over the legality of the deputy maintaining his office after accepting an opposition party's nomination to run in Nigeria's presidential elections.
Vice President Atiku Abubakar maintain that only impeachment or the expiration of his elected term can end his official duties, while Obasanjo says the constitution stipulates that changing parties should nullify his position.
The two camps each filed suit Wednesday at an appelate court in the capital, Abuja, asking for a ruling on the issue.
The ruling party expelled Abubakar on Friday and called on Obasanjo to fire him as his deputy after he declared his candidacy in next year's presidential elections.
Abubakar fell out with Obasanjo this year amid the president's failed attempt to modify the constitution, which would have allowed him to run for a third term.
Abubakar has been accused of corruption by his own party, the ruling People's Democratic Party, or PDP. Abubakar denies the allegations, calling them politically motivated. Abubakar's job provides immunity from prosecution, meaning he could be prosecuted on graft charges if he's fired. If found guilty, his presidential challenge would have to end under Nigerian election rules.
Abubakar was elected in 1999 alongside Obasanjo in balloting that ended years of brutal military rule, but has squabbled publicly with Obasanjo as elections near.
The April 27 elections are slated to become the first time an elected government has handed power to another since Nigeria became independent from Britain in 1960.
Nigeria, infamous for its official corruption, is the most populous nation in Africa, and the continent's largest exporter of crude oil.
Abubakar won the support of a small opposition party, the Action Congress, for his presidential candidacy.
The ruling party is running a governor from the Muslim north as their candidate.
Katsina Governor Umaru Yar'Adua, supported by Obasanjo, is considered a formidable candidate, boasting a party structure that was accused of vote rigging during Obasanjo's 2003 reelection. A former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, is also in the race.


Updated : 2020-12-02 21:09 GMT+08:00