[JURIST] The Nigerian Senate [official website] on Tuesday defeated a bill [PDF text] to amend the Nigerian constitution that would have allowed current President Olusegun Obasanjo [official profile] to run for a third term in office. The bill, which failed to receive the necessary two-thirds vote for passage, was proposed by supporters [JURIST report] of Obasanjo who claimed that a third term was necessary to maintain stability in the country. The United States and other nations had urged rejection of the bill [JURIST report] on the grounds that set term limits were a necessary part of the democratic process.
Obasanjo, who has never made an official announcement about running for a third term, was on a state visit to France while lawmakers deliberated the bill. Pro-third term advocates expressed concerns that the measure was not given full consideration, especially in regards to its other provisions, which included the creation of new states and the rotation of the presidency amongst Nigeria's six regions. The term amendment had been strongly opposed by Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar [official profile], who has hinted at seeking the presidency, and by people and politicians from the predominantly Muslim north of the country. Obasanjo, a Christian, is from the south. Barring future attempts to resurrect the bill, the upcoming 2007 elections will witness the first shift of power from one civilian government to another since the end of military rule in the populous west African state. The Nigerian Tribune has local coverage. AP news has more.