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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06ABUJA1954
2006-07-28 08:54:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Abuja
Cable title:  

BUHARI TO RUN ON ANPP TICKET

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  KDEM  NI  ELECTIONS 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO3655
PP RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #1954/01 2090854
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 280854Z JUL 06
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6602
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHOS/AMCONSUL LAGOS 4693
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RUFOADA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ABUJA 001954 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/25/2016
TAGS: PGOV PREL KDEM NI ELECTIONS
SUBJECT: BUHARI TO RUN ON ANPP TICKET


Classified By: Political Counselor Russell J. Hanks for Reasons 1.4 (b
and d)



1. (U) One of Buhari's political advisors, Sule Yahaya
Hamma, told the press on July 25 that 2003 Presidential
candidate Muhammadu Buhari would run again in 2007 on the All
Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) platform. He said the The
Buhari Organization (TBO) had continued to work for the past
several years and would continue to form the core of Buhari's
campaign. Hamma pointed out that currently at least seven
candidates have announced their intention to contest on the
ANPP ticket, including Governor Sani Ahmed (Zamfara), Dr.
Lema Jibrilu, Bashir Tofa and Dr. Pere Ajuwa.



2. (U) This follows a statement Buhari made at a memorial
lecture over the weekend in which he stated that he had been
a victim of a "rigged election" in 2003 and that he "had no
confidence in the present composition of the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC)." He also called for
the "total reorganization" of INEC. Buhari pointed out that
INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu had recently employed many
"card-carrying members" of the ruling People's Democratic
Party (PDP) and said that it was important to make INEC
"impartial and acceptable to all parties and candidates"
before the 2007 elections.



3. (U) Buhari and National Conscience Party leader and
political gadfly Gani Fawehinmi each called for Nigerians to
unite in the fight against "election rigging and other
malpractice" to save Nigeria's democracy.



4. (C) In an earlier meeting with Deputy Assistant
Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Buhari set out three

SIPDIS
issues that he planned to engage in preparatory to his 2007
election campaign. He said that he was working within the
convoluted political landscape for a realignment of the
parties in the wake of the illegal expulsion of many members
of the PDP and President Obasanjo's failed third term effort.
Additionally, he said that resolving problems in the
electoral process were important as was the garnering of
international support for electoral transparency and reform.



5. (C) He said that the efforts of the PDP to encourage
regionalism in the national polity since 1999 "disappointed"
him. Buhari lamented that the emphasis on ethnicity and
religion were signs that the current political parties have
not "matured or proved themselves through party activities
and governance." He went on to complain that regionalism was
even more pronounced today than in the 2003 elections.



6. (C) Buhari claimed that "the parties' structures are
weaker and they focus even more" on a political divisiveness
based on regions than ever before in Nigeria's history. He
blamed many of the current problems on Obasanjo's "desire for
a one-party state" and pointed out that the PDP now is
divided into at least five competing factions.



7. (C) Buhari said the regional conflicts in the Delta, the
Southeast and in the Middle Belt are driven by the political
culture of "taking our own from the cake first" and
exacerbated by a fractured social life brought on by poverty.
He said, however, that he believed that many of the current
problems would be resolved if Nigerians were allowed to elect
their leaders. "If the candidates were not imposed and
Nigerians participate in the process" the Delta would be
calmer. Further, when that happens, the political leaders
will be more responsible to the electorate and more attentive
to the provision of basic good, Buhari concluded.



8. (C) Other elements of Buhari's outreach efforts include
ongoing contacts with the political establishment in the
Southeast. He has renewed his cooperation with Chukwuemeka
Ojukwu, leader of the All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA), and
plans to coordinate political rallies and speeches with
leaders of this group. In addition, he has received visitors
from the current government, including an emissary from
President Obasanjo who wanted to compare visions for Nigeria
after the 2007 election. Some members of the economic reform
team have also sought out meetings with Buhari, who is the
brother- in-law of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission
(EFCC) Chairman Nuhu Ribadu, although the reason for these
meetings, other than to discuss the continuation of President
Obasanjo's economic reform program, is unclear.



9. (C) COMMENT: Buhari is viewed as honest and
straightforward, a novelty in the Nigerian political
landscape. His support is based on this reputation, a

ABUJA 00001954 002 OF 002


support which limits his ability to make political
compromises. While his campaign remains below the radar
screen and he is hampered by the lack of access to the
billions of Naira that classical analysts see as the
lubricant for Nigerian elections, he enjoys something that
few other Nigerians enjoy: genuine spontaneous grassroots
support. Whether that will be enough for him to campaign
effectively for the position that many in Nigeria now believe
he won in 2003 remains to be seen.
FUREY