Nigeria leader cancels fraud-riddled election

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The Independent Online
LONDON - President Ibrahim Babangida yesterday brought Nigeria's progress to democratic rule to a halt by declaring the presidential primary elections void and sacking the leadership of the two political parties, writes Richard Dowden.

The President, announcing the decision, ordered new primaries to be held, adding that all candidates in the September elections would be able to stand again. The primaries, designed to produce presidential candidates in forthcoming elections, came under widespread allegations of vote-rigging. The National Electoral Commission is to propose a new procedure for the primaries within the next two weeks and was to call conventions of the two parties, the Social Democratic Party and the National Republican Convention. Until the conventions elect new nationwide executive bodies the parties will be headed by provisional committees and their finances will be checked, General Babangida said. The announcement will almost certainly postpone the December senate and presidential elections indefinitely.