Nigeria screens election hopefuls

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The Independent Online
LAGOS (Reuter) - Nigeria's electoral commission yesterday started to screen an estimated 225 civilians seeking to replace the military leader Ibrahim Babangida as president. The commission will rule at the end of January on who who can enter indirect primaries ahead of an election on 12 June.

General Babangida plans to step down on 27 August, eight years after seizing power in a palace coup. Yesterday, he said a federal system should be maintained, though parliament could discuss its workings.

Candidates in two army-created parties include a former head of state, General Yakubu Gowon, who led federal troops to victory in the 1967-70 Biafran civil war, and Emeka Ojukwu, his defeated opponent, though both are considered outsiders.