Rivals to hold meeting on Nigerian poll: Human-rights group rejects Babangida's decision to re-run QBY: NICHOLAS KOTCH of Reuters

LAGOS (AFP) - Rival politicians started high-level discussions here yesterday for joint action following the military president, General Ibrahim Babangida's announcement that new presidential elections would be held. Under new rules announced by Gen Babangida for the next elections both the previous contenders in the 12 June poll would be disqualified.

Leaders from the Social Democrat Party (SDP) of the previous candidate Moshood Abiola and his rival Bashir Othman Tofa from the National Republican Convention (NRC) are meeting to hammer out a joint counter-attack.

The news came as a former head of state, retired general Muhammadu Buhari, said the programme set up in 1987 for the transition to civilian rule was not going to work. In an interview with The News magazine he accused the current government of lacking credibility and said: 'Nigerians must refuse to accept a hostage leadership.'

Since his removal from office in a bloodless coup in 1985, Gen Buhari has kept a stoic silence on national issues and has even avoided meeting his successor in public.

The situation remained reasonably calm yesterday, although students demonstrated in Ibadan, 80 miles north of Lagos, making a bonfire out of disused tyres on the main roads. A similar demonstration was held late on Saturday near Lagos University, police reported, but security forces kept their distance.

The Campaign for Democracy (CD), an umbrella organisation for human-rights groups in Nigeria, said yesterday that it 'totally and unequivocally' rejected the latest twist in the election process.

Beko Ransome-Kutigm, president of the CD, said: 'We continue to recognise the validity of the June 12 elections and we will be battling to have them respected.'

In an address on national radio and television on Saturday, Gen Babangida said there had been corruption during the campaign and accused Mr Abiola and Mr Tofa of spending 'more than two billion naira' (more than pounds 37m) in electoral expenses. But he assured the nation: 'We are committed to handing over power on 27th August, 1993.'

Dr Ransome-Kuti said: 'When he saw them being corrupt, why didn't he arrest them and prosecute them at the time?'

According to unofficial results Mr Abiola won the election, which was later annulled by the government, in the face of a judicial row.

Gen Babangida said the National Defence and Security Council had decided that by the end of July the two political parties - the centre-left SDP and the centre-right NRC - would set up the necessary process for the emergence of two presidential candidates, under the supervision of a recomposed National Electoral Commission.

But Gen Babangida said the candidates should be at least 50 years old, which would eliminate the 46-year- old Mr Tofa, and they must also have been members of their respective parties for 'at least one year', a stipulation that would exclude Mr Abiola.

In the first reactions to Gen Babangida's plans, Alhaji Lateef Jakande, a leading SDP member, said: 'We had elections on June 12. The people elected Abiola. That's the situation today. He is our elected president and Nigerians should support him.'

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
'A voice untroubled by time': Kate Bush
musicReview: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Life and Style
Cooked up: reducing dietary animal fat might not be as healthy as government advice has led millions of people to believe
healthA look at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
News
peopleJustin Bieber accuses papparrazzi of acting 'recklessly' after car crash
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
people
Voices
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Oppressive atmosphere: the cast of 'Tyrant'
tvIntroducing Tyrant, one of the most hotly anticipated dramas of the year
News
i100
News
Ukrainian Leonid Stadnik, 37, 2.59 meter (8,5 feet) tall, the world's tallest living man, waves as he poses for the media by the Chevrolet Tacuma car presented to him by President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko in Kiev on March 24, 2008.
newsPeasant farmer towered at almost 8'5'' - but shunned the limelight
News
Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon in ‘The Front Page’, using an old tech typewriter
media
Life and Style
Could a robot sheepdog find itself working at Skipton Auction Mart?
techModel would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian
film
Sport
Angel Di Maria poses with Louis van Gaal after signing for Manchester United
sportWinger arrives from Real Madrid and could make debut on Saturday
Arts and Entertainment
Kingston Road in Stockton is being filmed for the second series of Benefits Street
arts + entsFilming for Channel 4 has begun despite local complaints
Arts and Entertainment
Hooked on classical: cellist Rachael Lander began drinking to combat panic attacks
musicThe cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow...
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Organisational Change/ Transition Project Manager

£500 - £550 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client are currently...

Generalist HR Administrator, Tunbridge Wells, Kent - £28,000.

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Administrator - Tunbri...

Nursery Assistant/Nurse all cheshire areas

£7 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: We are a large and successful recrui...

Digital Marketing Manager, Womens Fashion, London

£50-£60K Plus Benefits: Charter Selection: Highly successful leading women’s l...

Day In a Page

Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?
Rachael Lander interview: From strung out to playing strings

From strung out to playing strings

Award-winning cellist Rachael Lander’s career was almost destroyed by the alcohol she drank to fight stage fright. Now she’s playing with Elbow and Ellie Goulding
The science of saturated fat: A big fat surprise about nutrition?

A big fat surprise about nutrition?

The science linking saturated fats to heart disease and other health issues has never been sound. Nina Teicholz looks at how governments started advising incorrectly on diets
Emmys 2014 review: Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars

Can they genuinely compete with the Oscars?

The recent Emmy Awards are certainly glamorous, but they can't beat their movie cousins
On the road to nowhere: A Routemaster trip to remember

On the road to nowhere

A Routemaster trip to remember
Hotel India: Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind

Hotel India

Mumbai's Taj Mahal Palace leaves its darker days behind
10 best pencil cases

Back to school: 10 best pencil cases

Whether it’s their first day at school, uni or a new project, treat the student in your life to some smart stationery
Arsenal vs Besiktas Champions League qualifier: Gunners know battle with Turks is a season-defining fixture

Arsenal know battle with Besiktas is a season-defining fixture

Arsene Wenger admits his below-strength side will have to improve on last week’s show to pass tough test
Pete Jenson: Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought

Pete Jenson: A Different League

Athletic Bilbao’s locals-only transfer policy shows success does not need to be bought
This guitar riff has been voted greatest of all time

The Greatest Guitar Riff of all time

Whole Lotta Votes from Radio 2 listeners
Britain’s superstar ballerina

Britain’s superstar ballerina

Alicia Markova danced... every night of the week and twice on Saturdays
Berlin's Furrie invasion

Berlin's Furrie invasion

2000 fans attended Eurofeurence
‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

‘It was a tidal wave of terror’

Driven to the edge by postpartum psychosis