The Carolina times. (Durham, N.C.) 1919-current, March 06, 1982, Page 16, Image 16
16 THE CAROLINA TIMES ' SAT.. MARCH 8. 1982 - aShagari's Foes Consider Forming Coalition i Ugandan Rebels Strike Kampala AN, Nigerian Presi dent Shehu Shagari and his ruling National Party (NPN) are increasingly worried about the 1983 ; elections following the January announcement of an ! "electoral alliance" among major opposition parties. - Speaking at the University of Jos in Plateau State recently, Shagari called for an .:. "ethical revolution" and . lashed put at those who continued to sow the seeds of disunity and political contention a thinly-veiled reference to the more outspoken elements of . the parliamentary opposition. Previously, in a strict ly political context, the Nigerian leader told an NPN convention that a merger among minority parties would constitute an ' "ill-motivated alliance and gang-up" posing dangers to "the stability and health development of our na tional policies." Last month's Cabinet reshuffle was taken by many observers as an ef fort to displace the weaker personalities in the Federal ministries with an eye to the 1983 elections. Many Nigerians, however, were reportedly disap pointed at the lack of any major policy in itiative to go along with the reshuffle. The most significant personnel shift was the appointment of former Industries Minister Adamu Ciroma to head the Agriculture Ministry. The farm sector has been Shagari's' top . economic , priority, and Ciroma, ac claimed for his efficien-. cy, is mqst probably ex-; pected to produce at least , one concrete achievement to which the government can point, come campaign time. The strength of the challenge to Shagari's NPN depends largely on the outcome of negotia t ns now under way among the Unity Party (UPN), the - Nigerian People's Party (NPP), the Great Nigerian Peo ple's Party (GNPP) and a dissident faction of the People's Redemption Party (PRP). Following a January meeting in Benin involving all four groups, UPN Senate leader Jonathan Odebiyi was made chairman of an inter-party committee to determine the shape of the alliance, but he has since gone oh record as saying a genuine merger by 1983 was quite unlike ly. Speculation in the press, consequently, has ' focused on the prospect of limited electoral cooperation in which the opposition parties would ' support one 'presidential ; candidate, UPN leader Chief Obafemi ; Awolowo, and possibly ' agree not to contest legislature seats likely to be won by other members of the coali tion. As West, Africa magazine observes, however, such an ar rangement would imply thai "each party will win its traditional stronghold and the political geography and climate of Nigeria will remain unchanged." Except, of ' course, that the- NPN would likely suffer numerous setbacks. Though the Nigerian constitution requires registered political par tic to demonstrate sup-. port and to maintain of fices n all parts of the; country, regional and ethnic factors remained extremely important in the last election. The UPN is clearly strongest among the Yoruba (in the west); the NPP has an avid following among the I bo (in the cast); the PRP is most formidable : il i .' i . i in i iic iiuiin; anu uic GNPP ran strongest in the north and middle belt. The NPN. often labeled a 1 party of hucinKiTM,n and nmf. sionals, is ' considered more national in rharxrtpr hut it alert mi. joys firmest support in the Islamic north. Nigeria's "Second Republic" has undergone severe growVJ ing pains at times since the military handed over power to civilians in 1979, but some commen tators argue that the . traditional politics based on ethnicity and regional interest is slowly giving way to a politics based on ideology. The current merger negotiations pro vide a test for this theory. The likeliest ideological partnership in the proposed alliance couples the UPN with the PRP dissidents. AwOlowo's party, though far from a revolutionary socialist force, has laid claim to a progressive' political ' label, putting forth as its basic program the provi sion of free education at all levels, free health care, integrated rural development and full employment. Similarly, the PRP's initial plat form, considered by some the most radical manifesto, called for im proved social services, the repeal of some tradi tional taxes on the peasantry and other economic changes to help the long-overlooked wage laborer and rural dweller. While PRP leader Aminu Kano decided early on to refrain from confrontation tactics in dealing with the vic torious NPN, many par ty radicals dissented, and in 1980 the PRP split. Among the leaders of . the PRP radical branch, which will be forced to re-register under a new name if it is to contest the 1983 elections, are the governor of Kano Sate, Muhammed Abubakar Rimi, and the former Governor of Kaduna, Balarabe Musa. Musa was impeached last June by the NPN controlled j state legislature, a showdown that deepened antipathy toward the ruling party and sowed the seeds of the new opposition front. Weeks later Kano Governor Rimi was Shaken by Aa violent' uprising in Kanq city something apparently triggered by the criticism his left-leaning ad ministration addressed to the local emir. The UPN's Awolowo and the PRP radicals tend to cast their criticism of Shagari and the NPN in class terms. "We must not under rate the feudalist reac tionaries who are now using the NPN as their rear guard platform," Awolowo told a party congress in December. "They ; obsessionally believe that it is their destiny to rule. . . .and they regard all others outside their class as serfs and underlings." Kano governor Rimi saw the violence last- July as proof that the north's traditional Muslim feudal establishment would balk at nothing in the effort to fend off forces of social change. "This terrible scandal," he says, "goes a long way to confirm the fear of the Nigerian populace about the partisan role of the police in propping up the NPN neofascist regime in our body politic." The UPN and PRP dissidents have, by no means worked out the specifics of a populist platform - for 1983, however, and, even if they had, the rhetoric would probably be lost on the NPP and GNPP Secretary General Alex Fom accuses the ruling party . of being 4 s h am c 1 c s s I y materialistic," but he also says that discussions on a socialist' program for the opposition alliance would be a "waste of time." GNPP officials arc likewise con sidered ' wedded to. a middle-of-the-road, 'pragmatic' approach. . Organizers of the ant i NPN coalition ,. clearly have their work cut out in the months ahead, but even a modicum of suc cess in coordinating elec toral strategy and back ing key candidates could damage Shagari's party. The NPN enjpyed a working legislative ma jority for a time, thanks to a temporary alliance with the NPP, but it now controls roughly only forty per cent of the seats in each house, and the president is having , a tough time with his legislation, as witness last year's revenue allocation dispute. Ironically, even the government's Electoral Bill has, been ' bogged .down in numerous revi sions, and Shagari recently addressed a let ter to legislators asking that the bill be spared further amendments. " 'AN Fighting return ed n to i' the Ugandan capital ' Kampala last" week, as guerrillas trying ; to oust President Milton Obote launched attacks on army barracks and troop-carrying .', govern ment vehicles, leaving ' more than 150 , soldiers dead. -V':':- . The barracks were at-. tacked in the early hours of February 23, and the guerrillas reportedly cap tured a number of weapons from the army ! arsenal. Two days later, two trucks loaded with soldiers were reportedly destroyed within 25 kilometers (17 miles) of Kampala. : . -' - X: In retaliation; govern ment troops were said to be searching Kampala homes for, suspected in surgents. A BBC cor respondent in the city said at least forty civilians had been killed by the soldiers. , Responsibility for, the attacks, was claimed by the Uganda Freedom Movement, which joined other Obote opponents in the Uganda people's Front formed last month in London. The front was announced by two former presidents, God frey Binaisa and Yusufu Lule, . who served bet ween the ouster of Idi ' 'Amin in 1979 and ' the election of Obote in :December 1980.; The opponents 'accuse Obote of rigging the elec tion . with , , Tanzanian assistance, ..Tanzanian troops joined with a combined .Ugandan bp- position- army to , oust Amin, then stayed on to maintain stability until they were withdrawn last year. :. ;:; '-'V' Obote declared a New Year's amnesty ' and released thirty opposi tion . politicians. 1( m m m r m m w m mmmmm m mm m mm m m ar a um a mm a. x w . m m i a a. a fa. m -Mwm,m m v v f - - ? , Top Quality Color Photographs , . , tWe do black & white glossies, too!) .-.; Specialists In Wedding Photography -' Set up your appointment today vj ; 1 with a phone call . t ' : 688-1779 :; 345 'A W. Main St. Durham n rr ' m Share the spirit. Share tfie refreshment ught, fresh Salem Lights. r . ' 1 r. 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