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Darfur, Security Challenge Withdrawn From IPU Agenda
September 30, 2004

This Day (Lagos)

September 30, 2004
Posted to the web September 30, 2004

Kola Ologbondiyan

Nigeria Lobbies to Host 2007 Session

African parliamentarians participating at the on-going 111th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)in Geneva has caved in to pressures from their Sudanese colleagues to withdraw Darfur as well as the security challenges facing Africa from the agenda.

However, the IPU Assembly has accepted to include as an emergency agenda item "the alarming situation in Iraq and the need for parliamentary action to restore peace and security in this country."

The Iraq proposal was brought at the instance of the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the support of the Asian-Pacific Group and was accepted by consensus of the IPU Assembly.

But Nigerian delegation led by Senate President Adolphus Wabara, and the House of Representatives Deputy Speaker, Hon. Austin Opara, on Tuesday began campaign for Nigeria to host the 2007 session.

Before the African Group's decision to withdraw the Darfur Crisis and the African Security challenge from the IPU agenda, which was brought by South Africa, the Sudanese delegation had also proposed an emergency agenda entitled the "role of parliaments in supporting peace and the settlement of conflicts in Africa, focusing on the Darfur problem."

Wabara, who gave the rationale for the withdrawal of both emergency agenda proposed by both South Africa and Sudan while speaking with newsmen, explained that the African Union (AU) has the capacity to resolve the crisis.

"Don't forget that the current Chairman of AU is President Olusegun Obasanjo and we had earlier approved his request to deploy troops to Darfur.

"What we have done (in Geneva) is a political decision. We didn't want to downplay the happening in Iraq by diverting attention to Darfur. We also believe that the AU would handle the situation in Sudan moreso when Nigeria has experience in peace-keeping.

"We have done it in Liberia and Sierra-Leone. We have also paricipated in several peace-keepings. Our experience is apt to the situation in Sudan. I'm surenthat waiting for some few months before the next meeting would not break some legs.

"We have resolved to try within the African context to settle the problem in Sudan rather than involving the entire world," Wabara said.

The Senate President, who also led the lobby to host the 2007 of the IPU General Assembly, with Opara, House Leader, Hon. Abdul Ningi, Senators Uche Chukwumerije, Sule Yari Gandi, Iyabode Anisulowo, Mamman Ali and Hon. Peter Jiya has met with the Ghanaian and Pakistani delegation among several other groups where he secured assurances of support.

Wabara told the various groups that entrants to democratic rule should be allowed to host such international fora as part of capacity building in the sustenance of the system.

He later told newsmen that the Nigerian delegation is routing for the event because "I believe in 2007, the nation would have grown older in democracy," adding that "we should not allow the fact that 2007 is an election year to discourage us."


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