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Wed, Sep 6, 2023 2:50 PM

Nigeria Appeals Court to Rule on President Tinubu's Election Victory

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Nigeria Appeals Court to Rule on President Tinubu's Election Victory
An appeals court in Nigeria is set to rule on President Bola Tinubu's election victory, which has been challenged by the opposition due to allegations of qualification and electoral process violations. The court's decision holds significant implications for Nigeria's political landscape and could lead to protests if ruled in favor of Tinubu.

ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) -- An appeals court in Nigeria is expected to announce its ruling on the legitimacy of President Bola Tinubu's election victory in February, a decision that has generated considerable anticipation and has the entire country on edge.

President Tinubu has been in office for 100 days but his victory has been contested by the opposition, who argue that he was not qualified to run. Among the allegations made by the opposition is the lack of a high school certificate or a college/university diploma, which they claim is necessary for running for the presidency.

The Court of Appeal, consisting of five judges, is prepared to hand down its ruling in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. The tribunal is authorized by law to either validate Tinubu's election win, declare another candidate as the winner, annul the vote, or order a new election. It's important to note that the decision can be appealed further to Nigeria's Supreme Court.

The possibility of protests is being hinted at by the opposition in case the court rules in favor of Tinubu. The ruling is seen as significant for Nigeria, a country with a population of over 210 million. If the February presidential election is annulled, it would be the first of its kind in Nigeria's history. However, if the verdict is upheld, it would strengthen the role of the election commission - a point that the opposition claims to have violated the law. Furthermore, it could pave the way for the commission to independently determine the timing and manner in which election results are announced in future elections.

According to Nigerian law, a presidential election can only be nullified on the basis of evidence that demonstrates the national electoral body's non-compliance with the law and their actions leading to potential alteration of the result.

On Tuesday, the Abuja police issued a statement urging citizens "to exercise caution in their actions and statements," reminding them that the security forces will not tolerate activities that could incite violence or anarchy.

Tinubu, 71 years old, won the election with less than 50% of the vote, marking a first in Nigeria's history. The election results are being disputed by three opposition candidates, including Atiku Abubakar, former vice president of Nigeria and the runner-up, and Peter Obi of the Labor Party, who finished third.

The opposition candidates have filed separate petitions claiming that Tinubu is not qualified to be president and alleging that the electoral commission failed to follow due process while announcing the winner. Critics argue that the delays in uploading and announcing election results opened up room for potential tampering with the ballots.

The opposition has also made accusations that Tinubu was involved in drug trafficking in the United States, that he holds citizenship in Guinea which disqualifies him from running for the Nigerian presidency, and that his academic qualifications were forged.

Tinubu has consistently denied all of these allegations. Since assuming office, he has implemented measures aimed at reforming the struggling economy but has faced criticism for exacerbating the hardships faced by millions of impoverished Nigerians.

In response to the growing cost of living resulting from the removal of gas subsidies, Nigeria Labor Congress workers initiated a two-day "warning strike" to demand improved welfare. They have threatened to "shut down" Africa's largest economy if their demands are not met. This marks their second strike in just over a month.

With the exception of one case, all Nigerian presidential elections since the return to democracy in 1999 have been contested in court. None have been overturned.

Copyright © 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written, or redistributed.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-06 News

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