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Wed, Sep 6, 2023 2:05 PM

Nigeria's Opposition Challenges Presidential Election Results in Court

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Nigeria's Opposition Challenges Presidential Election Results in Court
Nigeria's opposition parties are contesting the results of the February presidential election in court, alleging fraud and irregularities. The court of appeal in Abuja is deliberating on the opposition's plea to annul the election results and declare their candidates as winners. This is a significant case as no presidential election results have been overturned in Nigeria since the return to democracy in 1999. The opposition has accused the election process of being marred by massive fraud and the manipulation of ballots. The court's decision will be final unless appealed to the Supreme Court.

Abuja (AFP) - Nigeria's opposition parties are pushing forward with their legal challenge of the results from the presidential election held in February, alleging widespread fraud and irregularities. The court of appeal in Abuja is currently deliberating on a series of lawsuits filed by the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and the Labour Party (LP), demanding that the election results be nullified and their candidates declared as winners, or alternatively, a new election be ordered.

The five judges of the court of appeal have been engaged in intense deliberations for months. Regardless of the court's decision, the losing parties have the option to appeal to the Supreme Court, according to legal experts. heightened security measures were put in place on Wednesday around the court in Nigeria's capital city, with police and defense forces securing the premises with roadblocks.

The February 25th election saw nearly 25 million Nigerians cast their votes in what was generally a calm process, though marred by delays in vote counting and significant failures in the electronic transmission of results. These issues prompted voters and opposition parties to cry foul and allege massive fraud.

Following the vote, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos and candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared the winner with 37% of the votes, beating former Vice President Atiku Abubakar (29%) of the PDP and Labour Party candidate Peter Obi (25%). Tinubu's victory marked a historic moment in Nigeria's democratic history, as an outsider managed to prevail against the two main political parties.

In previous elections, Nigeria has faced allegations of fraud and subsequent legal challenges. However, no court has ever overturned the result of a presidential election since the country's return to democracy in 1999.

Some voters and opposition parties claim that system failures during the result collation process allowed for ballot manipulation and discrepancies in the manually counted results at the polling stations. International observers, including those from the European Union, also highlighted major logistical problems, voter disenfranchisement, and a lack of transparency. The electoral commission has criticized the opposition's "baseless and irresponsible" accusations.

The government led by President Tinubu has expressed confidence in the judicial process. "Because he has faith in the judiciary, he believes that the mandate freely given to him by Nigerians in the election will remain valid," said Ajuri Ngelale, the presidency's spokesperson, during an interview this week on Channels TV. "He is not worried simply because he knows he won the election," Ngelale added.

Since assuming office, Bola Tinubu has launched a series of reforms aimed at revitalizing the economy and attracting investment. However, these initiatives led to a sudden increase in the cost of living, sparking public outrage. On May 29th, the day of his inauguration, the president removed fuel subsidies, causing the price of petrol to quadruple and resulting in a sharp rise in food prices.

Nigeria has been battling a severe economic crisis since 2016, which was further exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and Russian aggression in Ukraine. The country is grappling with a weak currency, massive external debt, and rampant unemployment. Additionally, Nigeria is also combating armed groups engaging in kidnappings in the Northwest and central regions, a 14-year-long Islamist insurgency in the Northeast, and separatist agitation in the Southeast.

Bola Tinubu is scheduled to attend the G20 summit in New Delhi next weekend. This move is seen as part of Nigeria's potential bid to join the organization, according to a statement from the presidency on Sunday.

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

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