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Thu, Sep 7, 2023 12:20 AM

Nigerian Court Dismisses Opposition Petition to Overturn President Tinubu's Election Victory

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Nigerian Court Dismisses Opposition Petition to Overturn President Tinubu's Election Victory
A Nigerian court has dismissed a major opposition petition seeking to overturn President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's election victory. Claims of fraud, electoral authority law-breaking, and Tinubu's eligibility were all dismissed by the judges. The court's decision is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, which has never overturned a Nigerian presidential election since 1999. Tinubu's government has denied any wrongdoing and is focused on implementing reforms and attracting foreign investment. The contested 2023 election saw the emergence of a third-party candidate and calls for transparency amid claims of technical glitches.

A Nigerian court in Abuja has dismissed a significant opposition petition aimed at overturning President Bola Ahmed Tinubu's election victory in February. The petition, filed by Labour Party candidate Peter Obi, made several claims including fraud, the breaking of electoral authority laws, and allegations of Tinubu's ineligibility to run for president. After more than six hours of reading out their detailed judgement, the judges declared the petition "unmeritorious."

The court is also set to issue its judgement on a second major opposition claim filed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar, which presents similar allegations against the election results. Tinubu won the tightly-fought election with 37 percent of the vote, defeating Abubakar and Obi to become the president of Africa's most populous nation.

It is highly likely that this decision will be appealed to the Supreme Court, as it has never overturned a Nigerian presidential election since the country's return to democracy in 1999. As legal teams packed into the courtroom, judges previously dismissed a smaller opposition claim to annul the election.

In the lead-up to Wednesday's decision, security was boosted around the court in Abuja, with roadblocks and a strong police and defense presence. The government of President Tinubu had dismissed all allegations of wrongdoing and expressed confidence ahead of the judgement.

Tinubu, who assumed office at the end of May, has wasted no time in introducing a series of reforms aimed at revitalizing Africa's largest economy. Currently in India for the G20 summit, he hopes to attract foreign investment to aid in Nigeria's economic recovery.

The 2023 election was one of Nigeria's most highly contested in modern history, partially due to the emergence of major third-party candidate Peter Obi. Obi sought to appeal to younger voters who desired an alternative to traditional candidates. To improve transparency, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) implemented biometric technology and IReV, a real-time result uploading central database.

While INEC acknowledged some "glitches," it dismissed claims that the vote was not free and fair. Critics argued that these technical issues and the subsequent delays created opportunities for vote manipulation.

The PDP and Labour Party, in separate lawsuits, called for the nullification of the election results and for their respective candidates to be declared the winners or for a rerun to be ordered by the court. The PDP's Abubakar described the election as a "rape of democracy." The PDP presented evidence of INEC's violation of electoral laws in the transmission of results and argued that Tinubu did not meet the constitutional requirements. Labour's lawsuit echoed these claims, also raising allegations of INEC's electoral law-breaking, vote rigging, and questioning Tinubu's eligibility.

The court's ruling comes at a time when Nigerians are grappling with a rising cost of living following the removal of a fuel subsidy program that minimized petrol prices and the liberalization of the naira currency. Government officials emphasize that these policies are necessary to revive the economy, urging patience and providing state governments with funds to help mitigate the impact.

Tinubu's government is concurrently addressing significant security challenges, including ongoing battles with jihadists in the northeast, intercommunal clashes, and kidnappings in other regions.

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

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