Opposition Nigerian Labor Party calls for annulment of election results
Violence and voter intimidation marred last month’s presidential election, as well as last weekend’s gubernatorial election. Turnout was low despite the largest number of registered voters, 93 million. Image courtesy of AP.
Abuja (Nigeria): Nigeria’s opposition Labor Party candidate Peter Obi filed a motion to annul the results of last month’s contested presidential election, court documents show, setting off what could be a lengthy legal campaign that could drag on for months.
There have been numerous legal challenges to the results of Nigeria’s previous presidential elections, but none have been successful.
Obi asked the Court of Appeal to invalidate the election won by Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party, accusing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of breaking the law because it did not use electronic machines to upload polling results.
Obi stated in a sworn letter that the election was invalidated due to “corrupt practices and non-compliance with the provisions of the Electoral Law”.
He sought an order to “cancel the presidential election … and instruct the (first) defendant (INEC) to hold a new election.”
Tinubu defended the election as credible.
Obi campaigned like an outsider, inspiring young and first-time voters and seemed to open up the fight wide, instilling hope in some voters for change after years of hardship and violence under outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, 80, a former army general.
But Obi came in third behind Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who had powerful political machines and decades of networking behind them.
The APC and PDP have ruled Nigeria together since the end of military rule in 1999.
Election observers from the European Union, the Commonwealth and other groups reported a number of problems, including glitches in systems designed to prevent vote manipulation.
Observers criticized INEC for poor planning and voting delays, but did not allege fraud. The commission itself apologized for technical problems during the count.
The Court of Appeal has 180 days to hear and rule on Obi’s removal. Atiku also said he would file a motion with the court and he had until Wednesday midnight to file the paperwork.
If the candidate is not satisfied with the decision of the tribunal, he can apply to the Supreme Court, which will decide on the appeal within 60 days.
Nigeria’s next president will be sworn in on May 29.
Violence and voter intimidation marred last month’s presidential election, as well as last weekend’s gubernatorial election. Turnout was low despite the largest number of registered voters, 93 million.
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