Accessibility links

Nigerian Opposition Petitions to Annul Controversial Poll


Before the deadline for petitions challenging April's presidential vote, at least seven opposition candidates have filed the necessary documents. For VOA, Gilbert da Costa in Abuja reports that the opposition is seeking to annul the ballot they claim was marred by "widespread corrupt practices."

In separate petitions filed at the Court of Appeal in Abuja, opposition presidential candidates, including Vice President Atiku Abubakar and ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, say the election was characterized by what they called several anomalies. They argued that canceling the vote would restore some credibility to the country's electoral process.

Spokesman Ibrahim Modibo of Nigeria's biggest opposition party, the All Nigerian People's Party, says the winner of the controversial vote, ruling-party candidate Umar Yar'Adua, was not even competent to stand as a candidate.

"We filed a petition challenging first and foremost, the competence of Yar'Adua for an election," he said. "He is not competent because he has been indicted by an administrative panel set up by Abia state government on corruption. As far as we are concerned, he is an indicted member of a political party who had dubiously gotten the ticket [presidential] when he knows he's been indicted."

Despite his massive win, more than 26 milion votes against his closest challenger's 6.6 million, analysts say Yar'Adua begins his rule on May 29 as a tainted man, the beneficiary of an illegitimate vote.

Despite the criticism, the government is going ahead with elaborate preparation for Yar'Adua's inauguration. The ceremony is scheduled for the Eagles Square in central Abuja at a cost of more than $6 million.

It will be preceded by prayers in churches and mosques, an international soccer match, and a state banquet.

At least one opposition presidential candidate is seeking a court order to stop Yar'Adua's inauguration, pending a decision on the validity of the disputed poll.

A group of 48 Nobel laureates is also supporting the cancellation of the recent polls. They are asking for fresh elections within 18 months.

The Dalai Lama, South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, and Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka were among other laureates who endorsed the statement.

XS
SM
MD
LG