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Nigerians Await Court Ruling Over Last April’s Presidential Election


Nigerian’s are anxiously awaiting an election tribunal’s decision today (Tuesday) concerning whether the election of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua should be nullified or allowed to stand. Yar’Adua was elected during last April’s presidential election, which was described by both local and international observers as hugely flawed. The tribunal, which was set up to adjudicate election disputes following last April’s elections, has so far annulled the election of several ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) candidates, the latest including Senate President David Mark. Opposition candidates Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former head of state general Muhammadu Buhari are challenging the eligibility of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua over last April’s presidential election.

Supporters of President Yar'Adua contend that the alleged election malpractices were not bad enough to warrant the cancellation of the results. John Odubela is one of the attorneys for Nigeria’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from the capital, Abuja that last year’s elections were not credible.

“It is correct that the judgment where the former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar took Yar'Adua and INEC to court would be delivered today. And the expectation is that with the evidence that we have put forward, to the tribunal, both the documentary and evidences and written statements on oath of all the witnesses we are satisfied that we have put enough evidence that should be able to nullify that election. So, our expectation is that our election would be nullified because of the irregularities,” Odubela noted.

He said last April’s presidential election was fraught with many malpractices.

“You see it’s the level of malpractices. Here, there was no election in virtually all the scope. So what actually happened in the April 21 presidential election in Nigeria was allocation of votes. So the malpractices were so substantial so that the specialty of it would not allow the election to stay. That is why we are very hopeful that it is not a minor of malpractices is a substantial one. That is why at the end of the day that justice would be done and the election would be annulled,” he said.

Odubela expressed confidence that Tuesday’s tribunal judgment would favor the opposition.

“Very well! The evidence is very overwhelming and we expect judgment today in our favor,” Odubela said.

He said Nigeria’s former Vice President Abubakar is optimistic about today’s ruling.

“In fact I just left him (Abubakar) no long ago in the company of some of the attorneys. And for him he is very hopeful and he said it was a question of having trust and confidence in the judiciary and of course in this country Nigeria. So we are all hopeful that today the judgment would be really favorable and that it would also appear to be another beginning of democracy in Nigeria,” he pointed out.

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