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Nigerian Election Verdict Challenged at Supreme Court

A Nigerian opposition candidate in last year's presidential polls has appealed to the Supreme Court after a tribunal threw out his petition for its cancellation two weeks ago. Lawyers for Atiku Abubakar are asking the court to set aside the tribunal's ruling on the basis of non-qualification and fraud, among others. For VOA, Gilbert da Costa reports from Abuja.

Nigerian opposition leader and presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar has asked the Supreme Court to invalidate the election tribunal ruling of February 26, which upheld President Umaru Yar'Adua victory.

No date has been set for hearing the lawsuit.

The two main opposition candidates, Abubakar of the Action Congress and Muhammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria People's Party, rejected the tribunal verdict the moment it was announced and vowed to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Action Congress spokesman Lai Mohammed says the election tribunal was swayed by technical details rather than the substance of the opposition's case.

Buhari, a former military ruler, challenged the verdict at the Supreme Court last week. The two challengers ignored appeals from President Yar'Adua not to challenge the decision of the tribunal at the Supreme Court.

Independent election observers reported widespread fraud and intimidation in last April's presidential ballot. The opposition candidates challenged the poll, alleging massive vote-rigging, but the election tribunal ruled there was no evidence of malfeasance and upheld the results.

Official results from the election gave Mr. Yar'Adua 24 million votes, compared with six million for Buhari and two million for Abubakar, a former vice president.