Thu, May 24, 2007 - Page 6 News List

Opposition figures contest Nigerian election results


The opposition filed a suit on Tuesday seeking a court annulment of Nigeria's presidential elections it says were flawed and demanded another poll.

President-elect Umaru Yar'Adua is scheduled to take over the top job from President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday, making a final ruling unlikely before Obasanjo leaves office.

The opposition says the April 21 vote was rigged by Obasanjo's ruling party in favor of its candidate, Yar'Adua, and the top two runners-up according to official results filed their cases on Tuesday in the capital, Abuja, to try and force a rerun.

"We want Umaru Musa Yar' Adua disqualified and to nullify the election and let's go back to the polls with those who are qualify," said Mike Ahamba, a lawyer for the second-place finisher, General Muhammadu Buhari.

Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who officially placed third in the vote deemed not credible by international election observers, filed a separate, but related suit.

Buharri filed a similar case after 2003 elections he lost to Obasanjo. The case took over two years to reach a final conclusion, which found that the vote had been rigged in many places. But the courts could not say definitively that Buharri would have been the winner in a clean vote.

Yar'Adua's declared victory gave the governer of northern Katsina State a win with nearly 70 percent of the vote.

Obasanjo's 1999 election ended decades of near-constant military rule -- a period in which both he and Buharri both served as leaders.

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