Nigerian opposition party asks court to void president’s win

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ABUJA — Nigeria’s opposition Congress for Progressive Change party on Sunday asked a court to nullify the election of President Goodluck Jonathan because of alleged irregularities in some areas.

“The presidential election of April 16 was marred by fraud. Election should be seen to be transparent, free and fair,” CPC chairman Tony Momoh told reporters after filing the suit at the federal court of appeal in Abuja.

He said the party whose candidate, former military ruler Mohammadu Buhari, was defeated by Jonathan had strong evidence to back its allegations.

“In our petition, we have detailed election malpractices in the south-south, south-east, some states in the south-west geopolitical zones and even some states in the north,” he said.

“We want the tribunal to nullify elections in these areas where there were flaws and conduct fresh elections in those areas,” he said.

No date has been set for the hearing.

Jonathan, a Christian from the south and candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, was declared the winner with 57 percent of the ballots, easily beating Buhari with 31 percent.

Buhari had alleged rigging in the election.

The result of the election sparked rioting in the north which left at least 500 people dead, according to a local rights group.

But Buhari has disassociated himself from the rioting.

Both local and international observers adjudged the 2011 vote as free, fair and credible, unlike previous polls in the oil-rich west African country which were marred by rigging and violence.

Nigeria’s population of 150 million is roughly divided in half between Muslims and Christians and includes some 250 ethnic groups. The north is mainly Muslim while the south is predominately Christian.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

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