Nigeria's Appeal Court Rejects Muhammadu Buhari's Challenge to Goodluck Jonathan Election Victory

“A Nigerian court rejected a challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan’s victory in an April election, scuppering demands by the main opposition party for a recount in several areas of the country.

Jonathan was declared winner of the April 16 election with 59 percent of the vote. But his nearest rival, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who polled 32 percent, refused to accept the outcome.

Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) party filed a petition to challenge the result in May, arguing the vote was marred by irregularities.

“The petition fails in its entirety and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Kumai Akaahs told the court on Tuesday, reading out a unanimous decision by five judges.

The CPC said electoral commission computers were rigged to sway the count against Buhari, a northern Muslim, in parts of the north, and that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) vote was inflated in some of its southern strongholds.

“The result of the election was not successfully challenged,” Akaahs said. “The third respondent (Jonathan) scored the majority lawful votes cast at the election.”

“It is clear that the burden of proof of the allegations contained in the petition, be it criminal or for substantial non-compliance, rests with the petitioner. The petitioner did not discharge this burden.”

The CPC’s national chairman Tony Momoh said it would appeal the decision.

But Jonathan urged them to accept the verdict and move on.

“From this day, let us move forward together as we work to deepen the democratic content of our polity,” he said in a statement. “The judgement … is a victory for all Nigerians” . . . ” Full story on Reuters India.

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