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Nigeria VP sues election board to run in presidential election

[JURIST] Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar [official profile, JURIST news archive] filed a lawsuit Friday against the Nigerian electoral commission [official website] after it issued a ruling Thursday prohibiting him from running in the upcoming April presidential. The commission cited the Nigerian constitution [text], which bars presidential candidates indicted for crimes before a court or executive panel, for its decision. In February, a senate panel indicted Abubakar on corruption charges [JURIST report] stemming from the alleged diversion of $145 million dollars of public money to private interests, as well as allegations of receiving more than $4.6 million dollars in bribes. Only Nigeria's Supreme Court [official website] can overturn the electoral commission's decision, according to legal experts. Abubakar denies the allegations and insists they are part of a smear campaign orchestrated by current president and political rival Olusegun Obasabjo [official profile].

Abubakar is currently embroiled in a high-profile feud with Obasanjo. Last year, Obasanjo tried to amend the constitution to allow him to run for a third presidential term [JURIST report]. Abubakar opposed the move, indicating that he would be running for president himself. In October 2006, Abubakar was charged with corruption [JURIST report], a charge Abubakar says was retaliatory. In February, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [official website] included [JURIST report] Abubakar on a list of 135 Nigerian politicians considered too corrupt to hold office. AP has more. This Day has local coverage.

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