[JURIST] The Nigerian Court of Appeal ruled Tuesday that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) [official website] has the right to disqualify presidential candidates for fraud, thus barring Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar [official website; JURIST news archive] from running in the April 21 election. INEC removed Abubakar's name from the ballot because he was indicted on corruption charges [JURIST report], along with his political rival Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo [BBC profile], for diverting money to private interests. Tuesday's unanimous ruling overturned a lower court decision that the INEC did not have the authority to remove candidate names from the election list after Abubakar filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] against the commission for doing so.
Lawyers for Abubakar said they plan to immediately appeal the verdict to the Nigerian Supreme Court [official website]. Abubakar alleges that his indictment was politically motivated by Obasanjo in an effort to quash the democratic process before this month's elections. Reuters has more.