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Nigeria top court defers ruling on presidential election challenge

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Nigeria [official website] said Thursday it has reserved judgment indefinitely on a challenge to the country's disputed 2007 presidential election [JURIST report] which was won by President Umaru Yar'Adua [BBC profile]. The challenge was brought by former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar [JURIST news archive] and Muhammadu Buhari [campaign website], Yar'Adua's main challenger in the election, after it was alleged that the election was marred by rampant fraud [JURIST report]. The two men argued that there were violations of electoral laws that were capable of affecting the elections, particularly where the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) [official website] had declared Yar'Adua the winner before each state announced its results. Yar'Adua rebutted that argument, saying the two had not proven that the election was not in compliance with electoral laws. Chief Justice Idris Kutigi said the court will inform the parties when a date is set for the decision. Bloomberg has more. The Daily Independent has local coverage.

In April 2007, the INEC declared Yar'Adua the winner of the country's presidential elections, prompting the filings by Buhari and Abubakar. The election tribunal, which was formed [JURIST report] prior to the election in order to handle disputes, ordered the INEC to turn over certified copies of the ballots [JURIST report] and provide information on all officials and staff employed for the elections. In February Nigeria's Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal upheld the results of the election, saying that opposition groups failed to present sufficient evidence to support their fraud allegations [JURIST report]. Buhari and Abubakar appealed this decision to the Supreme Court. Yar'Adua had said that he would resign if the Supreme Court invalidated his victory.

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