Court upholds ban on Nigerian VP

A Nigerian court has ruled against Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria's vice-president, dealing a blow to his plans to run as a presidential candidate.

Court upholds ban on Nigerian VP

ANigerian court has ruled against Atiku Abubakar, Nigeria'svice-president, dealing a blow to his plans to run as a presidential candidate.

The courtof appeal ruled on Tuesday that the electoral commission did have the authorityto remove names from the official list of candidates, upholding Abubakar'sdisqualification from running.

RabiuMohammad, the judge in the case, said the electoral body "not only has theright to screen and disqualify candidates, but to remove the name of candidateswithout recourse to court".

Lawyersrepresenting Abubakar said they would appeal against the ruling in the supremecourt.

TheIndependent National Electoral Commission (INEC) removed Abubakar from the listof people standing as presidential candidates for the opposition ActionCongress party, because he was indicted for fraud.

A lowercourt later ruled that INEC had no powers to disqualify candidates, andTuesday's ruling was in response to an appeal by the electoral commission.

Abubakarhas argued that the fraud indictment against him was politically motivated.

Hissupporters say that the panel of inquiry, set up by Olusegun Obasanjo, theNigerian president, that found Abubakar had mishandled state funds, wasunconstitutional and motivated by political concerns.

Obasanjo'slawyers deny this.

The INEC,whose members were appointed by Obasanjo, has already finished printing ballotsfor Nigeria's61 million voters.

It hassaid it will ultimately follow any final legal judgment, but that reprintingvoting papers may set back the date of the election, currently scheduled forApril 21.

Abubakarand Obasanjo were elected together in 1999 and again in 2003. They fell outlast year after Obasanjo's supporters tried to amend the constitution to allowObasanjo a third mandate.

Theelectoral commission approved two dozen candidates for the vote, which is meantto set up the first transfer of power from one elected president to another in Nigeria's coup-ridden, 47-year history sinceindependence from Britain.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16