Nigerian court nullifies election of oil-rich Rivers state governor

2015-10-24 20:34
Nigerian President Muhammadi Buhari (AP)

Nigerian President Muhammadi Buhari (AP)

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Lagos - A Nigerian court on Saturday nullified the election of the governor of the oil-rich Rivers state on the grounds of irregularities and ordered a fresh vote within 90 days.

Justice Suleiman Ambrosa, of the election petition tribunal sitting in Abuja, said the court was satisfied with the complaint by the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Dakuku Peterside that the April 11 election was fraught with violence, voter intimidation and ballot fraud.

He said the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria should call a fresh election in the disputed oil-rich state within 90 days.

Governor Nyesom Wike, of former president Goodluck Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had been declared winner of the election, but the APC, which previously controlled the state, described the result as "a rape of democracy".

Rivers was a key battleground for both parties in the run-up to the gubernatorial elections because of the oil and gas sector that is largely based in the southern delta region.

Tensions were high because former governor Rotimi Amaechi had switched sides from the PDP to the APC in 2013 and became a vocal critic of Jonathan's government.

There were widespread claims from the APC of PDP irregularities in voting in the state at the presidential election on March 28, leading to demonstrations and calls for a re-run.

Rivers voted nearly 95% in favour of Jonathan but he lost the election nationally to the APC's Muhammadu Buhari, who secured the first opposition win in Nigeria's history.

Read more on:    nigeria  |  west africa

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