Nigerian court rejects challenge to Jonathan poll win
Tuesday November 1, 2011 11:26am
* Five judges unanimously rule out challenge
* Opposition CDC had argued irregularities marred poll (Adds details, background)
A Nigerian court threw out a challenge to President Goodluck Jonathan's victory in an election in April, upholding the result and rejecting calls by the main opposition party for a recount in several parts of the country.
Jonathan was declared winner of the April 16 election with 59 percent of the vote but his nearest rival, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who polled 32 percent, refused to accept the outcome.
Buhari's Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) party filed a petition to challenge it in May.
"The petition fails in its entirety and is hereby dismissed," Justice Kumai Akaahs told the court, reading out a unanimous decision by five judges hearing the case.
The CPC had argued that the vote was marred by irregularities.
It said the electoral commission computers were rigged to sway the count against Buhari, a northern Muslim, in parts of the north, and that the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) vote was inflated in some of its southern strongholds.
The party's national chairman Tony Momoh said it would appeal the decision.
"There judgment of conscience, judgment of people and judgment of God. We will go on appeal," he told reporters.
Election observers and most Nigerians say the vote was the most credible for decades in Africa's most populous nation, which had experienced virtually nothing but military rule and rigged elections for the past half century.
But it also highlighted rifts between the predominantly Muslim north and the largely Christian south.
Rioting erupted in largely Muslim opposition strongholds in the north after the victory of Jonathan, a Christian from the south, was announced. Churches, mosques, homes and shops were set ablaze and at least 500 people were killed.