Nigerian court nullifies election of another state governor

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An election petition tribunal in Nigeria South-eastern Abia state Monday nullified the election of Governor Theodore Orji of the state, making him the seventh state governor to lose his seat by court ruling over last year’s general elections. The tribunal also declared the petitioner, Onyema Ugochukwu of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), winner of the 14 April 2007 governorship election in the state. The tribunal ruled that Orji, of the opposition Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), failed to prove he did not belong to a secret cult as alleged by the petitioner, in addition to failing to resign his previous appointment as Chief of Staff to the state’s former Governor before the election. Orji can still appeal against the ruling. Six other Governors have lost their offices to rulings by either the Supreme Court or election petition tribunals, a record in election petition adjudication in the history of the country. Local and international observers have described the general elections as the worst in the country’s history, saying it was widely rigged in favour of the ruling PDP. The Presidential Election Tribunal is due to rule Tuesday (26 Feb) on the petitions of two opposition presidential candidates against the election of President Umaru Yar’Adua. Panapress

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