Nigeria court cancels governorship polls in 5 states

ABUJA Sat Apr 16, 2011 12:31am IST

A Nigerian police officer watches over ballot boxes in Ikoyi, Lagos, April 9, 2011. REUTERS/Nick Tattersall

A Nigerian police officer watches over ballot boxes in Ikoyi, Lagos, April 9, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Nick Tattersall

Related Topics

ABUJA (Reuters) - Five of Nigeria's powerful ruling party state governors, including one in the oil-producing Niger Delta, will not have to stand for re-election in polls later this month, an appeals court ruled on Friday.

Nigeria holds presidential elections on Saturday and is due to end its electoral cycle with governorship races in the 36 states on April 26, but the five argued they should be exempted as they had not yet completed full four-year terms.

The governors of Bayelsa and Cross Rivers states in the south, Kogi and Adamawa in central Nigeria and Sokoto in the north all had their 2007 election victories overturned by the courts but went on to win re-runs the following year.

They won a ruling in February preventing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) from forcing fresh elections this month but the INEC appealed.

"In law, there were no elections in the five states in April 2007 ... Nobody can be validly elected in an invalid election," Justice Paul Galinje told the Appeals Court in Abuja on Friday.

"The appeal is hereby dismissed."

The ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) saw its parliamentary majority reduced in legislative elections last Saturday and is likely to face a tough battle retaining its control of over two thirds of the country's states.

The court decision means it may avoid some of the fiercest state contests and bolsters its regional standing.

President Goodluck Jonathan is widely considered the front-runner in Saturday's presidential race.

The PDP candidate has won every election since the end of military rule in 1999 and is up against a divided opposition with regional rather than national support bases.

(For more Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: af.reuters.com/ )

(Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Sophie Hares)

FILED UNDER:

Sony Cyber Attack

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Ten Years On

Ten Years On

10 years on, tsunami warning stumbles at the "last mile".  Full Article 

Exit Polls

Exit Polls

BJP unlikely to form Jammu & Kashmir govt - polls.  Full Article 

Forceful Conversions

Forceful Conversions

BJP distances itself from religious conversions.  Full Article 

Hopeful Dhoni

Hopeful Dhoni

India's new vintage nearly ready, says Dhoni.  Full Article 

Photo

Fund Raising

Flipkart raises $700 million in fresh funding.   Full Article 

Reforms Push

Reforms Push

Modi may order insurance, coal reforms if vote delayed - officials.  Full Article 

Ali Hospitalized

Ali Hospitalized

Boxing great Muhammad Ali hospitalized with pneumonia.  Full Article 

Going International

Going International

Bollywood’s Priyanka Chopra sets sights on American TV.  Full Article 

India This Week

India This Week

Some of our best photos from this week.   Full Coverage 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device   Full Coverage