Nigeria poll: court ruling draws closer

Nigeria's former president will know on Tuesday whether his bid to block President Olusegun Obasanjo from being sworn in for a second term in office has been successful.

    President Obasanjo may be
    barred from being sworn in for
    his second term in office

    Accusing Nigeria's incumbent president of rigging his re-election last month, Muhammadu Buhari sought an injunction barring Obasanjo from assuming office during the investigation of ballot-rigging claims.

    Buhari, the candidate of the All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) lost the election, Nigeria's first since it returned to civilian rule in 1999, by a margin of two votes to one.

    Both Nigerian and foreign monitors criticised the election, reporting that it was marred by widespread ballot-rigging. But most key members of the international community recognised Obasanjo's victory.

    Aside from the 62-year-old former general, three other opposition parties have challenged Obasanjo's victory in the same court.

    Demonstrations planned

    Elsewhere, Nigeria's opposition announced that it would take its protests against the re-election of President Obasanjo to the streets.

    The move could put the parties on a collision course with the

    police, who have warned that they will not tolerate any unauthorised protests amid fears that next week's presidential inauguration could spark unrest.

      

    A press statement by an umbrella opposition group, the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, said rallies would be held Monday in the capital Abuja, the commercial capital Lagos, and five other major cities.

      

    Earlier this week, police chief Tafa Balogun alleged that opposition leaders were trying to incite violence in the run-up to Obasanjo's swearing-in ceremony, and warned that anyone attempting to hold an unauthorised rally would be arrested.

      

    Nigeria has never successfully passed power from one civilian

    government to another. Both the current protagonists have ruled Nigeria as military dictators, Buhari from January 1984 to August to 1985, and Obasanjo between 1976-1979.


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