Nigeria vote fraud 'hard to prove'

Defeated candidates in last month's disputed elections struggle to gather evidence.

    Umaru Yar'Adua is preparing to succeed Olusegun Obasanjo as president [AP]

    Ballot boxes 'stolen'
     

    Tejuoso said: "It's difficult because ballot boxes were stolen and in most polling booths they don't have signed documents confirming the number of voters.

    "We're looking for result sheets signed by all the party agents but there aren't any."

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    Tejuoso, who was defeated by the daughter of Olusegun Obasanjo, the outgoing president, said he was unable to vote because officials produced only 300 ballot papers in his polling station instead of the 900 that were needed.

    He said the officials did not explain what had happened to the other 600 and that the vote "

    was obviously programmed to fail."

    Some candidates said they were hesitating on whether to launch costly legal actions calling for an investigation of the elections with an uncertain chance of success.

    One defeated senatorial candidate, who did not wish to be named for fear of offending his lawyers, said: "One major constraint is that we have all spent a lot of money on our campaigns and the lawyers are charging exorbitant fees."

    Landmark vote

    The polls were billed as a landmark democratic transition because it was the first time one civilian president had handed over to another through the ballot box.

    Instead, there has been an outcry in Nigeria at the vote and widespread condemnation from foreign monitors.

    The ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) scored a landslide victory at both state and federal level, according to the official results that the opposition has rejected.

    Some parties are calling for a re-run but the constitution does not allow that.

    The only avenue for aggrieved losers to seek redress are election tribunals.

    Candidates have 30 days from the date of the election to file their cases.

    Umaru Yar'Adua, of the PDP, is preparing to succeed Obasanjo and his main challenger has already signalled he is reluctant to go down that route, although many candidates for other posts are preparing petitions.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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