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THE WALL STREET JOURNAL: Nigeria Panel Upholds Vote For President

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February 27, 2008; Page A9

A Nigerian special judicial tribunal threw out appeals by two opposition candidates seeking to overturn last year’s presidential election, possibly ending months of political uncertainty in Africa’s most populous country — one of the world’s biggest oil producers.
The ruling, announced yesterday, provides a measure of political stability for Nigerian President Umaru Yar’Adua, who won the top job in the West African nation in last spring’s voting.

International observers condemned the poll as marred by intimidation, vote rigging and incompetent administration. Shortly after the April election, opposition candidates Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar appealed Mr. Yar’Adua’s lopsided victory.

Nigeria’s creaky but increasingly independent judiciary recently has ruled against a number of politicians who won seats during last year’s elections. That raised expectations that the presidential poll also might be set aside.

The tribunal said the elections weren’t significantly undermined by alleged irregularities.

But the saga may not be over. The Associated Press reported that the two thwarted candidates would appeal the panel’s decision to Nigeria’s top court.

Nigeria is one of the world’s biggest oil producers, with pumping capacity of some 2.5 million barrels a day, about 3% of the world’s needs. Its crude is particularly prized by U.S. refineries for its low sulphur content. Major Western oil firms like Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Exxon Mobil Corp. have large operations in the country or in offshore oil fields.

But years of instability and violence in the oil-rich southern Niger Delta have raised repeated questions over the country’s long-term viability as a stable oil supplier.

Write to Chip Cummins at [email protected] and its also non-profit sister websites,,,,, and are all owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia article.

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