Court sacks Oni over poll irregularities

LAGOS - A Nigerian appeal court has sacked the governor of southwestern Ekiti state following complaints of vote irregularities.

LAGOS - A Nigerian appeal court has sacked the governor of southwestern Ekiti state following complaints of vote irregularities.

The court has instead ordered a fresh poll within three months, local media reported yesterday.

Sitting in the central city of Ilorin on Tuesday, the court said Governor Segun Oni, of the ruling People's Democratic Party, did not win the April 2007 governorship poll as initially acknowledged.

The court said the speaker of the state House of Assembly should be sworn in immediately, while fresh elections should be held within 90 days in 10 disputed local government areas of the state.

Opposition candidate Kayode Fayemi had contested the verdict of a lower court which had upheld Oni's election.

The April 2007 vote in Nigeria was generally flawed and condemned by the opposition, human rights groups, media and foreign observers, including the European Union, as falling short of international standards.

Dozens of state governors have had their elections annulled because of alleged irregularities while many vote-related cases are still pending in the courts.

Last December, the Nigerian Supreme Court upheld the election of President Umaru Yar'Adua.

It dismissed an appeal by two opposition candidates while acknowledging that there had been problems with voting. - Sapa-AFP

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