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Cablegate: Southern Election Tribunals

VZCZCXRO4670
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHOS #0603 2421552
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 301552Z AUG 07
FM AMCONSUL LAGOS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9378
INFO RUEHUJA/AMEMBASSY ABUJA 9159
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS LAGOS 000603

SIPDIS

Sensitive But Unclassified--Handle Accordingly
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KDEM NI
SUBJECT: Southern Election Tribunals

1. (SBU) Summary: Election Tribunals in southern states are
rejecting challenges to their jurisdiction and affirming rights
granted petitioners under the Electoral Act. Nonetheless, Governors
elected in Nigeria's deeply flawed April 14 election continue to use
every means the law allows to assure that they stay in power. End
Summary.

--------------------------------------------- ---
Ekiti: Governor Appeals Election Tribunal Ruling
--------------------------------------------- ---

2. (SBU) Action Congress (AC) candidate Kayode Fayemi submitted a
petition requesting the Election Tribunal void Governor Oni's
victory and declare Fayemi the victor. The Tribunal in Ado-Ekiti
granted Fayemi the right to invite forensic and handwriting experts
to inspect election materials. Governor Oni objected to this ruling
and will request the Federal Appeals Court to review the Tribunal's
decision. (Comment: Contacts tell us the Electoral Act empowers the
Tribunals to decide whether to allow forensic experts. End
Comment.)

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Oyo: Security Agents Shun Tribunal
----------------------------------

3. (SBU) In July, the Election Tribunal was reportedly moved to a
military barracks compound to help mitigate external influences and
lower Tribunal-related violence and intimidation. The Police
Commissioner, INEC Resident Commissioner, and Director of the State
Security Service (SSS) have ignored the Tribunal's order to appear
and testify. Lawyers to All Nigeria People's Party (ANPP) candidate
Abiola Ajumobi, who requested the elections be annulled due to mass
vote rigging, have complained that the Tribunal failed to compel the
three officers to appear. (Comment: If these officials fail to
present testimony rebutting Ajumobi's evidence, the court presumably
must find in Ajumobi's favor on those elements of the case. End
Comment).

---------------------------------------------
Ondo: Tribunal Rejects Jurisdiction Challenge
---------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) In Ondo State, the Election Tribunal threw out Governor
Agagu's objection to AC candidate Ademola Adegoroye's petition.
Agagu contended that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to address
aspects of the petition dealing with election-related issues not
arising from April 14 election-day events. The Tribunal affirmed
that the Electoral Act empowers it to address issues arising either
before, during, or after the election took place.

--------------------------------------
Lagos: Agbaje Goes to Court of Appeals
--------------------------------------

5. (SBU) The Democratic People's Alliance (DPA) governorship
candidate in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje, has taken his case to the Federal
Appeals Court to challenge the Election Tribunal's July 24 dismissal
of his petition against Governor Fashola of the AC. Agbaje has
alleged a "miscarriage of justice," claiming the Election Tribunal
did not offer him a fair hearing. No date has been set for the
Appeal Court hearing.

-------
Comment
-------

6. (SBU) There is surprisingly little news coverage of what is
happening in the Tribunals. Despite the hard fought battles over
technicalities and procedural issues, there have been few
allegations of judicial bias regarding the Tribunals' rulings.
While there is plenty of evidence as to the flaws in the April 14
election process, opposition candidates must prevail against
numerous arguably dilatory maneuvers before getting the opportunity
to make their substantive case. End Comment.

McConnell

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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