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Six Nigerian states drop bid to annul presidential election

The Independent National Electoral Commission declares Bola Tinubu winner of Nigeria's 2023 presidential elections in Abuja

By Camillus Eboh

ABUJA (Reuters) -Six opposition-led Nigerian states on Friday night withdrew a Supreme Court petition to invalidate the result of last weekend's presidential vote, which they had argued violated electoral rules, court papers showed.

The states, in a court filing signed by their attorneys general, did not give reasons for their decision.

Separately, losing presidential candidate Peter Obi secured a court order granting his party access to electoral materials in the possession of the electoral commission as his campaign gathers data for a possible legal challenge.

Ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party candidate Bola Tinubu was declared the winner on Wednesday, but the two main opposition challengers said the result was fraudulent and vowed to challenge it in court.

Obi, who came third in the election, behind Tinubu and main opposition challenger Atiku Abubakar, asked for and was granted access to materials, including ballot papers and voting machines, an order from the appeals court showed.

Obi still has three weeks to file a petition with the court, under the 2022 electoral act.

Election observers from the European Union, the Commonwealth and other bodies reported a range of problems during voting and counting, including failures in systems designed to prevent vote manipulation.

The observers criticised the Independent National Electoral Commission for poor planning and voting delays but did not allege fraud. The commission apologised for technical problems during the count.

In Nigeria, elections are generally challenged at the Appeals Court, which sits as a tribunal.

There have been numerous legal challenges to the outcome of past Nigerian presidential elections but none has succeeded.

(Additional reporting by Tim Cocks in LagosWriting by MacDonald DzirutweEditing by Andrew Heavens and Matthew Lewis)