Bola Ahmed Tinubu wins as opposition calls for another vote
Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared the winner of Nigeria’s controversial presidential elections on Wednesday, as opposition leaders branded polls rigged and called for a re-vote.
Tinubu, 70, represents the ruling All Progressives Congress party, which won nearly 8.8 million votes, or about 36.6 percent of the total, according to the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu.
He defeated Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and popular Third Force candidate Peter Obi, who gained popularity especially among the youth.
In an acceptance speech, Tinubu thanked voters and said he was “deeply touched”.
“It is a shining moment in every man’s life and an affirmation of our democratic existence,” he said. “I represent a promise and with your support, I know that promise will be kept.”
Videos from the capital Abuja showed Tinubu supporters cheering and celebrating the victory.
This election is one of the most fiercely contested since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, with more than 93 million people registered to vote, according to INEC.
But Yakubu said Wednesday that 24 million valid votes were counted, representing a turnout of just 26%.
Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos State, represents the same party as incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari, which Tinubu said helped propel to the top spot in 2015.
He will become Nigeria’s fifth elected president since 1999, winning the race for the country’s highest office on his first attempt.
The vote count since Saturday’s election has been fiercely contested by many who say the process has been marred by corruption and technical failures. On Tuesday, the country’s main opposition parties described the election results as “heavily doctored and manipulated” at a joint press conference.
They said they had lost faith in Yakubu, the president of the electoral body, and that the results “do not reflect the wishes of Nigerians expressed at the polls on February 25, 2023”.
INEC rejected calls for a re-vote, with a spokesman insisting the electoral process had been “free, fair and credible”.
In his speech, Tinubu also praised the INEC for “organizing credible elections no matter what anyone says”.
But several observers, including the European Union, also criticized the election for its lack of transparency.
“The election fell far short of the reasonable expectations of Nigerian citizens,” said a joint observation mission from the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
Samson Itodo, the head of Nigeria’s largest independent election monitoring body, said on Tuesday there were “serious reasons for concern”. He cited several critical issues that had hampered public confidence in the electoral process, including violence and technical obstacles.
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Some reported logistical issues across the country include voters unable to locate their polling places after last-minute changes, he said.
His non-profit civic organisation, Yiaga Africa, deployed more than 3,800 observers across Nigeria for the election – with one observer being kicked out of a polling center after “thugs invaded it”, it said. said Itodo.
Many voters in Lagos have complained of intimidation and attempts to suppress their votes. In February, CNN visited a polling station in Lekki, Lagos, which came under attack and the army was forced to intervene.
In other cases, voting was delayed or people were unable to vote at all because election officials failed to show up.
On Tuesday, the United Nations urged “all stakeholders to remain calm until the conclusion of the electoral process” and to avoid misinformation or incitement to violence.
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