Bola Tinubu, the candidate for the ruling party, won Nigeria’s hotly contested weekend election on Wednesday, fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming the leader of Africa’s most populous nation.
Many Nigerians thought that Saturday’s election would usher in a leader capable of combating the nation’s escalating insecurity, economic slump, and rising poverty. President Muhammadu Buhari is stepping down after serving two terms.
Final results show that Tinubu, a candidate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, received 8.8 million votes, compared to Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who received 6.9 million votes, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who received 6.1 million.
In addition to receiving the necessary 25% of the vote in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states and the capital, Tinubu was declared the winner of the election by the Independent National Election Commission, or INEC.
When Tinubu arrived at the APC party headquarters in Abuja wearing a light blue traditional robe and a red cap, supporters crowded the building and danced to Afrobeats music to welcome him.
“This is a serious mandate — I hereby accept it. To serve you… To work with you and make Nigeria great,” Tinubu said as supporters cheered “Jagaban”, a local chieftain title.
“I appeal to my fellow contestants to let us team together. It is the only nation we have. It is one country that we must build together.”
Yet, even before the official results were in, Labour and PDP demanded that the election be annulled due to alleged major results tampering. It was not apparent whether they would take their case to court.
In his campaign, 70-year-old political heavyweight Tinubu, who served as Lagos’ governor from 1999 to 2007, argued that “it’s my turn” to run the continent’s largest economy.
He campaigned on the platform of “Renewed Hope,” but opponents questioned his health, his record of corruption, and his associations with Buhari, who many believe failed to deliver on his pledge to make Nigeria safer.
“He has done it before, and we know that he will do better than what he did in Lagos,” said supporter Adenike Mutiat Abubakar, 43. “He’s the man of the people, so that’s why everybody wants him.”
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For the first time since Nigeria’s 1999 end to military dictatorship, the election was close. Labour Party candidate Obi, 61, attracted younger people with his message of change in opposition to his two old guard competitors.
PDP’s Abubakar, a 76-year-old businessman and former vice president, lost his sixth effort at the presidency.
The voting on Saturday was largely calm but marred by lengthy wait times at some polling places and some thugs intimidating voters. Moreover, technological difficulties that prevented the results from being uploaded to INEC’s main website increased suspicions of vote manipulation.
According to Labour Party head Julius Abure, “the election is irreparably damaged.” “We demand the immediate cancellation of this fraudulent election,”
In order to increase transparency, INEC implemented biometric voter identification technology at the national level as well as its IReV central database for uploading results.
Opposition parties, however, claimed that irregularities in the results from the manual counts at local polling stations were made possible by the system’s failure to upload tallies.
Elections in Nigeria have frequently been tainted by vote-rigging, ballot-buying, violence, and altercations between competing parties.
But INEC rejected the claims made by the opposition.
According to the INEC, “results from the States speak to a free, fair, and credible process, contrary to the implication by both sides.”
It advised parties to wait for the process to finish before filing legal complaints.
International observers, including those from the European Union, did, however, point out significant logistical issues, disenfranchised voters, and INEC’s lack of transparency.
In 2019, just hours before voting began, INEC was compelled to postpone the election by a week. When Buhari defeated him that time, Abubakar charged fraud, but the nation’s Supreme Court later rejected his contention.
Obi’s victory in Lagos, the state with the most registered voters and the traditional stronghold of Tinubu, dubbed the “Godfather of Lagos,” was one unexpected outcome.
Through a grassroots and social media campaign, Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, was able to win over voters by promising an alternative to Nigeria’s political establishment.
With its glamorous Nollywood film industry and international Afrobeats musicians like Burna Boy, the state’s named megacity has helped put Nigeria on the cultural globe, but over half of Nigerians live in poverty and inflation is double digits.
The future president of Nigeria has considerable security challenges.
More than two million people have been displaced by a raging Islamist insurgency in the northeast, while bandit groups commit enormous kidnappings in the northwest and separatists fight police in the southeast.
Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa, yet it frequently experiences fuel shortages, incurs high energy import costs as a result of a lack of refineries, and experiences crude theft from its wells and pipelines.
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