The All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been named the winner of what was undoubtedly Nigeria’s most hotly contested and high-stakes presidential election.
Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced the former Lagos Governor’s victory minutes after 4 a.m. on Wednesday at the National Collation Centre in Abuja, a hall packed with journalists, party agents, and observers.
“That Tinubu Bola Ahmed of the APC, having satisfied the requirement of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected,” Professor Yakubu declared in an announcement watched by an eager nation and many across the world.
Tinubu, 70, won in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states and received considerable votes in several others to claim the most votes — 8,794,726, about two million more than his nearest challenger, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Abubakar, 76, who has now stood for president six times, received 6,984,520 votes, while the Labour Party (LP) candidate, Peter Obi, who rallied youthful voters in an unprecedented manner in less than a year, received 6,101,533.
Former Kano State Governor and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) nominee Rabiu Kwankwaso finished fourth, claiming victory in his home state of Kano. He got 1,496,687 votes.
Professor Yakubu’s pronouncement, four days after the election, draws to a close a presidential election plagued by controversy, violence, and ballot box snatching in certain states on February 25.
Criticism, Calls For Poll Cancellation
The announcement of the results would not have happened if other candidates had their way.
Right from the election on Saturday, opposition parties had complained bitterly that INEC officials at the polling units were unable to upload election results electronically to the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.
The IReV and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) are new technologies introduced by the electoral body for the accreditation and electronic transmission of votes for this year’s polls.
The leadership of the APC, LP, and NNPP at several press briefings from Saturday to Tuesday had called on INEC and protested the manual transmission of results.
The parties said the results by INEC showed “monumental disparities” between what the party agents signed and what INEC officials announced in Abuja and asked Mahmood to respect the upload of results electronically as stipulated by recommended by the law.
They said the manual transmission of results compromised the integrity of the election process and demanded a cancellation of the election and asked the electoral chief to step down. They said the results announced by INEC were “irretrievably compromised”.
Opposition party agents had staged a walkout from the national collation centre in Abuja on Monday after the INEC chief insisted that the process must continue despite that all results were not electronically transmitted.
Labour Party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, said, “This election is not free and far from being fair”, adding that there are “ongoing cancellation of results from areas of strength of the opposition parties”.
Similarly, former President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as leaders in the West African sub-region led by former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Ghanaian President John Mahama had also called on INEC)to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on the collation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections held on February 25, 2023.