Presidential in Nigeria: the two main losers dispute the victory of Tinubu
Officials examine documents at a vote collection center that had been stormed by unidentified people earlier in the day in Alimosho. (File photo)
Nigeria's two main unsuccessful presidential candidates both denounced fraud and the victory of Bola Tinubu of the ruling party on Thursday , Atiku Abubakar citing a “violation of democracy” and Peter Obi a legal challenge.
Nearly 25 million Nigerians cast their ballots on February 25 in a poll that was generally calm, but marred by delays in the counting of votes and major failures in the transfer electronic results. These incidents have provoked the ire of many voters and the main opposition parties who denounce massive fraud.
The manipulations and fraud that accompanied this election are unprecedented in our nation's history, said Atiku Abubakar, the 76-year-old People's Democratic Party (PDP) candidate who came second with 29 percent of the vote.
People's Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar (2nd left) watches as his wife Amina Titi Abubakar (2nd right) prepares to vote at a polling station in his constituency in Yola.
According to him, the results proclaimed by the National Electoral Commission (Inec) were grossly biased in favor of Mr. Tinubu, 70, of the Congress of Progressives (APC), who officially won the presidential election with more than 8.8 million votes, or 36% of the vote.
The official turnout is around 27% – even lower than the previous election, in 2019 (33%).
I still don't understand why the #x27;electoral arbiter was in such a rush to conclude the collection and announcement of results, given the number of complaints and irregularities registered, he told reporters in Abuja.
For him, this is indeed a violation of democracy.
Youth favorite Peter Obi, 61, in third place with 25% of the vote, has already announced his intention to go to court to challenge the results.
Peter Obi, presidential candidate for the Liberal Party of Nigeria, casts his ballot in his hometown of Agulu. (File photo)
I want to go to court. We will explore all legal and peaceful options to regain our mandate. We won the election and we will prove it to Nigerians, said Mr. Obi of the Labor Party (LP).
“ This election will go down as one of the most contentious ever in Nigeria”
— Labor Party (LP) Leader Peter Obi
The Nigerian people […] have once again been robbed by our supposed leaders whom they trusted, he added.
The emergence of this underdog face to the two main political parties constitutes a first in the democratic history of Nigeria. This former governor, perceived as honest, had established himself as the candidate for a break with the aging Nigerian elite, reputedly corrupt. And his defeat was experienced as a terrible disappointment for his supporters.
Asked if he intended to do the same, Mr. Abubakar, who ran six times unsuccessfully for the presidency, simply replied: our lawyers are studying the results of the election, we await their advice. […] and we will decide what action to take.
After the proclamation of the results, the candidates have 21 days to challenge the election in court.
Ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu and his wife Oluremi Tinubu on polling day. (File photo)
Bola Tinubu, the former governor of the economic capital Lagos, will succeed President Muhammadu Buhari, 80, who is due to step down in May with a record disaster marked by the explosion of poverty and insecurity.
On Wednesday, he called on his opponents to team up together. We must work in unity to put the broken pieces back together, he insisted.
Nicknamed the godfather, the kingmaker or even the boss for his considerable influence , Mr. Tinubu has been repeatedly accused of corruption during his career, without ever being convicted.
In the past, elections in Nigeria have often been marred by allegations of fraud and violence.
This time, some voters and opposition parties claim that system failures in uploading results allowed manipulation of ballots and disparities in the results of manual counts at polling stations.
A voter places her ballot in the ballot box in Agulu. (File photo)
International observers, including those from the European Union, have also noted major logistical problems, disenfranchised voters and a lack of transparency.
The process cannot be seen as having been credible, a coalition of civil society organizations and observers said on Wednesday.
The outgoing president meanwhile hailed the victory from Mr. Tinubu: Elected by the people, he is the best person for this position. And if Mr. Buhari has recognized flaws in the electoral process, according to him they do not affect the regularity of the ballot.
For its part, the electoral commission has castigated baseless and irresponsible accusations by the opposition.
Nigeria, which has a population of 216 million, is plagued by widespread violence by jihadist, separatist and criminals as well as a serious economic crisis.