Bola Ahmed Tinubu emerged as the winner of Nigeria’s presidential elections, representing the ruling All Progressives Congress party, with close to 8.8 million votes, about 36.6% of the total, according to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Mahmood Yakubu. The election, which saw more than 93 million people registered to vote, was fiercely contested, and its results have been widely disputed. Opposition leaders, including Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have decried the polls as rigged and called for a fresh vote, while many have cited corruption and technical failures in the process.
In his acceptance speech, Tinubu thanked voters and said he was “profoundly humbled” and that he represented a promise that he would fulfill with the support of his fellow contestants, who he appealed to team up together to strengthen the country. Tinubu’s supporters celebrated the win in the capital Abuja. He will become Nigeria’s fifth elected president since 1999, winning the race for the country’s top job on his first attempt.
Many challenges to the election results have emerged since the polls were held on Saturday. The INEC has rejected calls for a fresh vote, with one spokesperson insisting the election process was “free, fair and credible,” but several observers, including the European Union, have criticized the election for lacking transparency. The International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) joint observer mission said the election fell well short of Nigerian citizens’ reasonable expectations.
Samson Itodo, the head of Nigeria’s largest independent election monitoring body, expressed serious concern about multiple critical issues that had hampered public trust in the election process, including violence and technical impediments. Logistical problems reported across the country included voters who could not locate their polling stations after last-minute changes. Itodo’s non-profit civic organization, Yiaga Africa, deployed more than 3,800 observers across Nigeria for the election, with one observer being kicked out of a voting center after “thugs invaded” it, he said. Many voters in Lagos complained of intimidation and attempts to suppress their votes, and in other instances, voting was delayed or people did not get to vote at all as election officials failed to show up.
The United Nations has urged all stakeholders to remain calm through the conclusion of the electoral process and to avoid misinformation or inciting violence. However, the opposition parties have lost confidence in Yakubu, the electoral body chairman, and maintain that the results do not reflect the wishes of Nigerians expressed at the polls on February 25, 2023. The INEC has rejected calls for a fresh vote, but many challenges to the election results continue to emerge.
In conclusion, while Bola Ahmed Tinubu has emerged as the winner of Nigeria’s presidential elections, the results have been widely disputed, with many alleging corruption and technical failures in the process. The opposition parties have called for a fresh vote, while several observers, including the European Union, have criticized the election for lacking transparency. While the UN has urged all stakeholders to remain calm, many challenges to the election results continue to emerge, leaving the future of Nigeria’s political landscape uncertain.