The declaration came after three days of vote collation in an election that was marred by logistical difficulties, electoral violence and damning allegations of electoral officer intimidation and rigging.
On 01 March, The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the 2023 general elections, Nigeria’s seventh democratic election since 1999.
As announced, Tinubu scored a total of 8,794,726 votes, meeting the constitutional requirement to be declared the winner. He scored over 25 per cent of the votes cast in 30 states, above the 24 states constitutionally required. Atiku came in second with a total of 6,984,520 votes, Peter Obi of the Labour Party came third with 6,101,533 votes and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party came in fourth place with 1,496,687 votes.
INEC national chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, said the Certificate of Return for the president-elect and his vice president, Kashim Shettima, will be presented at 03:00 pm on Wednesday at the National Collation Centre, Abuja. The declaration came after three days of vote collation in a tightly contested election that was marred by logistical difficulties, electoral violence and damning allegations of electoral officer intimidation and rigging.
International observer missions like the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI) had commented on the lack of transparency in the elections, adding that it created confusion and eroded voters’ trust in the process. On Monday, the group said Nigeria’s presidential elections fell short of Nigerians’ expectations, highlighting the widely reported failures in logistics, voter registration and voter card distribution, the lack of transparency in election data, and unchecked political violence before and during the elections.
According to the observer group, these issues:
…overshadowed incremental administrative gains achieved in the pre-election period, and impeded a substantial number of citizens from participating in voting.
President-elect Bola Tinubu will be succeeding Muhammadu Buhari; whose time in office ends on 29 May, and who promised to fix the economy and tackle corruption and insecurity. Under Buhari’s watch, Africa’s largest economy has seen two recessions in the last five years, and the value of the naira has dropped to one-third of its value. These issues remained on the ballot for February’s elections as multidimensional poverty, declining earnings from oil sales, skyrocketing inflation, corruption, a struggling currency at global markets—more recently, a cash crunch, placed a further strain on Nigeria’s taut political landscape. Nigeria is still ravaged by insecurity, especially in the northeast, northwest and southeast, where multiple armed groups continue to conduct attacks, killings and kidnappings. On election day, there was a Boko Haram attack in Borno State, where voters were shot at by insurgents.
Tinubu has welcomed the results along with congratulations from members of his party and other politicians. Buhari has congratulated him on his win, describing the elections as ‘democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it serves’. In his victory speech titled, ‘The Era of Renewed Hope’, Tinubu said he was ‘humbled’ to have been elected to serve as Nigeria’s 16th president.
According to Tinubu:
This is a shining moment in the life of any man and affirmation of our democratic existence. From my heart, I say thank you.
Whether you are Batified, Atikulated, Obidient, Kwankwasiyya, or have any other political affiliation, you voted for a better, more hopeful nation and I thank you for your participation and dedication to our democracy. You decided to place your trust in the democratic vision of a Nigeria founded on shared prosperity and one nurtured by the ideals of unity, justice, peace and tolerance. Renewed hope has dawned in Nigeria.
However, opposition parties have called for these results to be scrapped and a fresh election organised. On Tuesday, LP, PDP and the African Democratic Congress called for new polls during a joint news conference held in the capital, Abuja, asking that the 25 February elections be cancelled. In a joint press briefing, the vice presidential candidates of PDP and LP, Ifeanyi Okowa and Datti Baba-Ahmed called on INEC to cancel the elections. NNPP’s Kwankwaso also called for a cancellation of the 25 February polls, saying that a new election should be held.
While the electoral body collated the votes, protests were held outside the national collation centre in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The protesters demanded that the elections be overturned⎈
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