Nigeria Did Not Get the Presidential Election It Was Promised

Nigeria Did Not Get the Presidential Election It Was Promised
Nigerian President-Elect Bola Tinubu addresses supporters and the country after being declared the winner of the presidential election, in Abuja, Nigeria, March 1, 2023 (AP photo by Ben Curtis).

ABUJA, Nigeria—Nigeria’s electoral commission has declared Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos and a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress, the winner of the Feb. 25 presidential election, in a ballot that was marred by violence, delayed voting, operational failures at polling stations and accusations of vote-rigging and other irregularities. Tinubu defeated 17 other candidates, including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra who ran under the banner of the Labour Party.

By leading the field with 37 percent of the vote, Tinubu met the requirement of winning a plurality of the national vote and more than 25 percent of the vote in at least 24 of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory to be declared the winner on the first ballot. But the three main opposition candidates and their political parties have rejected the result and vowed to seek redress in court. Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, or INEC, reported that Tinubu won a total of 8.8 million votes, compared to Abubakar’s 6.9 million and Obi’s 6.1 million. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, a former defense minister and governor of Kano, took 1.5 million votes to finish fourth.

In a predawn victory speech given shortly after he was declared the winner of the presidential contest, Tinubu appealed for reconciliation with his rivals and urged Nigerians to unite behind his incoming administration after a contentious campaign. But many of his opponents’ supporters are in no mood to accept the olive branch Tinubu extended to them, after a disorderly election they and many other observers believe fell short of the standard promised by electoral officials as well as outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari.

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