INEC Declares Bola Tinubu Winner of Nigeria’s Controversial Presidential Election
Bola Tinubu, the flagbearer of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), is Nigeria’s President-elect, INEC officially confirms, following a keenly contested and disputed presidential election that took place on February 25, 2023.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmood Yakubu, declared Tinubu the winner of the election in the early hours of Wednesday, March 1, after nearly 72 hours of collating the results.
The declaration comes despite widespread reports by local and international observers, statesmen, Nigerian citizens and the major political parties who participated in the election that violence and brazing malpractices marred the electoral process.
According to Yakubu, Bola Tinubu scored a total of 8,794,726 votes to beat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 6,984,520 votes, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) secured 6,101,533 votes.
“I, professor Mahmood Yakubu, hereby certify that I am the returning officer for the 2023 general election…that Tinubu Bola Ahmed of the APC, having certified the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned,” the INEC boss said.
Yakubu noted that Bola Tinubu would be issued the certificate of return by 3pm on Wednesday.
Breakdown of the presidential election result
A – 61,014
AA – 14,542
AAC – 14,608
ADC – 81,919
ADP – 43,924
APC – 8,794,726
APGA – 61,966
APM – 25,961
APP – 12,839
BP – 16,156
LP – 6,101,533
NNPP – 1,496,687
NRM – 24,869
PDP – 6,984,520
PRP – 72,144
SDP – 80,267
YPP – 60,600
ZLP – 77,665.
The credibility question
There have been mixed reactions to the presidential and national assembly elections, with some adjudging it credible while others described it as a sham that should not stand.
The major political parties, PDP, LP and NNPP had on Tuesday called for the cancellation of the election, accusing Bola Tinubu’s APC and INEC of colluding to give victory to the ruling party.
“The election was a sham, and never free and fair,” Ifeanyi Okowa, vice presidential candidate of the PDP, said.
The opposition parties alleged that INEC officials deliberately failed to upload the results of elections in over 170,000 polling units onto a central server (IReV) as stipulated by law. This step was supposed to be taken at the polling centres after voting and counting of votes. They claimed the officials falsified the voting results in favour of the APC at the Local Government level before the results were taken to the state and national collation centres.
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According to a coalition of international election observers, Joint Election Observation Mission (JEOM), INEC’s operations lacked transparency and are flawed, resulting in the disenfranchisement of many Nigerian voters.
The coalition comprised of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) led by Joyce Banda, a former President of Malawi.
In an official statement released on Monday, Ms Banda said:
“Nigerians were mostly not impressed by the conduct of the 2023 presidential and national assembly elections.
Logistical challenges and multiple incidents of political violence overshadowed the electoral process and impeded a substantial number of voters from participating.
Ongoing currency and fuel shortages also imposed excessive burdens on voters and election officials, and Nigerian marginalised groups, especially women, continue to face barriers to seeking and obtaining political office.
At the close of the polls, challenges with the electronic transfer of results and their upload to a public portal in a timely manner, undermined citizen confidence at a crucial moment of the process.
Moreover, inadequate communication and lack of transparency by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) about their cause and extent created confusion and eroded voters’ trust in the process.”
Similarly, the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM) also faulted the electoral process.
In a preliminary report, EU EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, said:
“Overall, stakeholders had expressed confidence in INEC’s independence, professionalism, and voter information efforts, but this decreased ahead of elections. INEC lacked efficient planning and transparency during critical stages of the electoral process, while on election day trust in INEC was seen to further reduce due to delayed polling processes and information gaps related to much anticipated access to results on its Results Viewing Portal (IReV),”
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