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Amid protests, INEC declares Tinubu winner

Ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu (C) flanked by his wife Remi Tinbu (R), addresses supporters in Abuja on March 1, 2023 during celebrations at his campaign headquarters. – Ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu won Nigeria’s highly disputed weekend election, electoral authorities said on Wednesday, securing the former Lagos governor the presidency of Africa’s most populous democracy. With President Muhammadu Buhari stepping down after two terms, many Nigerians hoped Saturday’s vote would usher in a leader capable of tackling the country’s widening insecurity, economic malaise and growing poverty. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)
After a tension-soaked wait, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), this morning, declared presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as winner of Saturday’s election.

At exactly 4:10a.m., INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, announced Tinubu the president-elect, putting a fitting finale to a lifelong ambition of the former Lagos State governor, who had summed up his presidential race with the famous Yoruba word, Emilokan. Tinubu will collect his certificate of return at 3:00p.m. later today.

Tinubu finished with 8,794,726, nearly two million more votes than his fiercest challengers, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 6,984,520 and Labour Party (LP)’s Peter Obi, who got 6,101,533. The total votes cast was 24,965,218, out of which 939,278 were rejected votes.

The drama before the announcement got intense, yesterday, with more protests trailing the conduct of the election. Undaunted by the criticisms, INEC resumed collation of results at the national collation centre in Abuja, releasing the remaining states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

However, leaders in the West African sub-region have called on INEC to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on the collation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections. Former President Goodluck Jonathan, ex-Ghanaian President John
Mahama and other members of the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) Election Mission to Nigeria made this known in a statement yesterday in Abuja.

They appealed for calm in the country, while calling on INEC to address the concerns and procedural questions raised so far by different stakeholders.

According to them, INEC’s compliance will retain the confidence of Nigerians in the ongoing collation of Saturday’s election results.

As part of moves to ensure post-election peace, the elders met with the candidates, including Tinubu, Atiku, Obi and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

Earlier on Tuesday, the LP, PDP and African Democratic Congress (ADC) said deliberate refusal of the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to respect the upload of results electronically as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022 is unacceptable.

The three parties said the results so far by INEC showed “monumental disparities” between what the party agents signed at different local government areas in the states and what INEC officials announced in Abuja.

They said the manual transmission of results compromised the integrity of the process and demanded a cancellation of the election, while asking the electoral chief to step down.

On Monday, party agents had staged a walkout from the national collation centre after Yakubu insisted that the process must continue despite that all the results were not electronically transmitted.

Yesterday, the major opposition parties, PDP, LP and ADC have called for Saturday’s election to be cancelled. They also demanded that INEC chairman, Yakubu, step aside for his alleged role in the compromise of the process.

Addressing a press conference in Abuja on behalf of other aggrieved political parties, LP chairman, Julius Abure, described the election as a rape on democracy

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