Nigerian Opposition Renews Calls to Overturn Election Results

Opposition candidates Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar have called for Nigeria’s presidential election result to be overturned after official results awarded victory to the ruling party’s champion, Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday.

“We won the election and we will prove it to Nigerians,” third-place Labour Party candidate Peter Obi said at a news conference in the capital, claiming it was marred by irregularities.

Hours later, second-place candidate Atiku Abubakar with the People’s Democratic Party also rejected defeat and said he was consulting with his lawyers on how to challenge the outcome.

“I have come to the conclusion that the processes and outcome of the presidential and National Assembly election of last Saturday were grossly flawed in every [way] and as such must be challenged,” he told reporters in the capital, Abuja.

At least four other parties are joining them in challenging the results.

They have 21 days from the day the results were announced to launch an appeal.

However, an election can be invalidated only if it’s proven that the national electoral body didn’t follow the law and acted in ways that could have changed the result.

No presidential election results have ever been overturned by the country’s Supreme Court.

Voting irregularities

Almost 25 million people cast a ballot last Saturday in a vote that was largely peaceful but marked by long delays and the slow arrival of online results, angering voters and opposition parties who claim massive vote-rigging.

The opposition said the delay in uploading results from the country’s 177,000 polling stations to the electoral body’s portal could have made room for vote tampering.

They also claim there was voter intimidation and cases where people were barred from voting at all.

While there were inconsistencies in the results in Rivers and Imo states, it wasn’t enough to impact the election’s final outcome, said YIAGA Africa, Nigeria’s largest election observer group.

However it said the issues spotted could just be the tip of the iceberg.

Inernational observers, including from the European Union, also noted major logistical problems, disenfranchised voters and a lack of transparency by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

President-elect Bola Tinubu, of the ruling party, received 37 percent of the vote in Saturday’s election and will be Nigeria’s first president to take office with less than 50 percent, analysts say.

Atiku Abubakar, the main opposition candidate, won 29 percent and third-place finisher Obi got 25 percent.

I have just finished addressing an international press conference. I urge Nigerians to remain resolute. We won this election and we will prove it to Nigerians. We shall reclaim our mandate via due process. Please do not despair! -PO— Peter Obi (@PeterObi) March 2, 2023

Obi, who for many young Nigerians represented hope for change, said the election “will go down as one of the most controversial elections ever conducted in Nigeria“.

Tinubu, 70, is to be sworn in on 29 May.

He will relocate to a military facility in the capital, Abuja, ahead of the swearing-in ceremony, his campaign team said on Twitter.

(with wires)


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