A disputed and shambolic electoral process, a nation divided along ethnic and religious lines, with disillusioned young people and the smallest popular vote since 1979, leaves the President elect of the APC , Bola Ahmed Tinubu, with a difficult mandate to govern Nigeria, which is Africa’s largest economy, and also the biggest by population.
Nigeria‘s Independent National Electoral Commission on Wednesday, declared the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, as the president-elect.
Tinubu got 36% of the vote, official results show. His main rival Atiku Abubakar polled 29%, and Labour’s Peter Obi 25%.
Their parties had earlier dismissed the poll as a sham, and demanded a rerun.
Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor, was declared the president-elect after the 70-year-old polled 8.79 million votes to win the 2023 presidential election. It is the smallest popular vote by a winning candidate for Nigeria’s presidency since 1979.
Atiku Abubakar of the PDP was allocated 6,984,520 votes to come in second, while Peter Obi of the Labour Party finished the race with 6,101,533.
In the 1979 Nigerian presidential election Shehu Shagari’s, National Party of Nigeria (NPN) won with 5.68 million votes.
Four years later in 1983, Shagari won re-election with 12.08 million votes.
In the 1999 elections (the first in 16 years of disastrous military rule) Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP was elected with 18.7 million votes, in 2003 Obasanjo was again reelected with 24.5 million votes.
In 2007 Shehu Musa Yaradua of the PDP was elected with 24.6 million votes. Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP, a Vice President to Yaradua, who took over after his death, was elected President in 2011, with 22.5 million votes, almost twice the number of the second-place finisher, former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
Buhari himself was then elected in 2015 under the banner of the APC, a coalition of opposition parties. The APC won 15,424,921 votes and Mr Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) gained 12,853,162 votes.
In 2019, Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) garnered 15.2m votes.
Progressively lower turnout
Nearly 90 million people were eligible to vote in Africa’s largest democracy, however turnout has been getting progressively lower.
In 2022, the turnout is approximately 27%, in the 2019, the election turnout was 35.6 percent, which compared with 44% in the 2015 presidential election.
Opposition parties in Nigeria earlier called for the presidential election to be scrapped, describing it as a sham.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party said results had been manipulated, and they wanted a new election to be organised.
The opposition parties were critical of INEC and its handling of the electronic voting system.
“I demand that this sham of an election be cancelled and we call on Inec to conduct fresh elections within the window period provided by the electoral act,” said Julius Abure, chairman of the Labour Party.
A group of angry protesters denounced the electoral commission outside the national collation centre in the capital, Abuja.
“Everything happening there is all lies, all lies, lies… they are cooking up results,” one man told the BBC.
Another group held a counter-protest, urging the electoral commission to “complete your job” and calling on “Nigerians to stand up for democracy.”
European Union observers said the electoral body’s poor planning and communication undermined trust in the process.
Many Nigerians had looked to the election to put the country back on track after eight years of rule by an ailing president, Muhammadu Buhari — a military dictator turned democrat. Mr. Buhari had reached his two-term limit and was not running for re-election.
“Everybody was expecting a free and fair election,” said Daniel Offor, a 21-year-old fashion stylist in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, who said he voted for an opposition candidate. “But it’s obviously been rigged. What happened last time is happening again,” he said, referring to previous elections that were tainted by allegations of vote rigging.
African Union observers noted “isolated incidents of violence.”
An observer mission from the Commonwealth led by the former South African president Thabo Mbeki said the election was largely peaceful, but Mr. Mbeki also said observers had recorded “incidences of election-related violence and insecurity, some of which regrettably resulted in the loss of life and postponement of elections in some polling units.”
The number of violent incidents in the run-up to the election was double that in previous years, while there were probably at least as many episodes on the day of the election as there were in the last vote in 2019, observers from the United States said.