Nigeria’s opposition candidates for president say they will challenge the results declaring the ruling party candidate the winner. Saturday’s election was marred by technical and staff problems that saw voting delayed by a day or more at some polling stations.
The Labour Party met with journalists and supporters Wednesday afternoon, hours after the electoral commission declared Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress party, as the winner of Saturday’s election.
Labour’s presidential candidate Peter Obi did not attend Wednesday’s meeting but his deputy told reporters he and Obi will challenge presidential results in court.
Yusuf Datti-Ahmed, Labour’s vice presidential candidate, also called on party members and supporters to be calm.
“Illegality has been performed and as far as we’re concerned,” he said. “Here is an incoming government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that is illegal and unconstitutional. We’re submitting our case to the court of law. It is for them to show again that level of confidence.”
Another major contender in the election, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, is also challenging the results. The PDP and Labour held a joint briefing Tuesday calling the result a sham hours before Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Tinubu winner.
Last weekend’s presidential election was marked by delays and many operational issues with the voting machines across the country, according to international observers. There were also reports of election violence, coercion and manipulation.
Rotimi Olawale, a political analyst and co-founder of Youth Hub Africa, said there were various reasons for election issues.
“Some of the issues that we witnessed on Saturday are just plain logistics issues; INEC faced some challenges in that regard,” Olawale said. “Unfortunately, INEC over-promised and under-delivered. There were also in many places all kinds of attempts by different parties to thwart the electoral process. This also cast a shadow of doubt on the electoral process.”
The opposition political parties want a re-vote. But Olawale sid that will only be possible if the evidence of manipulation presented by the parties is significant enough to have swayed the outcome.
“Are there infractions in this election? Yes, absolutely,” Olawale said. “The court is going to be looking at themselves and saying, ‘If we take into consideration the infractions, are they enough to perhaps change who would have won the election?’
“If they can prove beyond reasonable doubt that there were widespread violence, suppression and the number of votes or polling units involved is enough to change the fortunes of the election, then perhaps the court will overrule the election.”
According to the official results, Tinubu grossed nearly 8.8 million votes, followed by PDP’s Atiku Abubakar with abut 7 million and Obi with about 6 million.