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Controversies and disputes do not stop ruling party’s Bola Tinubu from winning presidential vote

1 March 2023
Reading time: 12 minutes

Opposition parties say presidential election was a sham and have called on Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, to step down.

Despite controversies, divisions and disputes, Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been declared president-elect of Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation.

In the early hours of Wednesday, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), officially announced the final results from 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FTC), Abuja, of the hotly contested presidential elections held on Saturday, February 25, saying Tinubu had won the race with 8,805,835 votes.

He will take office when President Muhammadu Buhari’s two-tern tenure ends on May 29.

Mahmood Yakubu, INEC chairman, said Tinubu was followed by Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who secured 6,984,640 votes.

Hot on his heels was the Labour Party’s Peter Obi with 6,096,017 votes. Rabi’u Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) secured 1,499,303 votes. Tinubu won in 12 states, Obi in 11 states, including the FCT, Abubakar in 12 states and Kwankwaso in one state.

Reuters news agency said Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State, would take over leadership of a country grappling with Islamist insurgencies in the northeast, armed attacks, killings and kidnappings, conflict between livestock herders and farmers, cash, fuel and power shortages, and perennial corruption which opponents said Buhari’s party had failed to stamp out, despite promises to do so.

INEC confirmed that only 25,286,616 of the 93.4 million eligible voters exercised their constitutional right to cast their ballots.


The first result – from Ekiti State – was announced on Sunday night, putting Tinubu into an early lead. The APC secured 201,494 votes, the PDP 89,554, the LP 11,397 and the NNPP 264.

In Kwara State the APC secured 263,572 votes, the PDP 136,909, the LP 31,166 and the NNPP 3,141.

In Osun State the APC secured 343,945 votes, the PDP 354,366, the LP 23,283 and the NNPP 713.

In Ogun State the APC secured 341,554 votes, the PDP 123,831, the LP 85,829 and the NNPP 2,200.

In Yobe State the PDP secured 198,567 votes, the APC 151,459, the NNPP 18,270 and the LP 2,406.

In Enugu State the LP secured 428,640 votes, the PDP 15,749, the APC 4,772 and the NNPP 1,808.

In Lagos State the LP secured 582,454 votes, the APC 572,606, the PDP 75,750 votes and the NNPP 8,442.

In Gombe State the PDP secured 319,123 votes, the APC 146,977, the LP 26,160 and the NNPP 10,520.

In Ondo State the APC secured 369,924 votes, the PDP 115,463, the LP 44,405 and the NNPP 930.

In Jigawa State the APC secured 421,390 votes, the PDP 386,587, the NNPP 98,234 and the LP 1,889.

In Katsina State the PDP secured 489,045 votes, the APC 482,283, the NNPP 69,386 and the LP 6,376.

In Adamawa State the PDP secured 417,611 votes, the APC 182,881, the LP 105,648 and the NNPP 8,006.

In Nasarawa the LP secured 191,361 votes, the APC 172,922, the PDP 147,093 and the NNPP 12,715.

In Oyo State the APC secured 449,884 votes, the PDP 182,977, the LP 99,110 and the NNPP 4,095.

In Cross River State the APC scored 130,520 votes, the LP 179,917, the NNPP 1644 and the PDP 95,425.

In Imo State the APC secured 66,406 votes, the LP 360,495, the NNPP 1552 and the PDP 30,234.

In Rivers State the APC secured 231591 votes, the LP 175071, the NNPP 1322 and the PDP 88,468.

In Borno State the APC secured 252,282 votes, the PDP 190,921, the LP 7,205 and the NNPP got 4,626.

In Taraba State the PDP secured 189,017 votes, the LP 146,315, the APC 135,165 and the NNPP 12,818.

In Sokoto State the PDP secured 288,679 votes, the APC 285,444, the LP has 6,568 and the NNPP 1,300 votes.

In Ebonyi State the LP secured 259,738 votes, the APC 42,402, the PDP 13,503 and the NNPP 1,661.

In Delta State the LP secured 341,866 votes, the PDP 161,600, the APC 90,183 and the NNPP 3,122.

In Plateau State the LP secured 466,272 votes, the APC 307,195, the PDP 243,808 and the NNPP 8,869.

In Zamfara State the APC secured 298,396 votes, the PDP 193,978, the NNPP 4,044 and the LP 1,660 votes.

In Kano State the NNPP secured 997,279 votes, the APC 517,34, the PDP 131,716 and the LP 28,513.

In Kebbi State the PDP secured 285,175 votes, the APC 248,088, the LP 10,682 and the NNPP 5,038.

In Kaduna State the PDP secured 554,360 votes, the APC 399,293, the LP 294,494 and the NNPP 92,969.

In Bayelsa State the PDP secured 68,818 votes, the LP 49,975, the APC 45,572 and the NNPP 540.

In Kogi State the APC secured 240,751 votes, the PDP 145,104, the LP 56,217 and the NNPP 4,238.

In Bauchi State the PDP secured 426,607 votes, the APC 316,694, the NNPP 72,103 and the LP 27,373.

In Abia State the LP secured 327,095 votes, the PDP 22,676, the APC 8,914 and the NNPP 1,239.

In Edo State the LP secured 331,163 votes, the APC 144,471, the PDP 89,585 and the NNPP 2,743.

In Akwa Ibom State the PDP secured 214,012 votes, the APC 160,620, the LP 132,683 and the NNPP 7,796.

In FCT, Abuja, the LP secured 281,717 votes, the APC 90,902, the PDP 74,194 and the NNPP 4,517.

In Niger State the APC secured 375,183 votes, the PDP 284,898, the LP 80,452 and the NNPP 21,836.

In Benue State the APC secured 310,468 votes, the LP 308,372, the PDP 130,081 and the NNPP 4,740.


Tinubu, of the APC, was officially declared the winner of what has been described as Nigeria’s most hotly contested presidential elections.
Yakubu announced the former Lagos governor’s victory at about 4am on Wednesday at the collation centre in Abuja, where journalists, party representatives and observers had gathered to hear the final results.
Yakubu said Tinubu had “satisfied the requirement of the law” and declared him the outright winner of the presidential elections. Nigerians and people in many countries worldwide had been eagerly waiting to hear who the next president would be.

Yakubu was expected to present the certificate of return to the president-elect and the vice-president-elect, Kashim Shetimma, at 3pm on Wednesday.
Of the total of 25,286,616 votes cast, only 24,965,218 were accredited; 939,278 were rejected.


Tinubu, 70, won in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states and secured significant numbers in several other states. He secured the highest number of votes, 8,794,726, almost 2 million more than his closest rival, former vice-president Abubakar of the PDP.

Abubakar, 76, has run for president six times. In this election, he secured 6,984,520 votes. The LP’s candidate, Obi, galvanised young voters in what some described as an “unprecedented” manner and in less than a year managed to secure 6,101,533 votes.

Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, won the polls in 11 states, including the home state of the APC candidate, Lagos. He also came out tops in the nation’s capital, Abuja. Abubakar, like Tinubu, was victorious in 12 states.

Former Kano State governor and candidate of the NNPP, Kwankwaso, finished fourth, claiming victory in Kano, his home state. He secured 1,496,687 votes.

Yakubu’s early morning announcement brought to an end a presidential election that was marred by controversy, violence and ballot box snatching in some states.

Opposition parties were most concerned about the problems associated with the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) and the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV), which did not work at some of the polling units, meaning votes were captured manually instead of electronically.

From the start of the elections on Saturday, opposition parties began complaining bitterly about INEC officials at some polling units being unable to upload election results electronically, as stipulated in Section 60 of the Electoral Act.

The IReV and the BVAS are relatively new technologies, introduced by INEC for the accreditation and electronic transmission of votes and used in this year’s general elections for the first time. The technologies had been used in minor state elections but not in general elections.

The leadership of the PDP, LP and NNPP – at several press briefings from Saturday to Tuesday – complained that INEC officials in some areas had to manually collate votes because of the failures of the IReV. The parties said INEC’s results showed “monumental disparities” between what party representatives had seen and heard and what the electoral body had announced.

They said the manual transmission of results compromised the integrity of the election process and demanded a cancellation of the election, saying that the results were “irretrievably compromised”. They called on Yakubu to step down as the electoral chief.
Opposition party representatives staged a walkout from the national collation centre in Abuja on Monday after Yakubu insisted that the process would continue even though not all the results had been captured electronically.

Julius Abure, the LP’s national chairman, said: “This election is not free and it’s far from fair,” adding that there were “ongoing cancellations of results” from areas where opposition parties had strong followings.

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo, as well as leaders in the West African sub-region led by former Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan and former Ghanaian president John Mahama, who had also called on INEC to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on the collation of results.

Prior to the election, Tinubu, who was governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and who helped establish the APC in 2013, had to navigate controversial issues before becoming president-elect.

Being a Muslim, his choice of another Muslim and a former governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima, as his vice-president sparked outrage and drew strong criticism from some quarters.

Throughout the campaign, there were constant questions about his health, as well as allegations of crime and corruption, all of which he repeatedly denied.

There was no respite for him and his campaigners. Citizens were sick and tired of the insurgency in the northeast, armed attacks, killings and kidnappings, conflict between livestock herders and farmers, cash, fuel and power shortages and perennial corruption.

The decision in October to redesign the ₦1,000, ₦500 and ₦200 banknotes added fuel to the fire. The new banknotes were issued in mid-December and citizens were given an extended deadline to mid-February to swap their old banknotes for the new ones, after which the old banknotes would become void. This resulted in panic in rural areas where there are no banks, most people do not have bank accounts and the network for online transactions is haphazard – or does not work at all. Most traders and buyers have always used cash for transactions.

In the cities and urban areas, the mad dash by Nigerians to swap their old notes and get the new currency resulted in crowds and long queues at banks and automated teller machines (ATMs). The scarcity of the new banknotes added to the hardship, which ended in some protests, with ATMs being torn down. There was anger and tension among most Nigerians.

The shortage of the new currency in the final months leading to the election left Tinubu and his campaigners with more questions than answers, particularly as he was the candidate of the ruling party.

The naira redesign and then the scarcity of the new currency pitted him and close allies within the party against the Muhammadu Buhari administration, creating division in the APC weeks before the election.

“They want to provoke you to violence, so that the election will be disrupted and postponed, and they can cunningly introduce an interim government, that’s their plot. But this will backfire because we are wiser,” Tinubu said early last month in what was seen as a direct attack on the Buhari administration and the president who endorsed and defended the naira redesign.


Soon after Tinubu was announced the winner of the presidential election in the early hours of Wednesday, Buhari congratulated him, saying: “I congratulate His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his victory. Elected by the people, he is the best person for the job. I shall now work with him and his team to ensure an orderly handover of power.

“The election was Africa’s largest democratic exercise. In a region that has undergone backsliding and military coups in recent years, this election demonstrates the relevance of democracy which continues to deliver to the people it serves.

“Within Nigeria, the results reveal democracy is ripening in our country. Never has the electoral map shifted so drastically in one cycle. In the presidential elections, states in all regions across the nation changed colour. Some among you may have noticed my home state being among them.

“Even the winning candidate did not carry his own home state to victory. That happens only during a competitive election. Votes and those that cast them cannot be taken for granted. Each must be earned. Competition is good for our democracy. There is no doubt the people’s decision has been rendered in the results we look at today.

“That is not to say the exercise was without fault. For instance, there were technical problems with the electronic transmission of the results. Of course, there will be areas that need work to bring further transparency and credibility to the voting procedure. However, none of the issues registered represents a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections,” Buhari said.

“I know some politicians and candidates may not agree with this view. That, too, is fine. If any candidate believes they can prove the fraud they claim has been committed against them, then bring forward the evidence. If they cannot, then we must conclude that the election was indeed the people’s will – no matter how hard that may be for the losers to accept. If they feel the need to challenge, please take it to the courts, not to the streets.

“However, to do the latter means they are not doing it in the interest of the people, but rather to inflame, to put people in harm’s way for personal, selfish gains.

“After a degree of polarisation that necessarily accompanies any election, it is now time to come together and act responsibly. I call on all candidates to remember the peace pledge they signed just days before the election. Do not undermine the credibility of INEC. Let us now move forward as one. The people have spoken.”


Keywords: #elections

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