A Nigerian opposition party has said it will launch a legal challenge after Bola Ahmed Tinubu was on Wednesday declared the winner of Nigeria’s controversial presidential elections. Tinubu, 70, represents the ruling All Progressives Congress party (APC), which received close to 8.8 million votes – about 36.6% of the total, according to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Mahmood Yakubu. He defeated vice president Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and a third leading candidate Peter Obi, who gained popularity among young people with his lesser-known Labour Party.
The United States congratulates the people of Nigeria, President-elect Tinubu, and all political leaders following the declaration by Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the results of the February 25 presidential election. This competitive election represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy. Each of the top three candidates was the leading vote-getter in 12 states, a remarkable first in Nigeria’s modern political era, reflecting the diversity of views that characterized the campaign and the wishes of Nigeria’s voters.
We understand that many Nigerians and some of the parties have expressed frustration about the manner in which the process was conducted and the shortcomings of technical elements that were used for the first time in a presidential election cycle. Nigerians are clearly within their rights to have such concerns and should have high expectations for their electoral processes. We join other international observers in urging INEC to improve in the areas that need the most attention ahead of the March 11 gubernatorial elections.
There are well-established mechanisms in place for the adjudication of electoral disputes, and we encourage any candidate or party seeking to challenge the outcome to pursue redress through those mechanisms. We call on all parties, candidates, and supporters to refrain from violence or inflammatory rhetoric at this critical time.
We commend the active participation of civil society and the media for advancing electoral norms and political discourse on issues of importance to citizens. We note with concern reports that numerous members of the media were attacked during the course of the election, and we urge the government, security forces, political actors, and all citizens to respect the media’s critical role by refraining from any damaging acts against them and ensuring accountability for such acts when they do occur. We also congratulate the Nigerian people, especially the large number of youths who are relatively new to the political process, for demonstrating their strong commitment to democracy.
Ned Price, Department Spokesperson