Bola Tinubu, one of Nigeria’s wealthiest politicians, has urged his fellow contestants and supporters to accept the outcome of the presidential election, despite a legal challenge from the Labour party seeking to annul his victory. Tinubu based his campaign on his record of rebuilding Lagos during his time as governor, but he was defeated in the city by relative newcomer, Mr. Obi, who mobilized the support of young people, particularly in urban areas.
Tinubu won most other states in his home region of the south-west, where he is known as a “political godfather” for his ability to help other politicians gain office. Celebrations have been reported in Tinubu’s strongholds in the south-western states, with traditional drummers lining the streets and supporters marching to live music.
However, there is a sense of bitter anger in Mr. Obi’s stronghold in Anambra state, where many feel frustrated at what they see as a fraudulent electoral process. In his acceptance speech, Tinubu called for reconciliation and urged his fellow contestants to let them team up together, emphasizing that it is the only nation they have.
Labour’s lawyers are currently “putting the papers together” to challenge Tinubu’s victory in court. According to official results, voter turnout was 27%, one of the lowest since the end of military rule in 1999, and Tinubu received less than 10% of the record 93 million Nigerians who registered to vote.
A newly introduced electronic voting system eliminated ballot-stuffing, which occurred in past elections and presented a more accurate picture of the voting population. However, given that 87 million people collected their voter cards before the election, problems on voting day were likely responsible for the low number of ballots cast.
President Muhammadu Buhari is stepping down after two terms in office, marked by economic stagnation and growing insecurity around the country. Tinubu, who helped Buhari become president, will now have the task of solving these problems and unifying a country that is retreating into regional lines and religious blocs, as the election results show.