Peter Obi claims he won Nigeria’s disputed presidential election

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By Paul Ejime

Lagos, Feb. 2, 2023 – Former Nigerian state governor Peter Obi, of the opposition Labour Party (LP), claimed on Thursday that he and not Senator Bola Tinubu won last Saturday’s tightly contested presidential election.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Wednesday declared Sen. Tinubu of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) as the winner with 8.7 million votes.

According to the Commission, Atiku Abubakar of another opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was second with 6.9 million vote, while Obi came third with 6.1 million.

“We won the election and we will prove it to Nigerians,” Obi told a World Press Conference in Abuja in his first official reaction since the INEC announcement.

 He said the elections “did not meet the minimum standards of free and fair process” and that he would “explore all legal and peaceful means to retrieve his mandate.”

Senior LP and PDP officials had earlier rejected the INEC results, claiming the electoral process was marred by fraud.

INEC has since presented the Certificate of Return to Sen.Tinubu, who in his acceptance speech called on all Nigerians including his fellow contestants to work with him for a united Nigeria.

ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc and Britain have already congratulated Sen. Tinubu on his election as President-elect.

The election of a new Nigerian leader to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari and members of Federal Parliament witnessed violence, snatching of election materials, vandalism as well as voter intimidation and supression in some parts of the country.

There were also logistic problems with late arrival of officials and election matetials resulting in delay in the commencement of voting in some polling units.

Another sticking point was INEC’s delay in uploading results from the polling units to its public viewing portal IRev, as promised by the Commission before the elections.

The Commission’s explanation that the delay was due to “technical glitches” has been rejected by the major opposition political parties 

Some civil society organisations, including the influential youth group, YIAGA Africa also noted in their post-election reports that the delay in result upload had cast some doubts on the integrity of the electoral process.

The national mood has been subdued overshadowed by tension and controversy following the delayed upload of the election results.

The Labour Party and other aggrieved parties are expected to mount legal challenges to the official results announced by INEC and the dispute could be escalated to Nigeria’s Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, elections for 28 of the country’s 36 State governors and members of the State Houses of Assembly will take place on 11 March.

Obi in his address Thursday called on his party supporters and all Nigerians to remain calm and eschew violence.

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