Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress has been declared winner of the largely controversial February 25, 2023 presidential poll.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Mahmood Yakubu, made the declaration some minutes after 4 am. on Wednesday, March 1, 2023.
Professor Yakubu’s declaration, about four days after the voting process began, brought to an end the job of the electoral body in the conduct of the poll, whic was marred by controversies, violence and procedural glitches largeky occasioned .by the jettisoning of the BVAS and electronic transmission of resiltscfrom the polling unit level real time as promised time and again by the electoral body.
Yakubu made the announcement at the National Collation Centre in Abuja at a ceremony witnessed by party agents, observers, and journalists.
Read Yakubu: “That Tinubu Bola Ahmed of the APC, having satisfied the provisions of the law, is hereby declared the winner.”
The announcement put an end days of sustained anxiety and tension on the sensitive issue.
Tinubu, 70, came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to win plurality of votes in satisfaction of the constitutional requirements of wins in two-thirds of 36 states and FCT (treated as a State)
Specifically, Tinubu won the highest number of votes — 8,794,726, almost two million votes more than his closest rival — former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Abubakar, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, who, in less than a year, took the nation’s political terrain by storm and galvanised young voters in a manner never before experienced in the country came third with 6,101,533.
Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, won the polls in 11 states, including the home state of the APC candidate — Lagos.
He also won in the nation’s capital Abuja, denying other candidates from even having 25 percent in the territory.
Abubakar, like Tinubu, won in 12 states to brush aside others candidates.
Former Kano State Governor and candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, Rabiu Kwankwaso, finished fourth. He only demonstrated his superiority over others in his home state of Kano.
His total vote stock, as announced by INEC’s Yakubu, stood at 1,496,687 votes.
● A process that suffered from criticism and calls for stoppage, outright cancellation
Right from the election on Saturday, opposition parties had complained that INEC officials at the polling units were unable to upload election results electronically to the commission’s Results Viewing Portal (IReV), as stipulated by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022.
The IReV and the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) are new technologies introduced by the electoral body for the accreditation and electronic transmission of votes for this year’s polls.
The Commision had successfully deployed them in some off season guber polls in Osun and Ekiti.
The leadership of the PDP, LP, and NNPP at several press briefings from Saturday to Tuesday had trenchantly protested protested the manual transmission of results by INEC.
The parties said the results so far by INEC showed “monumental disparities” between what the party agents signed and what INEC officials announced in Abuja and asked Mahmood to respect the upload of results electronically as stipulated by the extent law and the electoral guidelines.
They said the manual transmission of results compromised the integrity of the election process and demanded a cancellation of the election and asked the electoral chief to step down.
They said the results announced by INEC were “irretrievably compromised”.
Opposition party agents had staged a walkout from the national collation centre in Abuja on Monday after the INEC chief insisted that the process must continue despite that all results were not electronically transmitted.
Labour Party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, said, “This election is not free and it is far from being fair”, adding that there were “ongoing cancellations of results from areas of strength of the opposition parties”.
Similarly, former President Olusegun Obasanjo as well as leaders in the West African sub-region led by former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan; ex-Ghanaian President John Mahama had also called on INEC) to comply with the provisions of the Electoral Act 2022 on the collation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections.
● Muslim-Muslim ticket and other challenging hurdles scaled by Tinubu
A report by Veracity Desk said that prior to the election, Tinubu, who led Lagos from 1999 to 2007 and helped to form his party, the APC in 2013, had to navigate controversial issues to become President-Elect.
Being a Muslim, his choice of another Muslim, Kashim Shettima, sparked outrage and drew strong criticisms especially by the Christian block.
▪ Question about his health was an unbroken streak that ran throughout the electioneering.
▪There were allegations of criminality and corruption, opposition’s claims, which he and his team repeatedly denied.
▪There was no respite for him and his campaign as APC-led policy initiatives weighed heavily against him.
For instance, the prolonged fuel scarcity and the Naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria which led to scarcity of the currency and hardship for Nigerians in the final months of the campaign left him and his team with the burden of how to defend a government produced by the APC on which platform he was running to be president.
The Naira redesign policy in particular caused a division in the party and government.
“They want to provoke you to violence, so that 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,” the former Lagos governor said early February in what was seen as a direct attack on the Buhari administration and the President who endorsed and defended the Naira redesign.
▪ Road to “victory”
Tinubu’s road to victory was far from being smooth. To earn his party’s ticket for the race, he had to contend with heavyweights and partymen such as Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, Senate President Ahmad Lawan and former Transportation Minister, Rotimi Amaechi, among others to win his party’s ticket.
Frustrated with the seeming lack of support from the President and reported opposition by key members of the Presidency, he would go on to make his now famous “Emilokan (It is my turn)“ speech on June 2, 2022.
“It is the turn of Yoruba, it is my turn,” he said while addressing party delegates at the Presidential Lodge in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
In the speech, he narrated how Buhari lost presidential elections repeatedly until he (Tinubu) helped him to win in 2015. He would later issue a statement declaring his respect for the President.
When the APC primary poll happened, he went into a strategic alliance with northern governors including those of Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Plateau, among others, for him to defeat Amaechi, Osinbajo, and others
The alliance had subsisted through the election.
When the Naira redesign policy led to scarcity of the currency and outrage and protests by citizens, it was three APC governors, including Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna and Yahaya Bello of Kogi that sued the Federal Government, seeking to prevent the full implementation of the policy.
▪Tinubu based his campaign on an 80-page manifesto, which highlights an eight-point agenda.
He had promised to build a Nigeria, especially for the youth, where sufficient jobs with decent wages would create a better life.
Tinubu’s agelong desire was to become president.
In the buildup to the 2015 general elections, he was reported to have pushed to be Buhari’s running mate but was prevailed upon to shelve the idea by party members who did not believe Nigerians would accept a Muslim-Muslim ticket.
Eight years later, he had succeeded in pushing through the ticket.
THE CONCLAVE reports that the announcement of Tinubu as winner of the poorly organised presidential poll would be greeted by a welter of petitions at the Tribunal to challenge the process that has produced him.