Nigeria opposition alleges election fraud as ruling party takes lead

22 Views Comment Off

Issued on: 28/02/2023 – 11:06Modified: 28/02/2023 – 11:10

Nigeria’s ruling party candidate, Bola Tinubu, took an early lead in the race for the presidency, according to initial election results. But the poll remains tight between three of the leading candidates in an election marked by long delays and accusations of fraud by the opposition.

Former Lagos governor Tinubu faced main opposition party PDP’s Atiku Abubakar in Saturday’s vote, but Labour Party’s Peter Obi tested the two others as a third contender for the first time in Nigeria’s modern democracy.

Highlighting his challenge to APC and PDP dominance, Obi won the key state of Lagos, a bastion of Tinubu’s support which also has the largest number of registered voters.

Obi, 61, a former Anambra State governor, attracted younger voters with a campaign message of change from his two septuagenarian rivals.

Tinubu accepted defeat and urged his supporters to remain calm. “You win some, you lose some,” he said.

Tinubu, a southern Yoruba Muslim, and Abubakar, a Muslim from the northeast, are long-time political fixtures who have fought off past corruption accusations. But the emergence of Obi – a Christian ethnic Igbo from the southeast – threw the race open.

With President Muhammadu Buhari stepping down, many Nigerians voted with the hope that a new leader will do a better job tackling insecurity, economic malaise and widening poverty in Africa’s most populous country.

Voting on Saturday was mostly peaceful, but thugs ransacked some polling stations, many others opened very late, and delays slowed the uploading of results to an official website meant to promote transparency.

Counting was still ongoing late Monday, with 14 out of 36 states tallied, but the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said Tinubu had won six states, Abubakar five states and Obi three states.


Tinubu, of the APC party, was ahead with more than 3.8 million votes, while Abubakar had 3 million and Obi 1.6 million, according to INEC figures.

INEC is expected to resume announcing results on Tuesday.

Candidates must win the most votes along with 25 percent of ballots in two-thirds of Nigeria’s states – a measure reflecting a country split between a mostly Muslim north and widely Christian south, and with three main ethnic groups.

Fraud fears

Votes for the presidency were tallied by hand at local polling stations, with results uploaded online to INEC’s central database IReV.

But long delays in voting getting underway and the slow pace of uploading state-by-state counting fuelled accusations of manipulation.

PDP and other party agents on Monday walked out of a counting centre in Abuja.

“We are not here to rubber stamp the electoral fraud that has been prepared by INEC and APC,” PDP official Dino Melaye said. “We are saying that INEC is compromised.”

Labour campaign director Akin Osuntokun called for INEC to suspend announcing the results because of the manipulation of tallies.

An EU observer mission said INEC “lacked efficient planning and transparency during critical stages” and reduced public trust with delays in voting and results.

Nigeria has a long history of vote rigging and ballot buying, though INEC said new technology would help curtail electoral malpractice.

In 2019, INEC was forced to delay the election by a week just hours before voting started. PDP’s Abubakar claimed fraud when Buhari beat him, but the supreme court later tossed out his claim.

(with AFP)

Chief Editor
Author: Chief Editor

Nigerian Community,News, Events and more

In : Politics

About the author

Nigerian Community,News, Events and more

Related Articles