Amid protests, INEC declares Tinubu winner

By From Azimazi Momoh Jimoh, Sodiq Omolaoye, Adamu Abuh, Nkechi Onyedika-Ugoeze and John Akubo (Abuja)

Amid protests, INEC declares Tinubu winner
Ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu (C) flanked by his wife Remi Tinbu (R), addresses supporters in Abuja on March 1, 2023 during celebrations at his campaign headquarters. – Ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu won Nigeria’s highly disputed weekend election, electoral authorities said on Wednesday, securing the former Lagos governor the presidency of Africa’s most populous democracy. With President Muhammadu Buhari stepping down after two terms, many Nigerians hoped Saturday’s vote would usher in a leader capable of tackling the country’s widening insecurity, economic malaise and growing poverty. (Photo by Kola SULAIMON / AFP)

• Comply with electoral laws on results collation, Jonathan, W’African leaders tell INEC
• PDP, LP insist on cancellation of poll
• Okowa, Datti accuse INEC chairman of playing to a predetermined script
• INEC has returned Nigeria to pre-2015 era, says NNPP
• Halt results collation now, CUPP tells INEC
• Emulate Jonathan, congratulate Tinubu now, APC tells Atiku, Obi
• Obi’s win of FCT raises questions about possible run off
• 25% in FCT not needed to be declared president, say Falana, Sagay
• Calls for Yakubu’s resignation irresponsible, misplaced – INEC
• Tinubu files suit to stop PDP, LP from stopping collation

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), as the victor of Saturday’s election this morning after a tense wait.

The INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, declared Tinubu the president-elect at precisely 4:10 a.m., bringing to a fitting conclusion the lifelong dream of the former governor of Lagos State, who had summed up his presidential campaign with the well-known Yoruba word, Emilokan. At 3 p.m. today, Tinubu will pick up his document of return.

With 8,794,726, Tinubu received nearly two million more ballots than his two most ardent rivals, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who received 6,984,520, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), who received 6,101,533. There were 24,965,218 votes submitted in total, of which 939,278 were invalid votes.

More protests following the election’s conduct yesterday increased the drama leading up to the declaration. The remaining states and the Federal Capital Territory were released as INEC restarted results collation at the national collation center in Abuja, unfazed by the criticisms (FCT).

According to the most recent results, Atiku won 12 states, Tinubu won 12 states, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) won 11 states and the Federal Capital Region (FCT).

Leaders in the West African subregion have nevertheless urged INEC to abide by the rules set forth in the Election Act 2022 regarding the compilation of results for the presidential and National Assembly elections. This was announced in a communiqué released yesterday in Abuja by former president Goodluck Jonathan, former president of Ghana John Mahama, and other members of the West African Elders Forum (WAEF) Election Mission to Nigeria.

They urged everyone to maintain their composure while urging INEC to handle the issues and procedural queries that have already been brought up by various stakeholders.

They contend that INEC’s adherence will maintain Nigerians’ faith in the current compilation of Saturday’s election results.

The elders met with the candidates, including Tinubu, Atiku, Obi, and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, as part of efforts to guarantee post-election peace (NNPP).

Earlier on Tuesday, the LP, PDP and African Democratic Congress (ADC) said deliberate refusal of the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, to respect the upload of results electronically as specified by Section 60 of the Electoral Act 2022 is unacceptable.

The three parties claimed that there were “monumental disparities” between what the party agents signed at various local government areas in the states and what INEC officials declared in Abuja based on the results that INEC had released so far.

They demanded a cancellation of the election and called for the resignation of the electoral head, claiming that the manual transmission of results jeopardized the integrity of the process.

Party representatives left the national collation center on Monday after Yakubu maintained that the process must go on even though not all of the results had been electronically transmitted.

Yesterday, the major opposition parties, PDP, LP and ADC have called for Saturday’s election to be cancelled. They also demanded that INEC chairman, Yakubu, step aside for his alleged role in the compromise of the process.

Read Also: Final Results of Nigerian 2023 Presidential Election By States (Declared by INEC)

Julius Abure, chairman of the LP, referred to the election as a rape on democracy while speaking at a news conference in Abuja on behalf of other political parties who had been wronged.

Abure, who was flanked by Senator Iyorchia Ayu, national chairman of the PDP, and Ralph Nwosu, national chairman of the ADC, claimed that widespread violence, election rigging, voter intimidation, doctoring of results, and violations of the established electoral process, which was announced by INEC, marred the election.

The Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) would be used for accreditation and polling, and all results would be sent electronically from PUs to INEC Servers, he claimed.

He continued by saying that the procedure, which had been frequently announced, published, and agreed upon by all political parties and INEC, had not been followed, opening the door for results tampering after Nigerians had cast their ballots.

He claimed that there were enormous discrepancies between the results that INEC had so far announced and the real results that had been reported by party agents, party members, and millions of Nigerians on election day from the PUs.

Following suit, the NNPP claimed that INEC, under Yakubu, had returned the nation to the pre-2014 period, where ballot-snatching, vote-buying, security agent complicity, among other evils, were the norm. Therefore, the party demanded that the presidential poll on Saturday be immediately called off.

At a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, the national head of the NNPP, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, said the election was marred by a number of irregularities, including vote buying, violence, voter disenfranchisement, and BVAS malfunction.

Alkali asserted that INEC had shown animosity toward the NNPP. The most upsetting one, he said, was when INEC barred the party from uploading its nominees to the INEC server days before the deadline.

“We have returned to a time when those who don’t vote are deemed the winners of the poll,” Alkali declared. For instance, Ibrahim Shekarau in Kano withdrew from the race after officially resigning from the NNPP, registered with the PDP, and informed both the party and INEC of his decision. Despite this, INEC still declared him the winner of an election held under the NNPP.

He pointed out that there may be some connection between the embarrassing move by INEC to shut down the iReV Server and the pervasive BVAS failure across the nation.

He pointed out that the BVAS machine didn’t function in the vast majority of Polling Units (PUs) in rural areas.

“The elections have been totally tainted by this very action of working with the governing party and switching back to manual transmission. Between PUs and Wards collation centers, between Wards collation centers and Local Government collation centers, and between Local Government collation centers and State collation centers, results were intercepted and altered.

The election results must not be acknowledged by Nigerians and allies of Nigeria if we are to preserve our democracy. As a consequence, we are requesting that the announcement of the results and their compilation be immediately suspended. There should be new elections as quickly as possible.


Ifeanyi Okowa and Datti Ahmed, the vice presidential candidates for the PDP and LP, said yesterday that Yakubu is adhering to a predetermined screenplay by pressing on the manual collation of results.

Both candidates cautioned that the actions of INEC could threaten justice and peace during a joint news conference in Abuja. However, they promised not to incite violence among Nigerians.

In a text read by Okowa and subsequently adopted by Datti, the candidates said: “We desire to state for the record that last weekend’s election was a sham. It wasn’t impartial or open. The INEC chairman’s behavior on Monday at the National Collation Centre is evidence that he was following a prewritten screenplay. Our stance is still that the Electoral Act and INEC regulations must be followed during the election and during the transfer of the results.

Additionally, the Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) has urged INEC to stop compiling the results of the presidential poll because it is unconstitutional. The collation of results, according to the opposing parties, should be put on hold due to the Electoral Act’s provisions being broken and the process being compromised.

In a statement, the spokesperson for the CUPP, Ikenga Ugochinyere, claimed that corrupt governors had manipulated the results to appear as though they had come straight from the polling places.

PDP Ideato House of Representatives candidate Ugochinyere issued a warning that collation should be halted in order to avoid inviting anarchy and burning down the nation.


Atiku and Obi, however, have been urged by the APC Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) to follow in the footsteps of former President Jonathan, accept defeat, and applaud Tinubu on his electoral success.

According to Dele Alake, special advisor for media, public affairs, and strategic communications for the APC PCC, the pair should follow the example of former President Goodluck Jonathan and accept defeat. The request was made in response to requests that INEC call off the poll.

According to the results announced at the collation centers in the 36 states of the nation, the Council justified the decision by asserting that Tinubu had already won the election.

He stated: “In 2015, President Jonathan called President Muhammadu Buhari and congratulated him in the genuine spirit of democracy and sportsmanship before INEC had finished collating the results.

“We implore Atiku and Obi to take the same road of honor instead of trying to inflame the political climate through rash remarks made by their surrogates. Call Tinubu right away, Atiku and Obi.

The PCC urged Nigerians and APC supporters to maintain calm, show more patience, and refrain from becoming agitated by the antics of the rival political parties.

The council criticized the LP and PDP for calling for the resignation of the INEC chairman and urged INEC to declare the results as soon as possible to swiftly calm the nation’s current state of anxiety.

“We are very well conscious of the plan of PDP and their LP collaborators to increase tension in the country and foster a climate of fear through their sponsored television and radio surrogates who continue to promote false narratives about the general conduct of the election,” the statement read.

“We are also aware of their so-called paid and partisan operatives’ coordinated campaign to undermine the credibility of INEC and the entire electoral process while donning the toga of election observers.

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“We view former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s unsuccessful effort to thwart the process by giving President Buhari unsolicited advice to call off the election as a component of the grand orchestration of many evil plots to stifle democracy in Nigeria.

“As you are aware, there was a lot of commotion surrounding the election. The APC party head, director-general of the PCC, and presidential candidate all lost their home states to the LP. The Senate also defeated our DG’s quest for office. How is it possible for anyone to say that the election was rigged or not transparent when there were so many peaks and valleys and dramas throughout it?

To prevent this from happening, Tinubu yesterday filed a lawsuit to prevent the PDP and LP from obstructing the compilation and publication of the presidential election results.

The Action Alliance and INEC were named as defendants in the case, which was submitted on Tuesday before the Federal High Court in Kano and designated FHC/KN/CS/43/2023, and the party’s vice presidential candidate, Kashim Shettima, was listed as a plaintiff.

In their original summons, the plaintiffs requested a ruling that INEC chairman “is duty bound to continue to receive election results from the State Collation Officers of the 36 states of the federation and the FCT for the purpose of collating the result of the presidential election as collated and announced by the States Collation Officers in their respective states and the FCT for the purpose of declaring the winner and accordingly make a return of the candidate.”

The plaintiffs asked the court to issue an order restraining the defendants from stopping the collation and announcement of the results in a motion on notice filed alongside the original summons because “damages will not adequately compensate for the injury that may be occasioned on the Plaintiffs if the Defendants stops the collation of the result.”

An affidavit signed by Abdullahi Abbas, the APC leader in Kano, served as support for the lawsuit. Sunusi Musa (SAN), the plaintiffs’ attorney, made the ex-parte petition that was included with the summons.


The Commission has referred to the requests for Yakubu to step down as INEC’s head as misplaced and unfounded. In particular, INEC criticized Dino Melaye’s claim that Yakubu assigned scores to parties as being unfounded and irresponsible. Melaye is the spokesman for the PDP PCC.

In a statement, Rotimi Oyekanmi, the INEC chairman’s chief press secretary, said that, in contrast to what both sides have implied, findings from the states indicate a transparent, impartial, and free process.

Oyekanmi advised displeased parties to contact the court to seek redress if they were dissatisfied rather than making baseless accusations.

“There are established processes for resentful parties or candidates to adhere to when they are unhappy with the results of an election,” he said. These steps do not involve requesting the resignation of the INEC head or the annulment of the election.

Yes, harmed parties are free to approach the courts, air their grievances, and wait for the issue to be settled. Making remarks that could incite bloodshed or unrest is unacceptable.

“The procedures leading up to the general election are nearly finished. It is only right that parties who have been wronged wait for the procedure to be over before presenting their evidence to the courts to press their claims.

The possibility that the election could encounter a constitutional crisis, which would heighten anxiety and rumors, is currently a reality that many Nigerians have long feared.

After receiving at least 25% of the vote in at least 24 states and having the majority of the results published, Tinubu appears to have the most valid votes overall. Nevertheless, the 1999 Constitution’s citation of 24 states and the FCT has given rise to conflicting readings.

According to INEC’s announcement of the FCT results, Obi received 61%, while Tinubu received just 19.8% and Atiku received 16.1%.

Shehu Shagari encountered a comparable situation in 1979 when he received 25% in 12 of the 19 provinces that made up the nation at the time. A controversy over whether 12 or 13 states should be counted as two-thirds of the 19 states was inevitable given that the 1979 Constitution required him to receive at least 25% of the vote in two-thirds of the states.

According to the Supreme Court, Shagari satisfied the criterion of “12 two-thirds,” which is defined as 25% in 12 states and 25% of two-thirds of a 13th state.

That clause, according to experienced attorney Olisa Agbakoba, is a difficult one. “I have some concerns. I attentively read Section 134, in particular, Subsections 134 (1) (b) and (2) (b), and I was curious as to what “two-thirds of all the states in the federation and the FCT” meant.

“(a) that a presidential candidate must receive at least one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of the states, which equals 24 states; the 24 States will include FCT as a “state; or (b) that a presidential candidate must receive at least one-quarter of the votes cast in each of at least two-thirds of the states, which equals 24 states; in addition to meeting the one-quarter requirement in 24, a candidate must receive at least one-third of

According to Advocate Madueke Okafor, the Constitution mandates that 2/3 of the federation’s states and the FCT receive 25% of the vote.

And is a conjunctive verb, which means it adds a prerequisite to the one that comes before “and.” The Constitution’s recognition of Abuja as a state is incorrect. In reality, Abuja is not listed among the federation’s states in the Constitution. Abuja lacks any traits of a state in addition, as the governor is a Minister.

But another distinguished attorney, Femi Falana, asserted: “Winning the FCT is not necessary. The FCT should be regarded as a state, according to the courts’ ruling today, which was made in accordance with Section 299 of the Constitution. The rule is that.

Itse Sagay (SAN), a law professor, also asserted that a presidential candidate need not obtain 25% of the vote in the FCT in order to be declared the victor.
He claimed that even if Abuja is not inclusive, the winner could still be declared as long as the candidate fulfills the requirement of 25% in 25 states.

He dismissed the controversy as unnecessary and asserted that, given the conditions, Abuja can be regarded as a state.

“The constitutional provision does not imply that the winner cannot be proclaimed if the candidate receives less than 25% of the vote in Abuja. You can be declared the winner as long as you receive one-quarter of the votes in at least 25 states, and for these reasons, FCT is treated as a state, he said.
A boisterous Senate plenary meeting was caused by the yesterday’s dispute over the electronic transmission of results.

Ibrahim Oloriegbe, a senator from Kwara Central, presented a motion regarding the need to plead to political parties, stakeholders, and Nigerians to maintain composure during the recently concluded election by citing Orders 41 and 51.

Other APC senators backed him up, saying it was very wise and instructive for the highest legislative authority to get involved in calming the raging political storm.

However, Oloriegbe advised all political figures, leaders, and every Nigerian to maintain their composure and let the election results be announced in accordance with the Electoral Act.

Sani Musa stated in his submission that “it is very obvious that BVAS is to perform accreditation and verification. In order for that real-time transmission to take place, we are not voting online. Only after it has been released on BVAS can it be transmitted. It is therefore not real-time. Although we are not a judge and cannot make interpretations, INEC must abide by the rules.

Opeyemi Bamidele requested that INEC follow the Election Act and do the right thing. He urged the courts to act properly and advised Nigerians to wait patiently for INEC to finish the process.

He said that the judiciary shouldn’t let itself be pressured into meddling in the polls without following the correct procedures.

Senator Betty Apiafi disagreed, stating that it was inappropriate to raise the issues at such a crucial time and that it was not their position to dictate what INEC’s rules should be.

The opposition senators opposed the motion, whereas the senators from the governing party wanted the motion and the prayers to be heard.

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has urged INEC to take steps to prevent any tampering with the way the electorate communicated their wishes by casting ballots. In a similar vein, the body has encouraged political parties, candidates, and their followers to refrain from any action that might incite unwarranted hostilities or tip the nation over the edge.


In a statement released in Abuja, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, president of CAN, urged all presidential candidates to uphold the spirit and word of the Peace Accord they signed prior to the elections.

Okoh urged all political figures, wise men, well-known people, as well as spiritual and traditional leaders, to take proactive measures to ease tensions and prevent bloodshed before it starts.

The CAN President expressed regret that, despite numerous assurances from INEC regarding its degree of election preparation, it was widely perceived that last Saturday’s elections fell short of the people’s reasonable expectations.

The late arrival of election materials in some areas of the nation, BVAS machine malfunctions, failure of the planned electronic transmission of results to the IReV portal, and other structural issues with the electoral process, he noted, have not only raised questions about INEC’s commitment to holding a transparent and fair general election, but also pose a threat to the process’ overall credibility.

Okoh emphasized the significance of explaining to Nigerians why the avoidable mistakes were not corrected as soon as possible.

As the human factor is alleged to have jeopardized the gains that were anticipated from the innovations of the new Electoral Act, the conduct of the elections on last Saturday was far from the trouble-free activity that INEC repeatedly promised.

Bishop Lucius Iwejuru Ugorji, president of the CBCN, observed in a statement that there is palpable tension in the air and agitations regarding the elections from a cross-section of society, not just from some political parties. He urged INEC to act swiftly and appropriately to resolve the problems in order to ease the tension and serve the interests of all.

Ugorji urged Nigerians to maintain their composure, uphold the law, and be fervent in their prayers. He also urged political party leaders to show restraint while INEC is given time to demonstrate that it is still deserving of the confidence of Nigerians.

No matter how long it takes, he emphasized that INEC must act right away to protect the sacredness of the electorate’s combined will and regain the trust of the populace in our government and its institutions. Running in the opposite direction is useless, as the saying goes.

We urge all Nigerians to maintain their composure, uphold the law, and be ardent in their prayers. We specifically urge political party leaders to exercise restraint while we all allow INEC time to demonstrate that it is still deserving of our trust. In order to prevent pushing the country into an unnecessary crisis at this point, when the country is perched on the brink of a precipice, INEC must conduct itself ethically, he added.


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