The flag bearer of the Labour Party (LP) in Nigeria’s just-concluded presidential election, Peter Obi, says he won the poll, and he will explore all legal options to reclaim his mandate.
“We will explore all legal and peaceful option to reclaim our mandate. We won the election and we will prove it to Nigerians,” Obi said at a press conference on Thursday in Abuja.
“I am challenging the process,” Obi declared to a room full of journalists at Nigeria’s capital city, his first media appearance after the declaration of a winner by the electoral umpire.
Just at the commencement of the briefing, Obi observed a one-minute silence for all injured and deceased victims of the February 25 poll.
Also in attendance at the briefing is the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure; as well as the director general of Obi’s presidential campaign, Akin Osuntokun.
He also said himself and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed remain committed to a new Nigeria.
He effusively thanked his youthful followers known as ‘Obidients’, urging them not to be deterred by the outcome of the polls.
“We will work for that new Nigeria that is possible,” he said. “Datti and I remain committed to that new Nigeria.”
He assured youth in the country that he is not going away but will stay and work for a new Nigeria.
He said the poll did not meet the minimum standard for a free and fair election, adding that the poll will go down as the most controversial election conducted in Nigeria.
Obi lamented that Nigeria cannot conduct election 63 years after independence.
The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Bola Tinubu polled 8,794,726 and was declared President-Elect 4am Wednesday by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The former Lagos State governor came out tops in 12 of Nigeria’s 36 states, and secured significant numbers in several other states to claim 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 (PDP).
Atiku, 76, who has now run for president six times, got 6,984,520 votes, while Obi, who, in less than a year, galvanised young voters in a manner some have described as unprecedented finished the race with 6,101,533.
By his victory, APC’s President Muhammadu Buhari will hand over to his partyman, Tinubu after the expiration of his eight-year two-term on May 29, 2023.
Criticism, Calls For Poll Cancellation
The announcement of the results would not have happened if other candidates had their way.
Right from the election on Saturday, opposition parties had complained bitterly 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 leadership of the APC, LP, and NNPP at several press briefings from Saturday to Tuesday had called on INEC and protested the manual transmission of results.
The parties said the results 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 recommended by the law.
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.
At a previous press conference on Tuesday, LP national chair said, “This election is not free and far from being fair”.
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 before the declaration of results 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 held on February 25, 2023.
However, INEC chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, declared Tinubu as Nigeria’s President-Elect and handed him his Certificate of Return.