Joy in Buhari village as opposition cries foul

Wednesday February 27 2019

People celebrate on February 27, 2019 in Kano,

People celebrate on February 27, 2019 in Kano, the re-election of Muhammadu Buhari as Nigerian president after a delayed poll that angered voters and raised political temperatures - but the opposition immediately vowed to challenge the "sham" result in court. PHOTO | AFP 

MOHAMMED MOMOH
By MOHAMMED MOMOH
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Jubilation erupted on Wednesday in the Daura home town of President Muhammadu Buhari, in Katsina State, as messages of congratulations poured in following his re-election.

Thousands of people in the ancient town took to the streets immediately the 76-year-old President Buhari was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

But not everyone was celebrating in Nigeria. Unlike in 2015 when former President Goodluck Jonathan promptly congratulated President Buhari for wining, his main rival, Mr Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected the outcome of the Saturday elections.

The PDP insists that data from handheld devices used to authenticate voters' identities at nearly 120,000 polling stations had been altered in favour of the ruling All People's Congees (APC) party.

Observers also pointed out discrepancies in declared tallies.

Most populous

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The INEC results showed President Buhari won 15,191,847 votes (56 percent) while Mr Abubakar garnered 11,262,978 votes (41 percent).

The incumbent won in 19 states -- including the two most populous, Lagos and Kano -- while Mr Abubakar carried the day in 17 states and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

Mr Abubakar, who had kept mute since Monday when the results showed that he was trailing President Buhari, said he would be challenging the results in court.

Youths gathered at the popular Kangiwa square in Daura, where activities including car and horse riding began as early as 6.30am.

Some of the residents described the re-election as an “act of God” and expressed optimism that President Buhari would complete the development projects he started.

The majority

Mr Abdulmanaf Muhammad, the APC Northwest zonal organising secretary said: "We are happy. The re-election of Buhari is as an act of God and clear manifestation of the will of the majority.

“The next four years of this administration will be for consolidation, nation-building and cooperation."

The governor of Mr Abubakar’s home state of Adamawa in northeast Nigeria, Mr Mohammed Bindow, also congratulated President Buhari.

The APC United Kingdom (UK) chapter said that the party’s victory marked Nigeria’s march to nationhood.

Chapter leader Philip Idaewor congratulated President Buhari and Nigerians, saying that the victory was a battle for the dignity of all Nigerians.

The grassroots

The chairman of the Advanced Peoples Democratic Alliance (APDA), Mr Shittu Mohammed, also congratulated President Buhari, saying his party did not see his victory as a surprise.

Mr Shittu said: “Buhari is a man of the people, especially at the grassroots.”

The Ndigbo Unity Forum (NUF), a pan-Igbo cultural and socio-political group, was also happy with President Buhari’s victory.

NUF president Augustine Chukwudum urged Nigerians to remain calm.

He said Nigerians must be applauded for coming out en mass to vote in the presidential election.

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