Nigeria’s main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar, on Monday marched to Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) offices, protesting against the country’s election results released a week ago.
PDP, already in Nigeria’s Appeal Court to challenge the election results, was also joined in the peaceful protest by the party’s chairman, Mr Iyorchia Ayu and their vice-presidential candidate Ifeanyi Okowa.
Their protesting supporters, who caused traffic jams in parts of Abuja, also carried placards with inscriptions "We say no to injustice and fraud" and "No more cheating”. They converged at the main entrance INEC headquarters but found the gates locked.
INEC declared Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) the victor in Nigeria’s presidential election which was held on February 25, 2023.
Atiku and Obi snub Tinubu
Tinubu won the poll with 8,794,726 votes while Atiku came second with 6,984,520 votes and Peter Obi of Labour Party was third with 6,101,533 votes.
The presidential election petition tribunal sitting at Nigeria’s Court of Appeal in Abuja, granted PDP and LP requests to inspect the election materials used in presidential poll.
The two candidates snubbed a reconciliation effort by the President-elect Tinubu.
Abubakar and Obi are both claiming victory.
Obi, in his application presented by his team of lawyers led by Alex Ejesieme, sought six principal reliefs. Abubakar’s lawyer, Adedamola Faloku, sought seven prayers from the tribunal.
They maintained that their requests would aid their petition against the presidential election outcome that was declared in favour of Tinubu.
Justice Joseph Ikyegh-led panel of the appellate court granted the request to inspect the material after hearing two separate ex-parte applications brought by Atiku, Obi as well as their political parties. INEC, Tinubu and APC were cited as respondents in the matter.
Tinubu described Abubakar and Obi as sore losers, saying "they could go ahead and challenge the election with their ridiculous claims".
The Obi effect
As the battle rages, Abubakar said that he believed his former ally turned opponent, Peter Obi, could not have won the election. Atiku said Obi, his vice-presidential candidate in the 2019 election, could not have gotten the constitutionally required spread needed to be declared president.
Apart from winning majority votes, a candidate is also expected to get 25 per cent of votes in at least 24 states to be declared the winner of the presidential election.
Abubakar acknowledged that Obi’s candidacy denied PDP votes from its traditional strongholds in the south-east and south Nigeria regions but said victory in those regions was not sufficient for Obi to be declared president.
Apart from Tinubu who scored 25 percent in 30 states, Abubakar failed to get the 25 per cent as required by the constitution as he got the 25 per cent spread in 21 states while Mr Obi scored a minimum of 25 per cent in 17 states.
Meanwhile, the political parties are in campaign trails ahead of gubernatorial and state assembly elections to be held on March 11, 2023.