Voting progresses in Nigeria: an unexpected candidate won a key state but the opposition rejects the results

Peter Obi (REUTERS/Temilade Adelaja) (TEMILADE ADELAJA/)

The main opposition parties in Nigeria today rejected the first results of the general elections published by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which place the pro-government candidate, Tinubu Ballat the head of the presidential race.

“Given that the president of INEC is determined to rig elections by making sure the results are not published (…) We say that we are not here to give the go-ahead to the fraud prepared by the INEC and the APC (the ruling Congress of All Progressives)”, declared today the campaign spokesman for the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). ), Dino Melaye.

Labor Party presidential candidate peter obi surprised by winning key Lagos state, a stronghold of the ruling party, according to early election results in NigeriaAfrica’s most populous country, after a close vote whose outcome on Monday remained uncertain.

For his part, the candidate of the governmental Congress of All Progressives (APC), Tinubu Ballis clearly in the lead after publishing the results of ten of the 36 states that make up Nigeria, according to official data.

Tinibu has achieved 2.8 million votes, while the candidate of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has gotten 1.6 million votes. Behind him is the candidate of the Labor Party, peter obiwith 1.3 million votes, according to data from the Independent National Electoral Commission (CNEI).

More of 87 million people voted on Saturday in Nigeria to choose president for the next four years, among 18 candidates.

The winner will face the difficult task of raising the most populous country in Africa (216 million inhabitants), ravaged by a declining economy, recurrent violence by armed groups and the general impoverishment of the population.

Obi, a 61-year-old Christian, obtained the 46% of the vote in LagosNigeria’s economic capital and stronghold of ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) party candidate Bola Tinubu, according to the National Election Commission (Inec).

The count progresses slowly (REUTERS/James Oatway/File Photo)
The count progresses slowly (REUTERS/James Oatway/File Photo) (JAMES OATWAY/)

Tinubu, 70, nicknamed “the godfather” for his enormous political influence, conceded defeat and called for calm after violence broke out in Lagos on Monday. “Sometimes he wins, sometimes he loses. We must allow the process to continue unimpeded,” he declared in a statement.

For Obi, “it is an important victory, because Tinubu is at home in Lagos”, he commented Idayat Hassandirector of the Abuja Center for Democracy and Development (CDD).

former governor of anambra (south-east), Obi gained popularity among urban youth with his promises of change and has emerged as a credible rival to the candidates of the two parties that have ruled Nigeria for more than two decades.

For the first time since the return of democracy in 1999, Nigeria could have a two-round presidential election.

Despite this victory, the contest is not won, especially in the north of the country, where the participation rate is usually higher and where Tinubu and the opposition candidate of the Popular Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakarboth Muslim, are well established.

Community voting is important in Nigeria, which has more than 250 ethnic groups, polarized between a predominantly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

To win in the first round, a candidate must come in first and get at least 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 Nigerian states and in Abuja, federal capital. Otherwise, a second round must be organized within a period of 21 days.

Soldiers control to avoid violent episodes during the elections (REUTERS/James Oatway)
Soldiers control to avoid violent episodes during the elections (REUTERS/James Oatway) (JAMES OATWAY/)

“The importance should not be exaggerated” of Obi’s victory in Lagos, qualifies Amaka Anku, an analyst with the Eurasia group. “What’s important is to see what Tinubu is doing in the north — so far it looks good — and in (its strongholds in) the southwest.”

The announcement of the full results will take time. on Monday afternoon the Electoral Commission had only official figures from ten states – Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Kwara, Oyo (APC en tête); Osun, Yobe, Gombe (PDP); Lagos and Enugu (LP).

Voting on Saturday went smoothly, except for a few security incidents and logistical problems that caused delays.

The electoral process was complicated by the electronic transfer of results, used for the first time at the national level. Most of the agents who had to upload the results of the nearly 176,000 polling stations on an Inec platform did not succeed.

On the platform, only 35% of the results were published due to “technical problems”although they were “protected”.

Observers from the European Union, however, noted their “lack of transparency” and failures in the organization of the scrutiny.

“Confidence in the Inec has been further reduced” due to the delays registered on the day of the vote and in the publication of the results, they said.

Former vice president (1999-2007) Atiku Abubakar, 76, who is trying for the sixth time to reach the supreme magistracy, asked the Inec to remain neutral and publish the results as soon as possible, stating that some governors were trying to undermine the electoral process. .

Obi’s Labor Party also alluded to “pressure” from the APC on the Inec.

(With information from AFP and EP)

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