Nigeria: Peter Obi, Atiku Abubakar File Court Petition on Presidential Election Results

Peter Obi of the Labour Party, left, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (file photo).
22 March 2023

Cape Town — Peter Obi, 61, of the Labour Party and Atiku Abubakar, 76, of the the country's biggest opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are both challenging the presidential election results, after they lost to Bola Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The opposition leaders said in separate affidavits that the election was fraught with irregularities and accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of breaching the law by failing to use electronic machines to upload polling station results, among other criticisms.

The elections took place on February 25, 2023. At the announcement of the election winner, Abubakar called the result "a rape of democracy" after receiving 29% of the vote, while Obi, who received 25%, told supporters they had been "robbed" of victory, vowing to "prove it to Nigerians".

Each of the three major candidates, however, won in 12 states while Tinubu was the only candidate who scored 25% of votes in more than 24 states (he scored it in 30 states), a constitutional requirement to be declared the winner.

The Appeals Court challenge is expected to last several months. All past court challenges of presidential election results in Nigeria have been unsuccessful.

The APC and PDP have, between them, governed Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999. Atiku and Obi asked for an order "cancelling the presidential election" and for the INEC to conduct a fresh vote, Reuters reports.

Nigeria's next president will be sworn in on May 29, 2023.

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