Nigeria’s main opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar is alleging that some governors are trying to compromise the results of the presidential election held on Saturday, and has asked the National Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu to instruct the Collation Officers to upload the results from the Polling Units to the INEC server immediately.
“It will be a disservice to Nigerians and a negation to democracy for anyone to subvert the will of the people as freely expressed in their votes of yesterday,” Atiku wrote in a statement sent to Today News Africa in Washington.
Atiku called on Nigerians “to be calm but vigilant to ensure that anti-democratic elements who are masquerading as progressives do not steal their mandate.”
His office claimed that “early results from polling units and exit polls indicate that Atiku Abubakar is projected to become the first candidate to meet the mandatory 25% requirement of votes cast in at least 24 states.”
It wrote, “According to the latest projections, Atiku is also set to exceed expectations in at least 10 states, where he is projected to garner over 40% of the votes cast.”
It added that Atiku, who is the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has expressed gratitude to the Nigerian people for their support so far and pledged to continue to work hard to earn their trust and confidence.
“We are humbled and honoured by the early projections, which indicate that the Nigerian people have seen in Atiku Abubakar the kind of leader that they want to lead them into a brighter future,” he said.
While it is still too early to predict the final outcome of the elections, Atiku Abubakar’s early success has certainly put him in a strong position as the race enters its final stages, his office added.
“From the current figures that are available, Atiku is winning in many states in the 6 geo-political zones. We urge our members and party agents to remain steadfast and watchful”.
Nigerians went to the polls on Saturday morning to elect a new president and 468 federal lawmakers. There were 18 candidates from 18 political parties for the presidency, while over 4,000 candidates stood for elections into the two chambers of the National Assembly.
About 1,100 candidates competed for 108 out of 109 seats in the senate while 3057 others are contesting for 360 seats in the House of Representatives. Election will hold in Enugu East Senatorial District on 11 March because of last Wednesday’s murder of the candidate of the Labor Party, Oyibo Chukwu.
At least 87 million Nigerians were expected to cast their ballots, according to the country’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
INEC announced that 93.5 million Nigerians registered to vote in the general election. However, just over 87 million of them picked their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) and will be allowed to vote. There are also 1.5 million people who will serve as political parties’ agents.
Voting was expected to take place in 176,846 polling units spread across Nigeria’s 36 states and the capital Abuja. Nigeria has 774 local councils and 8,809 wards.
The president-elect will be sworn into office on May 29 to replace President Muhammadu Buhari who was barred from running again after a two-year term, while the lawmakers who will be elected on Saturday will be inaugurated in June as members of the 10th session of the bi-camera federal legislature.
The presidential candidates and their political parties were Christopher Imumolen (Accord), Hamza Al-Mustapha (AA), Omoyele Sowore (AAC), Dumebi Kachikwu (ADC), Yabani Sani (ADP), Bola Tinubu (APC), Peter Umeadi (APGA), Princess Ojei (APM) and Charles Nnadi (APP). Others are Sunday Adenuga (BP), Peter Obi (LP), Rabi’u Kwankwaso (NNPP), Felix Osakwe (NRM), Atiku Abubakar (PDP), Kola Abiola (PRP), Adebayo Adewole (SDP), Ado Ibrahim Abdulmalik (YPP) and Dan Nwanyanwu (ZLP).
However, many expect that the winner will be Tinubu, Atiku, Obi or Kwankwaso.
In Washington, United States President Joseph R. Biden Jr. last Thursday called for a peaceful and fair presidential election in Nigeria this weekend.
In a statement, Biden commended the peace accord signed by the political parties and candidates running in Nigeria’s presidential election on February 25.
He said, “I commend yesterday’s peace accord in Nigeria, signed by the political parties and candidates running in Nigeria’s presidential election on February 25. By signing this pledge, the parties and candidates have committed to accept the results of the election, as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission, and to support a peaceful transition of power.
“Elections are a fundamental part of a functioning democracy, and all Nigerians deserve this chance to choose their future — freely and fairly. While the United States does not support any single candidate or party, we strongly support a peaceful and transparent process that reflects the will of the people of Nigeria. On election day, I encourage all Nigerians — no matter their religion, region, or ethnicity — to exercise this fundamental freedom and make their voices heard — including young voters, many of whom may be heading to the ballot box for the first time.
“The United States stands with the Nigerian people as they chart a path toward a more democratic, prosperous, and secure future. I appreciate President Buhari’s firm commitment that the will of the people will be respected. And in the coming days, I encourage voters to remain peaceful and patient as their ballots are tallied, and urge the political parties and candidates to live up to their pledge.”
The chairman of Nigeria’s electoral commission, Mahmood Yakubu, has pledged a free and fair process.