President Muhammadu Buhari was on Wednesday declared winner of Saturday’s presidential elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The Returning Officer for the 2019 presidential elections, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, made the declaration at 4.37am.
Incumbent President Buhari of the All Progressives Party (APC) polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat the country’s former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who had 11,262,978 votes.
Making the declaration, Yakubu said: “That Muhammadu Buhari, having scored the highest number of votes and satisfied the provision of the electoral act is hereby declared the winner of the presidential election.’’
He announced that certificate of return will be issued to the President-elect and Vice President-elect by 2 pm on Wednesday.
Buhari, 76, will rule for another four years.
The opposition PDP which crumbled in the presidential election, had earlier on Tuesday petitioned the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), asking for a halt of the national collation of results.
The party wanted the collation to wait until data from the smart card reader accreditation at the polling units are made available to all the parties in the election.
The party said INEC should release the data immediately, in line with INEC’s avowed commitment to a transparent, free and fair election.
The party’s position was conveyed in a statement by Barr. Tanimu Turaki, Deputy Director General (Adm), PDP Presidential Campaign Organisation.
Another member of the party, Osita Chidoka, raised a similar issue at the collation centre on Tuesday, live on TV and announced that the chairman of the party, Uche Secondus had written the INEC chairman, Professor Mahmood Yakubu.
He was contradicted by Festus Keyamo, the campaign spokesman of the All Progressives Congress, who said the centre was not the appropriate forum for the complaint. Yakubu advised Chidoka to submit the letter at the INEC office in Abuja.
Reacting to PDP’s threat to reject the outcome of the election, ECOWAS, African Union and United Nations have cautioned Nigerian political parties to refrain from rejecting results of elections which were being announced.
The bodies urged aggrieved political parties to wait to conclusion of the exercise and thereafter take legal action to seek redress.
A statement released in Abuja said the attention of ECOWAS, AU and UN has been drawn to the rejection of results of the presidential elections conducted on “3rd of February.
They noted that one of the participating party has rejected the result even when they are at the verge of being released.
“ECOWAS, AU and UN call on all the candidates, political parties and indeed all Nigerians to continue to exercise patience, calm and restraint in order to allow for the full results of the elections to be released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
“At the conclusion of the process, all aggrieved parties and persons are encouraged to resort to legal means to seek redress in accordance with the constitution and relevant laws of Nigeria and its previously agreed in the peace Accord of 13th February, 2019.’’
The European Union Election Observation Mission(EU EOM) had earlier described the final peace accord signed by the presidential candidates ahead of the 2019 presidential election as a very strong message to Nigerians.
Maria Arena, Chief Observer, EU EOM, spoke with State House Correspondents, said in Abuja, after she led the mission to a private meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinabjo.
She said that the participation of the two front runners at the peace accord was significant.
The duo of President Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress(APC) and Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) alongside 70 other candidates signed the final peace accord on Wednesday.
Buhari, had, during the signing of the peace accord, appealed to his fellow presidential candidates to commit to the ideals of peace so as to keep Nigerians safe.
He said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had already assured that it had done everything possible to ensure free and fair elections.