Former President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma serving as Head of observers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has urged candidates in Nigeria’s election to respect the outcome of the polls.
Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) President-elect, marking the end of a keenly contested election held last Saturday.
INEC Chairman, Prof Mahmood Yakubu, who declared the results, said Tinubu polled 8,794,726 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 6,984,520 votes. While Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) got 6,101,533 voted, Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) trailed with 1,496,687 votes.
Prior to the announcement of the results, former President Koroma called on the candidates to accept the final announcement of the elections.
“We urge the candidates in the presidential election to respect the outcome of the election,” as announced by the electoral authorities, he told a press briefing in the capital Abuja.
Koroma advised candidates who may have disagreements with the results to approach the courts.
He asked politicians and political parties to refrain from making inflammatory comments or taking actions that could obstruct the country’s electoral process and transition.
He described Nigeria as the powerhouse of the African region.
International election observers’ groups which include a Commonwealth team led by former South African President Thabo Mbeki and ex-Kenyan leader Uhuru Kenyatta observed some lapses in the election through their preliminary report.
The opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Labour Party (LP) have been calling for the cancellation of last weekend’s polls, citing reported cases of violence, snatching of ballots and the late arrival of voting materials.
“We have lost confidence in INEC because it failed to keep its promise to conduct free and fair elections. As such, we call for the total cancellation of the election and the conducting of a fresh one,” Labour Party spokesman Akin Osuntokun said at a press briefing.
Over 83 million Nigerians went to the polls on Saturday to elect a new president and members of parliament.