With 15,191,947 votes cast in his favour in the election of last Saturday, President Muhammadu Buhari is set for his second term in office. With this figure, Buhari defeated his closest rival Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who polled 11,262,978 votes. While Buhari won in 19 states, Atiku won in 17 and the Federal Capital territory (FCT).
Although the formal declaration by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was still being expected at press time at 3:33 a.m today, Atiku was trailing Buhari with nearly four million (3,928,871) votes. The declaration will enable Buhari to have another four years’ term of the eight years of his administration that will end in 2023. Buhari and his team had captured these eight years in the campaign slogan of 4+4.
The Spokesman of the Buhari Campaign Organisation (BMO) Festus Keyamo had stirred the hornet’s nest when, shortly after the declaration of the Rivers State’s results, he queried the decision of the returning officer to cancel more than 17,000 votes reportedly scored by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC.)
His observation at the International Conference Centre (ICC), venue of the national collation, triggered concerns among party agents, who reminded INEC’s Chairman Mahmood Yakubu of thousands of votes canceled and the suspension of voting across the country due to insecurity and logistic issues.
Their submission was that INEC should first take a holistic look at the figures and determine whether, or not, they were substantial enough to affect the outcome of the presidential election relative to the vote difference between the final winner and the runner-up.
They were of the view that the findings would determine whether INEC should proceed with the official declaration of the eventual winner of the 2019 presidential election.
With respect to the local governments (especially in Rivers), where elections did not hold, Yakubu, in response, explained that the Electoral Act and other extant rules governing Nigerian elections are explicit on whether election must be conducted in all parts of the country before declarations are made. He announced a four-hour break during which a decision would be reached on the matter.
The PDP has, however, rejected the announced results, saying they do not reflect the votes that were cast across the country. The 19 states won by Buhari include Bauchi, Borno, Ekiti, Gombe, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Nasarawa, Niger, Ogun, Osun and Yobe. Others are Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi