Bola Tinubu Wins Nigerian Presidency

After Nigerians experienced an anxious few days waiting for results, Bola Tinubu (he/him) of the All Progressive Congress (APC) was announced the winner of what many expect to be the country’s most consequential presidential election in over 20 years.  

Nigeria is Africa’s largest democracy, and has been so since the end of a roughly 30-year military dictatorship in 1999. The country faces a number of critical issues, with poverty and youth unemployment widespread. A recent cash shortage has caused instability. Amid a push to digitize the currency, naira, the government also redesigned the physical bills. However, banks do not have enough bills to distribute, leaving many without access to their money and unable to purchase basic necessities. Trust in government is also low. According to a poll from Gallup, 94 percent of Nigerians think there is widespread government corruption. 

Election Day, held on February 25th, was permeated with challenges. Some polling stations had delayed openings and were forced to extend voting onto the 26th. CNBC reported that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which organizes the country’s elections, blamed the delays on staff shortages and challenges implementing new anti-fraud technology. In the major city of Lagos, the Associated Press reported that armed assailants had stolen a ballot box. 

Although there were 18 candidates vying for the presidency, only three front runners emerged. Along with Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar (he/him) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was the other mainstream candidate. But Peter Obi (he/him), a third-party candidate for the Labour Party, had hopes to win the office with the support of a base of energized young voters.

According to the INEC, Tinubu won with 37% of the vote, while Abubakar and Obi came in with 29% and 25%, respectively. Tinubu is a powerful figure within the APC party and former governor of the Lagos state.

In an acceptance speech on March 1st, he urged bipartisan collaboration, saying, “I take this opportunity to appeal to my fellow contestants to let us team up together. It is the only nation we have. It is one country and we must build it together.” Despite this request, the PDP and the Labour party released a joint statement claiming the election was corrupt. Obi’s campaign has announced it will challenge the results in court.

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