In his first official reaction to the results of the 2023 presidential election, the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, on Thursday, vowed to challenge the outcome of the 25 February election in court.
INEC Chairman and Returning Officer for the presidential election, Mahmood Yakubu, on Wednesday, declared the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, as the winner of the elections, having polled the majority votes of 8,794,726.
While PDP’s Atiku Abubakar polled 6,984,520, Mr Obi came third with 6,101,533 votes, the INEC Chairman said.
Altogether, 18 candidates contested the presidential election.
Earlier on Monday, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and LP agents at the National Collation Centre, protested the continuation of the collation of results by INEC, insisting that the result must first of all be uploaded on the election viewing portal, IREV.
In a joint press briefing on Tuesday, before the official declaration of the result, the two opposition parties did not only ask INEC to conduct another election, they asked Mr Yakubu to step down.
After receiving the certificate or return from INEC on Wednesday, Mr Tinubu asked Mr Obi and other contestants to work with him to reposition the country.
“I am asking you to work with me, I may be the president in the election, but I need you. More importantly, Nigeria needs you a lot more,” the president-elect said.
Explore legal, peaceful options
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Mr Obi, who was flanked by the National Chairman of the LP, Julius Abure, and the Director General of his campaign, Akin Osuntokun, claimed he was the actual winner of the election.
The LP candidate said the will of the people had been suppressed and vowed to explore all legal and peaceful options to reclaim his mandate.
“We will explore all legal and peaceful options to reclaim our mandate. We won the election and we will prove it to Nigerians,” he said at the press briefing in Abuja. “We were asked to go to the court. Is that not what they said? So let’s go there.”
He asked his supporters to remain calm and peaceful, urging them to go out and vote in the forthcoming gubernatorial and state houses of assembly elections.
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“Please do not despair, we have elections coming up on 11th, I enjoin you to go and campaign and urge people to come out and vote in an election, we still have so many massive supporters out there that we need for our sub national and state house of assembly election,” he said
“Elections have been conducted and results announced as programmed. It is a clear version from electoral rules and guidelines as we were promised. This election as you know did not meet the minimum standard expected of a free, transparent, credible, fair election. It would go down as one of the most controversial elections ever conducted in Nigeria.
“The good and hardworking people of Nigeria have again been robbed by our supposed leaders whom they trusted. However, let me humbly appeal to most Nigerians to remain peaceful, law abiding and conduct themselves in the most responsible manner,” Mr Obi stated.
I am a beneficiary of the court – Obi
When asked about his confidence in the judiciary, Mr Obi said he has been a beneficiary of the judiciary since his time as the governor of Anambra state.
“From 2003, I’ve always been in the court. I was there (for) three years to reclaim my mandate. I was there to come back from impeachment, I was there to do interpretation, I was there to challenge my second tenure election. And in all, I’ve been successful without in any way compromising or doing the wrong thing,” he said.
The National Chairman of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Rufai Alkali, had also on Wednesday rejected the result of the presidential election and demanded its cancellation.
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