President Muhammadu Buhari was on Wednesday re-elected Nigeria’s president after a delayed poll that angered voters and raised political temperatures – but the opposition immediately vowed to challenge the “sham” result in court.
It was the second victory at the ballot box for Buhari, a one-time military ruler who in 2015 was elected to lead Africa’s most-populous nation and leading oil producer.
With ballots counted in all of Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Buhari, 76, triumphed with some 15.2 million votes over his nearest rival Atiku Abubakar, who trailed by nearly four million votes.
“Muhammadu Buhari… is hereby declared winner and is returned elected,” Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced early Wednesday.
However, Abubakar on Wednesday rejected the result of the vote, which has been marred by claims of rigging and corruption.
“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South,” he said in a statement.
“I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.”
Buhari, meanwhile, thanked Nigerians for re-electing him “for the next four years”, saying he was “deeply humbled and profoundly grateful.
Addressing supporters and party leaders at his All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign headquarters, he called his win “another victory for Nigerian democracy.”
“The new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption,” he said.