Bola Ahmed Tinubu was on Wednesday declared the winner of Nigeria’s controversial presidential elections, as opposition leaders decried the polls as rigged and called for a fresh vote.
Tinubu, 70, represents the ruling All Progressives Congress party, which received close to 8.8 million votes – about 36.6% of the total, according to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Mahmood Yakubu.
He defeated vice president Atiku Abubakar of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and popular third force candidate Peter Obi, who has gained in popularity among young people in particular.
In an acceptance speech, Tinubu thanked voters and said he was “profoundly humbled.”
“This is a shining moment in the life of any man and an affirmation of our democratic existence,” he said. “I represent a promise and with your support, I know that promise will be fulfilled.”
He also appealed to his “fellow contestants,” asking them to “team up together” to strengthen the country.
Videos from the capital Abuja showed Tinubu’s supporters cheering and celebrating the win.
This election is one of the most fiercely contested since
the country returned to democratic rule in 1999, with more than 93 million people registered to vote, according to the INEC.
But Yakubu said on Wednesday that 24 million valid votes were counted, representing a turnout of just 26%.
Tinubu, the former governor of Lagos state, represents the same party as outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, who Tinubu said he helped propel to the top seat in 2015.