On February 28th, 2023, three days after the Nigerian Presidential elections started, Bola Tinubu from the All Progressives Congress Party was declared the winner (AJLabs. 2023, March 1). Even though the former governor of Lagos, Nigeria’s economic capital, beat Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party by over a million votes, there are claims of a fraudulent vote count (Busari, S., Princewill, N., & Madowo, L. (2023, March 1). The two major opposition parties, the People’s Democratic Party and the Labour Party, both called for a rerun of the election cycle, claiming it was compromised by widespread violence and rigged votes (Maclean, R., & Peltier, E. 2023, February 28).
Plagued with a weakening economy, an ongoing security crisis, and growing poverty, Nigerian voters also faced pockets of violent incidents in the days leading up to the election (Maclean, R., & Peltier, E. 2023, February 28). One man reported that he had not been able to vote at all. Arriving at his polling place at 9 AM, he waited with hundreds of other voters for almost twelve hours to vote before the military shut down the poll claiming that they needed to count the votes now (Maclean, R., & Peltier, E. 2023, February 28). Even though the military had told the remaining voters that they would return the following day to collect their votes, they did not, instead tallying the ballots already cast (Maclean, R., & Peltier, E. 2023, February 28).
There were delays in uploading the votes onto the Independent National Election Commissions (I.N.E.C.) website in the days following the election. Despite this election being the most technologically advanced, the I.N.E.C. still had to take time to upload the manual and electronic votes. While the I.N.E.C. has since taken responsibility for all the delays that have transpired, a history of rigged elections in Nigeria’s past does cast doubt on the election’s transparency to its citizens (Maclean, R., & Peltier, E. 2023, February 28). Despite casting doubt on the election’s validity, six opposition states that had originally filed a Supreme Court petition to invalidate the results of the election withdrew their petition on March 3rd, leaving Bola Tinubu as the President-elect of Nigeria (Person, & Eboh, C. 2023, March 3).
AJLabs. (2023, March 1). Nigeria presidential election results 2023 by the numbers. Elections News | Al Jazeera. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2023/2/28/nigeria-presidential-election-results-2023
Maclean, R., & Peltier, E. (2023, February 28). Opposition parties in Nigeria call for election rerun, citing vote rigging. The New York Times. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.nytimes.com/2023/02/28/world/africa/nigeria-election-challenges.html
Person, & Eboh, C. (2023, March 3). Six Nigerian states drop bid to annul presidential election. Reuters. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/six-nigerian-states-challenge-election-supreme-court-2023-03-03/
Busari, S., Princewill, N., & Madowo, L. (2023, March 1). Opposition parties in Nigeria call for fresh elections as ruling party takes the lead. CNN. Retrieved March 24, 2023, from https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/28/africa/nigeria-election-tinubu-leads-intl/index.html