The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart, Peter Obi, said they will seek redress in court.
They all spoke Sunday after the declaration of Tinubu as president-elect on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The PDP described Tinubu’s victory as “a grave injustice which will not stand.”
Senator Dino Melaye, spokesman and Director Public Affairs of the PDP Presidential Campaign Committee, in a terse statement on Wednesday evening, said there will be no going back on the battle to retrieve the mandate which he called a “stolen one.”
Melaye said: “A clarion call on all Atiku’s supporters all over the world not to be perturbed. Weeping may tarry till night but joy cometh in the morning.
“This grave injustice shall not stand. The battle to retrieve our stolen mandate is a battle of no retreat, no surrender. We shall overcome,” he said.
We’ll contest defeat through legal means – Obi
Obi on the other hand, has said he would contest Tinubu’s victory through legal and peaceful means.
He said this on Wednesday in Abuja at a press conference addressed by his running mate, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed.
“On behalf of our presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi, I address you all and indeed all Nigerians on the current situation in the country following the announcement of the purported result of the presidential election held on Saturday, February 25th 2023.
“Please be assured of our determination to fight the injustice that has been perpetrated on Nigerians through all legal and peaceful means. It is our position that the purported result did not meet the minimum criteria of a transparent, free and fair election,” Baba-Ahmed said.
He, however, thanked all Nigerians for their belief in them and for coming out en masse to vote for the Labour Party and for the cause they believed in, which he said was the birth of a new Nigeria.
Cancel presidential poll—NNPP
At a press conference yesterday, the National Chairman of NNPP, Rufai Alkali, said with the way it conducted the election, INEC had taken the country back to the pre-2015 era.
“We are deeply concerned that going by what had happened on election day, the election umpire has taken our country back to the pre-2015 era of election where everything goes: where voters were deliberately and systematically disenfranchised; where ballot box snatching and ballot box stuffing was the norm; where voter suppression was widespread; where violence and vote-buying were the main deciding factors of the outcome of elections; where security agents openly take side with the ruling party and participate actively in rigging elections,” he said.
Alkali said his party observed that “INEC deliberately undermined the NNPP in the process, allowed campaign on election day by the president and others; voter suppression, vote-buying, BVAS failure and over-voting, lying about IReV sever and election marred by unprecedented violence.”
He, on behalf of the NNPP, therefore, we demand the cancellation of the poll.
I’ll be fair to all – Tinubu
But while the major contenders in the election were expressing their grievances, President-elect Tinubu has pledged to be fair to all Nigerians irrespective of political or religious differences.
He made the pledge yesterday in Abuja after receiving his certificate of return alongside his running mate, Kashim Shettima, from INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Yakubu, in the early hours of Wednesday, declared Tinubu and Shettima victorious.
He said Tinubu polled a total of 8,794,726 votes to defeat his main rival, Atiku who recorded 6,984,520 votes and Obi who polled 6,101,533 votes to come second and third respectively.
NNPP’s Rabiu Kwankwaso came fourth with 1,496,687 votes.
Tinubu said: “The road has been long yet we walked it. The battle has been hard fought, yet we won it. But more importantly, I realise that I am just a servant of a larger purpose. At its most sublime, this certificate also symbolises that each of you has the ability to achieve what others believe is impossible for you to achieve.
“I stand before you the president-elect, and yes that is special. But I am no different than anyone of you. If I can do this you can do better. Our destiny as a people and nation depends on our ability to shed the artificial restrictions of bias and prejudice so that we live fully unto our democratic creed that no one is innately superior or entitled to greater rights and opportunities than any other Nigerian.
“Very soon, this nation shall witness a young person standing before you holding this great symbol of democracy and national leadership. We shall see a woman standing before you, holding this certificate as its owner. We shall experience someone from a tribe that many people have tried to dismiss as somehow beginning, disqualified for this high office.
“By dint of hard work, determination and unyielding belief in a noble endeavour, you can achieve the best of things. There are young people listening to me right now who shall one day be the leaders of our precious and exceptional democratic republic. Thus, by taking this certificate, I assume a sacred duty I shall never ignore,” Tinubu said.
Shortly after receiving his certificate, Tinubu headed for Daura in Katsina State where he met with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, said there were jubilant scenes at the home of President Buhari, on Wednesday evening, when Tinubu and Vice President-elect Shettima made a triumphant entry into the private residence in Daura, with each of them brandishing their certificates of return.
Shehu said the president, who was apparently overcome with a lot of emotions, seeing the “phenomenal election result,” kept repeating, “My Good Lord, My Good Lord,” “Fantastic, “We are very lucky,” as he warmly clasped the hands of the president-elect.
President Buhari also said: “There were no problems. No blood shed, no accidents. We have God Almighty to thank for this.”
He said he was pleased that the people chose the APC and its candidates, affirming through this, their desire that the momentum of development under the administration continues.
While fielding questions from State House reporters after the visit, Tinubu said no matter how provocative a defeat was, it must be tolerated by democrats trying to build a nation.
Tinubu, who commended the president for supporting democracy in Africa, said he was following the process, building a successor and ready to hand over peacefully.
On congratulatory messages, Tinubu said: “Oh very many, many of that in fact as far as Europe; the stock market reacted positively well. There was a goodwill message from Macron, the president of France.”
Tinubu and Shettima were accompanied to Daura by the National Chairman of APC, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, the founding chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, as well as the governors of Katsina, Kaduna, Ebonyi, Zamfara, Lagos and Jigawa.
Other were governors of Kebbi, Niger, Plateau, Ogun and the former governor of Borno, Ali Modu Sheriff and that of Zamfara, Abdulaziz Yari.
There were also ministers of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare and Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
Earlier in the morning, Buhari said in a separate statement that the election demonstrated democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it served.
The president, however, said candidates that could prove the fraud they claimed was committed against them should present the evidence in courts and not on the streets.
“If they cannot, then we must conclude that the election was indeed the people’s will no matter how hard that may be for the losers to accept,” he said.
Buhari said though there were technical problems with electronic transmission of the results, none of the issues registered represented a challenge to the freeness and fairness of the elections.
He said any resort to protests meant that they were “not doing it in the interest of the people, but rather to inflame, to put people in harm’s way for personal selfish gains.”
Also, the ruling APC said the election of Tinubu as President Buhari’s successor was well-deserved.
In a congratulatory statement on Wednesday in Abuja, the APC National Publicity Secretary, Barrister Felix Morka, also commended all Nigerians for retaining the party in power and the INEC for a job well-done.
UK PM, Osinbajo, IBB, ACF congratulate Asiwaju
UK’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has congratulated Tinubu on his triumph at the polls.
Speaking via his verified Twitter handle @RishiSunak, the prime minister said, “Congratulations to @officialABAT
“The UK-Nigeria relationship remains strong. I look forward to working together to grow our security and trade ties, opening up opportunities for businesses and creating prosperity in both our countries.”
In his congratulatory message, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo told Tinubu that Nigeria needed his fidelity to progressive and welfarist ideals at this point in time.
“In your previous years of public service, you demonstrated a consistent fidelity to progressive and welfarist ideals, and an ability to build bridges across several divides.
“These attributes are needed especially at this time, to reach out to disaffected sections of our society and to meet the aspirational expectations of our young people who have shown such a strong desire to impact our democratic process in a positive way.
“I trust that they will not allow whatever setbacks they may have experienced to truncate their strong desire to determine the future course of our national journey,” he said.
Also, former military president, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has congratulated Tinubu on his election while also commending INEC for conducting a free and fair presidential election.
Babangida, in a statement also commended Nigerians for going out en masse to exercise their voting rights.
By Fidelis Mac-Leva, Abbas Jimoh, Saawua Terzungwe, Muideen Olaniyi, Baba Martins (Abuja), Abubakar Akote (Minna) & Maryam Ahmadu-Suka (Kaduna)