Nigeria 2023: Obi’s poor showing in Muslim north, opposition rejects results

By Eniola Akinkuotu

Posted on Monday, 27 February 2023 17:58, updated on Tuesday, 28 February 2023 09:15
Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi casts his ballot at a polling station in Amatutu on February 25, 2023, during Nigeria's presidential and general election. (Photo by Patrick Meinhardt / AFP)

Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party who has attained massive support among urban youths, has failed to make inroads into the Muslim majority states in the north, voting patterns have shown. Meanwhile, opposition parties are rejecting results over the failure of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to upload results on the website for over 24 hours after polling stations closed.

The lack of votes in the north has undermined the possibility of Obi emerging as the winner of this highly contested election, The Africa Report can confirm.

The Nigerian constitution says that for a candidate to become president, he or she must garner the majority of the votes and at least 25% of the votes cast in 24 states and the federal capital.

Results trickling in show that Obi is winning massively in the southeast where he comes from and has also won Lagos. He has also done well in the Niger Delta as well as the Christian parts of the north in Nasarawa, Plateau, Benue, Taraba and southern Kaduna.

However, the Labour Party candidate has had a poor outing in the southwest especially in Ondo, Osun, Ekiti, Oyo and Ogun where he failed to make the 25% spread.

In Ekiti State, Obi failed to get up to 5% of the votes, scoring only 11,397 as opposed to Tinubu’s 201,494 and Atiku’s 89,554 votes.

In Ogun State, which borders Lagos, Obi got 85,829 votes but still fell short of the 25% requirement.

Up north, Obi has gathered good numbers in the Christian areas like Plateau, Benue, and Nasarawa where he has so far recorded over a million votes.

But in the Muslim-dominated states of Kano, Sokoto, Zamfara, Jigawa, Borno, Yobe, Katsina, Gombe, Bauchi and Kebbi, his numbers have remained low.

With 15 states out of his reach, Obi is unlikely to have an outright win based on the results as of now, The Africa Report can confirm. He stands a chance if the vote goes to a run-off.

Opposition rejects results

The two main opposition parties – the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party – have rejected some of the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission.

The rejection is based on the delay by INEC in uploading the results from the field unto the result viewing portal.

INEC had introduced a result viewing portal on which results would be seen just moments after voting.

However, 24 hours after elections had held, INEC had failed to upload results from most polling units, thereby causing fear that the results had been tampered with. Election observers had also criticised INEC over this. The electoral commission  attributed this to “technical hitches” in a statement.

At the national collation centre, Senator Dino Melaye, the representative of Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, shouted at INEC Chairman, Mahmoud Yakubu, while protesting vociferously.

Melaye insisted that the INEC chairman must not accept the results of Ekiti State, alleging that there were incidents of voting multiple times and electoral irregularities.

He also demanded that the results presentation at the polling units be displayed on the INEC website for comparison with the results presented by the state collation officers.

Does lightning strike twice? I am overcome by a sense of déjà vu; the feeling that I have [been] here before…

“You are being disruptive,” said Yakubu, before calling for a one hour-break.

Earlier, the Labour Party and its agent had lambasted INEC for failing to upload the results from the polling units.

They also wondered why INEC decided to accept the results from some polling units that witnessed violence.

The Labour Party leadership called for the cancellation of results in Rivers State and parts of Lagos.

Political economist Pat Utomi, who is a member of Peter Obi’s Presidential campaign in the Labour Party, drew parallels between the current manipulation and that of 12 June 1993 where the election was eventually annulled after MKO Abiola had taken the lead in most states.

“Does lightning strike twice? I am overcome by a sense of déjà vu; the feeling that I have [been] here before. And my phone rings. It is one of the Abiola’s sons. And he asks. Does this not feel like June 12 all over? I pray God it does not turn out same way,” he tweeted.

In Lagos, the police warned against violent protests and threatened to take action against any agitators.

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