Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been declared the winner of Nigeria’s disputed presidential elections and will succeed Muhammadu Buhari as the country’s next president.
Tinubu, “having satisfied the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is returned elected”, Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), announced on Wednesday.
70-year-old Tinubu, who represents the governing All Progressives Congress party, received 8.8 million votes – about 36.6% of the total, defeating 76-year-old Atiku Abubakar, a six–time presidential contestant, and 61-year-old Peter Obi, who has become popular among Nigeria’s youth. Abubakar scored 6.9 million and Obi polled 6.1 million.
“This is a shining moment in the life of any man and an affirmation of our democratic existence,” said Tinubu in his acceptance speech. “I represent a promise and with your support, I know that promise will be fulfilled.”
Tinubu’s victory comes hours after three opposition parties — the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and African Democratic Congress (CDC) — demanded the cancellation of what they described as a “sham” of a poll.
Who is Tinubu?
Affidavits and other documents that he presented to INEC indicated that he was born on March 27, 1952. Tinubu is a politician, a former Governor of Lagos State (1999 – 2007), and a former Senator for Lagos West. He attended St John Primary School, Lagos, and Children’s Home School, Ibadan. He moved to the United States in 1975, where he studied at Richard .J. Daley College, Chicago, and Chicago State University, where he graduated with a BSc. in Accounting in 1979.
He worked for American companies, including Arthur Andersen, Deloitte, and Haskins, before he returned to Nigeria in 1983, where he joined Mobil Oil Nigeria.
Tinubu started his political carrier in 1992 as a member of the Social Democratic Party. He contested and won the gubernatorial seat of Lagos State at the 1999 General Election. He ended his first four-year tenure in 2003 and was sworn in again in April 2003 for a second four-year tenure after his victory at the 2003 General Election. His 8-year tenure was characterized by controversies and power tussles with the federal government controlled by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
In 2014 he played a major role in the alliance of some political parties that led to the formation of APC (All Progressive Congress), the party that won the presidential seat in the 2015 General Election. Tinubu wanted to be the vice presidential candidate, but being a Muslim and the President (Buhari) was also a Muslim, the party members and Nigerians rejected it. He stepped aside and appointed Professor Yemi Osibanjo to replace him.
As the tenure of the APC-led federal government ends in March 2023, Tinubu won the party’s primary election and emerged as the presidential flag bearer for the 2023 election.
Now declared as the next president of Nigeria, Tinubu must address Nigeria’s pressing issues including high youth unemployment, security and inflation.