Uhuru calls for peace as Nigerians await presidential election results

Monday, February 27th, 2023 20:36 | By
Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses members of the press in Nigeria on Monday, February 27, 2023. PHOTO/@4thPresidentKE/Twitter

Retired President Uhuru Kenyatta has urged the people of Nigeria to be patient and maintain peace as the country awaits the declaration of the presidential results.

Uhuru, who is heading the African Union Election Observers Mission (AUEOM) in the country, made the remarks on Monday, February 27, while issuing a preliminary statement on the team's observation of the general election held on February 25.

He was accompanied by the head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) mission and former President of Sierra Leone Bai Koroma.

Speaking at a joint press conference, the two former Heads of State said the preliminary statements reflect the missions' findings and recommendations to relevant stakeholders in the electoral process.

The Commonwealth election observers' mission head Thabo Mbeki also issued the mission's preliminary statement at the press conference.

Upon completion of the electoral process, the missions will issue a comprehensive report offering recommendations for improvement of future elections.

The BBC reported on Monday evening that opposition parties walked out of the venue where results from the tightly contested presidential elections are being announced.

The main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Labour Party claimed there was a lack of transparency with the new electronic voter system.

This is the first national election where an electronic device has been used to accredit voters.

The election commission has denied the opposition parties' complaints.

Inec chairman Mahmood Yakubu said the announcement of results would continue.

The PDP representative at the election centre in Abuja described the process as fraudulent, while the Labour Party asked for the announcements to be suspended or for the election to be cancelled and rerun.

However, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), whose candidate Bola Tinubu has established an early lead from results announced so far, said those dissatisfied with the results should go to court, and that the parties should first let the process run its course.

With about a third of the 36 states officially declared, Tinubu has a strong lead over Mr Abubakar, with Obi in third place. Most of those states are from the south-west - Tinubu's stronghold - so it is still too early to predict who will win.

The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the PDP have dominated Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999 but this time, Obi from the previously little-known Labour Party is expected to mount a strong challenge to the two-party system. He has the support of many young people, who make up a third of registered voters. There are 15 other candidates.

A candidate needs to have the most votes and a quarter of ballots cast in 25 of the 36 states plus Abuja to be declared the winner.

Otherwise, there will be a run-off within 21 days - a first in Nigeria's history.

Additional reporting by BBC.

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