Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was re-elected for a second four-year term on Tuesday, although the country’s opposition has rejected the result and accused him of overseeing an electoral fraud.
According to Nigeria’s electoral commission, Buhari overcame his main rival, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, by a margin of nearly four million votes, with his party receiving 15.2 million votes compared to Abubakar’s 11.3 million.
The result was rejected by Abubakar’s opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP), who accused Buhari of electoral fraud following a record low turnout of just 35.6 percent. Around 130 were arrested around the country on charges of electoral offenses, although no independent observers have alleged widespread electoral fraud.
“If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South,” said Abubakar in a statement. “I hereby reject the result of the February 23, 2019 sham election and will be challenging it in court.”
“Our collation centers have the original results from all the polling units in the country. That is from where are going to reclaim our results,” added PDP’s Chair national chairman Uche Secondus. “The results are incorrect and unacceptable to our party. Officials of the APC working with INEC have decided to alter results to affect our people. This must now be resisted by every well-meaning Nigerian.”
Around 260 people have died amid widespread violence since the respective campaigns began last October. At least 47 of those deaths took place during Saturday’s vote and its aftermath, according to the Situation Room, a organization monitoring violence.
At a victory rally on Tuesday, the 76-year-old pledged to “intensify” efforts to improve overall prosperity, describing himself as “deeply humbled and profoundly grateful.” Yet despite being Africa’s largest oil producer with considerable natural resources, the country remains plagued by problems such as endemic corruption, power shortages, security threats, and stagnant economic growth.
“The new administration will intensify its efforts in security, restructuring the economy and fighting corruption,” he declared. “We have laid down the foundation, and we are committed to seeing matters to the end. We will strive to strengthen our unity and inclusiveness so that no section or group will feel left behind or left out.”
Buhari’s record in office has been a source of debate. A former military ruler elected in 2015 to lead Africa’s most populous nation, his supporters point to a largely successful crackdown on the Islamist terror group Boko Haram and taking on rampant political corruption. However, his critics claim that he is himself corrupt, and point to his autocratic tendencies and disappointing levels of economic growth.