- by Nduka Orjinmo
- BBC News, Abuja
Opposition parties in Nigeria have called for the presidential elections to be annulled, describing them as sham.
The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the Workers’ Party said the results were rigged, and that they wanted to organize new elections.
Official figures released so far show that the ruling party’s candidate, Bola Tinubu, is currently in the lead with just over 44% of the vote.
The committee has not yet commented on the opposition request.
Mr. Tinubu’s campaign team has condemned the opposition parties.
“If you are not ready to accept the shock of defeat, you have no moral rights to enjoy the fruits of victory,” said party spokesman Dele Alec.
Opposition parties criticized the Independent National Elections Commission and its handling of the electronic voting system.
“I demand that these sham elections be annulled and we call on the Independent Electoral Commission to hold new elections within the window period stipulated in the electoral law,” said Julius Aburi, Chairman of the Labor Party.
The small African Democratic Congress (ADC) also endorsed the call of the Labor Party and the People’s Democratic Party, the main opposition party.
Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labor Party were the two main opposition presidential candidates in Saturday’s election.
With official results announced from 14 of Nigeria’s 36 states, Abubakar is in second place with around 33% of the vote. Mr. Obi comes in third with 18%.
A group of angry protesters denounced the Electoral Commission outside the National Alliance Center in the capital, Abuja.
One man told the BBC: “Everything that happens there is lies, all lies and lies… They are cooking up the results.”
Another group staged a counter-protest, urging the Electoral Commission to “finish your job” and calling on “Nigerians to stand up for democracy”.
On Monday, the parties of Mr. Abubakar and Obi walked out of the venue where the results were announced in Abuja.
They said there was a lack of transparency with the new electronic voting system.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) said those unhappy with the results should go to court, and that parties should first let the process run its course.
This was the first national election in which an electronic voter certification device was used.
The Electoral Commission denied the opposition parties’ complaints.
Its board chairman, Mahmoud Yacoubou, said the announcement of the results would continue.
EU observers said that poor planning and communication on the part of the Electoral College undermined confidence in the process.
The APC and the People’s Democratic Party have dominated Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999.
Obi ran for president for the first time, promising to challenge the two-party system.
It has the support of many young people who make up a third of registered voters. There are 15 other candidates.
Of the results announced so far, Tinubu has won the most votes in six states, with Abubakar winning five and Mr. Obi three times.
Interim results show that Mr. Obi has also won in Abuja, but the result is yet to be officially confirmed.
On Monday, the winner was declared in the largest city, Lagos, which was seen as a stronghold for Tinobu.
A candidate needs to get the highest number of votes nationwide and at least one fourth of the votes in 25 out of 36 states plus Abuja to be declared the winner.
If these thresholds are not reached, there will be a second run-off between the first two candidates.
* Additional coverage by the BBC Nigeria teams.
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