Nigeria’s Supreme Court delivered its verdict on Thursday, confirming President Bola Tinubu’s electoral victory and thereby concluding the legal challenge posed by his two principal rivals, who alleged irregularities marred his win.
The Supreme Court’s ruling solidifies 71-year-old Tinubu’s mandate to lead Africa’s most populous nation, currently grappling with multifaceted challenges, including double-digit inflation, foreign currency shortages, a weakened national currency, widespread insecurity, and crude oil theft.
While the leading opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), expressed its disappointment and alarm at the judgment, President Tinubu welcomed the decision, emphasizing the need for unity: “We are all members of one household, and this moment demands that we continue to work and build our country together,” Tinubu stated in a released statement.
Nigeria transitioned to democracy in 1999 after nearly three decades of uninterrupted military rule, but concerns of election manipulation and fraudulent practices have lingered through its electoral processes.
This Supreme Court ruling, issued by a panel of seven judges, marks a familiar pattern witnessed in previous presidential elections subject to legal challenges. Historically, no attempt to overturn election results through legal channels has succeeded.
The PDP, in response to the Supreme Court’s verdict, asserted, “This judgment by the Supreme Court has evidently shaken the confidence of Nigerians in the judiciary, especially the Supreme Court as the last hope of the common man.”
Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who secured the second and third positions, respectively, in the February election, had both contested the results and called for the annulment of Tinubu’s victory.
Their appeal primarily argued that the electoral commission failed to electronically transmit polling station results to an online portal, undermining their authenticity. Additionally, they contended that Tinubu’s vote share in the federal capital, Abuja, fell below the legal threshold required to assume the presidency.
However, the judges rejected all their claims, thus confirming Tinubu’s electoral triumph.