Not a single soul among Nigerians population of nearly 200 million people has ever witnessed this: In a seismic shift of Nigerian political history, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday failed to secure a second term in office as he was defeated by the Presidential Candidate of the All Progressives Party (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
In a the most keenly contested presidential election held on Saturday, March 28, with voting spilling to Sunday, March 29, Gen Buhari polled a total of 15,424,921 to defeat President Jonathan, who scored 12,853,162, according to final results declared by the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega.
Buhari won in 22 of the 36 states and achieved 25 per cent of the votes in another three states, all of them in the North and the South-West. President Jonathan won in all the South-East, South-South states and also picked Ekiti in the South-West and Taraba and Plateau in the North.
The Dream Daily notes that Gen. Buhari succeeds to the Presidency on his fourth attempt, having contested in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
Jonathan concedes defeat, congratulates Buhari
Apparently realising that he had lost the contest going by the exit polls, President Jonathan, at about 5:15pm on Tuesday put a phone call to Gen. Buhari to congratulate him. The results of two states, Delta and Borno, were being awaited at the time the president made this call
In turn, Gen. Buhari expressed his appreciation of the president and praised him for his courage and love of the country as demonstrated by the call.
Orubebe Disrupts Exit Polls Proceedings
An otherwise smooth proceeding the International Conference Centre, Abuja was briefly disrupted on Tuesday as former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, alongside a handful of others attempted to stop the collation of the presidential results, alleging that Prof. Jega was biased in his handling of a petition filed by the ruling PDP.
Specifically, Orubebe accused Jega of investigating the petition filed by the APC on the alleged breach of election guidelines in Rivers State and at the same time sidestepping petitions filed by the PDP against alleged rigging committed by the APC in five states in the north.
He said: “We have lost confidence in what you are doing. You are very selective, you are partial and selective, we don’t believe in you anymore. You have compromised, and we will not take it from you. We will not allow you, we will not allow this, Nigerians will not allow this, we will not allow this until something is done.
“Jega is partial, we will not take it. Let Jega set up a committee to go to Kano, Katsina, Jigawa and Kaduna to investigate our objections with the elections there as he did to Rivers State where the APC raised an issue. Jega has nothing to say here, he has nothing to say, let him go back to his office,” said an angry Orubebe, who even refused to allow Jega explain what happened.
However, INEC, through Jega, subsequently dismissed the petition by the APC on Rivers, allowing the state to return 1,487,075 votes for President Jonathan.
Nigerian Celebrate Outcome
In several scenes not seen in the country in recent times, thousands of Nigerians took to the streets across the country to celebrate the election Gen. Buhari.
There were celebrations in virtually all parts of the country as the news filtered in that President Jonathan had conceded defeat. However, in a bid to rein in the wild jubilation, Gen. Buhari, in a statement, called for restraint from party supporters, saying anyone celebrating with him would not be involved in the wild celebration that included the harassment of opponents. “He or she is not with me, whoever does that. I thank you all for turning out en-masse for the March 28 General Elections.” Buhari wrote.
PDP To Challenge Results In Court
However, the PDP has indicated that it will challenge the outcome of the presidential election. An agent of the party at the ICC national collation centre in Abuja who also refused to sign the result sheet, Mr. Bello Fadile, gave this indication on Wednesday after the event.
Fadile told the media shortly after the result was declared that the PDP was not satisfied with the outcome of the election and had decided to challenge it at the election tribunal.
He said: “The result was declared on the 1st of April, I think. We will follow the due process. Like the president (Jonathan) said, ‘If you have any grievances, follow due process and the due process in this instance is to go to the tribunal.
“Whether I sign it (the result sheet) or I don’t sign it, does not make any difference. It doesn’t invalidate the result. When we go to court, then we can challenge the result. “Sure! The party petitioned and the party will follow through the petition. There are rules for this. The law is there.”
PDP Should Celebrate, Not Mourn – Jonathan
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has told the PDP faithful to celebrate the outcome of the presidential election.
In a nationwide broadcast through which he also formally conceded defeat, the President said: “Fellow Nigerians, I thank you all for turning out en-masse for the March 28 General Elections. I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word. I have also expanded the space for Nigerians to participate in the democratic process. That is one legacy I will like to see endure.
“Although some people have expressed mixed feelings about the results announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), I urge those who may feel aggrieved to follow due process based on our constitution and our electoral laws, in seeking redress.
“As I have always affirmed, nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else.
“I congratulate all Nigerians for successfully going through the process of the March 28th General Elections with the commendable enthusiasm and commitment that was demonstrated nationwide.
“I also commend the Security Services for their role in ensuring that the elections were mostly peaceful and violence-free.
“To my colleagues in the PDP, I thank you for your support. Today, the PDP should be celebrating rather than mourning. We have established a legacy of democratic freedom, transparency, economic growth and free and fair elections.
“For the past 16 years, we have steered the country away from ethnic and regional politics. We created a Pan-Nigerian political party and brought home to our people the realities of economic development and social transformation. “Through patriotism and diligence, we have built the biggest and most patriotic party in Nigerian history. We must stand together as a party and look to the future with renewed optimism. “I thank all Nigerians once again for the great opportunity I was given to lead this country and assure you that I will continue to do my best at the helm of national affairs until the end of my tenure”.