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Nigerians React to Election Tribunal Ruling

On September 6, 2023 the presidential election tribunal in Nigeria’s capital Abuja threw out opposition challenges to the victory of Bola Tinubu in Africa’s most populous country’s February presidential election.

A five-member panel of the court which sat for over 10 hours on Wednesday (Sep. 6)  upheld Tinubu’s victory in the poll.

The court ruled that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and his Labour Party (LP) counterpart Peter Obi, failed to prove the allegations of fraud, Tinubu’s ineligibility and others in their petitions challenging the outcome of the tightly contested election.

The judgement has elicited reactions among Nigerians especially youths who came out for the first in the election.

Bob Ngene, Labour Party’s Peter Obi Supporter was not happy with the verdict, “What they showed us during the tribunal was that this was a classic open and shut case, which it wasn’t at all. They made it out to be a classic open and shut case, like there was really no case there. And it was at that point that I really realized that the Constitution at that point in time was manipulated to kick peter obi out of the conversation.” Bob said.

He, however, has given up on the chances of his candidate in the election claiming Nigeria’s top political seat. “It’s looking like you know, we’re going to have our president as Bola Ahmed Tinubu.” Said Bob.

A supporter of Bola Tinubu Angus Olaore was pleased by the court ruling, “I was happy that the court ruled in favor of my candidate, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. I want to say very big congratulations to him”.

Olaore wants Nigerians to back the incumbent Nigerian president “going forward everyone should work together as one doing this. Tinubu is going here and there, working on the country to make it go forward and trying to get investors in. So, they should all join him.

A Lagos based Broadcast Journalist Samuel Ojo who was confident with the ruling asked those disenchanted with the court decision to seek redress in Nigeria’s supreme court.

“The process of delivering the judgement was credible so to speak. “said Ojo.

He added that “And any party who thinks he has been Gaud or any party who thinks what they were expecting, is not what they got, has the opportunity to, you know, to escalate this decision and appeal or seek for a redress.

“He is still the one ruling and governing the affairs of this nation, and the best we can do is to support him in every way possible”.

Begin the “healing process”

While President Tinubu who was in India for the G20 summit has called on the opposition and Nigerians to join him in ongoing efforts to rebuild the nation’s ailing economy, Chisom Emmanuel, an Undergraduate says Tinubu needs to begin the healing process.

“One fundamental thing that I think everybody would expect from him is unity in the country, especially with this 2023 election and how it has really divided people. I really hope that you know, he puts in his mind while he works that we’re a country and we need to work together as one. I hope that he, you know, finds ways to make us come together and you know, not be too diverse. Emmanuel said.

Tinubu in his reaction to the victory at the court promised to do more for Nigerians “Don’t look back, look forward, let’s pull the country forward and with your help, my friend, my Colleague and all of you, I promise to do more.” Says the West Nation President.

The February 25 presidential elections which Nigeria’s electoral body INEC declared Bola Tinubu to have won with 37 percent of votes has sharply divided Nigerians and heated the polity with bitter accusations of fraud.

Known as OBIdients, supporters of Peter Obi, a third-party candidate have been vociferous about their claim that he won the disputed elections

Obi and Atiku Abubakar, both who oppose Tinubu’s victory have said they will seek justice by taking the latest tribunal ruling to Nigeria’s highest court, the Supreme Court.