Nigeria election results: Peter Obi lands surprise win in Lagos State


Lagos, Nigeria

Peter Obi, Nigeria’s third candidate, has won Lagos State, defeating influential ruling party candidate Bola Tinubu in his homeland, according to results announced by the state’s assembly center. Obi’s victory comes as a surprise as the state is a stronghold of Tinubu, who was expected to win the state easily.

Tinubu is a former governor of Lagos State and is known there as a political godfather and kingmaker.

Obi, who is 61 years old, is especially gaining popularity among young people, many who call themselves “Obidients.”

The election is one of the most hotly contested contests in the country since 1999 and the two-party system that has dominated Nigerian politics ever since faces an unprecedented threat in Obi’s Labor Party.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), 93 million people nationwide have registered to vote and 87.2 million have collected their voter cards.

Many voters in Lagos complained of intimidation and attempts to suppress their votes. CNN visited a polling station in Lekki, Lagos, which was attacked and the military forced to intervene.

Dr. Chidi Nwagwu told CNN: “I arrived around 10am. The voting material was late and we were getting ready to vote. Some thugs arrived and started beating people with chairs. I was hit several times with a chair. There was a doctor who helped us. Many women were attacked, including a pregnant woman. She was knocked to the ground and they smashed her phone.”

Alicia Gberikon said: “There was harassment and if you had a phone it was a crime. People were beaten and their phones were smashed. It was very scary.”

Political analyst Remi Adekoya said Obi’s win was “the biggest shock of Tinubu’s political career”.

“This election is changing Nigeria’s political landscape…Peter Obi’s victory in Lagos, home of Bola Tinubu, has shown that many Nigerians want a new kind of politics and that the days of godfatherhood are numbered,” he added .

However, Michael Famoroti, chief of intelligence at Lagos-based data company Stears, warned that Obi would struggle to replicate the victory across the country.

“Peter Obi’s performance in Lagos probably won’t translate to the whole country,” he said.

“Looking at its performance in the other southwestern states, the Lagos victory reinforces the view that the Obidient movement is still somewhat concentrated in an upper economic class. Elections in Nigeria continue to be won in rural areas and the data to date suggests that…Peter Obi still faces an uphill task in securing the required votes in critical states.”

Nigerians went to the polls on Saturday in what is Africa’s largest democratic exercise, but it was beset by long delays and some voters were unable to vote at all because election officials failed to show up.

Yiaga Africa, a non-profit civic group, says it has deployed 3,836 observers across the country and is disappointed with the election process.

“To be honest, there is a feeling of disappointment about the way this process has gone. It is clear that we have not overcome and solved our eternal logistical challenges with elections,” Samson Itodo, executive director of Yiaga told CNN.

CNN has contacted INEC for comment.

The Nigerian election process “lacked efficient planning and transparency during critical stages of the election process,” the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) said in a preliminary statement Monday.

The observers noted that polling delays and “information gaps related to long overdue access to results” on election day led to reduced confidence in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The mission blamed insecurity in some areas, widespread allegations of vote-buying, and persistent fuel and cash shortages as some of the factors behind a challenging election process.

Another observer group, a joint mission of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), also criticized Saturday’s election, saying the process “fell far short of the reasonable expectations of Nigerian citizens”.

“Logistical challenges and multiple incidents of political violence overshadowed the election process and prevented a significant number of voters from participating,” they said in a preliminary statement.

As a result, the organizations say Nigerians were disenfranchised in many areas, but the “scope and scale is currently unknown”.

And former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo weighed in, asking the Election Commission to repeat polls in locations disrupted by violence or where officials failed to show up, even calling on current President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene.

In an open letter on Monday, the ex-leader accused INEC of corruption and said there was “danger and disaster” lurking in Nigeria if the mistakes of the election process were not rectified.

“Tension is building,” Obasanjo told Buhari. “Please cancel all elections that fail the credibility and transparency test.”

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