The United States on Wednesday congratulated Nigeria on the election of ruling party presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, while calling for calm amid accusations of malpractice and concerns over technical glitches.
Tinubu was declared the winner Tuesday of the February 25 polls in Africa’s most populous democracy.
“The United States congratulates the people of Nigeria, president-elect Bola Tinubu and all the political leaders,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
“This competitive election represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy,” he added.
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Tinubu, the candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), won 8.8 million votes, while main opposition candidates Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi snagged 6.9 million and 6.1 million, respectively.
Price acknowledged the discontent among some Nigerians over the validity of the results, as at least one opposition figure has promised to dispute the outcome.
“We understand that many Nigerians and some of the parties have expressed frustration about the manner in which the process was conducted,” he said.
“Nigerians are clearly within their rights to have such concerns and should have high expectations for their electoral process,” Price said, urging political leaders to register their concerns through established legal “mechanisms.”
Nigerian officials had hoped new biometric voter identification technology would make the election the cleanest yet, but malfunctions, long delays and slow results have fueled the accusations of fraud.
“We call on all parties to refrain from violence or inflammatory rhetoric at this critical time,” Price said.