Nigeria’s main opposition party has rejected the result of a runoff for a governorship in the country’s swing southwest after the ruling party narrowly won in a boost to President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election hopes.
Gboyega Oyetola of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) was controversially declared winner of the Osun state poll by the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (INEC) late Thursday by a margin of fewer than 500 votes.
He won 255,505 votes compared to his closest challenger, Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who received 255,023.
The PDP rejected the final results, saying it’s candidate was robbed of victory and vowed to challenge the decision in court.
An observer team from the EU, US and Britain called for “calm” and expressed concerns about alleged irregularities, harassment and interference in the vote.
“We are very concerned by these reports and will be checking stakeholders to check the facts,” international observers said.
“We call on stakeholders to be calm.”
The vote in Osun was the final major test before Nigerians elect a new president, parliament, governors, and state legislatures in February and March next year.
The election was first held on Saturday, but was deadlocked when neither of the two leading candidates garnered the required number of votes for outright victory, according to the country’s electoral law.
Following the rerun, INEC returning officer Professor Joseph Afuwape said: “Oyetola, having satisfied the requirement of the law, having scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and he is returned elected.”