Friday, June 9, 2023

Peter Obi wins Lagos, shredding Bola Tinubu’s toga of invincibility in Nigeria’s heartbeat

Final results declared by the electoral office showed Mr Obi won 582,454 for Labour Party against Mr Tinubu’s 572,606 for the APC.

• February 27, 2023
Peter Obi and President Bola Tinubu
Peter Obi and President Bola Tinubu

In an upset for the ages, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has defeated Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress in Lagos State in a development that appears to end the latter’s long grip in the state.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) results showed Mr Obi won in a hotly-contested race against Mr Tinubu, a former two-time state governor in the country’s commercial hub who has long prided himself as the invincible leader.

Final results declared by the electoral office showed Mr Obi won 582,454 for Labour Party against Mr Tinubu’s 572,606 for the APC. The Peoples Democratic Party’s Atiku Abubakar came a distant third in the exercise.

Mr Obi won Lagos with only nine local government areas, a momentum propelled by both the Igbo residents in Lagos and the people of Mr Tinubu’s Yoruba ethnic group fed up with his decades-long, highly lucrative influence over the nation’s commercial hub.

While the youth have predominantly expressed their frustrations over how Mr Tinubu has been running the state as the dominant political godfather, only a few had expectations their anger would translate to any electoral outcome that would undermine the former governor in Lagos.

They believed the so-called Jagaban of Lagos would emerge victorious in Lagos, being a former governor with a vast war chest, which many thought would secure him votes in the state.

But after results were concluded for Lagos in Saturday’s presidential poll, Mr Tinubu only won in Ifako-Ijaiye, Ikorodu, Lagos Island, Ibeju-Lekki, Epe, Agege, Apapa, Badagry, Lagos Mainland, Mushin and Surulere local government areas.

On his part, the Labour Party’s candidate won the remaining nine of the 20 states, including the largest Alimosho Local Government Area.

The former Anambra governor and investment banker also won Ikeja, Amuwo-Odofin, Kosofe, Oshodi-Isolo, Somolu, Eti-Osa, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Kosofe, and Ojo local government areas.

Mr Tinubu’s loss in Lagos after a campaign dogged by allegations of age falsification, massive corruption and drug dealing allegations. His apparently poor physical and mental health and the naira scarcity that beset the country in the weeks leading to the election also contributed to his defeat.

During a campaign last week, Mr Obi said he had no money to offer candidates but a ” new approach to politics in Nigeria.”

“We don’t share money because we believe that the concept of sharing money to win elective positions is stupid,” Mr Obi had said through Mike Ikemefuna Nwafor, the Director of Administration, Obi/Datti Presidential Campaign Council.

The campaign appeared to have stuck with that message from the moment Mr Obi obtained the Labour’s ticket in May 2022, relying heavily on a groundswell of support from the country’s youth and Christian populations, most of whom also volunteered for his campaign.

In a statement issued after the results in Lagos were announced, Labour issued a statement saying the outcome marked additional indication of Mr Obi’s acceptance across the country, warning of ongoing attempts by the ruling APC to manipulate results in other parts of the country in order to make Mr Tinubu the ultimate winner of the presidential poll.

The APC has denied the allegations, insisting Mr Tinubu still has the best chance of winning the race, even if it’s by a small margin.

Mr Obi’s camp said the candidate had long been doomed by his inability to appeal to the Muslim-dominated northern parts of the country, where Mr Obi is not expected to do nearly as much as he did in the south. This could thwart his chances of meeting the constitutional requirement of gaining 25 per cent of votes in 24 of Nigeria’s states to be declared winner in a presidential election.

Mr Obi’s constitutional hurdles now leave Mr Tinubu and Mr Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, as the potential president-elect after the final collation and announcement of results in Abuja.

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