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Nigeria's President Buhari hails Tinubu's victory

Nigeria's President Buhari hails Tinubu's victory
Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari, center right, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential ...   -  
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Nigeria's outgoing president Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday hailed the victory of his party's presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, saying that "the people have spoken", hours after the announcement of the result disputed by the opposition.

"I congratulate His Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his victory. Elected by the people, he is the best person for the job. I will now work with him and his team to ensure a smooth transfer of power," Buhari wrote on his Twitter account.

"There is no doubt that the people's decision has been rendered in the results we are seeing today," he added, as the opposition contests the election and calls for its annulment, denouncing "massive" fraud by the ruling party.

President Buhari, 80, who retires after two terms (as required by the Constitution) at the head of Africa's most populous country, asked candidates who "feel the need to challenge this election (...) to go to court and not to the street.

He also dismissed criticism of the lack of independence of the National Electoral Commission (Inec) from the government, saying: "Do not undermine the credibility of the Inec. Let's go forward as one man. The people have spoken."

However, he acknowledged flaws in the electoral process, particularly in the electronic transmission of results, which was being tested for the first time at the national level.

Many domestic and foreign observers have deplored these "shortcomings" and regretted a lack of "transparency.

But according to Mr. Buhari, they are not a big enough "problem" to affect the "fairness" of the election.

More than 87 million voters were called to the polls on Saturday and voting was generally calm.

On Tuesday night, the Electoral Commission declared Bola Tinubu "winner and elected" of the presidential election, with more than 8.8 million votes, winning one of the most contested elections in Nigeria's democratic history, against his two main rivals.

Mr. Tinubu, 70, a former governor of Lagos (southwest), is nicknamed "the godfather" because of his immense political influence. For four years, he will have the difficult task of turning around the English-speaking giant, which has been plagued by a sluggish economy, recurrent violence by jihadist groups and bandits, and widespread impoverishment of the population.

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