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Bola Tinubu is now Nigeria’s president-elect. What happens next?

Bola Tinubu, the ruling candidate of Nigeria’s All Progressives Congress (APC), has been declared the winner of the presidential election, sparking mixed reactions across the West African country.

On Wednesday, Independent National Election Commission Chairman Mahmood Yakubu announced that Tinubu had won 37 percent of the vote in Saturday’s election and, “after meeting the requirements of the law, is hereby declared the winner and is re-elected “.

“This is a serious mandate – I hereby accept it. To serve you, … to work with you and make Nigeria great,” Tinubu said in an acceptance speech as supporters cheered “jagaban,” his local headliner.

What are the reactions so far?

In Abuja, a small group of protesters held banners and played socially conscious Nigerian songs in Millennium Park, opposite the luxury hotel where many election observers stayed.

At least two monitoring missions, including the European Union team, have signaled major logistical problems, disenfranchised voters and a lack of transparency by the Election Commission.

The hotel was also the site of back-to-back press conferences on Tuesday for leaders of the opposition Labor Party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the African Democratic Congress, as well as two vice presidential candidates, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed and Ifeanyi Okowa.

“It’s a rape of democracy, to say the least,” said Labor Party chairman Julius Abure, alleging widespread manipulation.

Dino Melaye, a loyal PDP, called the vote-gathering an “allotment of votes”.

The Election Commission first introduced biometric voter identification technology at the national level and a portal for uploading election results to improve transparency.

But the opposition and its supporters said the system’s failure to upload votes allowed ballot tampering and differences in the results of manual counts at polling stations.

“In the eyes of God, the man (Tinubu) is not the winner,” said trader Mercy Efong in Awka, the capital of Anambra, the home state of Labor Party candidate Peter Obi.

Still, there were festivities at APC campaign headquarters and parts of Lagos on Wednesday as the political kingmaker finally became king, the first Nigerian “political godfather” to ever live up to his ambition to become president.

What happens now?

Tinubu’s inauguration as president of Africa’s most populous democracy will not take place until May 29. In February, outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari formed a committee to ensure a smooth transition.

But the opposition will face a tough legal challenge to do so.

“We will go to court in due time,” Baba-Ahmed of the Labor Party said of himself and Obi. “The legal folks are putting the papers together.”

Petitions against the results can be submitted to the courts days after the announcement of the results. Tthe Petitions Committee for the Elections is expected to complete all challenges within 180 days. The Supreme Court has the final say on the petitions.

What work awaits the president-elect?

If Tinubu is sworn in as expected, he inherits a faction land from Buhari. The divisions are highlighted in the election results. Tinubu won 12 of the country’s 36 states and lost the capital Abuja and its home base Lagos. He and Vice President-elect Kashim Shettima are both Muslims in a country that is fairly evenly split between Christians and Muslims.

The Nigerian economy is also struggling. It has endured two recessions in five years, due in part to policy missteps and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Money and fuel shortages also sparked anger across the country in the weeks leading up to the election.

In addition, the new government will face rampant insecurity in nearly all six geopolitical zones.

Boko Haram has been waging an armed campaign in the northeast for 13 years, and multiple armed groups are active elsewhere in the country, including separatists in the southeast and bandit gangs in northwestern and central Nigeria.