Find the latest breaking news and information on the top stories, science, business, entertainment, politics, and more.

Peter Obi says he will prove he won Nigeria election

Defeated candidate Peter Obi vows to legally challenge the results a day after Bola Ahmed Tinubu was declared the winner.

Abuja, Nigeria – Labor Party leader Peter Obi, the third-placed candidate in the Nigerian presidential election, has promised to challenge the result in court.

Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) was declared the winner and president-elect on Wednesday, receiving 37 percent of the vote. The leading opposition candidate from the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, received 29 percent of the vote, while Obi received 25 percent of the vote, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In his first public speech since the official results were announced, Obi said he would prove he had been robbed of victory and urged his supporters not to lose hope.

“The people of Nigeria have been robbed once again by their alleged leaders they trusted…we will explore all legal and peaceful options to reclaim our mandate,” Obi said at a news conference in the capital Abuja on Thursday afternoon.

“We won the election and we will prove it to the Nigerians. Please don’t despair.”

He has not provided any evidence to support his claims.

“We were asked to go to court,” he continued, calling on people to be peaceful and law-abiding. “Let’s go there… I will challenge this villain for the future of the country. This is not the end, but the beginning of the journey towards the birth of a new Nigeria.”

Ahead of Saturday’s vote, several polls had projected Obi, who is popular among young voters, as the winner of the election. Many pundits warned the election would be so highly contested that a possible runoff seemed likely for the first time in Nigerian political history.

To be declared the winner, a candidate must have a majority of the vote and at least 25 percent of the vote in 24 of the 36 states of Nigeria and Abuja. Tinubu passed both criteria, eliminating the need for a second round.

Unless the courts decide otherwise, Tinubu will be sworn in on May 29 as successor to outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, who has been in power since 2015.

Several observer missions criticized the election process after the results were announced, noting that a new portal introduced for transparency and efficiency had done little to improve the process.

“INEC lacked efficient planning and transparency during critical stages of the election process,” said Barry Andrews, head of the European Union Observer Team. A coalition of Nigerian civil society groups said the elections fell short of the “credibility threshold” and were “marred by very poor organisation… and several violent incidents”.

Obi kicked off the much-anticipated press conference by calling for a minute of silence to honor “all those who died in the election process.”

The former governor of Anambra in southeastern Nigeria said he and Baba-Ahmed were determined to challenge in court the results of the election, which “failed to meet the expected minimum standards”, and expressed gratitude for “the young people who believed and worked tirelessly for a new Niger”.

On Wednesday, Labor Party leaders held a joint press conference with their counterparts from the People’s Democratic Party and the African Democratic Congress (ADC), calling the election a “sham” and calling for its cancellation. They also demanded that INEC chief Mahmood Yakubu resign from his post to allow someone else “outside the committee” to hold new elections.

But Obi, who said he was not consulting with or under pressure from the international community, said he was not part of an alliance to challenge the outcome of the vote. However, he urged all Nigerians to participate.

The leader of the Labor Party has had a history of lengthy court cases in his political career.

In 2006, the Supreme Court declared Obi the true winner of the elections for governor of Anambra held three years earlier. Current Labor Minister Chris Ngige, then of the PDP, was removed from office.

Obi later won a court victory that determined that his tenure began when he was sworn in and not after the election was held; the decision has set a precedent in Nigeria’s political landscape and is the reason why elections for governor will be held in just 28 states on March 11.

In 2007, the Supreme Court also reinstated Obi after he was impeached by the state parliament.