The media team of the Presidential Campaign Council of the APC has embarked on an international media tour to defend the outcome of the 2023 presidential election won by its candidate, Bola Tinubu.
The team, headed by the Minister of Labour and Employment (State) Festus Keyamo, held a press briefing at the National Press Center in Washington D.C on Wednesday.
Mr Keyamo, who served as the spokesperson of the campaign council, told journalists that the irregularities and violence recorded happened at less than one per cent of the total polling units, therefore, not sufficient to change the outcome of the election.
“The reports of some irregularities and violence in some polling units could not have affected the overall outcome of the elections too. There are 176,974 polling units in Nigeria and infractions and violence were recorded in less than one per cent of these units,” he said.
The international dimension of Nigeria’s presidential election
Mr Tinubu emerged as the president-elect in a tight race against former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, Peter Obi of the Labour Party and 15 others.
Messr Obi and Atiku are challenging the outcome of the election at the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
In the past couple of weeks, the post-election dispute has taken an international dimension as Mr Tinubu and the opposition continue to seek the nod of the international community.
Our correspondent reported that a writer, Chimamanda Adichie, in an open letter to Mr Biden, criticised the US government for congratulating Mr Tinubu on his victory at the poll.
Mrs Adichie’s letter was countered by Yemi Oke, who penned down an open letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mr Biden
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, recently made some media rounds in the US and the UK.
Mr Obi and the Labour Party are asking the presidential election tribunal to disqualify Mr Tinubu based on a 1993 Court ruling in Illinois.
Buhari, 20 governors lost their states — Mr Keyamo
While making a case for the credibility of the 25 February election, Mr Keyamo said the upsets witnessed during the presidential election showed it was credible.
He noted that Mr Buhari and several other APC bigwigs lost their states during the election.
“It is significant to note that the elections were so credible that it threw up some upsets in our otherwise settled demography. For the first time, 20 sitting Governors lost their states, mostly those of the ruling party. Seven governors who sought elections into the Senate failed to scale through. This has never happened in the history of Nigeria.
“In addition, the President-Elect lost his home state (Lagos State); the sitting President lost his home state (Katsina State); the Director-General of the Campaign lost his home state (Plateau State); the ruling Party Chairman lost his home state (Nassarawa State); the Chairman of the ruling Party’s Governor Forum lost his home state (Kebbi State) and the ruling party lost some of its traditional strongholds like Yobe State, Kaduna State and Kano State. All these go to show that it was a keenly contested election and one of the most credible in our history,” he stated.
Speaking on electoral violence, Mr Keyamo said there has been a downward trend in the number of fatalities recorded during elections in Nigeria.
Without providing any source, Mr Keyamo claimed that 28 people died during the 2023 elections compared to 150 who died in 2019.
“How could these have affected the overall results of the elections? Whilst we look forward to an era when there would be no single casualty during elections in Nigeria, however, the statistics show that 2023 recorded the lowest casualty rates ever.
“The 2011 polls recorded 800 deaths, the 2015 polls recorded 100 deaths and the 2019 polls recorded 150 deaths. However, the 2023 polls recorded no more than 28 deaths as a result of election violence. So, the claim that this is the ‘worst’ election so far is totally unfounded,” he stated.
Mr Keyamo is in Washington with the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, and Ajuri Ngelale, an aide to President Muhammadu Buhari.