The United States congratulated Nigeria on the election of ruling party presidential candidate Bola Tinubu, while calling for calm amid accusations of voter fraud and concerns over technical glitches.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed the election aftermath on Thursday when he met his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in New Delhi, aides said.
A State Department spokesman on Wednesday congratulated “President-elect Tinubu,” who was declared the winner Tuesday of the February 25 polls in Africa’s most populous democracy.
“This competitive election represents a new period for Nigerian politics and democracy,” Ned Price told reporters Wednesday.
Price acknowledged the discontent among some Nigerians over the validity of the results, as at least one opposition figure has promised to dispute the outcome.
“We understand that many Nigerians and some of the parties have expressed frustration about the manner in which the process was conducted,” he said.
“Nigerians are clearly within their rights to have such concerns and should have high expectations for their electoral process,” Price said, urging political leaders to register their concerns through established legal “mechanisms.”
According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Tinubu, the candidate for the ruling All Progressives Congress, won 8.8 million votes, while main opposition candidates Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi snagged 6.9 million and 6.1 million, respectively.
Nigerian officials had hoped new biometric voter identification technology would make the election the cleanest yet, but malfunctions, long delays and slow results have fueled the accusations of fraud.
“We call on all parties to refrain from violence or inflammatory rhetoric at this critical time,” Price said.