Nigerian general election 2019

Nigeria court upholds Buhari's poll victory

Ishaq Khalid

BBC Africa, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari (l) and Atiku Abubakar (r)
AFP
Both Mr Buhari (L) and Mr Abubakar (R) are from the mainly Muslim north of the country

A Nigerian election tribunal has dismissed a case filed by opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar, who was challenging President Muhammadu Buhari's victory in last February's presidential election.

The electoral commission had declared President Buhari, a member of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) party, the winner with about 56% of the votes.

The judgement took eight hours to read out to a packed courtroom in the capital, Abuja.

The judges said that Mr Abubakar, a former vice-president, and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) had failed to prove their allegation that the election had been rigged in favour of Mr Buhari.

They also said there was no proof that the president had lied about his academic qualification. The opposition had alleged the president did not have a secondary-school leaving certificate, which is a basic requirement for presidential candidates.

President Buhari, who is serving his second term in elected office, said he felt vindicated by the judgement.

“With this ruling, it is now time for the country to move forward as one cohesive body, putting behind us all bickering and potential distractions over an election in which Nigerians spoke clearly and resoundingly,” he tweeted.

The 76-year-old president, who once led a military regime for 20 months in the 1980s, said he was “extending a hand of fellowship to everyone who felt aggrieved at the outcome of the election, and went to court”.

But the PDP rejected the court's ruling, describing it as a “provocative, barefaced subversion of justice and direct assault on the integrity of our nation’s justice system”.

The party planned to launch an appeal at the Supreme Court, it added.

You may also be interested in:

Election officials 'raped' in Nigeria

Nigeria’s electoral commission (Inec) has said that its officials were subjected to "threats, harassment, intimidation, assault, abduction and even rape" during last week’s presidential election.

The commission said it “decried the high level of violence in a few places" but did not provide any further details in its statement about the conduct of the polls.

Inec did say things were "generally peaceful", but said it was concerned about the violence which led to some fatalities and in some cases stopped the vote taking place.

It was also critical of the behaviour of some security personnel saying: "The conduct of certain members of the security agencies in some sites is a matter of serious concern to the commission."

Again, the statement did not give any more details.

View more on twitter

Buhari declared 'king of the north' in Game of Thrones meme

Yemisi Adegoke

BBC Africa

After it was announced that Muhammadu Buhari had been re-elected as president of Nigeria, WhatsApp groups have been buzzing with this picture of him as the "King of the North":

View more on instagram

The reference is both to the TV series Game of Thrones, which followed a fight for the throne of the north, and also that Mr Buhari who did very well with voters in the north of Nigeria.

Mr Buhari swept the north of Nigeria in the election, while his closest contender Atiku Abubakar did better in the south and east.

Mr Buhari and Mr Atiku are both from the north, which meant observers were watching closely to see how the north voted.

People on social media have been adding their own commentary:

View more on twitter

For those of you who are not fans of the fantasy drama series, Buhari Snow is a reference to Jon Snow, a king of the north in Game of Thrones. At least, that was when the north was a separate kingdom, before the Targaryen dynasty united all of the kingdoms to form the Seven Kingdoms.

This tweeter is also using the hashtag #AtikuMakeThatCall which is trending in Nigeria.

This hashtag is being used by people to urge Mr Abubakar to call Mr Buhari and admit defeat, as then President Goodluck Jonathan did when Mr Buhari was first elected, in 2015.

Mr Abubakar has rejected the election result, and explained why he hasn't made that call to Mr Buhari in a statement earlier today:

"If I had lost in a free and fair election, I would have called the victor within seconds of my being aware of his victory to offer not just my congratulations, but my services to help unite Nigeria by being a bridge between the North and the South," he said.