ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria’s main opposition leader Atiku Abubakar said on Monday last week’s Supreme Court decision affirming President Bola Tinubu’s election win would erode trust in elections and called for changes to the electoral laws to improve transparency.
The country’s top court rejected a challenge by Atiku and Peter Obi, who came second and third in the vote, slamming the door on any legal challenge against Tinubu, who says he won fairly.
Reacting to the judgment for the first time, Atiku told reporters the court’s decision would lead to “the erosion of trust in the electoral system and our democracy”.
He criticised the judges for refusing to admit new evidence he said showed Tinubu had used a fraudulent university certificate to contest, which the president denies.
“As for me and my party this phase of our work is done. However, I am not going away,” the 76-year-old Atiku said, hinting he may not be ready to retire from active politics.
Atiku, a former vice president between 1999-2007, said Nigeria’s electoral laws should be amended, including making electronic voting mandatory and requiring a candidate for president to garner more than 50% of the vote to win.
In Nigeria, a candidate only requires a simple majority and at least 25% of the votes in three quarters of the country’s 36 states to be declared president.
The Supreme Court judgment followed a pattern seen in previous presidential elections that have been challenged in court. None of the attempts to overturn results through the courts has been successful.
(This story has been corrected to fix Atiku Abubakar’s age to 76 years, not 81 years, in paragraph 5)
(Reporting by Camillus Eboh, editing by Ed Osmond)