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Bola Tinubu reacts after he was declared the winner in Nigeria's presidential election at his party's campaign headquarters, in Abuja.

REUTERS/Marvellous Durowaiye

Nigeria elects political “Godfather" as president

It took a while and there was a lot of post-election drama, but Nigeria finally has a new president-elect: Bola Tinubu.

The ruling party candidate was declared the winner early Wednesday, five days after a vote marred by a slower-than-expected count and problems with tallying. Before the electoral commission made the call, Tinubu's rivals had demanded that officials cancel the result and redo the election because the outcome had been “manipulated” by results sheets being posted online.

While any legal challenges to his victory by opposition hopeful Atiku Abubakar and insurgent third-party candidate Peter Obi make their way through the courts, Tinubu is the president-elect and officially takes over in May. Who is he, and what are his plans for Africa's most populous nation and largest economy?

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British PM Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen shake hands at Windsor Guildhall, Britain, February 27, 2023.

Dan Kitwood/Pool via REUTERS

What We’re Watching: Post-Brexit trade, West Bank chaos, Nigeria’s vote count, Teddies for Turkey

A historic post-Brexit breakthrough

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen unveiled a plan on Monday they say will finally resolve the complex problem of post-Brexit trade involving Northern Ireland. In the coming days, skeptics (and opponents) of the deal within Sunak’s Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland will read the proposal closely to decide whether to approve it. The deal is intended to ease the flow of trade between Britain and Northern Ireland, some of which will flow across the UK’s border with the Republic of Ireland and into the EU. The deal creates two lanes for trade: a faster-flowing green lane for goods transiting only between Britain and Northern Ireland and a red lane with more rigorous customs checks for goods bound for the EU. The two biggest (of many) issues that will now be debated in Britain’s parliament: How to determine which lane each shipment of goods will travel through and what role the European Court of Justice will play in resolving trade disputes that involve Northern Ireland. Sunak appears to believe that his plan will pass parliament, but the scale of this important political victory for the embattled PM will depend on how much opposition from his own party and the DUP force him to rely on the opposition Labour Party for the votes needed to get it done. Sunak was in Belfast on Tuesday to sell the deal to the DUP.

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A day after the elections, officials tally votes at a collation centre previously stormed by unknown assailants in Lagos, Nigeria on February 26, 2023.

REUTERS/James Oatway

What We’re Watching: Nigerian election results, Italian migrant tragedy, COVID lab leak report

Nigeria starts presidential vote count

Early results from Nigeria's presidential election are still trickling in Monday, as delays at some polling stations forced people to vote throughout the night on Saturday and the following day. Final numbers could take days, especially if the race is very tight. So far, the big news is that Peter Obi, a third-party insurgent posing the most serious threat to the Nigerian political establishment since the restoration of democracy in 1999, captured Lagos, the country's biggest city and state. Obi is facing off against ruling party candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu and opposition hopeful Atiku Abubakar. To avoid a runoff, a candidate must win the popular vote and 25% of ballots in at least two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states. Whoever comes out on top, the final result "will most likely leave a large chunk of Nigerians upset," tweeted Amaka Anku, head of Eurasia Group's Africa practice, who's covering the election on the ground. Anku highlighted the low voter turnout — although it's unclear whether fewer people actually showed up or if biometric ID verification prevented unregistered people from voting.

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Electoral campaign posters are seen ahead of Nigeria's Presidential elections, in Yola, Nigeria, February 23, 2023.

REUTERS/Esa Alexander

What We're Watching: Nigerians vote, Biden's World Bank pick

Nigeria's presidential election head-scratcher

Nigerians go to the polls Saturday to vote in what is being billed as the most open presidential election in Africa's most populous country since democracy was restored in 1999. That's mostly thanks to buzz about Peter Obi, a third-party candidate who's leading most polls ahead of both Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the ruling party's pick, and opposition candidate Atiku Abubakar. With almost half the electorate undecided, Obi faces tough odds. First, to win outright, he must get the most votes nationwide and at least 25% in at least two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states – but he doesn’t have strong party machinery to turn out voters. Second, if no candidate meets both conditions, the election goes to a runoff between the most-voted for candidate and — here's where it gets complicated — the one who placed second in the highest number of states. Also, keep an eye out for the rollout of machines to verify biometric voter ID to curb fraud. If the devices malfunction or are not widely deployed, expect many Nigerians to consider the election anything but free and fair.

Interested in the Nigerian election? Listen to Amaka Anku, head of Eurasia Group’s Africa practice, on this GZERO podcast in collaboration with The Center for Global Development podcast.

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A woman stands in front of electoral campaign posters of Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar and members of the People's Democratic Party, ahead of Nigeria's Presidential elections, in Yola, Nigeria, February 21, 2023.

REUTERS/Esa Alexander

Podcast: Nigeria’s presidential election is a critical moment for Africa

Listen: On February 25, Africa’s most populous nation heads to the polls to vote for a new president in what is shaping up to be a hotly contested race. Nigeria has one of the fastest growing populations globally, one that could surpass the United States by 2050. And it’s a young country—75% of registered voters are under 50 years old. The candidates, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), and Peter Obi from the Labour Party are all vying to replace the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari.

To help you better understand the Nigerian election and what’s at stake, GZERO is handing over this podcast feed today to Amaka Anku, Head of Eurasia Group’s Africa practice. She brings us a conversation from the The Center for Global Development podcast moderated by CGD’s Senior Policy Fellow Gyude Moore.

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