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Chioma Agwuegbo was one in all tens of hundreds of younger Nigerians who took to the streets in October 2020 to demand an finish to police brutality in Nigeria. The mass motion, which grew to become often known as #EndSARS, referred to as for the disbanding of the Particular Anti-Theft Squad after a video of a person getting killed by the police went viral. As Agwuegbo protested within the capital metropolis of Abuja, the place she heads a ladies’s rights non-profit referred to as TeachHerNG, she remembers police firing stay rounds and tear gasoline at her.

Agwuegbo says she was “heartbroken” by the federal government’s response to the protests, which compelled her to consider find out how to “take again the nation” this February, as Nigeria on Saturday held probably the most aggressive, free, and truthful election because the finish of army rule in 1999.

On Tuesday, Bola Tinubu from the ruling All Progressives Congress Social gathering was declared the winner. However the ex-governor of Lagos, the nation’s largest metropolis, gained with a slim margin in opposition to his opponents—Atiku Abubakar, from the primary opposition Individuals’s Democratic Social gathering, and Peter Obi from the smaller Labour Social gathering, a third-party candidate who many youthful Nigerians had pinned their hopes on. His opponents have since expressed their discontent and are anticipated to problem the leads to court docket.

To Agwuegbo, who has monitored elections in Nigeria since 2011, Tinubu’s win is a disappointment. “The technique and construction had been theft and violence, and rotten pipes can’t produce glowing water,” she mentioned, referring to the Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC), the nation’s electoral physique.

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However, Tinubu, often known as “Jagaban” or “chief of the soldiers” by his supporters, was anticipated to be the frontline winner. He fought army rule in Nigeria earlier than escaping into exile and founding the nation’s democracy in 1999. On this election, he ran on the slogan, “It’s my flip”—which critics mentioned prompt a way of entitlement.

He’ll now grapple with a number of the greatest challenges for Africa’s most populous nation, from financial turmoil to widespread violence and corruption. In a televised acceptance speech, Tinubu referred to as for reconciliation together with his opponents. “I take this chance to attraction to my fellow contestants to allow us to group up collectively. It’s the solely nation we’ve. It’s one nation and we should construct it collectively,” he mentioned.

Why are Nigerians sad with INEC, the nationwide electoral system?

This election was seen as Nigeria’s most technologically superior, with INEC deploying an digital voter accreditation system and results-viewing portal that will improve transparency and accessibility. The excessive expectations over voter transparency noticed tens of millions registering to vote, and an nearly 50% improve within the variety of polling items because the final election in 2019.

“This digital transmission was vital as a result of it’s supposed to go a great distance in decreasing rigging, which regularly occurs on the level of collation,” Mark Amaza, who works for Yiaga Africa, a civil society group based mostly in Abuja, mentioned.

However the identical infrastructure is now underneath intense scrutiny, whereas the credibility of INEC hangs within the steadiness. “Nigerians had expectations of a free and truthful course of, of fine religion from INEC. INEC hasn’t honored that,” mentioned Agwuegbo.

A bunch of individuals protest the result of the presidential elections in Abuja, Nigeria on March 1, 2023.

Kola Sulaimon—AFP/Getty Pictures

Leena Koni Hoffmann, an Africa Affiliate Fellow at Chatham Home London, advised TIME that the expertise didn’t transmit outcomes from the polling items, which was “a crucial a part of stopping the manipulation of the outcomes and credibility of the result.”

E.U. observers mentioned that poor planning and communication from INEC undermined belief in Nigeria’s democratic course of, whereas Afrobarometer discovered that 78% of Nigerians mentioned they’d little or no belief in INEC. In neighboring international locations like Ghana and Kenya, the expertise has additionally raised issues about election fraud from hacking and manipulation.

On account of the scrutiny, each Abubakar and Obi have dismissed the election outcomes and demanded a rerun. In his victory speech, Tinubu mentioned that his rivals may rightfully problem the leads to court docket, however that the lapses within the election “had been comparatively few in quantity and had been immaterial to have an effect on the result of this election.”

To Amaka Anku, Africa director on the Eurasia Group consultancy, the scrutiny suggests one factor: “For my part, the electoral fee over-promised and raised expectations, and now, individuals really feel upset and it’s being utilized by the opposition to argue that the outcomes will not be legitimate.”

What’s subsequent for Tinubu as he leads Nigeria?

With almost 216 million individuals, Nigeria is a high oil producer with the largest inhabitants and the biggest economic system in Africa. Within the subsequent 25 years, it’s anticipated to surpass the U.S. because the third-most-populous nation. However many Nigerians, younger and outdated, are hoping that the following president will efficiently grapple with the immense challenges dealing with the nation, which embody a extreme money disaster after a botched effort to exchange all banknotes, excessive inflation and corruption, and lethal assaults by armed males in opposition to civilians amid a backdrop of chaos and widespread unrest.

A latest survey by Afrobarometer, a pan-African polling group, discovered that 89% of Nigerians thought their nation was heading within the unsuitable route. Amaza mentioned that the general dissatisfaction with governance has contributed to the sensation that “if we don’t get it proper now, we could by no means get it proper once more.”

In Lagos state, house to Africa’s greatest metropolis and beforehand a primary stronghold for Tinubu, Obi gained by a fraction (582,454 votes over Tinubu’s 472,606 votes), reflecting how younger and concrete voters are fed up with conventional politics. Of the 87 million eligible voters within the nation, almost 40% of those that registered to vote had been underneath the age of 34, demonstrating an unprecedented degree of younger voter turnout in addition to help for Obi.

For Anka, this fracture suggests a “delicate and tense second” for Nigeria. Alongside difficult the leads to court docket, she mentioned Nigeria would probably see protests within the coming days from dissatisfied Nigerians in cities like Lagos and Abuja.

“The president-elect will face a really vital problem of efficiently articulating a constructive imaginative and prescient for the nation that may carry individuals collectively,” she mentioned.

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