How Tinubu emerged Nigeria’s president with the lowest percentage of votes since 1999

THE presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, became the fifth president-elect of Nigeria since the country’s transition to democracy in 1999. 

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday 1 declared Tinubu winner following his victory in the Saturday, February 25 presidential election.

His victory followed an election that held after the registration of more than 93 million Nigerians, and the creation of more than 176,000 polling units across the 36 states and the Federal Capital territory.


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Tinubu was declared winner having polled 8,794,726 votes. He became the Nigerian president with the lowest total of votes cast and the lowest percentage of votes.

When Nigeria transited to democracy in 1999, former president Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) polled a total of 18,738,154 million votes, which represented 62.8 per cent of the 29,848,441 million valid votes cast, while Oluyemi Falae of the Alliance for Democracy (AD) polled a total of 11,110,287 million votes, which represented 37.2 per cent of the votes cast.

Recontesting four years later in an election with 60,823,022 million registered voters, Obasanjo polled  24,109,157 million votes, which represented 61.8 per cent of 39,012,071 million valid votes. The candidate of the All Nigeria People’s Party (ANPP), Muhammadu Buhari, came a distant second with a total of 12,495,326 million, which represented 32 per cent of the total votes, while the All Progressives Grand Alliance’s (APGA) presidential candidate, Odumegwu Ojukwu, polled 1,295,655  million, which was  3.3 per cent of all the valid votes.

Although under Maurice Iwu’s watch as its chairman INEC recorded a total of 61,567,036 million registered voters towards the 2007 general elections, the number of voter turn-out decreased to 35,397,517 million.

With the PDP sustaining their winning ways, the late president Musa Yaradua defeated Buhari, a second-time contender on platform of the ANPP; and Atiku Abubakar, a former vice president of the Action Congress by gathering a total of 24,638,063 million voters, which represented 69.60 per cent of the votes cast, against Buhari’s 18.66 per cent and Atiku’s 7.45 per cent.

Also in 2011, the PDP presidential candidate, Goodluck Jonathan, won against Buhari, who was with the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and Nuhu Ribadu of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) with 22,494,187 million votes, or 58.87 per cent of votes cast.

The 16-year dominance of PDP’s Presidency ended abruptly in 2015 when Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan with a total of 15,424,921 million votes, representing 53.96 per cent of the 28,587,564 million valid votes.



    Buhari retained power in 2019 by polling 15,191,847 million votes, which represented 55.60 per cent of the total valid votes.

    However, despite the surge in the number of registered voters for the 2023 general elections to 93,469,008 million, data from the just concluded presidential and National Assembly elections showed that 24.9 million eligible Nigerians voted,  which means that only 26.6 per cent of registered voters participated in the elections.

    That was less than the 55.60 per cent and 53.96 per cent figures recorded in the 2019 and 2015 presidential elections respectively.

    Tinubu won the election with 8.794,726 million votes (35.2 per cent) to defeat closest rivals Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, who had 6,984,520 million votes; Peter Obi of the Labour Party, who had 6,101,533 million votes; and Rabiu Kwakwanso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), who polled 1,496,687 votes.

    Stories with punches holding the powerful accountable. His determination to speak out against corruption and influence the conversation in Nigeria, the surrounding region and the continent inspires him.

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