Opposition parties and their supporters in Nigeria are rejecting Wednesday's judgment by Nigeria's presidential election tribunal that upheld President Bola Tinubu's election. Tinubu’s main political rivals asked the court to invalidate February’s election, alleging irregularities and fraud.
The main opposition to Bola Tinubu's February election win came from his challengers, Atiku Abubakar, of the People's Democratic Party, or PDP, and Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Both parties, in separate statements, late Wednesday rejected the court ruling indicating Tinubu won. The Labour Party said justice was not served and that the judges manipulated the law to subvert the will of the people.
The PDP criticized the judgment and said it was based on technicalities and failed to take into account facts and provisions of the law.
Atiku and Obi were seeking to invalidate Tinubu's election, citing fraud and deliberate manipulation by the electoral body that swayed the outcome in favor of the ruling party.
But a five-man panel of justices dismissed the petitions on the grounds that the opposition parties lacked evidence to back their claims that irregularities swayed the outcome of the polls and merely engaged in a wild goose chase.
Nigerians, including Abuja resident Buchi Oneal, have been reacting to the ruling.
"I'm highly disappointed and from the feeling around, many people are also highly disappointed,” Oneal said. “You can see the whole street ... do you see any jubilation? That is to show that people are disappointed.”
Atiku and Obi came in second and third place, respectively, during February's election.
The election petition court also dismissed suits on Tinubu's alleged criminal forfeiture of $460,000 to the U.S. government.
The court also stated that the electoral body was not under any obligation by law to transmit polling station results electronically as claimed by the oppositions' petitions.
Tinubu and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) welcomed the court ruling and praised the judges for their thoroughness, while calling for support.
"It's clear that they brought a very hopeless case to court,” said APC national publicity secretary Felix Morka. “Anyone who listened to that judgment … will find that the court was meticulous in its review of all of the strands of arguments and facts that were brought before it. But again, we are a democracy and the right to challenge the decision of a court is a constitutional right. So, the parties involved are free to appeal this matter to the highest court of the land."
On Wednesday, supporters of the opposition parties staged rallies near the appeals court warning they'd occupy the streets if the ruling is unfair.
James Mikel was one of the demonstrators.
"We're asking the judiciary to do the right thing,” he said. “They should not kill this little democracy that we still have in this country. If not at the end of the day, there will be anarchy. I'm ready for anarchy, I'm not afraid to die."
No challenge to the outcome of a presidential election has been successful in Nigeria since 1999.
The opposition says it will appeal the ruling at the Supreme Court, and many will be watching to see if it is successful.