Nigeria's electoral commission has declared the ruling party's candidate, Umaru Yar'Adua winner of Saturday's controversial presidential vote. For VOA, Gilbert da Costa reports that the announcement was made despite strong denunciations from the opposition.

Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Maurice Iwu announced the official results at a crowded news conference in Abuja on Monday.

"Candidate Atiku Abubakar, party AC, 2,637,848 votes; Major General Muhammadu Buhari, ANPP, 6,605,299 votes; Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, PDP, 24,638,063. I will like to further affirm that Umar Musa Yar'Adua of PDP, having satisfied the requirement of the law, and scored the highest number of votes, is declared winner," he announced.

The two leading opposition candidates and several independent observer missions have denounced the vote as fraudulent, saying the process was tainted with rigging and incompetence.

The U.S. State Department issued a statement early Monday describing the elections as "flawed."

President Olusegun Obasanjo, in a televised address on Monday, urged aggrieved parties to take advantage of constitutional and legal mechanisms to seek redress.

"Elections are a process which allow for dissent and have in-built mechanism for redress," he said. "Our constitutional and legal system anticipates that participants in elections may feel aggrieved and therefore provide remedies. Our elections could not have been said to have been perfect. My advice to all those who feel aggrieved by the outcome of the elections, is that they should avail themselves of the laid-down procedure for seeking redress in electoral matters."

Some opposition candidates have vowed to challenge the elections at election tribunals.

Mr. Obasanjo is scheduled to step down next month, when his second four-year term ends. The process is meant to set up Nigeria's first-ever handover of power between elected heads of state.

Dozens of Nigerians have died in violence related to the elections.