Nigeria's weekend presidential elections declared deeply flawed

The governing party candidate was declared the winner after Nigeria's weekend presidential elections that were denounced and declared deeply flawed.

As was widely expected, Electoral Commission Chairman Maurice Iwu said Umaru Yar'Adua, the 56-year old Muslim governor of northern Katsina state and candidate of departing President Olusegun Obasanjo's People's Democratic Party, won in a landslide.

"Umaru Musa Yar'Adua of PDP, having satisfied the requirement of the law and scored the highest number of votes, is hereby declared the winner and is duly elected," Iwu told reporters.

He said Yar'Adua won about 24.6 million votes, more than three times the number garnered by the runner up, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, in Saturday's vote. Some 61 million Nigerians registered to vote. Iwu didn't give turnout figures.

Nigeria's main political parties have rejected the vote as fraudulent and international and local observer groups reported widespread irregularities. The European Union observer mission said Monday the vote wasn't credible, and the U.S. government called it flawed.

Asked on state television if he had expected to win, Yar'Adua's entourage broke into raucous laughter. The usually somber Yar'Adua, though, allowed only a tight smile and said: "I did because my party is strong. We enjoy the goodwill of Nigerians."

"I felt gratitude toward the almighty," said Yar'Adua, a Muslim. "I felt greatly humbled by the events of today and this mandate, greatly humbled."

In a nationwide address ahead of Monday's announcement, Obasanjo, who had been barred form running by term limits after two terms in power, accused the political opposition of "fanning the embers of hate" and engaging in "outright subversive activities."

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Author`s name Angela Antonova