Opposition parties in Nigeria call for fresh elections as ruling party takes the lead

All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate Bola Tinubu (C-L) and his wife Oluremi Tinubu (C-R) arrive to vote at a polling station in Lagos on February 25, 2023, during Nigeria's presidential and general election.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)Nigeria's main opposition parties are calling for fresh elections, describing results currently being announced by electoral body as "heavily doctored and manipulated," in a joint press conference in the capital, Abuja.

They said their parties would no longer be part of the ongoing collation process in the capital Abuja and added they had lost confidence in the electoral body Chairman Mahmood Yakubu, said a joint statement from the Peoples Democratic Party, Labour Party, and African Democratic Congress in Abuja on Tuesday.
The parties called for new polls to be held under a new chairman for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
    "We call on the international community to note that the results being declared at the National Collation Centre have been heavily doctored and manipulated and do not reflect the wishes of Nigerians expressed at the polls on February 25, 2023," they said.
      INEC on Tuesday rejected those calls. In a statement sent to CNN, chief press secretary Rotimi Oyekanmi insisted that "results emanating from the States point to a free, fair and credible process."
      "It is only fair for the aggrieved parties to allow the conclusion of the process and approach the courts with their evidence," Oyekanmi added.

      'Lacked transparency'

        The election process has been dogged with controversy, and the announcement at the national collation center in Abuja has seen some tense moments, with opposition party members walking out of the collation center as the results were being announced Monday.
        Several observers including the European Union have said the election fell short of expectations and "lacked transparency." 
        "The election fell well short of Nigerian citizens' reasonable expectations," said a joint observer mission of the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI).
        Samson Itodo, the head of Yiaga Africa - Nigeria's largest independent election monitoring body -- echoed worries, saying there was "serious cause for concern" about the election, but encouraged Nigerians to continue to engage in the political process.
        Itodo told CNN's Zain Asher in an interview Tuesday that three critical issues hampered election trust: violence, technical issues, and logistics. His organization deployed 3,836 observers across the Nigeria for the election.
        "I would strongly encourage for Nigerians that yes - the election is still in progress. It has not been concluded. There is still a possibility of a runoff. And so we should continue to walk together. We should continue to engage the political process," he also said.