President Muhammadu Buhari has received the certificate of return from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that affirms his victory in the 2019 presidential election.

In an election that had a total of 73 candidates, Buhari won 15,191,847 of the total votes cast while his closest opponent, Atiku Abubakar, gained 11,262,978 votes, an astonishing victory margin of 3,928,869 votes.

INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, presented certificates of return to Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in Abuja just hours after he declared the president victor on Wednesday, February 27.

While speaking after he received the certificate, the president congratulated all the candidates who participated in the election on a hard-fought campaign and appealed for unity in the best interest of Nigeria.

"Our government will remain inclusive and our doors will remain open. That is the way to build the country of our dreams - safe, secure, prosperous and free of impunity and primitive accumulation by those entursted with public office," he said.

He also said the elections have been adjudged to be free and fair by local and foreign observers.

"From the comments of observers, both local and foreign, it is obvious that the elections were both free and fair.

"Now that the elections are over and the winner declared, we must all see it as a victory for Nigeria, our dear country," he said.

Atiku kicks against Buhari's victory

In a signed statement released on Wednesday, Atiku refused to accept the result, alleging that the election was plagued by electoral malpractices that disenfranchised millions of people who voted for him or were willing to.

Atiku Abubakar says he'll contest the result of the 2019 presidential election in court [Twitter/@chosensomto]
Atiku Abubakar says he'll contest the result of the 2019 presidential election in court [Twitter/@chosensomto]

He alleged that there was widespread voter suppression in his stronghold states across the country while there were questionable voter turnout rates in the president's strongholds.

He also condemned the militarisation of the process which he said was a return to the era of military dictatorship that should not be allowed to stand.

He assured his supporters that he'll not allow Nigeria's democracy to be debased unchallenged and vowed to challenge the result of the 2019 presidential election in court.