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ABUJA — Bola Tinubu from Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress party has won Nigeria’s presidential election with over 8.79 million ballots, the country’s electoral body said Wednesday.

The 70-year-old president-elect defeated his closest rival, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, said Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission.

Abubakar got over 6.98 million votes and was closely trailed by Peter Obi, candidate of the Labor Party, who secured about 6.1 million votes.

The election was one of the most hotly contested races in the country’s history, with Tinubu losing Lagos, his stronghold in the country’s southwest region, to Obi.

Tinubu, a former Lagos State governor and senator, had been eyeing the presidency for years to build a strong political structure with a vast network of supporters nationwide.

In his acceptance speech, the president-elect said with his victory at the polls, renewed hope has dawned in Nigeria.

With an eye on sustained growth, Tinubu pledged to be in tune with the aspirations of all citizens and commit to work on national development.

“Now, to you, the young people of this country, I hear you loud and clear. I understand your pains, your yearnings for good governance, a functional economy, and a safe nation that protects you and our future,” Tinubu said.

Outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari early Wednesday hailed Tinubu’s victory, saying that the results revealed democracy in Africa’s largest economy.

“Elected by the people, he (Tinubu) is the best person for the job,” Buhari said in a statement.

“I shall now work with him and his team to ensure an orderly handover of power.”

Buhari described the election as “Africa’s largest democratic exercise,” noting it demonstrated democracy’s continued relevance and capability to deliver for the people it serves. – Xinhua