31 Mar 2015

Signs of upset in Nigeria's election

8:23 pm on 31 March 2015

Partial results from Nigeria's election give ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari more votes than the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan.

All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari - pictured in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014.

All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential aspirant Muhammadu Buhari - pictured in Lagos, Nigeria in 2014. Photo: AFP

However, populous states such as Lagos and Rivers are yet to declare.

With just over half of Nigeria's states declared, Gen Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) was reported to be ahead by some two million votes.

The counting of votes is due to continue at 10am local time (10pm NZDT) on Tuesday.

Nigeria's election commission (Inec) suspended the announcements of results late on Monday night, after giving the results for 18 states and the capital Abuja.

President Jonathan's People's Democratic Party (PDP) gained 6,488,210 votes and Gen Buhari's APC party received 8,520,436 votes.

Several key states have yet to declare in the south, where Mr Jonathan, a southerner, enjoys strong support.

The candidate with the most votes will only avoid a run-off if they gain at least 25 percent of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states.

US, UK question possible 'political interference'

The US and UK have expressed their concerns over possible "political interference" during the count, in a joint statement.

A spokesman from Inec dismissed these fears, saying that "there is absolutely no basis" to talk of meddling.

Authorities in the undeclared Rivers State reportedly announced a curfew on Monday night after protests over alleged vote rigging.

Earlier, police in the state used teargas against female opposition protesters who were attempting to lodge complaints with election officials.

President Goodluck Jonathan inspects soldiers of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, which is fighting Boko Haram terrorists.

President Goodluck Jonathan inspects soldiers of the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army, which is fighting Boko Haram terrorists. Photo: AFP

Voting spilled into Sunday in some parts of Nigeria after problems were encountered with new electronic card readers.

Mr Jonathan was among those whose registration to vote was delayed by the technology, which was introduced to prevent fraud.

Election commission chief Attahiru Jega said only a fraction of the 150,000 card readers being used nationwide had failed.

The UN gave an upbeat assessment of the vote on Sunday, with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praising the "determination and resilience" of Nigerian voters, despite the reports of attacks by Boko Haram militants and others.

The presidential and parliamentary elections had been delayed by six weeks because of the insurgency by Boko Haram.

The Islamists attacked polling stations in north-eastern states, with a curfew declared in Bauchi State after fighting between the security forces and the group.

The PDP has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, but the APC is viewed as a serious challenge.

Voters are also electing members of the house of representatives and the senate.

-BBC

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