Vote counting begins in Nigeria's delayed presidential election
25 February, 2019, 08:27
The ruling party stated its support for the legal process of declaring presidential election results to take place peacefully, and in an orderly fashion.
Henry Okalome, 55, a trader in Kano who voted for Atiku said: "we didn't expect that the election would be so smooth. we thought people might be dying".
"We have obtained credible intelligence from insiders that the FCT INEC Staff and the REC have caved in to pressure from security agencies and APC chieftains working on the instructions of President Buhari to cancel some area councils' presidential election results that were won overwhelmingly by the opposition candidate Alhaji Atiku Abubakar and declare the FCT election inconclusive to enable the President and the APC to fully prepare with security agencies to write results in those areas during a rerun". But many people didn't come out to vote as compared to 2015, he said. He voted for Buhari in 2015 but said the president had "betrayed" the people by not following up on promises to tackle insecurity and corruption.
The results as announced by the Returning Officer in charge of Nganzai, Dr A Fusami, showed that the APC candidate scored 6, 804 as against the 975 votes scored by the PDP's candidate.
Despite both sides' bullishness, it was hard to assess from unofficial results announced at individual polling stations who was in the lead.
Buhari personally cast a ballot in his hometown of Daura in the northwest state of Katsina, but lost the polling unit set up at the presidential villa in the capital, Abuja.
Electoral commission officers and voters discuss while votes are counted at Shagari Primary School polling station in Yola, Adamawa State.
The delay saw the main parties accuse each other of conspiring with INEC to rig the result, although neither has produced evidence.
Hours before voting began, Boko Haram's Islamic State-backed faction launched a rocket attack on the northeastern city of Maiduguri that killed one soldier.
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There were several clashes between jihadists and soldiers elsewhere in Yobe and Borno states, where more than 500 Chadian troops arrived as backup.
The electoral commission said voting was generally peaceful despite one of its workers being killed by a stray bullet.
Sixteen people were killed on Saturday in electoral violence across Nigeria during presidential and parliamentary elections, a network of civil society organisations said.
"We, therefore, urge security agencies and INEC to monitor this information very closely and act swiftly to forestall this nefarious intention".
More than 72 million people had been eligible to vote in Africa's most populous country and largest economy.
The victor of the 2015 election was 76-year-old President Muhammadu Buhari, who declared on Saturday that he "would be the winner" of this year's vote where he was standing for a second four-year term. His main rival is Atiku Abubakar, a former vice-president and billionaire businessman who has made sweeping claims of reviving an economy still limping back from a rare, months-long recession.
Nigerian elections have previously been characterised by voting along ethnic and religious lines.
But with Buhari and Abubakar both northern Muslims, that could split the northern vote, making southern states a key battleground.
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