Nigeria’s electoral commission has begun announcing state-by-state results from Sunday’s elections amid complaints of irregularities. It is however not expected to name a victor in the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari for several days.
Outgoing President Buhari, a retired army general who was also once a military ruler in the 1980s, is stepping down after winning two previous elections and serving the maximum eight years permitted by the constitution.
Many have described the historic presidential poll as a three-horse race, with the consensus being that it is Nigeria’s most competitive election to date.
In all, 94 million citizens registered for the election; No fewer than 87.2 million of them were eligible to vote. Turnout appears to have been high, especially among young people who make up about a third of the 87 million eligible voters.
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This makes it the biggest democratic exercise in Africa.
The election has seen an unprecedented challenge to the two-party system that has dominated Nigeria for 24 years.
The first results, from Ekiki state, showed a majority of votes for president cast in favour of Bola Tinubu of the governing All Progressives Congress.
Tinubu pulled in more than 200,000 votes in the state, against less than half that total for Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition PDP and just over 11,000 for Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman Mahmood Yakubu adjourned the session following the first results and said the release of tallies would resume at 11 a.m. (1000 GMT) on Monday.