Nigeria election: First results expected

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Nigeria’s election body says it expects to announce the first results of Saturday’s keenly contested presidential poll on Tuesday.

Incumbent Goodluck Jonathan is facing a strong challenge from former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.

The US and UK in a joint statement expressed concern over possible “political interference” in the count.

Voting over the weekend was marred by technical hitches, protests and violence linked to Boko Haram.

“So far, we have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation of the process,” the statement from UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and US Secretary of State John Kerry said.

“But there are disturbing indications that the collation process, where the votes are finally counted, may be subject to deliberate political interference.”

Follow live updates here as the results are announced.

Voting spilled into a second day in some parts of Nigeria after problems with new electronic card readers.

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

His Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had opposed the card readers, called it a “huge national embarrassment”.

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

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

Nigeria at a glance:

  • Two main presidential candidates: Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressives Congress (APC), Muslim northerner, ex-military ruler, fourth presidential bid; and Goodluck Jonathan, People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Christian southerner, the incumbent.
  • Years of military rule ended in 1999 and the PDP has been in power ever since
  • Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and leading oil producer
  • With a population of more than 170m, it is also Africa’s most populous nation

Unpredictable poll

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

He said in a statement voting had been “largely peaceful and orderly”.

His comments were echoed by the regional bloc Ecowas, which urged Nigerians to accept the result.

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But there has been tension in the southern Rivers State, where thousands protested against alleged killings of opposition workers and voting irregularities.

Inec said it was “concerned” by the complaints, adding that one of their offices was set on fire during the unrest.

Results of the voting were expected to arrive overnight but so far there is no official indication of which party is in the lead.

The PDP has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, but Gen Buhari’s All Progressives Congress is viewed as a serious challenge.

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

Read more:http://www.bbc.com

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