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Nigeria awaits tense poll results

By Vision Reporter

Added 30th March 2015 02:30 PM

Nigerians on Monday awaited the first results of a closely fought general election pitting President Goodluck Jonathan against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for calm after deadly riots followed 2011 polls.

Nigeria awaits tense poll results

Nigerians on Monday awaited the first results of a closely fought general election pitting President Goodluck Jonathan against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for calm after deadly riots followed 2011 polls.


Nigerians on Monday awaited the first results of a closely fought general election pitting President Goodluck Jonathan against ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for calm after deadly riots followed 2011 polls.

The United Nations Secretary General congratulated Nigeria for holding a "largely peaceful and orderly" ballot, as the head of the country's electoral commission said Sunday that the first results could be announced the following day.

But Ban called on citizens to "maintain a peaceful atmosphere and to exercise patience" and condemned attacks carried out by Boko Haram and other militants attempting to disrupt the presidential and parliamentary polls.

Military fighter jets and ground troops pounded Boko Haram fighters in the northeastern state of Bauchi on Sunday after a series of attacks on polling stations at the weekend.

The presidential election in Africa's most populous nation and largest oil producer is the closest in the country's history, with the first credible challenge from an opposition party.

Jonathan's Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been in power since Nigeria returned to civilian rule in 1999 but is being pushed to the wire by main opposition candidate Buhari.

The prospect of a democratic transfer of power -- plus economic woes caused by the slump in global oil prices, concerns about corruption and fears about insecurity -- served to energise the vote.

- 'Free, fair, credible and peaceful' -

Voting was pushed into an unscheduled second day Sunday after failures in controversial new technology but election chief Attahiru Jega said his commission was confident its objective of holding a "free, fair, credible and peaceful" election was "on course".

"We appeal to all Nigerians to remain peaceful as they await the return of these results," he added, amid fears of a repeat of 2011 post-poll violence that left some 1,000 people dead.

One government spokesman claimed there was a "record turnout" and that voting was largely peaceful despite pockets of unrest mainly in southern states such as the key battleground of Rivers.

The technical difficulties of the voting process, however, set the tone for a potential dispute as the PDP has opposed the use of handheld electronic devices to authenticate voters, saying they were not sufficiently tested.

Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) supports the new system as a means of curbing the voter fraud that has marred previous elections.

Wrangling over the results began as the counting got under way, some of it by flashlight in a country which is regularly plunged into darkness by daily power cuts.

In oil-rich Rivers state, thousands of opposition supporters demonstrated to call for the cancellation of the elections locally because of alleged irregularities. AFP

 

Nigeria awaits tense poll results

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