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Vote counting is underway in Nigeria’s tightest presidential election 



Vote counting is underway in Nigeria's tightest presidential election 

Vote counting is underway in Nigeria’s tightest presidential election

Turnout appeared high,  with many young, first-time voters arriving before dawn to cast

their ballots. However, Saturday’s voting was marred by lengthy delays at polling stations

and scattered reports of ballot box snatching and attacks by armed men.


And some parties have raised the alarm over allegations of irregularities, which could

lead to a disputed outcome. The elections are the most important democratic exercise

in Africa, with 87 million people eligible to vote.



Politics has been dominated by two parties – the ruling APC and the PDP – since the

restoration of multi-party democracy 24 years ago. But this time, there is also a strong

challenge from a third-party candidate in the race to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari

from the Labour Party’s Peter Obi, who is backed by many young people.


Nigeria’s tightest presidential election since military regime.

Tens of thousands of polling stations are counting the results, which will be collated and sent

to the electoral headquarters in the capital Abuja. The final result is not expected until at least



At a press briefing on Saturday, the electoral chief, Mahmood Yakubu, apologised for the delays

in voting, but he said that everyone who was in a queue by 14:30 local time (13:30 GMT) would

be allowed to cast their ballots, even though polling stations were officially supposed to close

by then.


Voters in the biggest city, Lagos, cheered as electoral officers arrived at a polling station in the

suburb of Lekki nearly four hours after polls had officially closed. “As a Nigerian, you expect any

eventuality, so I came out with my power bank and a bottle of water. I will wait till they arrive

so I can vote,” first-time voter Edith told our correspondent.


Reports of armed attacks at polling stations

There have been reports from Lagos of violence and ballot boxes being snatched. Some voters

complained of being attacked and chased out of where they had gathered to cast their ballots.

In other places, people reported being asked to vote for a particular candidate or leave

the polling centre.


Mr Yakubu said armed men had attacked some polling units in the southern state of Delta

and northern Katsina, where voter card verification machines were carted away.

He added that they were subsequently replaced, and security was boosted to allow voting.

But the vote was postponed to Sunday at 141 polling stations in the oil-rich southern state of

Bayelsa because of disruptions.


Nigeria decides Voting day as it happened.

In the north-eastern state of Borno, Mr Yakubu said that militant Islamists had opened fire on

electoral officers from a mountaintop in the Gwoza area, injuring several officials.

The lead-up to the polls was overshadowed by a cash shortage caused by a botched attempt

to redesign the currency, leading to widespread chaos at banks and cash machines as desperate

people sought access to their money.


The new notes were introduced to tackle inflation and also vote-buying. On the eve of

the election, a member of the House of Representatives was arrested with almost $500,000

(£419,000) in cash and a list of people he was supposed to give it to, police say.


Nigerians preferred Presidential candidate faith to be determined soon

Whoever wins must deal with the currency redesign, a crumbling economy, high youth

unemployment, and widespread insecurity, which saw 10,000 killed last year. Voters also cast

their ballots for 109 federal senators and 360 members of the house of representatives, with

another vote for state governors in March.


The election has seen massive interest from young people – a third of eligible voters are below

35. Mr Obi, 61, hopes to break up Nigeria’s two-party system after joining the Labour Party last

May. Although he was in the PDP before then, he is seen as a relatively fresh face and enjoys

fervent support among some sections of Nigeria’s youth, especially in the south.


Vote counting is underway in Nigeria’s tightest presidential election 

The wealthy businessman served as governor of the south-eastern Anambra State from 2006

to 2014. His backers, known as the “OBIdients”, say he is the only candidate with integrity, but

his critics argue that a vote for him is wasted as he is unlikely to win.

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