New nigeria presidential election payoff results point to a very close race. Challenger muhammadu buhari was only just ahead of incumbent goodluck jonathan with just under 49 percent of the votes cast so far.
The 72-year-old former military dictator won 13 of the 36 states in africa’s most populous country, while 57-year-old jonathan secured 12 states and the capital abuja, according to the electoral commission.
Further results from saturday’s vote were still expected later on tuesday. It remained unclear, however, whether a final result of the election had been announced on tuesday.
Observers assumed that buhari still had a rough chance of winning, since most of the states that had not yet been disbursed probably voted for him by a majority for religious and ethnic reasons. The opposition candidate is particularly successful in the muslim north, jonathan in the christian south.
Buhari also succeeded in winning the hotly contested southern state of lagos. According to the electoral commission, he received 10.4 million votes, jonathan 9.9 million. If buhari wins the election, it would be the opposition’s first victory since the west african country returned to democracy in 1999.
In addition to an absolute majority, the winner must win at least 25 percent of the vote in two-thirds of the states. If no candidate succeeds, a runoff election would be necessary.
Some 70 million eligible voters were called to the polls. Observers said the election was generally orderly, but warned of possible manipulation of the payout. For fear of protests against the election results, an initial indefinite curfew was imposed in the southern state of rivers.
The incumbent and his ruling people’s democratic party (PDP) had wooed voters with promises of continuity; buhari and his opposition alliance of progressive parties (APC) promised to fight rampant corruption and defeat islamist terrorism of the boko haram. Since 2009, sunni extremists have killed at least 14,000 people in northeastern nigeria.
With almost 180 million inhabitants, nigeria is by far the most populous country in africa. It is the continent’s largest exporter of oil and also its largest economy. However, the majority of nigerians still live in gross poverty.