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Nigeria awaits results of delayed vote

BY: Graphic Online

Nigerians are eagerly awaiting to see who will be their next President as ballots are being counted and collated in last Saturday’ general elections.

Results are slowly trickling in, but the final results are expected from the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) from Monday.

Despite the counting of ballots, INEC extended voting to a second day in some areas where logistical challenges made it impossible for many voters to exercise their franchise.

Information from INEC indicated that due to logistical challenges and violence, voting was not possible in about 8,500 of the 120,000 polling stations across the country.

Elections

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Seventy-three candidates were on the ballot paper, but the two main contestants are President Mahammadu Buhari, 76, of the All Progressive Congress (APC), who is seeking a second term, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, 72, of the People Democratic Party (PDP).

More than 84 million Nigerians registered to vote in the elections, but information from INEC showed that about 73 million voters collected their permanent voter’s card(PVC) which would give them the right to vote.

The polls also included voting for federal law makers of the Upper and Lower Houses of Nigeria Parliament, the Senate and House of Representatives.

Another round of elections for State Assemblies for the 36 states, Governors for 29 out of 36 states in Nigeria and Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, are expected on March 9, 2019.

To win the elections in the first round and become President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a candidate must win the most votes, but he must also win 25 per cent of the votes in two-thirds of the country's 36 states. If not, there will be a run-off, which must be held within seven days after the declaration of the official results.

Violence and accusations

Although largely peaceful, the elections were not without reports of voter intimidation, stealing of ballot boxes, attacks from the militant group, Boko Haram, burning of some INEC offices and in some cases burning of ballot papers at the polling stations.

There were reports of thugs brandishing cutlasses and axes and attacking people to prevent them from voting. 

The APC and the PDP accused one another of employing tactics that would jeopardize the polls in their respective strongholds.

But an INEC official, Festus Okoye, told journalists that the commission was satisfied with the electoral process.

“We are generally satisfied with the process and the procedures for the conduct of these present elections,” he said.

The two main contenders

Both President Buhari and Alhaji Abubakar are from the Northern Part of the country.

Buhari is from Katsina in the North East while Atiku hails from Adamawa in the North East.

President Buhari, was elected in 2015 after losing three previous elections in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He defeated the PDP's incumbent, former President Goodluck Jonathan.

His campaign message was that he had laid the foundation which would take Nigeria to the next level when given a second term.

On the other hand, Mr Abubakar was the Vice President to former President Olusegun Obasanjo from 1999 to 2007.

A very successful businessman and often considered as a power broker in Nigeria’s politics, Mr Atiku has made many attempts to get the top job in Nigeria often changing and creating new alliances.

He has promised to get Nigeria working again when elected and has accused the Buhari–led administration of failing to revive the economy as it promised and also failing to stop the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East