Nigeria - Muhammadu Buhari Poised to Win Presidential Election

President Muhammadu Buhari at his campaign headquarters in the run-up to the announcement of the election result.
26 February 2019

Unofficial results show that incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari has an unassailable lead after Saturday's election. Meanwhile, the opposition has claimed voter fraud and irregularities.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has secured a second term as the leader of Africa's most populous country, electoral commission results showed Wednesday, after a delayed election and opposition claims the vote was rigged.

A final result has yet to be declared, but unofficial counts put Buhari ahead by more than 4 million votes, making it impossible for his main rival Atiku Abubakar to win.

Initial results showed Buhari had won 56 percent of the vote, while Abubakar of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) won 41 percent.

To win, a candidate needs a simple majority of votes nationwide and at least 25 percent of support in two-thirds of Nigeria's 36 states and the capital territory.

Supporters of Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) celebrated the victory in the capital, Abuja, before official election results were announced.

The former military dictator may have to wait until Wednesday for final results to be released, assuming vote counting proceeds as planned.

Opposition claims fraud

Earlier Tuesday, the PDP demanded a halt to vote counting from Saturday's election, citing electoral fraud.

Tanimu Turaki, a spokesman for the PDP, said handheld electronic machines that check biometric voter identity cards had been tampered with, leading him to call for an "immediate halt to the ongoing collation of results."

Turaki said the number of accredited voters in the northeastern state of Yobe, won by Buhari, had exceeded the number of votes cast.

"The PDP predicates this demand on available evidence to the effect that data from the card readers are being reconfigured to suit the manipulations" of the ruling party, he said.

He also said there was "credible information" that the election in neighboring Borno state was a "figure-writing exercise" done according to the "whims and caprices" of the APC.

Buhari's party has accused the opposition of manipulating the results and demanded they provide evidence of election fraud.

Delays, violence challenge confidence

Saturday's vote was marked by delays, logistical problems and violence, casting a shadow over the credibility of the results.

The Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and the United Nations have urged all sides to await official results before filing electoral complaints.

(AP, AFP, Reuters)

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