Buhari Leads in Nigeria Presidential Vote as Protests Endure
Former Nigerian military ruler Muhammadu Buhari took a lead in the presidential race with half of the 36 states reporting results from the March 28-29 general elections.
Buhari led with 54.6 percent of the vote to 41.6 percent for President Goodluck Jonathan with tallies from 18 states and the Federal Capital Territory, the Independent National Electoral Commission said in Abuja. Five states that Buhari lost to Jonathan in 2011 swung in his favor. Many areas from Jonathan’s stronghold in the southeastern part of the country haven’t reported.
The election, a key test of stability in Africa’s largest oil producer, pitted Jonathan, a 57-year-old southern Christian, and his People’s Democratic Party, against Buhari, a 72-year-old northern Muslim, and 12 other candidates, none of whom garnered more than 0.2 percent of the vote.
“This is the first time when a political challenger looks like he’s going to pull off a fairly convincing victory,” Nicholas Spiro, managing director of Spiro Sovereign Strategy in London, said by phone. “If he doesn’t, that is going to increase scope for what could be a very nasty post-election period.”
The authorities in Rivers state declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew to prevent protests by supporters of Buhari’s All Progressives Congress who say the election in the oil-producing area was rigged on behalf of Jonathan. Results announced by the Rivers state electoral officer John Etu-Efeotor in Port Harcourt showed Jonathan winning by a margin of 1.48 million votes to 62,238 for Buhari. The APC rejected the result, as well as the tallies in Akwa Ibom and Imo states.