ABUJA—The Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan, on Saturday night appeared to have secured victory in the election with almost double the vote of his main rival ex-military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, partial results suggest.
Figures provided by regional officials from 30 of the country’s 36 states suggest he has garnered enough votes to avoid a run-off.
Reuter’s tally of results from 35 of 36 states shows Jonathan on 22million votes to 12million for Buhari.
Buhari hopes of forcing a second round against Jonathan, a Christian and the first head of state from the oil-producing Niger Delta are now lessening.
Former government minister Nasir el-Rufai, a supporter of Gen Buhari, told Reuters: “In most of the south-east and south-south, no real elections took place.
“In the south-west and the north, the results have no relation to what happened at the polling units and we will prove it in due course.”
A spokesman for the general, Yinka Odumakin, also said irregularities had taken place but any challenge would come after the vote count.
Mr Jonathan while casting his vote in Bayelsa, Niger Delta, said the election was a “new dawn in Nigeria’s political evolution”.
“Nigeria is now experiencing true democracy where we the politicians have to go to the people,” he added.
Party Officials from Jonathan’s wing said there would be no victory claim until results were announced by the independent national electoral commission, but they were upbeat. Oronto Douglas, a senior adviser to the president, said: “This is no time for triumphalism. It is a time for deep reflection, for strengthening the bond of our union and for all of us to work together.”
Jonathan, 53, a fedora-wearing zoologist from the south, inherited the presidency last year when Umaru Yar’Adua, a northerner, died during his first term. Some members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party said another northerner should have be allowed to stand for what would have been Yar’Adua’s second term.
Published in Exclusive Partnership with Newsfromafrica.org