Opposition rejects Nigerian election’s early tally with Buhari ahead

Source:Reuters Published: 2019/2/26 21:43:41

President Muhammadu Buhari took an early lead on Monday in initial official results from Nigeria's presidential election, but the party of his main challenger quickly rejected the tallies as "incorrect and unacceptable."

Saturday's election, which US observers said had lost some credibility after being abruptly delayed by a week by officials citing organizational glitches, was expected to be Nigeria's tightest since the end of military rule two decades ago.

At stake is control of Africa's top oil producer and biggest economy. Northeast Nigeria has also been wracked by a decade-long battle with Islamist militants that has led to the deployment of a regional task force.

Buhari, 76, is a former military ruler seeking a second term on an anti-corruption platform, while Atiku Abubakar, 72, a businessman and former vice president, has pledged to expand the private sector.

Initial results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday put Buhari in the lead, having won in seven of Nigeria's 36 states, the commission said.

Atiku prevailed in four states and the capital, Abuja, which is not a state but treated as a separate district in elections.

Buhari led Atiku by 51 percent to 46 percent, according to a Reuters tally based on the figures given by the commission.

In provisional results announced in state capitals but not yet confirmed by the commission, Buhari had won four states to Atiku's one.

In the northern state of Kano, hundreds celebrated Buhari's provisional lead in what was billed as a key battleground in this year's elections.

"Kano is for Buhari," Wahab Abdulawal, a trader, said.

Asked about the early results, Buhari told reporters: "I don't want to depend on rumors... We will rather wait for INEC to announce the results."

But the chairman of Atiku's People's Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, said the tallies announced so far were "incorrect and unacceptable."

"The results are being manipulated and canceled for APC to retain power," he told reporters, referring to Buhari's party.

Posted in: AFRICA

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