A former dictator or ‘weak’ leader will emerge as the president of Africa’s most populous nation on Tuesday morning. After an election marred by claims of ballot tampering, there are fears that the result could trigger violence across Nigeria.
The fight between President Goodluck Jonathan, a southern Christian, and Muhammadu Buhari, a Muslim former general, divided Nigeria along ethnic, regional and religious lines. On Monday night, the race remained too close to call. Mr Buhari recorded thumping majorities in key northern states. The 72-year-old won 1.1 million votes in the flashpoint city of Kaduna compared to the President’s tally of 484,000. Kaduna state was one of 12 where rioting erupted after the last election between Mr Jonathan and Mr Buhari in 2011. An estimated 800 were killed and 65,000 displaced.
In Mr Jonathan’s native Rivers State, the volatile and hotly contested home of Africa’s biggest oil and gas industry, the incumbent won 95 per cent of the vote. Mr Buhari’s opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) rejected the outcome in Rivers State and denounced the vote there as “a sham and a charade”.
The 10 most conflicted countries in the world
The 10 most conflicted countries in the world
1/10 South Sudan
The world's newest country is also the least peaceful nation in the world, according to the 2014 Global Peace Index
The rise of Isis in the country has led to much unrest and violence, with thousands displaced from the minority Yazidi sect
The nation has been fraught with civil war and famine. Most recently the military have been fighting Islamist insurgents Al-Shabaab
Since the country divided into two, there has been continuing unrest. This year the Sudanese army and rebels engaged in heavy fighting near the city of Kadugli
5/10 Central African Republic
The nation has endured a violent civil war since 2012. Last year the government fell to rebels and the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the situation in the country was precarious
6/10 Democratic Republic of the Congo
Civil wars have kept this country high in the ranks as one of the most conflicted places on the globe
Political corruption and instability have dogged Pakistan, as have conflicts with India over the disputed Kashmir region
8/10 North Korea
Despite its secretive nature, the Communist state has ended up as one of the most conflicted nations in the world due to internal problems
Russia has annexed Crimea and been accused by the West of arming rebels who have taken over parts of eastern Ukraine - which has led to the ongoing conflict
Since 2002 the militant Islamist movement Boko Haram has caused much violence in the country in a bid to establish Sharia law and abolish the secular government. This year the terrorist group kidnapped 276 schoolgirls, leading to international criticism of the government's lack of action
Allegations of electoral misconduct emerged in at least four different states as the votes were being counted.
Rivers State APC Governor Rotimi Amaechi demanded that results be cancelled. “We discovered that all the SPOs [supervising presiding officers] have stolen all the result sheets and disappeared,” he said. “So we said that there will be no election until we see the result sheets.”
In Lagos, with the APC looking to establish a solid lead, supporters of the ruling PDP party were questioning the conduct of officials. “We have serious concerns that the APC have been in collusion with INEC [Nigeria’s Electoral Commission] officials to change votes,” said an adviser to the PDP’s candidate for governor.
In a measured statement, the US and Britain said there were worrying signs of political interference yesterday. “So far, we have seen no evidence of systemic manipulation of the process,” said the US Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in a joint statement. “But there are disturbing indications that the collation process – where the votes are finally counted – may be subject to deliberate political interference.”
Tear gas was fired at some 2,000 supporters of the APC in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, as protesters attempted to enter INEC offices in the state capital. They were protesting against the conduct of officials in Rivers State.
In Lagos, streets were unusually quiet as results started to come in. Many people were at home or in bars, glued to the television.
In a sign that the opposition may challenge results elsewhere, the APC governor of the southern Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, denounced the election in his region and accused the military of meddling in the result.
Whatever the result, legal challenges are expected and a possible run-off could be required.Reuse content