Nigeria’s former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari has a narrow lead over incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan in the country’s presidential election, partial results show.
With more than half of Nigeria’s 36 states declared, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress (APC) is ahead by half a million votes.
A victory for Muhammadu Buhari would make President Goodluck Jonathan the first incumbent to lose an election in Nigeria.
Correspondents say it is likely the loser will allege foul play.
More than 800 people were killed in protests after Goodluck Jonathan beat Muhammadu Buhari in the previous election.
Muhammadu Buhari’s lead was cut from two million votes, after Goodluck Jonathan gained a landslide in Rivers State, where there have been widespread reports of irregularities and a curfew imposed.
Nigeria’s electoral commission (INEC) chairman, Attahiru Jega, said the fact-finding team sent to the state found there were some voting irregularities with the poll but not enough “to warrant a cancellation of the election”.
However, many of the states still to declare are in the north, where Muhammadu Buhari is seen as favorite.
“We have lost confidence in what you’re doing, we don’t believe in you anymore,” Elder Orubebe said.
Rejecting the allegation, Attahiru Jega replied: “Let us be careful about what we say or do and let us not dispute a process that has begun peacefully.”
Muhammadu Buhari has won the two biggest states, Lagos in the south and Kano in the north, while Goodluck Jonathan won a huge majority in his home state of Bayelsa, as well as Rivers.
The candidate with the most votes will only avoid a run-off if they gain at least 25% of the votes in two-thirds of Nigeria’s 36 states.
International observers have broadly praised the conduct of the vote but there has been some concern over possible efforts to rig the outcome during the count.
The US and UK have expressed their concerns over potential “political interference” during the count.
A spokesman from INEC dismissed these fears, saying that “there is absolutely no basis” to talk of meddling.
Authorities in Rivers State announced a curfew on March 30 after protests over alleged vote rigging.
Earlier, police in the state used teargas against female opposition protesters who were attempting to lodge complaints with election officials.
Voting spilled into Sunday in some parts of Nigeria after problems were encountered with new electronic card readers, which were introduced to prevent fraud.
President Goodluck Jonathan, whose PDP has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, was among those whose registration to vote was delayed by the technology.
Attahiru Jega said only a fraction of the 150,000 card readers being used nationwide had failed.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari: 10,454,137 votes;
Passed 25% threshold in 16 states
Goodluck Jonathan: 9,953,432 votes;
Passed 25% threshold in 20 states
Results from 25 states + Abuja
Candidates needs 25% in 24 states for first-round victory
[youtube ydcYY4avW4Q 650]