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nigeria elections 2015
Nigeria’s former military Muhammadu Buhari has won the country’s presidential election.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari has hailed his victory as a vote for change and proof the nation has embraced democracy.
He also praised outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan as a “worthy opponent” who peacefully relinquished power.
Muhammadu Buhari beat Goodluck Jonathan by 15.4 million votes to 13.3 million.
Observers have generally praised the election, though there have been allegations of fraud.
Muhammadu Buhari, of the All Progressives Congress (APC) party, has become the first opposition candidate to win a presidential election in Nigeria.
He said: “President Jonathan was a worthy opponent and I extend the hand of fellowship to him.
“We have proven to the world that we are people who have embraced democracy. We have put the one-party state behind us.”
The former military ruler added: “Your vote affirms that you believe Nigeria’s future can be better than what it is today. You voted for change and now change has come.
“You, Nigerians, have won. The people have shown their love for this nation and their belief in democracy.”
On March 31, Goodluck Jonathan said in a statement: “I promised the country free and fair elections. I have kept my word.
“Nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else.”
Goodluck Jonathan said he had conveyed his “best wishes” to Muhammadu Buhari, and urged “those who may feel aggrieved to follow due process… in seeking redress”.
However, analysts say the margin of victory is likely to prevent any successful legal challenge.
Goodluck Jonathan must officially hand over power on May 29.
This election was the fourth time that Muhammadu Buhari, 72, had sought the presidency.
He ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985, taking charge after a military coup in December 1983.
Goodluck Jonathan had led Nigeria since 2010, initially as acting leader before winning elections in 2011.
Nigeria has suffered from attacks by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of people in its drive to establish an Islamic state.
Many voters have said that they believe Muhammadu Buhari is better positioned to defeat Boko Haram.
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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.
Earlier, the announcement of results was disrupted when an agent of Goodluck Jonathan’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP) launched a tirade against Attahiru Jega in Abuja.
“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
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Nigeria has continued counting ballots in its presidential election, with the incumbent Goodluck Jonathan facing a strong challenge from former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari.
The election commission (INEC) said it hoped to announce the winner on March 30.
The UN has praised the poll despite technical hitches, protests and violence linked to Boko Haram.
Voting was extended until Sunday in some parts of Nigeria after problems with new electronic card readers.
President Goodluck Jonathan was among those unable to cast his vote using the technology, which was introduced to prevent fraud.
His Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which had opposed the card readers, called it a “huge national embarrassment”.
The INEC chair, Attahiru Jega, stressed that only a fraction of the 150,000 card readers being used nationwide had failed.
The vote had been delayed by six weeks because of the insurgency by Boko Haram militants.
The Islamists attacked polling stations in north-eastern states, with a curfew declared in Bauchi State after fighting between the security forces and the group.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon praised the “determination and resilience” of Nigerian voters, despite the reports of attacks by Boko Haram and others.
Ban Ki-moon said in a statement voting had been “largely peaceful and orderly”.
His comments have been echoed by the regional bloc Ecowas, which urged Nigerians to accept the result.
There has been tension in the southern Rivers State, where thousands protested against alleged killings of opposition workers and voting irregularities.
INEC said it was “concerned” by the complaints, adding that one of their offices was set on fire during the unrest.
Results of the voting were expected to arrive overnight but so far there is no official indication of which party is in the lead.
The PDP has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, but Gen. Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress is viewed as a serious challenge.
Voters have also elected members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
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Voting in parts of Nigeria have been extended until Sunday, March 29, after delays and a number of attacks.
Technical problems with new biometric cards slowed down voter registration, even affecting President Goodluck Jonathan.
More than 20 people have reportedly been killed in various attacks by unknown gunmen.
Incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan is facing a strong challenge from Muhammadu Buhari.
The election is said to be the most closely fought since independence.
It was postponed from mid-February to allow the army time to recapture territory from the Islamist militants of Boko Haram.
The two main candidates had pledged to prevent violence during and in the aftermath of the elections.
Several hours after voting started, reports came in of violent incidents at polling stations in which at least 24 were reported to have been killed.
Thousands of Nigerians turned out to vote, despite threats from Boko Haram to disrupt the poll.
Voters are also electing members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
According to the Transitional Monitoring Group (TMG), the largest body observing the elections, voting had started in 75% of polling stations, while 92% had the materials they need to start the process.
Voters need to register using biometric cards with their fingerprints before they can cast their vote.
However, there have been problems with card readers at many polling stations.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) said the accreditation process had “gone on well in several places”, but was “slow” or had “not commenced at all” in others.
Goodluck Jonathan tried for some 50 minutes to register in his home village of Otuoke, before coming back a second time. When the electronic registration failed again, he had to be accredited manually before casting his ballot paper.
Problems were also reported from the north’s biggest city of Kano, where thousands of voters waited for election officials and voting materials to arrive.
Gen. Muhammadu Buhari did not have any problems registering in his hometown, Daura.
Attacks were reported in north-eastern Gombe state, including incidents where gunmen opened fire on voters at polling stations.
It is unclear whether the attacks were the work of Boko Haram militants or political thugs.
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Nigeria has begun voting for a new president, with incumbent Goodluck Jonathan facing a strong challenge from Muhammadu Buhari.
It is said to be the most closely fought election since independence.
The election was delayed by six weeks to allow the army to recapture territory from militant Islamist group Boko Haram.
The two main presidential candidates have pledged to prevent violence during the election and its aftermath.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has dominated Nigerian politics since 1999, but the All Progressives Congress (APC) is viewed as a serious challenge.
Some 800 people were killed after the 2011 contest between Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler.
The polls opened at 08:00 AM local time.
Voters in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja – the capital – will also elect members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
On March 27, the Nigerian army said it had retaken the town of Gwoza, believed to be the headquarters of Boko Haram, one of the last places still under its control.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday: “The international community has high expectations that Nigeria will provide leadership in setting a high standard for this election.”
He called on Nigerians – in Africa’s most populous nation – to vote in large numbers.
Ban Ki-moon added that he hoped the presidential and parliamentary elections would be “transparent, inclusive and peaceful”.
Campaign group Human Rights Watch says Boko Haram has killed some 1,000 people this year alone.
On March 25, army chief Kenneth Minimah said adequate security arrangements had been made for the polls.
On March 26, the government closed its land and sea borders for the election.
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Nigeria has postponed the February 14 presidential election to March 28 over concerns about the security situation.
The country’s electoral commission chief Attahiru Jega said he had been told troops would not be available to help patrol the ballot because they would be fighting Boko Haram militants in the north-east.
Nigeria and four other states plan to deploy a joint force of 8,700 soldiers.
Both the Nigerian opposition and the US criticized the delay.
The head of the party of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who is challenging incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, said the “provocative” move was a “major setback for Nigerian democracy”.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the US was “deeply disappointed”, adding: “Political interference with the Independent National Electoral Commission is unacceptable, and it is critical that the government not use security concerns as a pretext for impeding the democratic process.”
Officials from the main opposition party accuse the military of forcing the electoral commission into the delay to help the sitting president’s campaign.
It looks set to be a tight race between Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari and the postponement may well increase the tension which is already palpable.
“The commission cannot lightly wave off the advice of the nation’s security chiefs,” said Attahiru Jega.
“The risk of deploying young men and women and calling people to exercise their democratic rights in a situation where their security cannot be guaranteed is a most onerous responsibility.”
Parliamentary elections due to take place on February 14 have also been postponed to March 28.
Elections for state governors and assemblies slated for February 28 have been moved to April 11.
John Odigie-Oyegun, chairman of Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressives Congress, said: “I strongly appeal to all Nigerians to remain calm and deist from violence and any activity which will compound this unfortunate development.”
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