Nigeria calm as vote count continues

Nothing Will Deter Nigeria From The Path Of Democracy Says Buhari

Vote counting begins in Nigeria's delayed presidential election

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari, seeking re-election, vowed Friday that voters will be able to vote in security, despite a week-long postponement and renewed violence. Results have been coming since, they are so overwhelming.

He also said problems encountered during the voting, including security issues, were being addressed.

Early results collated at polling units, though unofficial, indicated that Senate President Bukola Saraki from Kogi may not be returning to the senate as he had been defeated by Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe of APC.

Police said in a statement that there was no attack on any part of Maiduguri.

Announcing the results after delays in sorting the votes, the Polling Officer, Mr Omolain Ehichioya, said the APC polled 83 votes in the presidential election at the unit while PDP got 80 votes.

Civil society groups monitoring the vote reported 16 deaths from election-linked violence in eight states on Saturday.

John Tomaszewski, an observer with the joint US National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute delegation, said delays had been expected given the challenge of getting materials to the polling stations in time.

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Until 1999 Nigeria was governed by either short-lived civilian administrations or military rulers.

But Idayat Hassan, of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in the capital Abuja, said this year's bloodshed and malfunctions were a setback.

"It was free and fair", she said.

A civilian militia source in the Borno state capital, Maiduguri, told AFP "at least 13" blasts were heard throughout the city at about 6:00 am (0500 GMT).

That angered voters who had already travelled to their hometowns and villages to participate, and saw the main parties accuse each other of conspiring with the INEC to rig the result. One convoy in Delta state contained more than 25 vehicles with battle-ready soldiers.

But the Boko Haram extremist group, its Islamic State-affiliated offshoot in the northeast and various agitators across the country, including bandits, oil militants and youths hired by politicians to disrupt the vote, could have other plans.

The election campaign came against a backdrop of wider violence from Boko Haram and criminal gangs in the north that have killed more than 200 people this month alone.

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"INEC needed to have a communication plan with security but we found that this was lacking and security was ineffective", he said.

87 million Nigerians live in extreme poverty and the numbers are getting worse by the day in this country of 190 million people.

In traditional green and white dress in the colors of the Nigerian flag and cap screwed on the head, the former vice president (1999-2007), was applauded by dozens of supporters.

Nigerian elections have previously been characterised by voting along ethnic and religious lines.

But with Buhari and Abubakar both northern Muslims, that could split the northern vote, making southern states a key battleground.

The president's All Progressives Congress (APC) has promised to take the country to the "next level", arguing that in his first four-year term Mr Buhari has done a lot of "foundational work" that may not be immediately obvious.

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