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  • Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is leading in initial official results according to early tallies by election commission.

    Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari is leading in initial official results according to early tallies by election commission. | Photo: Reuters

Published 25 February 2019

According to an early tally by the election commission, the incumbent President is leading the race while opposition rejected the results.

President Muhammadu Buhari took an early lead Monday in initial official results from Nigeria’s presidential election but his opposition quickly rejected the tallies as “incorrect and unacceptable”.

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Saturday’s election, which the United States 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.

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

Initial results released by the national electoral commission (INEC) on Monday put Buhari in the lead. He won in four of Nigeria’s 36 states - two in the southwest, and one each in the east and central parts of the country, INEC said, while Atiku prevailed in the capital Abuja.

While talking about the early results, Buhari told reporters, “I don’t want to depend on rumours...We will rather wait for INEC to announce the (full) results.”

But the chairman of Atiku’s People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Uche Secondus, said the election results 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.

The full outcome, not expected before later in the week, appears to hinge on which man voters trust most to revamp an economy still struggling from a 2016 recession.

The civil society group YIAGA AFRICA, which monitored the election, projected turnout at 36-40 percent.

Situation Room, a monitoring mission comprising over 70 civic groups, said Sunday that as many as 39 people had been killed in election-related violence and over 260 in all since the start of the campaign in October.

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